Friday, July 11, 2008

To any readers from Savage Minds, if you want, type McGinn's or Leiter's last name in the search bar above. Otherwise this is just note taking: The same shit, but some good lines:
Language is public. Numbers are impersonal, indeed anti-personal, but are also private.
There's a lot in that one. Definitely a keeper.
Technical disciplines make status definitions relatively simple, and if anything tend to encourage competition to the point that competition becomes a central aspect of the discipline itself. Any culture of technical expertise is a bubble culture and of limited interest to outsiders; but If you seek to generalize from that bubble out into the world, as if it were the world, it becomes what’s called a ghetto culture. But the world is not the lens through which you choose to see it.

Leiter’s academia is a ghetto culture, and he spends as much time discussing gossip and academic bed-hopping as philosophy. But he does not discuss the philosophy of bed-hopping. If he were I’d have more interest.
It’s not status-seeking that annoys me it’s the status-seeking of moralizing priests. McGinn like Leiter claims to be an atheist and a freethinker, but neither come close. McGinn is obviously a product of his experience and of his time, in ways that he will not admit. He’s blind. We’re all products of culture. We’re not all hypocrites.

The rule of law is the rule of chosen words in the common language and the rule of argument over their meaning. That argument itself is constitutive of democratic society. Language is public. Numbers are impersonal, indeed anti-personal, but are also private.
“I remember… when we used to sit
In the government yard…
in Zagreb,”


  1. Anonymous6:34 PM

    I've enjoyed your remarks over there. And your tone, which reassures me that I'm not (alone) the most abrasive knowitall under the sun.

    I found the judgment of hypocrisy more compelling in the old days when I thought I was definitely right about stuff. In terms of your own discussion, I wonder how you'd square it with what you clearly know about how cultures makes us all their products. The interesting analysis to me is the one where both Leiter's careerist micropia and your outrage thereat turn out to express distinctive habitus where the choices of lens involved are far from intentional.

    In this respect, our disposition toward the anthropological lenses makes us more vulnerable to a hypocrisy critique when we 'choose' to criticize people playing out their culture than a Leiter or McGinn, whose compensatory individualist rationalism means that at the conscious level they cannot be expected to 'know better'.

    Cheers! Carl

  2. I think I've answered your question, in the rewritten last paragraphs of today's post.

    What's most compelling about Manet's painting is the honesty of its self-description. I have to admit I can't take Roth, it's too close to home


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