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Jon Cogburn
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By Jon Cogburn If there were some place to nominate the most interesting blog kefluffle of the month, I would duly submit the recent one between philosopher/novelist R. Scott Bakker and aspiring novelist/University of Florida English department graduate student Shaun Duke. The source of the conflict was a "pox on... Continue reading
Posted 49 minutes ago at Philosophical Percolations
Again, just to be clear, I was just talking about the John Wayne movies they played on television in the early 70s. I remember that in more than one of them there would be these big dramatic or comic scenes where he humiliated women through violence. In at least once it was in front of the whole town which acting as a sort of Greek chorus via their laughing at the women who was portrayed as receiving her rightful comeuppance. Maybe someone did make a film where John Wayne's character beats women and it's portrayed as a bad thing, but I'm pretty sure if they did that film wasn't shown on TV in the 70s. I don't think this invalidates his entire oevre any more than the horrible thing Aristotle said about slavery and souls invalidates his. But I stand by my earlier characterization of how an emotionally tuned in person should respond to Wayne's character in the films in question.
Ha! Good advice. The Wayne thing was my reaction as a kid just to the small subset of films I saw. Let me also be clear that GWB thing has nothing to do with political issues. Next time I'll make sure balance it with pseudo-psychological profiles of Democrats that weird me out.
I think McDowell would be happy with the conceptual altering our perception of the instances because that's what one would predict if there is no non-conceptual content. I think this probably does happen quite a bit exactly in the way you describe and that it's not a bad thing. I also think that you're absolutely right that basing all of one's moral responses on preconceptual feelings such as disgust would be disastrous. I'd just want to say (and this may be so watered down as to be devoid of philosophical interest) that at least the Brandomian inferentialist model of the space of reasons (motivated by his take on the myth of the given) can't really get the normative weight of bare experience of unpleasantness or even more complicated emotional valences involved in social awareness. I don't think such experiences are conceptual, yet I do think it has some evidential weight. So they would be cases of non-conceptual content (though not cases in the standard sense of the literature on that I've read, such as fine grained shades of color). I think our basic sense that things aren't right can provide defeasible evidence that things aren't right (and without anything like the proposition that things aren't right need enter into our space of reasons) and that this can provoke rational revision of our beliefs about the things in question. But you are right that it does and should work in the other direction, with the need to revise the phenomenology. Sometimes this is easy. Humans tend to react badly to faces different from the ones they grew up with (there's probably an evolutionary explanation for this involving the need to easily access non-verbal cues), but they get over this really quickly. Sometimes it's really hard or impossible. I wish I could talk myself out of my chiclephobia. Conceptually, I realize it's absolutely absurd and dysfunctional to be so sickened by the sight of people chewing gum. But I do think we have a social emotional awareness that works pretty well and doesn't require nearly as much conceptual resources as philosophers tend to suppose. Just because something requires conceptual resources to explicate doesn't mean it requires anything like those resources to possess. This strikes me as where Brandom goes wrong and where the kind of Heideggerian boostrapping that Mark Okrent explicates actually works. The defeasibility of the reactions and the relevant conceptualizations is starting to sound like old fashioned reflective equilibrium. But I'd still want to insist that thinking of it that way is idealization of something subdoxastic and pre-propositional.
bzfgt! Fantastic to hear from you. I think Dole was probably in real life the funnest guy to get a beer with, at least around a decade prior to when they finally let him be the nominee. You'd get little hints a ferocious comic sensibility that succeeded in part because he managed to be a politician without his BS detector getting all broken. Who really knows though? It is interesting to think about who is preferred by different users of different drugs. The second Harold and Kumar film has them smoking pot with George Bush. What candidate would voters most like to take their cigarette break with? Spray paint? Bath salts? DMT? Why aren't the media doing their job and answering these important questions.
