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Eric Schliesser
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I've done a lot of co-authoring by the standards of philosophy (or more accurately since I'm not especially productive a higher than usual percentage of my work is co-authored). The professional justification I give is that I do better work with co-authors than I can do by myself because we... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[This piece was co-written with and co-published with Joshua Miller [here]--ES] The most dazzling example of co-authorship is Paul Erdős, who co-wrote more than 1400 papers in mathematics with 485 collaborators. (What is your Erdős number?) To do this, he became functionally homeless: "His modus operandi was to show up... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
If Dickens had been merely a comic writer, the chances are that no one would now remember his name....What people always demand of a popular novelist is that he shall write the same book over and over again, forgetting that a man who would write the same book twice could... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
To lock yourself up in an ivory tower is impossible and undesirable. To yield subjectively, not merely to a party machine, but even to a group ideology, is to destroy yourself as a writer. We feel this dilemma to be a painful one, because we see the need of engaging... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
When you walk through a town like this--two hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom at least twenty thousand own literally nothing except the rags they stand up in--when you see how the people live, and still more how easily they die, it is always difficult to believe that you are walking... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
I am, however, discussing with you troubles which concern us both, and sharing the remedy with you, just as if we were lying ill in the same ward. Listen to me, therefore, as you would if I were talking to myself. I am admitting you to my inmost thoughts, and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
We have identified four recommended actions which we believe to be especially effective in reducing an individual's greenhouse gas emissions: having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel, and eating a plant-based diet. These suggestions contrast with other top recommendations found in the literature such as hang-drying clothing or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
One of the most exciting intellectual moments of my career was my 1948 discovery of Knut Wicksell's unknown and untranslated dissertation, Finanztheoretische Untersuchungen, buried in the dusty stacks of Chicago's old Harper Library. Only the immediate post-dissertation leisure of an academic novice allowed for the browsing that produced my own... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
All absolute governments must very much depend on the administration; and this is one of the great inconveniences attending that form of government. But a republican and free government would be an obvious absurdity, if the particular checks and controuls, provided by the constitution, had really no influence, and made... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
SOME of the smartest thinkers on problems at home and around the world are university professors, but most of them just don’t matter in today’s great debates. The most stinging dismissal of a point is to say: “That’s academic.” In other words, to be a scholar is, often, to be... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
This post is designed to call attention to and articulate an increasingly widespread form of rationing that generates understudied political and ethical questions. By rationing I mean the controlled distribution of scarce resources, goods, or services. Here are some familiar institutions of rationing: Lotteries. There are fair/egalitarian lotteries, where all... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Though de Wit’s intelligence in foreign courts was not equal to the vigilance of his domestic administration, he had, long before, received many surmises of this fatal confederacy; but he prepared not for defence, so early or with such industry, as the danger required. A union of England with France... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
[Trigger alert: this post is a peculiar academic form of #humblebrag.] Recently, two of my papers appeared: "Evaluating Philosophy as Exploratory Research" co-authored with Rogier de Langhe in Metaphilosophy and "The Certainty, Modality, and Grounding of Newton’s Laws" co-authored with Zvi Biener in The Monist. (The latter paper has its... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Last Summer, we moved -- despite the Brexit vote-- to London. We had some trouble deciding where to live being constrained by logistical challenges (my wife works in Kent a few days a week; I commute to Amsterdam) and finances (housing costs in London are an order of magnitude more... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
A few days ago, in the context of a (relatively minor, albeit symbolically intense) controversy, I described the debates over Zionism and the BDS movement as exhibiting the character of "Manichean battle" that should not be encouraged because ultimately the only side that benefits are those that prefer open-ended war... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
[A]lmost no one is asking about the concept of “unelectability” itself. How did we get to the point where the candidate of a major party was judged not by his political vision, programme or sensibilities, but by an estimation of how different classes of imagined voters were likely to respond... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer and trans solidarity was partially overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally. This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke Mark Collective members. We... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
In many ways I see Derrida as following Heidegger. But he was more pessimistic than Heidegger about the prospects for good metaphysics. And he paid a kind of attention to language that Heidegger never did. One of the main things that he did was to distinguish between what he called... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
But for a time he was to live in the world of men, at least in that very remarkable section of the world of which Emerson was the centre and which professed the Transcendentalist doctrines. Thoreau took up his lodgings in Emerson’s house and very soon became, so his friends... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
The question will be What Kind of Government we shall Settle this Kingdome…for if there be no Order and Method, there will be no Rule nor Government, since Every one will do what he List, and then None will take Care of any thing, so that there will be neither... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
"Think on death." ['Meditare mortem'] In saying this, [Epicurus] bids us to meditate on freedom [meditari libertatem]. He who has learned to die has unlearned slavery; he is above any power [supra omnem potentiam est], or, at any rate, he is beyond it. What terrors have prisons and bonds and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
About a decade ago I refereed a paper which seemed familiar. I decided to check my archive (that is my email account), and I found a rather lengthy and what seemed (to me) generous referee report on an earlier version of the same, barely changed paper. I filed a second,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
This "contract" remains so long unmoved as the motive for entering into it, that is, fear of hurt or hope of gain, subsists. But take away from either commonwealth this hope or fear, and it is left independent (Chap. II. Sec. 10), and the link, whereby the commonwealths were mutually... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Do you actually want to? ...nobody should have to be a public philosopher. Although it can be valuable, it can also be risky, and it isn't suitable for every kind of philosopher or for every kind of philosophical work. If you are only here in response to external pressure in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
[Roger Williams] developed his conception of “meer” civility—a minimal adherence to culturally contingent rules of respectful behavior compatible with, and occasionally expressive of, contempt for others and their beliefs—in the course of his evangelical interactions with the American Indians and his fellow Puritans in New England. In this context, the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions