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Michael Mirer
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"Moreover, such a dynamic will facilitate the transformation of Pax Americana into a security state in which family based crony capitalism rules. This will be a world of high profits for those with the right sort of connections (that's a world that already exists in China, Russia, etc.). " It seems fair to say that this is the world the president already lives in, which makes his apparent fondness for such states more understandable. But I'm curious, how far off is American capitalism from the sort of crony capitalism you describe? The Trumps and Kushners are not, sadly, new phenomena, and perhaps the real estate world is different than others, but I'd be curious to see how much truth there is in that.
What seems to be missing from this discussion of proportionality (more evident in Leiter's piece than yours) is any discussion of what kind of harm is being caused and how that relates to the harasser's status as a teacher. Leiter's two strikes policy seems to suggest that the act of harassment is minimal enough that it is worth risking subjecting future students to it. In both the Pogge and McGinn cases their actions were directly related to their status as advisers/mentors, and we have reason to believe that at least one of them was a serial harasser. I don't know how either conducted themselves in a classroom, but based on their actions I do think we have reason to question their competence as pedagogues (which I would hold is different from their expertise in philosophy).
This was a lovely reflection; always happy to see philosophers read Woolf! In case you haven't seen it, you might be interested in Sandra M. Donaldson's "Where Does Q Leave Mr. Ramsey," a short essay where she writes about Woolf's relationship with philosophers (and quotes a diary entry of Woolf's that records a conversation with Russell).
I may be wrong (I haven't read the book) but when Elster writes that conceptual art "violates the principle that the aesthetic value of the work of art should not depend on the time at which is offered to the public," it sounds like he is under the sway of New Criticism (or at least T.S. Eliot), which has its own interesting relationship with philosophy via Monroe Beardsley and (in a way) I.A. Richards. At the very least what he writes their is essentially what a caricature of the New Critics looks like (which is to say that it's entirely accurate). I'm not sure I understand what is meant by "maximize" or why Elster uses it instead of, say, "express" or "create." Is there an economic metaphor that I'm missing? Also, and this may be too off subject, but the mention of Freudian Marxism reminded me that I've wanted to ask if you had considered (or knew of work which did) the relationship of the Frankfurt School on the development of analytic philosophy?
They must have been treasured to have been preserved in such remarkable quality. A lovely, if melancholy, story.
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2014 on On what Matters at Digressions&Impressions
Michael Mirer is now following tomkow
Feb 22, 2012
"Fourth, the clarity of analytic philosophy is something of a self-serving myth." That seems to me exactly right. In my experience the difference has been that with analytic texts I missed the point because I lacked the necessary background--so that I had to go back and dig it out, as it were--while with continental texts I was simply mystified. In fact, I think that some people find that mystification, and the often turgid movement of ideas, so frustrating that they just angrily dismiss continentals without engaging with their ideas. (I always think of Nussbaum's article on Butler, which seems like such a missed opportunity as it devolved into a very smart scholar and philosopher complaining about style instead of engaging with ideas.)And if Professor Dutlih Novaes is right (http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/11/the-continentalanalytic-philosopher-texts-and-arguments.html) it may be that the the different camps simply approach the text in different ways. I don't know if this makes either side "better" philosophically (I doubt it), but it might be the hardest assumption to get rid of.
"Grunberg's claim is that Satan was heard in the past, but not anymore. " Excuse me, but where does he say this? I don't see him make any claims of a temporal shift.
Perhaps I'm missing the point, but all I can think of when I read Grunberg's post is that of all the novels, poems, plays, etc, where I've heard Satan speak, he has never been marginal. Indeed, what is often so powerful about the devil in fiction (I keep thinking of Richard III, but from Milton to Bulgakov, and beyond there are numberless examples) is that he doesn't speak of the world in easily dismissed terms. What makes Satan seductive is that he is often right (Paradise Lost is notorious for this)and the struggle to prove him wrong is usually what makes the work all the more powerful. And honestly, I think that's true for philosophy as well (it's why I love both disciplines, and hate how dismissive partisans on both sides can be, but that's another issue).
While I do think the coincidence is genuine (Although, really, no one knew that song? That's depressing.) I think it's telling how sad a state we're in when the attribution of brave political protest is dismissed as "jaded and marred by someone trying to make a political spin on it." Also, if "Red Wing Polka" was a favorite of the band leader's grandmother (see the nation link below), I'm hoping she knew how else it was used. Here's the link: http://www.thenation.com/article/165432/wisconsin-high-school-marching-band-plays-union-maid-rose-bowl And Mark, keep dreaming: http://youtu.be/f_yC4ffyGiw
Except, sadly, it may have been unintentional: http://www.teacherken.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/04/1051411/-The-Red-Wing-Polka-and-the-Union-Maid That's the thing about those old union songs, they often reused popular melodies so people would know how to sing them. Still, I'll always hear union maid--which, to be fair, does show its age.
Doesn't "purely philosophical approach" kinda sound like "plausible deniability"?
Also Professor Diamond's work on philosophy of literature is wonderful, so I'm happy to see her comment here.
