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Jon Cogburn
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Great post. There's a tradition in aesthetics of taking difficulty to be goodmaking in itself. I think that Joyce's Finnegan's Wake is almost certainly 3c and that a certain number of critics take it to be great in virtue of that. In his Mass Art book Noel Carrol masterfully takes down the whole conceit (he has to, since it is used by snobs to denigrate popular art) by showing how it comes out of a misunderstanding of Kant's 3d Critique. For Kant, an experience of beauty requires a lot of mental machinery to work. Given the way he describes this it led neo-Kantian aesthetic theories to praise artworks the more they required mental machinery to work. But in Kant's own case he wasn't talking about high art, but appreciation of nature first and foremost, and in the examples he gives the processes are effortless. I think the actual reason that the conceit appeals to critics is because it ends up working to increase the importance of the critic, who is taxed with explaining the most valuable artworks to the rest of us. This led into Reader Response Theory, where the critic was the actual artist! Writers just produce words that don't mean anything until they are interpreted, which is the job of the critic. It was a generational revenge of failed fiction writers who washed up on the shores of academia against those who didn't need to do that.
Oops. Fixed "systemial". It is sad that it's not a real word. I know there was overlap between African-American and Scottish-American musical forms during the first bunch of railroad building. This shows up strongly in the music recorded in the 1920s just after the beginning of commercial recording and before the great depression killed the recording industry and prohibition killed a lot of music venues. Music of that era is so interesting because we are hearing the last crop of musicians who did not develop their talent by listening to other people's recordings. Lots of it just sounds like it's from outer space, and there are wonderful regional variations. One thing is clear though. Racist segregation never completely took among musicians. There are great, canonical black cajun players (especially Amédé Ardoin) and great, canonical white blues players (the 2 CD set - White Country Blues is a fantastic compilation) in the 1920s who learned from and taught people of the dominant ethnicities for those forms. You can hear strong African influences in the Appalachian music of the time as well (check out representative songs in Harry Smith's old Smithsonian Anthology of American Folk Music). But I think your main point is interesting and probably right, that bluegrass as we know it was fundamentally shifted by the experience of urbanization, perhaps as strongly as Chicago changed the blues (though I much prefer Delta blues and the Chicago musicians who had the strongest ties to the Delta). I want to learn much more about the history of the art.
By Jon Cogburn A few years ago NPR interviewed Dalton Conley on the occasion of the publication of his book Honkey, which is about growing up white in a predominantly African American housing project in New York City. Strangely, even though I grew up mostly in the American South, I... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Philosophical Percolations
It's very difficult for me to do that because honestly doing so would almost certainly have to make me think less of wrestling. I think this is something like when sportsball fans start to think seriously about head injuries. [Not being facetious.] Generally Trump is just low rent Caesarism. Democratic means get co-opted by squabbling elites, producing paralysis with respect to important policies necessary to help most people as well as just too much rent-seeking corruption for the system to hold. So the proposed autocrat tries to form a bond with the people to represent their interests. Unfortunately, this script worked really well for the Roman people during the eighty years of Augustus and Tiberius' rule, and it's been written into the world's DNA ever since. The record since then is below mixed though (cf. Venezuela today). The only interesting thing I conclude from this is about the Republican obstructionists who decided en block to oppose anything Obama did. These people were either horrible, horrible human beings or inexplicably ignorant concerning the history of the Republic ours is largely founded upon. Honestly probably some combination of both. Obstructionism in the service of unreasonably protecting entrenched interests is one of the most dangerous things in history, and this should not at all be controversial. Actually one more interesting thing. Trump is going nowhere, but Trumpism is here to stay. He's the warm up act for something much worse and more dangerous, though not necessarily worse *in the short run* (again, cf. recent Venezuela) for the people. Again, there are clear Roman analogues. I think there are actually important sociological and philosophical issues involving sports (and the kind of sports celebrity and narrative of which wrestling is the apotheosis) and the way all this works out, and I think there are Roman analogues too.
I know that your overall sympathy for the Allison type line makes what I'm about to write anathema to you, but I just think it's obvious that German Idealism wouldn't have happened if Kant's account of professional wrestling didn't contradict itself (cf. Fichte, building on Scholz et. al.). Incidentally, my thesis not only doesn't treat the German Idealists like fools, but also makes sense of Friedman's account of analytic and continental philosophy coming from distinct "back to Kant" movements (Marburg and Southwest schools, respectively). To really get this you have to follow the fate of German beerhall wrestling both in Europe over all *and* the United States (strands of Royce-like neo-Hegelian here) during that period. I'll stop kvetching about this. I think that we do agree that the only way to understand different varieties of anti *and* neo-Kantianism is in terms of categories imported from professional wrestling. It's just that we disagree in our evaluations of those movements. It's the same way we both recognize the importance of Starrcade 1985, but you continue to perversely route for Flair after all these years. At least that's how it seems to me.
I know this is pretty tangential to the point of your post, but let me please note that this whole constellation of issues illustrates clearly why professional wrestling is superior to sportsball, swimming, and life. In a just world, Lochte would (as a result of being a heel),* lose a hair match and have his head shaved by a virtuous opponent. And that would be it. Justice would be restored. I can't find the thing where Kant talks about the kingdom of ends and professional wrestling, but you can pretty much just insert that discussion here I think. [*Obviously, qua heel, not qua humanity in its purest form in itself.]
