Sunday, July 31, 2011

In 1976, he came to New York with his wife to work as a contractor — sewing for designers like Michael Kors, now a judge on “Project Runway.” He moved quickly into dealing fabric wholesale, and, in the 1980s when domestic manufacturing dropped, selling retail. His wife, Janet, now 57, ran the register.

Mr. Sauma watched the other stores close while Mood stayed afloat, in part because it relied on student designers — a burgeoning group that, partly because of the show, has only grown.

Today, he has passed his duties on. “He’s kind of taking it in from the backseat,” Philip Sauma said. Philip runs the business day to day, while his brother, Eric, 29, is the creative, design-minded in-store operator. A daughter, Amy Altunis, 32, lives in London with her two young children. Recently, her nanny learned of the family business. “She screamed,” Ms. Altunis said.

“To some people it’s a big deal,” Philip Sauma said. “To us it’s work.”

“It’s not work,” Jack Sauma said. “It’s social.”
It’s social.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bertram:"The epistemic environment that made the Utøya attacks possible"

My comment, posted in response to a few comments on Christian Zionism with opinions and no data.
Read it before you delete it Chris.

Breivik: “If the NSDAP had been isolationistic instead of imperialistic(expansionist) and just deported the Jews (to a liberated and Muslim free Zion) instead of massacring them...”

[a general response to Bertram] CB: “I didn’t say that those elements of the left were part of the spectrum, I said that they gave it “cover, credibility and respectability."

Like “liberal Zionists” give credibility to racialist ideology.
Arguments concerning the irrationalism of others. DD says that most opponents of abortion don't think abortion is murder, even if they claim it is. He thinks that should end the argument but it won't, any more than explaining the logical contradictions of liberal Zionism will end the argument for Bertram and those like him.

Politics is not reason. Dworkin makes the same argument about abortion, without the naive assumptions.

The Economist
Every Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring. It sits in a valley that separates Nabi Saleh, an Arab village of 500 people half an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem, from Halamish, a religious Jewish settlement. On most nights jeeps roll through the village; over the past 18 months the Israeli army has detained 32 of its children, some as young as eleven. Many have been taken from their beds, kept in pre-trial detention for months, and brought to court in shackles, there to be convicted of stone-throwing.

For some of Halamish’s settlers, irritated by the tear-gas that wafts into their living rooms from across the hill, this is not harsh enough. “The soldiers don’t maim enough Palestinians,” complains Iran Segal.
“I didn’t say that those elements of the left were part of the spectrum, I said that they gave it “cover, credibility and respectability."

Bertram isn't a racist he's a coward, and a fucking idiot.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Neoliberalism at Crooked Timber again. Another nudge.

Farrell is moving away from the celebration of specialized expertise (including his own) and towards the notion of fostering an educated electorate. Less "research" more "teaching".

related: note taking. Last comment in a series, posted elsewhere.  [I removed it. I didn't like the way it was written. I'm leaving it up here.]
Your paper refers to a "science of science communication". Shorten that to a science of communication, and see where it takes us.

Civil rights movements, of women, ethnic, and sexual minorities were led by members of those groups, not by intellectuals and certainly not scientists. Members of the majority (or in the case of feminism, men) did not change their minds by way of reason; their minds were changed by the sometimes forcible presence of members of those subject groups in their own lives. Those who were spoken about, demanded to speak. This is the case now with the Palestinians.
Who observes the professional observers, and what status do they have? The student's paper quotes you as referring to "pathologies". That's a dangerous word.

From your own paper
We assume (again, unheroically) that a self-governing society is more likely to secure its members health, safety, and prosperity when it adopts policies informed by the best available scientific information. This state of affairs is most likely to occur when such a society’s citizens uniformly and rapidly converge in their recognition of the best available scientific evidence reveals about risk and risk abatement. Cognitive dynamics that systematically impede such convergence are, from the point of view of such a society, a form of irrationality.
That sounds like Stephen Walt writing about the politics of Israel.

The top right is a model of collective assumption; the top left is a model of actors and observers in reciprocal relation; the bottom is a model of normative language over time, of change without foundation.