The question of whether or not literature is conducive to making one a better person or philosopher seems to me to be different than the questions of whether or not literature can or will make one a better person. I don't want to put too much importance on what may or may not be a carefully considered word choice, but some of the comments seem to lose the distinction between the idea that literature necessarily makes one a better person, can make one a better person, and can aid one in being a better person. There are, of course, many examples of the latter two--Mill and Aristotle come to mind here, as well as Martha Nussbaum and Ted Cohen more recently--and none that I can think of for the former. That suggests to me that the way in which we pursue the act of reading is as important as what we read, something that I don't think has been mentioned so far. The difference between passively reading a novel--even a philosophically rich one--and actively engaging with it, much in the same way that one would engage with a philosophical text, most likely plays a major role in the impact which that text will have. That does not mean that we have to read Roth the same way we read Kant (although, I'll admit, that's an unfair pairing) but it does suggest that the differences between literature and philosophy may not be as great as many suggest.
Well, since I don't want this thread to die, although I'm hardly an academic (yet) here's my list: Ted Cohen's Thinking of Others: On the Talent for Metaphor. I'd gotten somewhat burnt out reading other philosophers on this subject (Ricoeur, Davidson, Lakoff/Johnson, even Camp and Stern who are just great) when I stumbled on to this little book. It may not deal with the logic or semantics of metaphor in a particularly new way, but it gives an aesthetic reading of literature and language that I found inspiring. Franco Moretti's Graphs, Maps, and Trees (wrong discipline, I know). A really interesting look at different ways to approach even the most humanist disciplines. I don't think it is quite as revolutionary as it claims, nor does it devalue more traditional methods, but fascinating nonetheless. It might also provide an interesting way to get a sociological look at philosophic trends and movements. Tony Judt's Ill Fares The Land. Honestly, less acerbic and incisive that I'd hoped (Post War might have set my expectations for Judt too high) but a good look at the need to re-inject Keynes into the public debate. Even at his worst Judt is eloquent and insightful, so I still think it's worth reading over an afternoon.
Jon, Not to betray my ignorance but could you clarify what you mean by the original sin of modern philosophy (and how is it Descartes' fault and not, say, Aristotles' for classifying people as the rational animal)? One of these days I'll work up the courage to read Brandom.
Jon, I just read this response to Singer's piece in Language Log, which makes some good points--which work in conjunctions with what Mark is saying below--here's a quote: "The initial enthusiasm about Nim’s progress arose from this expectation, from the fact that Nim was learning signs rapidly, and from the fact that it would take a few years of data collection and analysis to determine what he was doing. Nim’s teachers (like Laura Petitto) and observers (like myself) communicated to Terrace that the emerging story was not about a breakthrough in animal communication but rather how drastically his behavior differed from children’s. Terrace eventually concluded that the limitation was at the level of combining signs into sentences. In several articles I argued that the limitation was more basic: did any of the “linguistic apes” actually understand that a word (or sign or lexigram) such as “banana” designates a category of objects? That signing “banana” is not merely a way to obtain a banana but is the name for objects with certain properties? The animal could be highly intelligent and communicative and yet still lack knowledge of the concept of “name”, and other foundational elements of language." http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3390
If I remember correctly, Richard Dawkins talks about this in The Blind Watchmaker (which I thought was much better and more informative than his other book on God), arguing that part of the problem, as Carl seems to indicate, is that the metaphors we use to think about evolution--the famous trees--are very good for clearly indicating divergence and other useful information, but not particularly helpful for showing the true subtlety of gradual evolution. He also argues that the missing spots in the fossil record contribute to this idea of sudden change from one species to another--Gould argued for something like this, no?--as opposed to the more likely gradual changes that are lost to the fossil record. I apologize if I've mucked up the argument, but there's a storm coming and a cat on my lap, so I didn't much feel like rummaging through the library. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could clarify the evolutionary debates?
To add on to the conversation, Peter Singer has an interesting article/nyr blog post on the possible language faculty of apes: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/aug/18/troubled-life-nim-chimpsky So put me in the monkey hugger camp too.
If Seeger fans and Gutherie fans can't get along then I despair for the world.
Since this discussion is a bit out of my league, I just want to ask if you've read Robert Paul Wolff's Formal Methods tutorial. A lot of it is a little basic, but he does out line, what I thought were some interesting critiques of game theory in political philosophy (although I say this as a layman). Here's the link: http://www.robert-wolff.blogspot.com/ Thoughts?
This sort of talk always makes me think of Mr. Ramsay from Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, particularly this passage (hope this link works):http://books.google.com/books?id=S_qN7V5CB6QC&lpg=PP1&dq=to%20the%20lighthouse&pg=PA43#v=onepage&q=It%20was%20a%20splendid%20mind&f=false (By the way, Sandra M. Donaldson has an interesting and short article relating Ramsay to Bertrand Russell and Analytic philosophy called "Where Does Q Leave Mr. Ramsay?" that might be of interest to some here). The point is that this is hardly a new feeling among the frustrated ambitions of academic philosophers.
"(Nobody has mentioned Maimonides because . . . ? . . he isn't underrated, or because he's too underrated?)" Well, I was born in Maimonides Hospital, so it certainly isn't that he isn't well known. Well, at least he's well known in cities with large Orthodox Jewish populations...
Eric, I'm not quite sure how to take that. This is one of those semantic problems with discourse on the internet...I can never confidently identify sarcasm. (Either way, he hasn't mentioned the stone in a while, so maybe he actually thinks it has improved.)
John, this made me think, almost immediately, of Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (although only in philosophy do "underdog" and "princess" seem to go together). There are probably countless others too.