Thursday, February 06, 2014

Oxford Philosophy is Killing the World Part II
there’s a quite important difference between saying something is questionably of any moral value, and saying that it’s immoral. My annoyance at the ASA statement is that it seems to me to be an empty gesture that implicitly congratulates itself (and its drafters) for taking a real stance, but is in fact entirely rhetorical – a kind of hier stehe ich, but without the stehe-ing. Obviously the proposed legislation in NYS, Maryland and Pennsylvania is far from rhetorical.
He really is an idiot.
If the "entirely rhetorical" gesture drew a "far from rhetorical" response, then it wasn't "entirely rhetorical", was it?
"Don't think of an elephant!"

My mother once defined communication as "two people looking at the same object". She didn't come up with the line; she didn't announce it as if it were an important observation, and when I first heard her say it I thought of it only as a tidy description of a truism, at most something I took for granted without thinking about it. I'd learned it as my mother had by immersion and osmosis. I'm amazed, more and more, at how much that culture is lost. My parents were at the tail end of a tradition that's now being less rediscovered than rebuilt almost from scratch.

My mother's one sentence response to Rawls was to say that he wasn't interested in people; he was interested in ideas. Reading J.L. Austin I realized he's not interested in communication; he's interested in language. I've made the arguments before, but the line is a tidy description.

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