These are questions dealt with in the sociology of science, but I would prefer an anthropology, since sociology is too "scientific" for my tastes. And this ties to my recent comments on the reception of Eric Posner's new book, critical only in the polite terms of the academy, when in deserves something stronger.

That authoritarianism has become normative may be a scientific fact, but that does not make authoritarianism itself a scientific truth.

A graph from the paper. The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change"

The Cultural Cognition Project

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From two commenters on two posts at NewAPPS.
[Breivik's Manifesto] p. 1435:
"However, I remain a staunch anti-Nazi and I blame NSDAP for the situation we are in. Hadn’t it been for the actions of the cultural right wing extremists known as the NSDAP our Western European countries would not be dominated by the cultural Marxist extremist regimes we witness today. If the NSDAP had been isolationistic instead of imperialistic(expansionist) and just deported the Jews (to a liberated and Muslim free Zion) instead of massacring them, the anti-European hate ideology known as multiculturalism would have never been institutionalized in Western Europe, because the Marxists would never have been so radicalized to begin with".
Karen Margrethe
You write, "He didn't target Muslims, he targeted Labour Party kids, social democrats, whom he saw as the next generation that would continue the multi-culturalization he hated." It is true that Breivik didn't target a mosque or a part of Oslo with many Muslims; however, if you look at the names of the victims and survivors at Utøya, you'll see that many were Muslim. Among the dead or missing are Ismail Haji Ahmed (19), Gizem Dogan (17), Jamil Rafal Yasin (20), all members of the Labor party youth organization. Among the survivors whose testimony appeared in the media immediately after the massacre are several Muslims. For people who share the paranoid concerns about multiculturalism, the fact that young Muslims are in fact politically active in mainstream organizations, and successful in many areas of Norwegian society, must have been a source of great anger.

I have noticed that many foreign media have accepted Breivik's description of Norway as a state where multiculturalism has somehow failed. That simply isn't true - and it is also stunning that the label "multiculturalism", which can mean anything from multiethnic society to a society where people of different faiths or ethnicities are subject to different laws, is being bandied about as if it meant one thing. Norway has never been "multicultural" in the second sense, and has always - for hundreds of years – been multicultural in the first. The cliches about Norway's supposed ethnic homogeneity are false - even before the arrival of Pakistani immigrants and and Vietnamese refugees in the 70's, Norway had sizable ethnic minorities (Sami, Roma, etc). members of these groups have had to endure atrocious repression and violations at the hands of the Norwegian state, but the problem has most definitely not been that these *minorities* somehow pose a threat to the state. If anything, Norwegian society has become much, much better in this respect over the past two decades. But of course, for right-wing extremists, racial and cultural purity is what matters (concerns that are frequently masked under labels like 'tradition' "Christianity' etc).

If we look at Norway's Pakistani minority, most arrived in the 70's from an extremely underdeveloped region called Kharian; city slickers from Karachi would certainly think of them as "hicks". Despite the existence of gangs and problems with crime, the sons and daughters of the first arrivals have done very well for themselves as a group. Where their parents had hardly any education, they are now quite visible in all areas of society. It just goes to show that when you give youngsters from unprivileged backgrounds access to education and allow them to grow up in a society characterized by stability and the rule of law, most will do very well. Of course, this would be another source of frustration for people who think that ethnic and religious diversity necessarily lead to strife. If there is only minimal strife, and the problems Norway faces are of the sort that can be dealt with through ordinary democratic processes and democratic decision-making, then these right-wing extremists will create strife.

On the issue of drugs, former classmates of Breivik have claimed that he used anabolic steroids from a pretty early age. Naturally, that by itself is not in any way an explanation of what happened (the main factor appears to be hatred of Muslims and the politicians who, in Breivik's warped logic, were dismantling some imaginary mono-cultural society). It is ironic that many people (myself included) have always blamed the Labor Party for speaking with two tongues on immigration. In the 90's, Labor - and Gro Harlem Brundtland – were employing a pretty off-putting nationalist rhetoric, some of it presumably intended to stem the flow of voters from Labor to the right-wing Progress Party. It now seems clear that Breivik did indeed intend to kill Harlem Brundtland - under interrogation, he has said that his attack failed in this respect.

