Friday, August 03, 2012

From Leiter of course. Nothing new.

Holberg prize faces criticism
The internationally recognised Norwegian scientist Jon Elster pronounced his criticism of this year‘s Holberg Prize winner Shmuel N. Eisenstadt in a lecture at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters last week. Elster is a member of the Collège de France in Paris, where he replaced the late Pierre Bourdieu. He is also a professor of social sciences at Columbia University in New York. In his lecture Elster argued that Norwegian researchers value politeness and their own prestige more that [sic] academic quality. Elster points to the 2004 and 2006 winners as a result of this.
The Norwegian 'scientist' Jon Elster is a political theorist, who wrote his dissertation on Marx. "Analytical" Marxism was left-wing Chicago School economics, and Leiter is on very good terms with Richard Posner.
It just doesn't stop. The Holberg Prize also covers theology.

Elster was once a hero to Henry Farrell, who wrote
...my mental model of Tyler [Cowen] often sit[s] on my shoulder while I blog, making polite and well reasoned libertarian criticisms of my arguments..."
"Science" even a few [5?] years ago could mean Social Darwinism.

For the idiot Bourdieu start here

Elster
"I nominated Thomas Schelling for the Holberg Prize. He did not win, but that is fine because he was awarded the Nobel Prize the year after. It is worse that the first winner, in 2004, was Julia Kristeva, a nototious French charlatan,"
I don't have to defend Kristeva to laugh.

On prestige, contra Elster, see Jason Stanley, again (I should give his family their own his own tag).
"In short, a university should seek to promote work that will give that university prestige..."
prestige |presˈtēZH, -ˈtēj| noun
widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality: he experienced a tremendous increase in prestige following his victory.
• [ as modifier ] denoting something that arouses such respect or admiration: prestige wines.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent. (in the sense ‘illusion, conjuring trick’): from French, literally ‘illusion, glamour,’ from late Latin praestigium ‘illusion,’ from Latin praestigiae (plural) ‘conjuring tricks.’ The transference of meaning occurred by way of the sense ‘dazzling influence, glamour,’ at first depreciatory.
Stanley: "[prestige] in the future and not in the present."

So that's the out.  But who can predict the future?
Cabanne: "You defended di Chirico against the anathema of Breton and his friends, maintaining that, in the end, it is posterity who will decide.
That preoccupation with posterity is a bit strange for you."
Duchamp: "No, it isn't. Posterity is a form of the spectator."
Cabanne: "The 'posthumous' spectator if one can say that."
Duchamp: "Certainly. It's the posthumous spectator, because the contemporary spectator is worthless, in my opinion. He is a minimum value..."
I'd agree that that rule applies less to geology.

I've made the following reference before but it's always stuck with me. This discussion of Daniel Dennett's Philosophical Lexicon is concerned largely with the relevance of the references and humor, and whether or not they're dated.  How would this discussion fit for a book of in-jokes about modern chemistry or physics?



Even Farrell understands, now, [Gambetta and Hertog] that we associate forms and values, but I won't begin to ask him about technology and Modernist utopia. Engineers have a history. [Pasquale, better. I'd forgotten it was him] Mathematicians tend towards Platonism, and Platonism makes for lousy politics. Even if Elster were a scientist in the way he believes, and in the way many economists still fantasize, that would only guarantee the reactionary nature of his political philosophy.

Elster was a member of the September Group which of course included G.A. Cohen. He does have his own tag.


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