Sunday, March 01, 2015

repeat From 2011
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Contemporary defenders of naturalism are prone to argue from a very artificial sense of self. Dan Sperber in the NY Times, NewAPPS and elsewhere. I'm beginning to think all academics now descend from priests. It's depressing.

We reason when we perform basic functions, calibrating our actions when we walk, ride a bicycle and drive a car. From Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket
Joker: "How could you shoot women and children?"
Door Gunner: "Easy, you just don't lead 'em so much."
The question is formed by and concerns complex reason: intellectual, philosophical, moral. The stated answer is formed by and concerns simple reason: basic empiricism, calculation. The exchange itself, in a screenplay and therefore as art, is formed by and concerns reason as reflection (intellectual and philosophical, empirical and rational), playing off the disjunction between the two forms of reason proffered at cross purposes, the whole manifesting as ironic comment.

Simple reason is driven by simple preference, though it may include complex calculation. Complex reason is ruled often by complex desire. Reason in the service of greed or glory is not reason as such. We tend to believe what we want to believe; and loyalty, to dreams and to people, is considered generally to be a virtue.


"He studies the ashtray, and tries to rule out/ preference/ preferring over/ not preferring/ but he prefers."

Robert Ashley, from Private Lives.
It's dated, and in a sense it was when in was made. But the first few minutes have stayed with me.

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