It's also pretty horrible to learn that Anti-rasistisk senter, an NGO, had been monitoring Breivik online for quite a while before he struck. Janne Kristiansen, the leader of PST (the police's intelligence arm), is on record stating that "one would need an intelligence organization like Stasi to have picked up on this guy". They were probably way too busy looking for Islamic terrorists. People involved in monitoring right-wing extremists and Islamophobes online have been sounding the alarm for a while. In the past, acts of terror and political violence in Scandinavia have predominantly been perpetrated by far-right extremists. These people have thrived in the climate of fear and anti-Muslim hate-speech after 9/11. There most certainly is an object lesson here for the US and the rest of Europe. Once hate-speech goes unchallenged, there will always be some people willing to act on what they see as socially acceptable and wide-spread concerns. As a Norwegian married to a Pakistani-American, I am only too aware that Islamophobia has become perfectly respectable - even among people who would otherwise call themselves progressive and liberal – and that goes for Norway as well as the rest of Europe and North America.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Anders Breivik
Were the majority of the German and European Jews disloyal? Yes, at least the so called liberal Jews, similar to the liberal Jews today that oppose nationalism/Zionism and support multiculturalism. Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists….So, are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal? The multiculturalist (nation-wrecking) Jews ARE, while the conservative Jews ARE NOT. Aprox. 75% of European/US Jews support multiculturalism while aprox. 50% of Israeli Jews does the same. This shows very clearly that we must embrace the remaining loyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the NSDAP. Whenever I discuss the Middle East issue with a national socialist he presents the anti-Israeli and pro-Palestine argument. He always seem unaware of the fact that his propaganda is hurting Israeli nationalists (who want to deport the Muslims from Israel) and that he is in fact helping the Israeli cultural Marxists/multiculturalists with his argumentation.

I know that tens of thousands of brothers and sister all over Europe are fighting the good fight every single day. Fighting the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist alliance every single day. Many have sacrificed everything already; many are incarcerated and some have even martyred themselves. The media never write about their courageous and noble acts and the great majority of us are unknown to most people. The current Western European multiculturalist regimes are doing everything in their power to suppress our actions. Silencing us is their weapon of choice. They systematically and deliberately attempt to blackout everything so that as few people as possible know that there is an ongoing civil war. They do this to prevent recruitment. As history has shown so many times, the tide will turn in our favour when people least expect it. I salute every single brother and sister who contributes day in and day out! You are the true heroes of the conservative revolution! You inspire an increasing number of Europeans to follow in our path. Hadn’t it been for the brave and selfless actions of these European heroes, me and people like me would not have been inspired. I heard your calling and as a result I did my duty as many more will continue to do. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute and inspire others. We will experience many failures and it will get a lot more ugly before it gets better. However, never forget that thousands of brothers and sisters are doing all in their power to ensure our success every single day. We will succeed eventually as multiculturalism is a self-defeating ideology.
Dec 20 2010 - Reuters
Far-right political parties in Europe are stepping up their anti-Muslim rhetoric and forging ties across borders, even going so far as to visit Israel to hail the Jewish state as a bulwark against militant Islam.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen has shocked the French political elite in recent days by comparing Muslims who pray outside crowded mosques -- a common sight during the holy month of Ramadan -- to the World War Two Nazi occupation
July 4 2011 - YNET
BERLIN - Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara met with Swedish-German millionaire Patrik Brinkmann who has ties with German neo-Nazi groups in Berlin over the weekend, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Brinkmann, who is trying to establish a far-right anti-Islamic party in Germany claims he is not an anti-Semite, however his previous close contacts with the German neo-Nazi party (NPD) and his past membership in another neo-Nazi party raise questions regarding his ideology.
FP - The Manifesto was also published at Stormfront.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The guilty conscience of a some-time neoliberal: Krugman on Obama

Tragic Day for Norway; Shameful Day for Journalism: Jadaliyya
Libertarianism, anarchism and morality: discussion of Aaron Swartz at Crooked Timber.

Two years in the pen bunking with car thieves would wipe the smirk off his face. [update: I was right. Sadly he couldn't deal with even 6 months]

And a new tag: Futurism and Data Culture. I've added it to older posts as well.