It was a weird synchronicity to read this the same day I read TaNahesi Coates' recent (or recently reposted, I don't know) reflections on the O.J. Simpson trial: Coates stresses a lot of themes, two of which I think connect strongly to your reflections. One of them is that O.J. was the first black American able to purchase for himself the same standard of justification that rich white Americans can purchase. Another is how the widespread police and prosecution mendacity with respect to evidence created a kind of Gettier example with respect to the evidence in O.J. Simpson's trial, analogous to Goldman's Barn Facade example.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2016 on CSI Overconfidence at Philosophical Percolations
By Jon Cogburn I forget in which book of Primo Levi's that he recounts learning Russian from the soldiers that liberated him from Auschwitz. Weirdly, the surviving prisoners were brought by train back into Russia and then at the end of the war had to find their way back to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
Updating Stoic Theology for the Twenty-First Century Guest post by Eric Steinhart Massimo Pigliucci is working on updating Stoicism for the twenty-first century. You can read about it on his excellent blog, How to be a Stoic. But one controversial aspect of his revival of Stoicism is its atheism --... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
Guest Post by Julian Friedland Julian Friedland is the author of the new satirical campus novel American Steam. He teaches philosophy at the University of Hartford. I happened to catch Woody Allen’s Manhattan recently and was shocked at first to recall that Allen had cast himself in the leading role... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
By Jon Cogburn The internet was invented for basically two things: (1) sharing pictures/videos of cute animals, and (2) kvetching. I understand and celebrate this, and as a result feel a little bit guilty about using it to engage in meta-kvetching. If we kvetch too much about other people's kvetching,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
By Eric Steinhart Many philosophers have observed that philosophy of religion, especially analytic theism, has become extremely narrow-minded. It focuses obsessively on the Christian God, especially the God of classical theism. But classical theism isn’t the only concept of God in Christianity; and of course Christianity isn’t the only religion.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
By Jon Cogburn It's very instructive, albeit painful, to read anti-Trump conservative publications such as National Review. Trump is routinely derided for not being a "principled conservative" (sometimes "constitutional conservative") in a way that pats the anti-Trumpers on their own backs for their own supposed lack of opportunism. And some... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
P. Percs In view of recent events, we have decided that Dan Linford will no longer be a co-blogger at Philosophical Percolations. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
I'm sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about and you're being even more offensive here. You didn't know either my dead friend or my friend who was institutionalized after getting tenure (who quit academia) nor my other friends who started taking happy pills for the first time in their lives after getting tenure. If you really want to "have a conversation" about "the horrors of depression" maybe start by not crapping up internet discussions mocking people for being friendless and anti-social and who don't have cool hobbies like you? Maybe not call people nobodies and circus animals? And you certainly should not assume that you have the infallible ability to differentiate whether a person falls under the metaphysical kind "having the blues" (and who thus deserves to be mocked for being lonely, uncool, etc.) versus "being clinically depressed" (and who you can then gaslight by dismissing their own and their actual therapists' reports of the causes of that depression). Seriously, please go back and read what you wrote. If you didn't at some level realize it was shameful you would have used one of your normal internet tags that your facebook and real life friends associate with you. When you run a blog you do see IP addresses and the set of the poster's previous internet comments from that address, even if they use different names. When we set up this blog we agreed that such information would always be kept private, and it is. I'm working like an idiot here not to write anything identifying about you and also working like an idiot (given our history) to be charitable. But seriously, check yourself; you're entering bad karma territory here. I'm out on this. Please know that any response you make will be the last word as far as me responding in public.
By Eric Steinhart I know a lot about disability, though I don’t know much about disability studies. I suffer from two seriously painful and sometimes very disabling medical conditions: osteoarthritis and major depressive disorder (MDD). But let’s start with the depression. After talking about that, I want to address obesity... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
Ha! 10 Anonymous People Insulting You on Social Media
That makes a lot of sense. Perhaps the reason we must imagine Sisyphus happy is because we so often actually perceive the opposite.
Ha! 9. Whinging on Social Media.
By Jon Cogburn I know why lawyers are unhappy. You have to be pretty smart to get through law school and then the job is mostly unrelenting drudgery sometimes percolated with backstabbing your colleagues on the way to the top. I know why neurosurgeons are unhappy. Human beings are not... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
But none of the stories you quote are in the least bit inconsistent with what I wrote, which is that the explanation by way of racism is radically incomplete. Just to focus on the racism of the white working class is to dismiss their legitimate complaints. This makes sense for National Review Republicans who don't think that downwardly mobile people of any color have any legitimate complaints. But for the rest of us, it's just a recipe for continued success of National Review Republicans. And the idea that people are killing themselves (the original topic of the post) because of racism is, I think, on the whole both loopy and insulting.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2016 on White Punks on Dope at Philosophical Percolations
Wow, thanks! These are fantastic comments. I'll do a response a stand-alone post either tomorrow or the next day.
By Phil Percs Wednesday, March 30th: Michael LaBossiere's RNC & Gun Free Tuesday, March 29th: Jon Cogburn's Genetic necessity against the Noël Carroll two-step Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
By Jon Cogburn In his wonderful textbook, Philosophies of Art: A Contemporary Introduction, and canonical book on the aesthetics of horror, The Philosophy of Horror: or, Paradoxes of the Heart, one finds Noël Carroll over and over again making an argument that goes like this. Preliminary - Present in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations
By Phil Percs Saturday, March 26th: Jon Cogburn's Vagueness Notes 8 - Semanticsm about vagueness does not block Evans’ argument Friday, March 25th: Michael LaBossiere's Body Hacking III: Better than Human Wednesday, March 23d: Michael LaBossiere's Body Hacking II: Restoration & Replacement Tuesday, March 22nd: J. Edward Hackett's The Tenuous... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2016 at Philosophical Percolations