By Jon Cogburn In this post from one of my old blogs I talked about the weird epistemic state where for protracted periods of time you think you like something that in fact you don't really like. Canonical examples were Wendy's Chili, instrumental solos, New York City, upscale chain restaurant... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Philosophical Percolations
Ooo thanks, that's extremely helpful. I look forward to reading the book. I'm probably at the end of the day on team Hagglund, but it's fantastic to see that aspect of the project challenged in this way. I think from what you say that one big challenge for Schellengian/externalizing (as far as I know, Graham Harman did the equivalent of Schelling's "I am nature" move first in his Heidegger book) phenomenologists is to explain what's going on when science shows our phenomenological modes of access to be reliably mistaken (I know about the Kahneman/Taversky stuff on heuristic biases, but Lauri Paul's fascinating stuff on time perception might be more direct). I might be hung up on seeing the naturalist as forced to accept one or the other horns of a false dichotomy between Quinean/Lewisian pragmatic acceptance of science as not needing a higher highest tribunal (because nothing else works as well) on the one hand, and the Heideggerian view that science is a founded mode on the other. The Quinean view seems at least to me to founder on the Stanford School critique of unification. Of course the tautology that science works really well where it works really well is true. But most actual uses of science (lots of engineers in my family) require creative applications of mathematics and engineering that themselves aren't in any way explained by the underlying science. On the other hand the Heideggerian view of science as a founded mode only gets you a kind of naturalism if the snake can swallow itself, that is if Heideggerian world can plausibly thought to be natural. Most naturalizing projects in analytic philosophy are attempts to do just this. . . Of course most Heideggerians don't even want to think about these kinds of issues, but I think that the kind of thing you are doing make it inevitable because the critique is levelled at what Heideggerians take to be originary from within phenomenology itself (as opposed to scientific corrections of phenomenology). Again, I realize that the dichotomy between Quine and Heidegger is probably false. But I still (prior to reading your book!) have the intuition the alternative might be between Shellengianism and skepticism. Maybe your commitment to ideas from process metaphysics (as with Grant) might be read as putting you on the Schellengian side (and I realize that this might be a guerilla reading of your own book, given the criticism of Hagglund) and Bakker's blind brain on the skepticism side. Though this may be yet another false dichotomy on my part. In any case, I clearly need to read your book ASAP.
Can you define "de se knowledge"? One thing that really helps me with some instances of akrasia is to think about how my actions will influence the me of tomorrow. By thinking of sleep a little bit like your teleportation example and trying to minimimize the suffering of the post sleep guy who'll have my memories and be spatially contiguous with me, I'm motivated to behave in ways that others might regard as more rational self interest. But it works *much* better psychologically if I don't think of the future selves as the same being the same self who is pondering this. I think that Parfit suggested something like this in his first book, that giving up on robust notions of transtemporal personal identity might actually have moral benefits (citing Buddhism, if I remember correctly). There's a broader Hegelian (also associated with early Marx, Wittgenstein, and Levinas) inversion here, where our self-concepts are actually parasitic on our concepts of others. It's not that I infer what others are thinking and feeling by observing myself and working through analogy. It's really the opposite, I learn what I'm thinking and feeling by putting myself in the same space of reasons I've learned from observing and interacting with others. I take it your post is gesturing at the deconstruction of both the traditional non-Wittgensteinian view and the Hegelian inversion of that view? [Hegel himself actually perfected this kind of deconstruction, just look for when he uses cognates of "verkehrte."] Am I right that for you the Hegelian turning of the traditional view on its head would be equally regarded as mistaken for a certain kind of Wittgensteinian who would see either kind of explanation as going against grammar, and the not knowing what to say about certain counterfactuals is evidence of this?
Ooo, I look forward to reading that.
He's still doing really cool stuff at his blog: .
I'm really puzzled here. By reputation at least, Roden is a naturalist, and I had tremendous difficulty squaring Debbie's account with this reputation. Do I have that wrong about him? But now when we make it more radical it seems even harder. Heideggerians can give you a story about how natural science is a founded mode arrived at privatively when you strip away most of the modal and valuative properties we associate with Heideggerian "world." But doesn't the radicalization of dark ecology nullify this kind of move? FWIW, I think the way out of this is follow Schelling's injunction that "I am nature." To the extent that we have privileged knowledge of our bodies (and their modal and valuative states) we have knowledge of nature. But the nature we then know seems quite different from that of natural science (though recent German scholarship shows pretty conclusively that we would never have figured out how electricity works if it weren't for Schelling's naturphilosophie in all of it's a prioristic weirdness). I know you're not big on Graham Harman or Tristan Garcia or Slavoj Zizek, but all are attractive to me because they can be seen as following Schelling's injunction with respect to things like Roden's darkness. Since I am part of nature, the gaps, contradictions, and voids that I find in myself and in my relations with the external world are themselves things in nature. Sorry for threadjacking or unclarity. It's a little bit surreal to be engaged in a conversation with (imho) one of the greatest living fiction writers. I've also loved your recent critique of pretensions of humanities (esp. the stuff on "critical thinking") and hope to blog on it soon.