"In 1955 , a man got an idea…"

Wired:"Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Believe In Privacy"

"When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was 'why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?'
"And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.

"We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.

"A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they've built, doing a privacy change - doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner's mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it."
Sun Microsystems
"You have zero privacy anyway," Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night at an event to launch his company's new Jini technology.
"Get over it."
I said this years ago, and I'll say it again: downloading is theft. The fact that it's ubiquitous means models of distribution have to change, a decision based not on idealism but realism. But idealists call it "progress".

A commenter at CT
I wouldn’t steal a pair of pants. But if my computer could make free duplicates of pants I wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty about copying my friend’s pants and then passing along more copies to friends and strangers.
So if I spend 10 years of my life writing a novel, the difference between the expense of printing it and the ease of uploading changes my relation to it as the author.

None of this is a defense of endless copyright and the corporate dominance of information. But the answer is not the anarchism of a leaderless Borg.

Summer repeats: two on mash-ups.  Click through to read Ursula Le Guin on plagiarism.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

note-taking/posted elsewhere. Brad DeLong lets one in, unedited.
And then he removes it a week[?] later. Stupid.
You argue that the urban poor (or non-rich) are up shit's creek as far as access to decent tasting vegetables is concerned, and that this is more or less a truth of nature. If it weren't for the fact that you're a competent economist I'd put you with Henry Farrell's ex-copain, Tyler Cowen: "Don't blame me blame the value free market. Blame reality!"

Bertram of course argues directly from "values"
The right frame, in my view, is to think of the state as “we, the people” and to ask what conditions need to be in place for the people, and for each citizen, to play their role in effective self-government. Once you look at things like that then various speech restrictions naturally suggest themselves.
Ian Whitchurch above: "Can we all please accept that right now the main enemy is on the right..."
Read the quote from Bertram and tell me if it's left or right. Then I'll answer.

Neoliberalism sees the market in its adversarialism as foundational to social life. But by that logic the market itself has no adversary, no opposing partner. That's the mistake. You call yourself a social democrat but you're not, because you can't imagine or at least you refuse to calculate with forces other than the market. And social democracy is founded on those forces (family, community) as much as on capital. Its strength is in the adversarial relation between the individual and collective life, collective life without which the individual wouldn't even exist.

As an economist you focus on the lowest common denominators of human interaction, and focusing on universals can strengthen their position. "Everyone's greedy" sounds like encouragement. And like Bertram you argue from values. Optimism is a value, not a truth, and in the time-honored American tradition you do your best to turn the old realist assessment of the ubiquity of avarice into an affirmative defense, to which Bertram responds like a schoolmarmish authoritarian. There are a few of those at "Crooked Timber". You'd think they'd pay more attention to their tag line. But your "nature" is as artificial as their moralism.

All of you focus on ideas and rules, as if they were more important even than people. Ideas, rules, and laws are formal generalizations, by necessity non-contradictory. Individual experience is specific, and the obligations that accrue to people in social life are prone to conflict and contradiction. We live most of life informally, each of us as individuals negotiating informality. Yet informality is the one thing you, Bertram and the rest ignore. And you model the world as dynamic but yourselves as static. Your individualism is textual originalism read into yourselves as authors and actors. You all claim to write as Scalia claims to read. But you're creatures of your time and place. If Elizabethan England made Shakespeare, what made you? Because all of you write as if it's the other way around.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Discussions of neo-liberalism at Crooked Timber. Henry Farrell
Doug Henwood has a go at Matthew Yglesias.
Duncan Black, in a game of telephone, linking to someone linking to CT.
Leaving aside policy disagreements, and for sake of discussion assuming good intentions, I think the group being discussed are basically not fans of democracy.
Atrios seems not to understand they're talking about a friend of his.
Posts continue with Henry again, responding to Yglesias, and then Bertram
Well not content with his inaccurate digs at Henry, Brad DeLong is having another go at me.
For discussions of Crooked Timber as neoliberal, go here, and here and (why not) here
Chris Bertram from the second of the three above
The right frame, in my view, is to think of the state as “we, the people” and to ask what conditions need to be in place for the people, and for each citizen, to play their role in effective self-government. Once you look at things like that then various speech restrictions naturally suggest themselves.
Various references to Yglesias on this site over the years
My inbox (email): "And for the record (don't post this), Yglesias as an individual has a great, self-aware sense of humor and is much more starkly honest (if also unapologetic) about his own elitism than most liberals. Take him out for a beer and I think you'd find that."

