Tuesday, May 11, 2010

idea | īˈdēə | noun
-A logic or process common enough in practice to be recognized and articulated in speech, at which time its usefulness begins to fade. Becoming even more popular out of enthusiasm for the new.
-What a description becomes when it's applied to something else.
-An unoriginal thought.
In the arts in the late 60s there were debates about the role of "mastery." What was attacked was the mastery of craft. Left unacknowledged, almost always, was that what was to replace a mastery of craft was a mastery of ideas.
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On September 17, 1969 I sent a letter to eleven senior members of the philosophy profession, asking them to serve as co-signers with me on a motion to be presented to the annual meeting of the Eastern Division of the APA, calling for the establishment of a Standing Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession. Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz [who were husband and wife] came on board, as did Justus Buchler [whose wife taught philosophy], and Sue Larson and Mary Mothersill, both of Barnard. Maurice Mandelbaum, who along with Lewis White Beck had read my Kant manuscript for Harvard, was sympathetic, but pointed out that as the incoming APA president, if he signed he would be in the position of petitioning himself. A good point. The great Classicist Gregory Vlastos also said yes, as did Ruth Marcus, whom I knew from my Chicago days, when she was at Northwestern. Morty White was supportive, but declined to sign for fear that if the motion passed, he would be expected to serve on the committee, something he said he could not do because of writing obligations. That left Jack Rawls, who declined to sign. In retrospect, this does not surprise me. Although Jack was on his way to becoming the world's leading expert on justice, he never seemed to be there when action was needed.
I've said it before, quoting my mother, who saw a lot of action over 40 years in the legal/political trenches: "Rawls wasn't interested in people he was interested in ideas." Her tone was contemptuous.

Link from Brian Leiter

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