Thursday, July 02, 2015

A banker's job, viewed from the ideal of efficiency, is making money. I'm not sure I'd want to be operated on by a brain surgeon who didn't see his job as brain surgery.
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New descriptions for old arguments.

The paradox of efficiency. [not the Javons paradox]
Sartre's waiter as a descriptive model of geekdom, (the best I've ever read) but not of waiters.
How do you reason yourself out of pedantry?
  1. The purpose of a business is making widgets that can be sold for a profit.
  2. The purpose of a business is making widgets that can be sold for a profit.
  3. The purpose of a business is profit.
  1. A carpenter's job is making things that can be sold for a profit.
  2. A carpenter's job is making things that can be sold for a profit.
  3. A carpenter's job is profit
  1. An economist's job is...
  2. A philosopher's job...
  3. A scientist's job...
  4. A writer's job is...
  5. A musician's job is...
  6. A chef's job is...
What's left to be done "for it's own sake"? What class of people are permitted an explicit combination of social and economic exchange? And what class of people are permitted to reverse the priority?

Social life is seen as intellectually inefficient.  It's assumed to be economically inefficient.

Working lawyers (not law professors) describe themselves as tradespeople. Their skill is social as well as technical. They're not rule-followers they're players at rule following; the playing is constitutive of their success and of their knowledge. The contemporary culture of crafting, by comparison is aestheticized rule-following, fitting the model of the "hospitality industry", of techs and ad agency "creatives".

Crafting as geekdom finds its apotheosis in Sartre's waiter, but Sartre follows the model of efficiency celebrated by philosophers, and as such by Modernists, that sees craft as nothing but illustration, and fantasizing individualism and "authenticity" he misses the point.
Let us consider this waiter in the café. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he return, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton whale carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tight-rope-walker by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually reestablishes by a light movement of the arm and hand. All his behavior seems to us a game. He applies himself to chaining his movements as if they were mechanisms, the one regulating the other; his gestures and even his voice seem to be mechanisms; he gives himself the quickness and pitiless rapidity of things. He is playing, he is amusing himself. But what is he playing? We need not watch long before we can explain it: he is playing at being a waiter in a cafe. There is nothing there to surprise us. The game is a kind of marking out and investigation. The child plays with his body in order to explore it, to take inventory of it; the waiter in the café plays with his condition in order to realize it. This obligation is not different from that which is imposed on all tradesmen. Their condition is wholly one of ceremony. The public demands of them that they realize it as a ceremony; there is the dance of the grocer, of the tailor, of the auctioneer, by which they endeavour to persuade their clientele that they are nothing but a grocer, an auctioneer, a tailor. A grocer who dreams is offensive to the buyer, because such a grocer is not wholly a grocer. Society demands that he limit himself to his function as a grocer, just as the soldier at attention makes himself into a soldier-thing with a direct regard which does not see at all, which is no longer meant to see, since it is the rule and not the interest of the moment which determines the point he must fix his eyes on (the sight "fixed at ten paces"). There are indeed many precautions to imprison a man in what he to as if we lived in perpetual fear that he might escape from it, that he might break away and suddenly elude his condition. 
"A grocer who dreams is offensive to the buyer, because such a grocer is not wholly a grocer." 
Even if the buyer is a tailor? Sartre is a member of the class permitted to join art and leisure and he pretends to be artless. He sees others living through their social roles and pretends -the French bourgeois leftist intellectual- that he's not doing the same. "The child plays with his body in order to explore it, to take inventory of it." So does a dancer, why not a waiter.  Lawyers play with their minds, and so do philosophers. But lawyers play in pairs. Philosophers' model of sport devolves to onanism, or similar. The link's to McGinn [!]

This is all for the paper, which already has this.
If communication is a circuit, reflex is a short. The fantasy of the premature ejaculator is a state of eternal orgasm. The mania for progress becomes no more than simply the desire to go faster. If knowledge is measured in conclusions not in processes then the shortest distance between two points, the short circuit, is the obvious choice.
Kant on rule-following, Critique of Pure Reason
If understanding as such is explicated as our power of rules, then the power of judgment is the ability to subsume under rules, i.e., to distinguish whether something does or does not fall under a given rule (is or is not a casus datae legis). General logic contains no prescriptions whatever for the power of judgment; nor can it. For since general logic abstracts from all content of cognition, there remains for it nothing but the task of spelling out analytically the mere form of cognition as found in concepts, judgments, and inferences, and of thus bringing about formal rules for any use of understanding. Now if general logic wanted to show universally whether something does or does not fall under them, then this could not be done except again by a rule. But for this rule, precisely because it is thus we find that, whereas understanding is capable of being taught and equipped by rules, the power of judgment is a particular talent that cannot be taught at all but can only be practiced
"...the power of judgment is a particular talent that cannot be taught at all but can only be practiced..."

Like playing the violin or making one, like surgery or slicing lox, like seducing a woman or a man, a jury or an electorate.

A banker's job, viewed from the ideal of efficiency, is making money. I'm not sure I'd want to be operated on by a brain surgeon who didn't see his job as brain surgery. It's a subtle distinction, but a very important one.

I found the passage looking for sources on Kant and Wittgenstein, through Cogburn, who's still an idiot. [as I said: "'The return to metaphysics' is a return to theology as science, to 13th century scholasticism, to fantasies of truth." (more)] The point is to tie both Kant and Wittgenstein back into pre-Enlightenment Humanism, (pervious post) and the fading (again) of scholastic pedantry.

Time is change; Wittgenstein and Robert Wilson.

Dogmatic slumber: Cogburn goes to church once a week at least.
I don't make affirmative defenses of atheism as belief. I make affirmative defenses of secularism as practice, but that doesn't mean I have patience with affirmative defenses of religion as such.
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Earlier mention of Kant, as pedant.  

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