Yglesias: "At the appropriate level of abstraction, the neocons couldn't be more right about this stuff, but when it comes to actually getting it done their policies have been a miserable failure."

Yglesias: "After the last depressing news from the Middle East I think we have to start asking just how inhumane it would be for Israel to just expel the Palestinians from the occupied terroritories. [sic] The result would probably be out-and-out war with the neighboring Arab states, but Israel could win that.
All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation. It's not like there's not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in, it's just that the other Arab leaders don't want to cooperate."
Doug Henwood recently (facebook)
There's a Marc Jacobs boutique in Ho Chi Minh City??
20 years since I first quipped that Nike won the Vietnam War. Henwood's ignorance surprised me. It shouldn't have.

The choices above are between the authoritarianism of the market, the authoritarianism of intellectuals, and utopian fantasy.

Tyler Cowen and DeLong are no longer favorites at Crooked Timber, though they were once. Allegiances have drifted, as they have for Duncan Black, but though there's change, most of them don't acknowledge it and none of them are capable of describing it.  They'd put it up it to a reasoning process, but the data isn't new, even to them. Change in their awareness came slowly because they had to acculturate to the data, and that takes time. Liberalism, neoliberalism, and modernism itself have no concept of time, more specifically of its effects. Authors may model the world as dynamic but they model themselves as static. As I've said, individualism is textual originalism read into the self, as author and actor, and read forward. They all claim to write as Scalia claims to read.
Someone googling "academic neoliberalism" found this: the jackass Bourdieu. Click through to T.J. Clark.

All summer repeats. And repeats of repeats.

Friday, July 15, 2011

'The Fall of the Faculty' [From Leiter]
They needed a political scientist to tell them their own recent history.


"...a university should seek to promote work that will give that university prestige..."

The logic of capitalist expansion, mixed with a pre-modern fixation on glory.


"A Philosophy Blog"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

how condescension became contempt

Is it the book, or the review? I don't know
Here’s how Mr. Jones sets the scene. “Sitting around the table were people from more than one ethnic group. The gender split was 50-50, and not everyone was straight. All would have placed themselves somewhere left of center politically.” Each guest “would have bristled at being labeled a snob.” Disaster arrived, as it always seems to, with the black currant cheesecake. That’s when the talk turned to the economic crisis. One of the party’s hosts joked: “It’s sad that Woolworth’s is closing. Where will all the chavs buy their Christmas presents?” The other guests tittered. Mr. Jones stewed.

The word chav, if your subscriptions to British periodicals have lapsed, is a noun that essentially means “ugly prole”: loutish, tacky, probably drunken and possibly violent. The stereotypical chav is a hormonal 20-something lad in an Adidas tracksuit, sideways Burberry baseball cap and bling, but women can be chavs, too. Think of Snooki with a cockney accent.

What angered Mr. Jones about the dinner party comment, he explains, is that the joke could easily have been rephrased thus: “It’s sad that Woolworth’s is closing. Where will the ghastly lower classes buy their Christmas presents?” This got him thinking. “How has hatred of working-class people become so socially acceptable?” he asks.

... How this came to pass in Britain, which has long revered its stalwart working class, is Mr. Jones’s primordial subject in “Chavs.” The book poses this principled question: How did the salt of the earth come to be viewed as the scum of the earth?
"Long revered." "Stalwart working class." "Salt of the earth."

The Reformer.

"He said: I want to help the common people..."

Thatcher didn't invent the British Class system.

