Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This is all a repeat, but it's necessary.

John Protevi is a philosopher.
...Because we all know that one could craft criteria so that it does, or doesn't, depending on one's desires. That strikes me as not the sort of thing we'd like on our blog.
John Mortimer was a lawyer.
I began to find myself in a dangerous situation as an advocate. I came to believe in the truth of what I was saying. I was no longer entirely what my professional duties demanded, the old taxi on the rank waiting for the client to open the door and give his instruction, prepared to drive off in any direction, with the disbelief suspended.
We reason always in service to desire. There is no arguing otherwise. Lawyers are paid craftsmen, and Protevi sounds like Antonin Scalia.
...Because we all know that one could craft criteria so that it does, or doesn't, depending on one's desires. That strikes me as not the sort of thing we'd like on our society.
The model of a "living" Constitution which is the liberal model of legal interpretation, is that it applies to all texts: a Constitution, a Beethoven Sonata, or The Genealogy of Morals. The living Constitution describes a living language. And it's the only model that describes the history of changes that have already occurred. Meanings change through argument, but we always argue from the present and from contemporary sensibilities. The Constitution is what we desire it to be, within the constraints of language. In the future people will desire something else.

Democracy is due process: results are secondary. The process of democracy is argument, and there are a lot of arguments breaking out, so there's real politics. even among academics: 1, 2, 3

The Palestinians are still objects of debate, or at best concern, rather than subjects to be listened to. For liberals the main theme in the end is self-regard. John Quiggin wonders why he's seeing a resurgence of "Reality-based journalism?"
The fact that, with no observable exceptions, the Republican Party relies on delusional beliefs for most of its claims about economics, science and history has been obvious for some years. But, until recently it’s been outside the Overton Window. That seems to have changed,
He's seeing change, but are the Palestinians?
The only change is in normative language and reference. The Palestinians, unlike homosexuals (now), are still outside, beyond the boundary. Anthropogenic global warming is somewhere in-between. What's grotesque in liberalism, seen in Quiggin's use of the terminology of the "Overton Window" is that the term can never be used to refer to the user's own limitations.
I've been reading Bruno Latour and bits and pieces on the Extended Mind (mentioned earlier) Thinking of reading Harman. I'm beginning to see the themes: the world as collective as seen through an expanded diversified networked self.

The Israeli philosopher says to the Palestinian farmer: "I see myself in you and you in myself."

The Palestinian farmer responds: "You can't speak for me, so why pretend?"

The other is other. The expanded, networked, self will act according to it's own bias. The philosopher as a type is comparable (as I've said) to the Continental European legal role of Investigating Magistrate. Both originate in the Church.  However much the philosopher magistrate wants to claim an expanded, networked consciousness, he is still only a self: the sexist who calls himself a feminist; the asshole who claims to be "a nice guy".

The other is other. The defense attorney's other is the prosecutor. By law s/he can be nothing else. A class on feminist theory taught by a man to male students is not enough. It will not do the job. There can be no discussion of feminism without the presence of women. There can be no discussion of the Palestinians without Palestinians. Various claims to "see the other in myself" are pure rhetoric and wishful thinking. Embodied consciousness is not an idea it's what we are. And what we are are individuals defined by individual perceptions. That we can not live or thrive alone is something else entirely. You can not understand the need for community without understanding the borders of the self.

Philosophers want judges to be at the intellectual and moral center of our justice system, but they aren't. Ambulance chasers are at the center of our justice system. I had a short email exchange with Protevi, but it wasn't helpful.

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