By Jon Cogburn When I first got to LSU fifteen years ago a (now ex) colleague of mine in Religious Studies would begin the first day of every freshmen or sophomore course with what he called his "asshole speech," the goal of which was to get certain kinds of students... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Philosophical Percolations
By Jon Cogburn One of the primary motivations for defending anti-realism with respect to some class of entities is the existence of radical unsolvable difference with respect to claims about those entities. It's not enough just that people disagree about important things. The disagreements must be such that we have... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Philosophical Percolations
By Neal Hebert For the past few weeks Jon and I have been working on finishing the newest draft of our contribution to Routledge's anthology of professional wrestling. You'd think that at this point I'd be sick of the sport of kings: between my dissertation on Louisiana professional wrestling history,... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
Lately, I am wondering whether my approach to writing is what makes me a genre rather than a literary writer. My kids always get after me for being in a hurry. I like to get stuff done--check it off on the to-do list. Laundry? Done. BodyPump class? Done. Editing chapter... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
Over Easter this year, it seemed like we were the only people not traveling. I hate traveling--not being able to write, work out, or cook, dealing with fussy children off their routines, dealing with a fussy husband off his routine, forgetting to pack something important, airplanes. Airplanes. And yet, much... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
I hated junior high and high school. Mostly junior high, which was a torture chamber of petty girls and nylon gym shorts. But, oddly enough, I loved John Hughes films and because I happened upon the extremely bad Wrinkle in Time movie, I am rereading Madeline L'Engle's books for perhaps... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
Raison d'être We thought about using "Keep Philosophy Weird" as a tag-line but there was substantial disagreement about how well the same thing was working out for Austin, Texas, and we didn't want to hex ourselves. So we went with "All the philosophy that's not fit to print," with the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
Author E-mail Webpage Old Blog Justin Caouette Justin's webpage A Philosopher's Take Jon Cogburn Jon's webpage Jon Cogburn's Blog New APPS Tiffany Cvrkel Tiffany's Page Paul J. Ennis Stephen C. Finley Stephen’s LSU Page John Fletcher John's LSU Page Debbie Goldgaber Debbie’s LSU... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
I'm very excited to reveal the cover for my forthcoming book Louisiana Saves the Library, to be published in February 2016 by Kensington Books. Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
As a freelance writer, I've worked with a lot of editors and most of them have been very good. It's a tough job. At the very least, they have to find typos and make sure all the articles they print are stylistically consistent, using Associated Press, Chicago Manual of Style... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
I grew up thinking that talent was the key to success. You can kind of blame the media for this one. Talent makes a better story. The small town kid who is "discovered;" Meg, the mathematical genius from A Wrinkle in Time; Luke Skywalker, the reluctant hero who couldn't escape... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
The thing is that in the early novels of the series , also NY Times Best Sellers, the tick isn't there. But then by the previous two or three before the finale I would estimate that there are over two hundred occurrences per book. The elven Goddess kept trying to kill Rachel. In their third boss battle the elven Goddess is so weakened that a female demon who is chaotic but well intentioned ascends to the role.
Well David Wallace, I have to say that I find myself shocked and more than a little disappointed. Maybe you *think* you mean well, but it takes willful blindness not to see how a sentence like the above ("Poincare symmetry," "Cartesian product," etc.) pretends a neutrality while not negotiating with traditions that it nevertheless repeats in insidious ways. Surely processes of patriarchy, racialization, economization and so on, are its conditions, too, and thus cannot be suspended so easily.
President Obama doesn't like to think about what he eats or wears. When you have one of the hardest jobs on the planet, it makes sense to eliminate anything that takes up extra time and brainpower. Since he's the president, he can just get people worry about all the little... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog