Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Repeat and ongoing; use google. The sources are all linked elsewhere at least once on this site.
The original shorter list is here

Brian Leiter
"It is no secret that contemporary philosophy is under the spell of the Other"
Discuss. 
Harry Brighouse
-I would say, in fact, that the first amendment tradition has a terribly distorting effect on American public discussions of free speech.
-I think there is a very strong case that hateful epithets can be distinguished and treated differently from propositional content, and do not merit protection under “the right to speak what one sees as the truth”.
-These relationships [between parents and children] are inegalitarian in deep ways. The parties to partial relationships can exclude others from the mutual benefits their association yields and have special responsibilities to one another that give them the right, and sometimes the duty, to further one another’s interests. To give scope to these relationships is to limit what may be done in pursuit of equality. Samuel Scheffler calls this observation (when made in an appropriately hostile manner) the ‘distributive objection’ to special responsibilities: ‘the distributive objection asserts that the problem with such responsibilities is not that they may place unfair burdens on their bearers, but rather that they may confer unfair benefits.

-For what its worth, IF Zionists did work with the Nazis to facilitate Jewish emigration to Israel (and I am just going with Corey’s quote from Friedlander — I don’t know the history, so had no idea about this till now) it is very hard to think they did anything wrong. In the circumstances, what could be wrong with trying to get Jews out of Germany alive? It didn’t take a fortune teller to guess that things were likely to go pretty badly.
Chris Bertram
-The right frame, in my view, is to think of the state as “we, the people” and to ask what conditions need to be in place for the people, and for each citizen, to play their role in effective self-government. Once you look at things like that then various speech restrictions naturally suggest themselves. 
(quoting/responding to se)
"Arguments for the nobility of greed are a recent development."
If, by “recent” you mean 1705, you may be right.
-It is indeed remarkable how all the places inhabited by the super-rich (Kensington, Mayfair, much of Geneva, the XVI arrondissement …) are really crushingly dull. At least little of real value will be lost when we burn them down. 
-First, I’m sympathetic, I really am, to the idea that people should work and consume less and that we should attend more to real life quality. But this doesn’t seem very realistic in my own life for two reasons: first, even if my employer were sympathetic (unlikely) I feel very hard pressed now to produce the level of research output necessary for me to stay competitive with other academics (not just in the UK, but elsewhere)….  Second, it is all very well Juliet Schor telling us to transition to a low hours/lower consumption economy. I’m cool with consuming less. The problem is that I, and just about everyone else, has taken out huge mortgages and bank loans to pay (in part) for the consumption we’ve already had. Hard to reduce the hours unless (or until) the debt goes away. Third, there was distressingly little discussion of the politics of this.    
Henry Farrell
-I’ve suggested that academic freedom is a good thing on pragmatic grounds, but also made clear that it fundamentally depends on public willingness to delegate some degree of self-governance to the academy. If the public decides that academic freedom isn’t working out in terms of the goods it provides, then too bad for academic freedom. 
-Being a Very Serious Person is about occupying a structural position that tends to reinforce, rather than counter, one’s innate biases and prejudices. 
-[M]y mental model of Tyler [Cowen] often sit[s] on my shoulder while I blog, making polite and well reasoned libertarian criticisms of my arguments... 
-John Gray on the disappearance of utopian dreams of social reform in science fiction here. His taste in SF is excellent and he has several good lines.
The role of science has been to gauge the limits of the species, with new technologies and extra-planetary environments being used as virtual laboratories for an ongoing thought experiment. If the mainstream novel employs the lens of the commonplace career – birth and education, marriage and divorce, ambition and failure – SF has pursued the inquiry by abducting the human animal and placing it in alien environments.
is particularly nice. It captures real (if not universal) differences without fetishizing the one as better than the other.
Niamh Hardiman
‘We have faith in our citizens’ – why?
Mark Tushnet
Is the loss of meaning from paraphrase or restatement or statement (in the case of nonrepresentational art) small enough to make nonrepresentational art sufficiently similar to expository writing that it should be covered in the same way that such writing is?
Brian Leiter
Much, perhaps most, speech, in fact, has little or no positive value all things considered, so the idea that its free expression is prima facie a good thing should be rejected. And since the only good reasons in favor of a legal regime of generally free expression pertain to the epistemic reliability of regulators of speech, we should focus on how to increase their reliabilty, rather than assume, as so much of popular and even some philosophical discourse does, that unfettered speech has inherent value. If much of what I will henceforth call “non-mundane” speech were never expressed, little of actual value would be lost to the world—or so I will try to persuade you.
Leiter
Consider the Nietzschean Trolley Problem (apologies for anachronism): a runaway trolley is hurtling down the tracks towards Beethoven, before he has even written the Eroica symphony; by throwing a switch, you can divert the trolley so that it runs down five (or fifty) ordinary people, non-entities (say university professors of law or philosophy) of various stripes (“herd animals” in Nietzschean lingo), and Beethoven is saved. For the anti-egalitarian, this problem is not a problem: one should of course save a human genius at the expense of many mediocrities. To reason that way is, of course, to repudiate moral egalitarianism. Belief in an egalitarian God would thwart that line of reasoning; but absent that belief, what would?
Joseph Raz
Most forms of legitimate partiality are more or less optional. We may be required to favour our children or friends, but it is up to us whether to have children or friends.
Apart from the other absurdities of his argument, most of us are still required to have parents.

Joseph Raz, interviewed
3:AM: Have you changed your mind about anything fundamental to your philosophical position during your time as a philosopher or has it been more a process of deepening and further discovery within a rather settled framework of thought? 
JR: For various reasons this is for me a difficult question. One is that I am not terribly interested in the question, and perhaps partly as a result, am often surprised when people point out, with actual quotations, what I wrote on some points in years past. One way in which I am sometimes surprised when confronted with previous writings is that I clearly remember that I felt tentative about this issue or that, and meant to express a partial or a tentative view only, and lo and behold: that is not how I wrote. I sound very definite. Have I changed my mind, or am I one of those people who tend to sound confident when they are not? But there are other difficulties with the question. 
Eric Rauchway
If Kramer’s report is accurate, you can see why the Columbia faculty got frustrated. They wanted Bollinger to offer a traditional defense of academic freedom, which goes something like this: Academic freedom predates free speech. Although Prussia gave constitutional protection to Lehrfreiheit in 1850 (“science and its teaching shall be free”), academic freedom generally does not enjoy legal protection outside of contractual guarantees; rather, it rests on the authority and ability of a community of competent scholars to police their own discourse and on the willingness of universities to affirm this authority and ability.
[Perhaps Bollinger] knows the history and sources of academic freedom, but he thinks it uncongenial to assert them in this anti-elitist day and age.
John Quiggin
The claims about Art criticised in Art, an Enemy of The People, are very similar to those made by most religions, namely that there is a special category of people (prophets or artists) and a special category of activities (Religion or Art) which yield transcendent insights into the human condition, and which should be accorded special privileges over other people and other ways of finding meaning and enjoyment in life.
G.A. Cohen quoted  by Brighouse, with his bracketed comments.
It does seem to me that all people of goodwill would welcome the news that it had become possible to proceed otherwise [i.e. in ways that tapped into our nobler, rather than our more selfish, motives] perhaps, for example, because some economists had invented clever ways of harnessing and organizing our capacity for generosity toward others.
G. A. Cohen [my transcription]
The basic question is, if you have a salary -I don't want to say exactly what my salary is but obviously it's maybe two, three times the average wage in the society- and you don't believe that you ought to get all that, which I don't. Then you believe that you ought to sacrifice quite a lot of it which I don't -I give away some but not very much- and the explanation is that I'm a less good person than I would be if I were as good as I could be. You know I just think that I'm not a morally exemplary person that's all. That's the reconciliation.

...It's difficult to expect a person who lives in a particular social niche to depress the circumstances of himself and his family below a certain level even for the sake of principles that he sincerely affirms.

...I wrote a book called "If you're an Egalitarian How Come You're so Rich?" And the final chapter discusses fourteen reasons people give for not giving away their money when they're rich but they profess belief in equality, twelve of which are, well, rubbish. I think there are two reasonable answers that a person who doesn't give too much of it away can give and one of them has to do with the burden of depressing yourself below the level of your peer group with whom you're shared a certain way of life; and in particular, depriving your children of things that the children around them favor. And also, and slightly separately, the transition from being wealthy to being not wealthy at all can be extremely burdensome and the person who has tasted wealth will suffer more typically from lack of it than someone who's had quote unquote the good fortune never to be wealthy and therefore has built up the character and the orientation that can cope well with it.
German Bankers vs Academic Marxists, NY Times,
Miriam and Christian Rengier, a German couple moving to New York, visited some private elementary schools in Manhattan last spring in search of a place for their son. They immediately noticed the absence of ethnic diversity, and the chauffeurs ferrying children to the door.
And then, at one school, their guide showed them the cafeteria.
“The kids were able to choose between seven different lunches: sushi and macrobiotics and whatever,” Ms. Rengier recalled. “And I said, ‘What if I don’t want my son to choose from seven different lunches?’ And she looked at me like I was an idiot.”
For the Rengiers, the decision was clear: Their son would go to public school.
“It was not the question if we could afford it or not,” said Ms. Rengier, whose husband was transferred to the city because of his job as a lawyer and tax consultant. “It was a question of whether it was real life or not.”
Alex Rosenberg
History is bunk.
Gilbert Harman
History of Philosophy: Just Say No!
Corey Robin
Why would a liberal opposed to the Hobbesian vision of absolute power resort to such a Hobbesian style of argument? Because Montesquieu, like Hobbes, lacked a positive conception of human ends, true for all people, in which to ground his political vision. Montesquieu’s liberalism was not the egalitarian liberalism of the century to come, nor was it the conscience-stricken protoliberalism of the century it had left behind. Unlike Locke, whose argument for toleration was powered by a vision of religious truth, and unlike later figures such as Rousseau or Mill, whose arguments for freedom were driven by secular visions of human flourishing, Montesquieu pursued no beckoning light. 
Pierre Bourdieu
…What I find it difficult to justify is the fact that the extension of the audience [made possible by television] is used to legitimate the lowering of the standards of entry into the field. People may object to this as elitism, a simple defense of the citadel of big science and high culture, or even an attempts to close out ordinary people (by trying to close off television to those who with their honoraria and their and showy lifestyles, claim to be representative of ordinary men and women, on the pretext that they can be understood by these people and will get high audience ratings). In fact, I am defending the conditions necessary for the production and diffusion of the highest human creations. To escape the twin traps of elitism and demagoguery we must work to maintain or even to raise the requirements for the right of entry –the entry fee- into the fields of production.
Brad DeLong
-[Y]ou have to either live in the countryside or live in the city and be really rich to say that rubber tomatoes suck. For those humans who live in the city and are not really rich, rubber tomatoes provide a welcome and tasty and affordable simulacrum of the tomato-eating experience.
-R.I.P. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
Let me express my condolences to her two surviving sons John Evron and Stuart Alan Kirkpatrick, whom she loved beyond all measure.

She was a good friend to my grandfather Earl. She was an American and a world patriot: her counsel--even at its most boneheaded--was always devoted to advancing the security of the United States and the cause of liberty and prosperity around the world.
-The technocratic view is that there will be a bunch of competing ideological views and material interests pulling and hauling, and that by always wading in and joining the tug-of-war side that has the better policy idea at the moment in the issue under dispute one will get better governance and higher societal well-being
Ted Barlow (Crooked Timber) ellipsis in original
The Islamic world has ample reasons for legitimate criticism. Anti-Semitism, sexism, lack of democracy, lack of opportunity, nurturing of terrorism… these are sad realities, not the hallucinations of right-wingers. Anger and criticism are appropriate, but our approach has to start with the assumption that Muslims are not going away. Short of deliberate genocide, there’s no way forward in the long run except for “hearts and minds.”
Duncan Black ,"Atrios"
Some Question U.S. Support For Israel
By Roger B. Fetcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 31, 2002; Page A01

WASHINGTON, DC Since the signing of the Camp David accords, billions in U.S. foreign aid have gone to Israel. There is growing outrage by some about continued financial support of Israel, given the alleged human rights abuses of the Israeli government against Palestinians by the Sharon government.

David Duke, president of Americans in Support of Palestinian Freedom, a D.C.-based human rights group, said "Since last year, we have gotten well over 200 complaints of human rights abuses. It's time our lawmakers recognize these injustices."
(That was of course a fake news story. Everyone get the point?) 
-I know and have friends and acquaintances who are African-American...

-In a weird kind of way I actually respect Pat Buchanan because unlike most racists he articulates pretty well and honestly just what his racism is all about.

-I generally think concerns about the ill impacts of urban gentrification are overblown. 
-My one big fear about urban gentrification is that poor people get priced out of neighborhoods that have access to mass transit.

-Everybody (white) in my [childhood] neighborhood knew where the one black family lived, and I doubt anyone ever talked to them.
Matthew Yglesias
[About] "And for the record (don't post this), Yglesias as an individual has a great, self-aware sense of humor and is much more starkly honest (if also unapologetic) about his own elitism than most liberals. Take him out for a beer and I think you'd find that." 
-At the appropriate level of abstraction, the neocons couldn't be more right about this stuff, but when it comes to actually getting it done their policies have been a miserable failure. 
-After the last depressing news from the Middle East I think we have to start asking just how inhumane it would be for Israel to just expel the Palestinians from the occupied terroritories. [sic] The result would probably be out-and-out war with the neighboring Arab states, but Israel could win that.
All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation. It's not like there's not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in, it's just that the other Arab leaders don't want to cooperate.
Doug Henwood
There's a Marc Jacobs boutique in Ho Chi Minh City??
It's getting too depressing; I'll add some rejoinders by others. Again, all repeats here.

QS responds to Bertram
You’ve turned sexual harassment into an intellectual game, that is where the “creepiness” originates. How do you moderate that? You don’t. You realize that your ability to treat the issue so dispassionately, playing the game of Find the Universal, probably has something to do with your maleness and position outside this particular terrain.

Sexual harassment was banned not because we found the Universal Principle Against Harassment but because women and men who believed it to be wrong fought successfully for prohibition. These people were likely motivated by a variety of ideas and experiences. The way we keep the libertarians marginalized is not by abstract philosophical games but by appealing to this concrete history.

Chris Bertram 06.03.12 at 10:06 am
QS: your latest tells me that you see political philosophy as it is usually practised as involving a profound mistake. You are entitled to that opinion. It is not one that I share.
"Marfrks" responds to Henry Farrell
I have been a lawyer for many years, and then got a chance to teach at a non-lawyerly academic institution. I loved it; I loved playing in the garden of the mind. Eventually, however, it became clear to me that academics and non-academics have very different approaches to ideas. Academics, though it sounds odd to say it, don’t take ideas seriously. For academics, ideas are games.
Jenny Holzer
Protect me from what I want.
Isn't this what post-structuralism was supposed to be about?

Repeat from above, Bertram
"Arguments for the nobility of greed are a recent development."
If, by “recent” you mean 1705, you may be right.
Related: Farrell makes the case for ignorance.
11 MPAVictoria 07.09.13 at 5:58 pm
...Your impressions about how aristocratic they can be differ from mine. I have sat in on dinner parties where every single person there (besides me) arrived in an expensive German vehicle and listened to them complain about the gall of cashiers asking for 12 dollars an hour. So naturally your impressions made me curious. 
12
Rakesh Bhandari 07.09.13 at 6:06 pm
Well that complaining does not seem very aristocratic to me, more petit-bourgeois. 
13
Henry 07.09.13 at 6:09 pm
Rakesh – look up the etymology of the word aristocrat (‘aristoi’+'kratein’= …)
'Aristoi' - The best, the most noble.

Aristotle, Politics,  Book 4
The distribution of offices according to merit is a special characteristic of aristocracy, for the principle of an aristocracy is virtue, as wealth is of an oligarchy, and freedom of a democracy. In all of them there of course exists the right of the majority, and whatever seems good to the majority of those who share in the government has authority. Now in most states the form called polity exists, for the fusion goes no further than the attempt to unite the freedom of the poor and the wealth of the rich, who commonly take the place of the noble. But as there are three grounds on which men claim an equal share in the government, freedom, wealth, and virtue (for the fourth or good birth is the result of the two last, being only ancient wealth and virtue), it is clear that the admixture of the two elements, that is to say, of the rich and poor, is to be called a polity or constitutional government; and the union of the three is to be called aristocracy or the government of the best, and more than any other form of government, except the true and ideal, has a right to this name.
Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution
The great majority of nobles either did not know how, or did not wish, to get rich. The great majority of younger sons had no desire to "derogate." They sought the remedy elsewhere, in a growing exclusiveness. Some held that the nobility should form a body like the clergy and be constituted as a closed caste. For the last time, in stating grievances in 1789, they were to demand a verification of titles of nobility and the suppression of automatic creation of nobility through the sale of offices. Likewise it was held that, if the king was to count on "his loyal nobility," he should recognize that they alone had the necessary rank to advise him and to command in his name; he should grant them a monopoly of employments compatible with their dignity, together with free education for their sons.
"The great majority of nobles either did not know how, or did not wish, to get rich."

Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, Book Five, Chapter One
We have just seen that the laws of education should have a relation to the principle of each government. It is the same for the laws the legislator gives to the society as a whole. This relation between the laws and the principle tightens all the springs of the government, and the principle in turn receives a new force from the laws. Thus, in physical motion, an action is always followed by a reaction. We shall examine this relation in each government, and we shall begin with the republican state, which has virtue for its principle.
Virtue contra "science" Montesquieu contra Aristotle.