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Eric Schliesser
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The biggest social impact of professors occurs in the class room and in one's (more extended) role(s) as intellectual mentor to students, day in day out.* This simple but important truth is ignored by national (and most private) grant agencies. That they so forget it is, while deplorable, not so... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
Fair enough, David. I grant that the exact wording allows for non-aesthetic readings of the causes of melancholy/unpleasantness.
Try to guess the eighteenth century author(s) of the two following passages (you can cheat by using Google, of course, but I'll reveal the answer(s) if you keep reading): [A] Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
First, one of the core modules, called ‘Critical Whiteness and Critical Eugenics’ which focused primarily on the history and legacy of Eugenics at UCL (Galton and Pierson [sic]) was thought to be too narrow for a core module.--Jo Wolff at DailyNous. A year ago I noted, in response to a... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Famous professors: From what I can tell, sometimes the hype is legit, sometimes not so much. One of my best professors here was a grad student at the time (Hi, Eric Schliesser!), yet, to be fair, many of the big-shots are great teachers. Some, however, are not, and are quite... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
politics admit of general truths, which are invariable by the humour or education either of subject or sovereign, it may not be amiss to observe some other principles of this science, which may seem to deserve that character.—David Hume “That Politics May be Reduced to a Science” What we had... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The maximization of such an expected value may also be regarded as a maxim for behavior. As such, it promises to have important implications for statistical theory. Cf. L. J. Savage, "The Theory of Statistical Decision," Journal of the American Statistical Association, XLVI (March, 1951), 55-67. Success of the maxim... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
[Yo]u have to learn to accept the rejections themselves gracefully...But sometimes, they simply confirm that you are fighting a losing battle. This referee report was one such. The reviewer complained about my use of feminist terms and concepts throughout the paper – e.g., “hegemonic dominance”, “messages that are not only... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die on a desert island if the choice was between saving me and saving an arbitrary non-disabled person. I have been told it would be wrong for me to have my biological children because... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
In the final corner of the exhibition we see Simeon with the Infant Christ in the Temple, created, we must assume, in the artist’s final days, in which form blurs into an image of startling, yet largely accidental modernity.--Mark Hudson 29 Lord now lettest thou thy seruant depart in peace,... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Now my modest contribution is merely this: Whatever, I urge, may be the ultimate truth in metaphysic or in science, certainly a complete and sympathetic outlook over our world does not warrant the critic's attitude. In comnmon experience throughout life the interrelatedness of things, if strictly construed, is no doubt... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
[Philosophy] can never be revolutionised by discovery, as, for all I know, a particular science may be, and as a particular branch of technique certainly often is. This, I take it, is the meaning of saying that in it you cannot make discoveries. Philosophy rests on the whole spectacle of... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Alan, Dennett's argument in the Jphil is, while speculative, quite elaborate. So don't be mislead by my terse presentation.
Until 1940, the Netherlands could imagine being an independent power; it had escaped the ravages of the first world war and held on to a far-flung colonial empire. That illusion was shattered by the relatively easy German conquest (five days) of its European heartland and the Japanese conquest of the... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Brad, I think the two versions of the argument are to be found both in Cicero and both in Descartes. The perfection argument is the official one of Meditations 3 (and is already familiar prior to Dennett's paper--of course Dennett's paper explains why it would have been somewhat plausible to Descartes and this turns out to be quite fascinating in its own right). Indeed, I think the appeal to perfection is a recurring theme throughout the tradition of arguments to design. Having said that, what I call the transcendental version of the Posidonian argument is much less familiar and I think one reason for this is that it undercuts the now common idea of science as a kind of neutral mechanism/instrument in establishing the existence of any entity (in this case god).
Imo indocti haec magna cum voluptate spectabunt et facillimo negotio ea quae nunc nullo modo capiunt, intelligunt.--I. Beeckman (1629), commenting on the effect of a planetarium. Last week I had the good fortune to participate in Daniel C. Dennett's lectures, “Evolving Minds: From Bacteria to Bach and Back,” which he... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Thank you for the interesting piece about the Wilberforce/Huzley exchange.
There are two mutually reinforcing founding myths in analytical philosophy: the one centered on Cambridge, England, tells the story of how G.E. Moore and Russell liberated us from the unintelligibility and inflated metaphysical pretensions of British Idealism by the application of common sense and conceptual decomposition aided by Frege's new... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
{UPDATE: Dario Perinetti has called my attention to a paper by Cathryn Campbell (University of Edinburgh), "‘That Virtuous Heathen’ and the Fishwife: A Fable of the Bogs" he heard presented at a conference that presumably reaches similar conclusions as this post. More once I get my hands on that paper.--ES}... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
I finished my thought and then went beyond it. Thank you for catching that. I'll leave, as is.
These considerations therefore show that Wisdom is both Scientific Knowledge and Intuitive Intelligence as regards the things of the most exalted nature. This is why people say that men like Anaxagoras and Thales ‘may be wise [sophoi] but are not prudent,’ [phronimoi] when they see them display ignorance of their... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
The eighteenth century term “moral science” (or “moral philosophy”—‘philosophy’ and ‘science’ are often treated as synonyms at the time) does not quite mean what we might think it means. And so when people urge on us to remember that economics was once a moral science and should be reformed back... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Technician Aub apparently had, as his hobby, the reconstruction of some of these ancient devices, and in so doing, he studied the details of their workings and found he could imitate them. The multiplication I just performed for you is an imitation of the workings of a computer.--Asimov (1958) "The... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Dear Sam, We are starting to reach diminishing returns of this exchange. (So, I won't answer all your concerns.) 1. Maybe a reductio, but I would claim that Locke participates in, and helps make popular, a more general movement that turns Christianity into a purely ethical doctrine. That's a dangerous thing to do in the late 1680s (and hence anonymity), but not unprecedented then. 2. Sorry, but you misunderstand the position. On my reading, Locke is making a political intervention in which he argues for what he takes to be salutary political doctrines. He is not reporting his own faith; nor is he lying. The previous two sentences/three propositions imply no contradiction and I am unsure what you find so hard to understand here. (I do suspect that you are imposing your norms of assertion on another thinker.) 3. We have different hypotheses about the evolution of Locke's views that he is willing to assert in public. 4. It is inconsistent with the latter view if the Letter is reporting Locke's doctrine of faith. But I am denying that the Letter expresses his faith.