This is a modern world - This is the modern world
What kind of a fool do you think I am?
You think I know nothing of the modern world
All my life has been the same
I've learned to live by hate and pain
It's my inspiration drive -
I've learned more than you'll ever know
Even at school I felt quite sure
That one day I would be on top
And I'd look down upon the map
The teachers who said I'd be nothing -
This is the modern world that I've learnt about
This is the modern world, we don't need no one
To tell us what's right or wrong -
Say what you like 'cause I don't care
I know where I am and going too
It's somewhere I won't preview
Don't have to explain myself to you
I don't give two fucks about your review

Punk wasn't a rebellion against capitalism. It was capitalism, rebelling against the hereditary aristocracy. Today's snobbery is the snobbery of the nouveau riche, the multiculti new bourgeois.
Margaret Thatcher didn't invent the fucking British Class system.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's called Fascism. [Lawfare]
[Balkinization] The unhappy byproduct on the academic model of collaborative reason: if we all agree, it must be true and good. But it's not good when defense attorneys collaborate with prosecutors, so why should it be good the branches of government are joined? Why is unity under demagoguery a good? There are rules mandating adversarialism in law; there are no rules mandating the same for branches of government. Maybe there should be. Democracy is the rule of form, not content. It's relativism, but so what? Relativism, or Plato and the Pope, the choice shouldn't be that hard to make. There is no more truth to dictatorship than there is to democracy, but democracy if we choose it, is founded in mandated formalized conflict. Jack Balkin may want to consecrate the proceedings with the language of redemption, but that's unnecessary. Or rather it's no more necessary for the United States than it is for the World Series or the World Cup. There is no truth in sport, yet people dedicate their lives to it. The politics of truth is Fascism, always. If you don't want that, then shut up and play ball. And if you think what I've written manifests perversity, read the post and the review of Posner's fascist book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Late to the game
Reckless Endangerment of the Truth: If we want to minimize the chance of another financial crisis, it’s important for us to understand how it happened. If we get the causes wrong, our attempts to fix the problems in the financial sector are unlikely to be successful.

That’s why I was so disappointed to see the new book by Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner, Reckless Endangerment, blaming the financial crisis on Fannie, Freddie, and Democrats. The book has been highlighted recently by George Will and David Brooks, and it joins a chorus of conservative voices promoting the idea that government policies to encourage home ownership among middle and low income households is at the heart of the financial crisis.

The dispute over the cause of the financial crisis breaks down along standard ideological lines. ...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Law and Philosophy
note-taking (posted elsewhere): two comments at Balkinization, repeating a comment at NewApps
There's a difference between intellectualism and street smarts but there's also an intellectualism that engages experience, and the skill of reading situations on the fly. The humanist academy has insulated itself over the last decades, in the name of objectivity, reason, and science (often as pseudo-science) in what seems like a continuation of the "Two Cultures" debate. The model of intellectualism not founded rightly or wrongly in natural science is founded on the model of philosophy and academics as philosophers. This ties indirectly to the European model of inquisitorial justice and not the Anglo-American model of adversarialism, which is chaotic by comparison, but more founded in the vulgar practice of democratic debate. I think I'm reading a defense of that here now.

It's always amused me that Brian Leiter held the "Joseph D. Jamail Centennial Chair in Law", at UT Austin. Here's a clip of Joe Jamail in action.
I want to continue a bit because the subject has begun to come up in academia. Professional philosophers are beginning consider something they call Embodied Cognition. It's a problem that they're fundamentally opposed to the practices they're trying to understand. It would be a mistake for law professors to insulate themselves in this way.

The following is something I posted on a philosophy page where embodied cognition is a popular subject. The link to SSRN is courtesy of a commenter here:

"Embodied knowledge also includes the interpretation of embodied knowledge: the skills both of the craftsman and the critic. Expertise by way of embodiment is called connoisseurship. The contemporary model of naturalist epistemology dismisses it out of hand, as philosophy has always opposed rhetoric, while indulging it as we all must.

Trial lawyers are connoisseurs, as legal performers and critics. Lawrence Solan, "Lawyers as Insincere (But Truthful) Actors" SSRN. Solan underestimates the role of insincerity in daily life and of the common requirement to recognize it, partly I think because as a liberal, he wants to see himself as sincere. But we live our lives following performances as texts and subtexts. The ability to read subtext is one aspect of the ability to read embodiment. The only way to escape liberalism is to acknowledge embodiment not as worthwhile subject but as method and to trust no one, not even yourself."

Lawyering is an art, and in our system it's vulgar. Academia is caught up now in a cooperative, collaborative model of study, of "research", that then sends out opinions written in the form of judicial decisions. Moral Hazard seems to apply to everyone but economists, and "liberal" politicians foist illiberal policies on the electorate with no change to the self-designated labels. Sandy Levinson has already gone over the Yalies in the White House legal staff.

"Could you elaborate on how a Ph.D would mitigate the problem of results-oriented scholarship?"
Again, mls, [Michael Stern-Point of Order] your arguments here have been more founded in rhetoric than anyone's.

"Like Professor Tushnet, I don’t claim that the mere fact that no one has raised the argument before means it is meritless. But it is pretty evident that any merit it may have is, shall we say, coincidental."

That's not criticism of an argument it's criticism of an attitude. I don't care that you did it, it's a lawyers' trick and tricks are legit: you fight with what you have. But if your moralism is rendered false by your technique, it's the moralism that's the problem.
see previous post

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Law and Economics.
Krugman Krugman links to the WSJ
The U.S. and Europe are set to grow at an anemic pace for the foreseeable future unless the government can step in with an enormous fiscal stimulus, according to a veteran investor.

Speaking exclusively with The Wall Street Journal, Barton Biggs, managing partner at multibillion dollar hedge fund Traxis Partners, painted a bleak outlook for the developed world with only huge government intervention likely to improve things.

…Mr. Biggs, former chief global strategist for U.S. investment banking powerhouse Morgan Stanley, demanded the U.S. government temporarily return to ideas used in the Great Depression as a way to get the country back to higher growth.

“What the U.S. really needs is a massive infrastructure program … similar to the WPA back in the 1930s,” he says.

The plan would be to employ some of the many unemployed people, jump start the economy, as well as help catch up with Asia, which is building state-of-the-art infrastructure from new mechanized port facilities to high-speed trains.

He suggested financing such building through the sale of U.S. Treasuries.
The general problem of the legal debate between American "liberals" and "conservatives" over economic policy [see earlier post] is that the majority of both are in favor of the economic power that came about only as the result of the unification of social and economic life that in different situations each decry. If conservative arguments had won consistently in the Supreme Court over the past 100 years, we wouldn't have troops in 150 countries around the world.
"Philosophy is predicated on a dogma. The dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. That dogma I shall argue, is ill founded. One effect of abandoning it is, as we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between philosophy and other forms of description and imaginative literature. Another effect is a shift toward pragmatism."
The above is Quine, rewritten.

Experience is constitutive of consciousness. Well... Duh.
That's why a republic is defined as representative government and not the government of experts.

Academic philosophers, if they're concerned about the under-representation of women and minorities, prefer to be concerned as a matter of fairness, when they should be concerned as a matter of substance. Democracy isn't better because it's fair, it's better because more than any other form of government it's founded on the prerogatives of curiosity and free enquiry.

Fairness is a gift from the powerful (see Derrick Bell's dissent in Brown v. Board of Education).

Curiosity is to see not the other in yourself but to see yourself as other.

All literature deals in perspectives. Philosophy is a branch of literature, and one of the humanities, not one of the sciences. Philosophy as science is theology. Storytelling as storytelling is democratic.

"Society is always changing and representational systems ossify into formal systems that outlast their role as representation. Forms are still used even as they become brittle."

People always remain loyal to the forms of discourse that they know, or the social world they're a part of. Philosophers are becoming amateur psychologists while calling what they do a branch of philosophy.

Philosophy as an independent subject is dying, but not fast enough.

8/04. One more and out.
This discussion is concerned with finding a way to preserve philosophy as a model of objective processes and objective knowledge, combined with the anxious desire that all people -or subgroups by any definition- have the capacity to access these "truths". If that capacity is equally distributed then all that's needed is a concern for "fairness". The concern is that if that capacity is not equally distributed then the model of liberalism and equality as you define it is founded on a falsehood. But the discussion is centered on philosophy not mathematics so what capacities are we talking about?

Most of what I read on this page -not just this post- argues though a mixture of language cribbed from the sciences and terms of abstract theology; that combination is the language of pre-humanist scholasticism.

The more scientific practice undermines claims for an objective knowledge of, or through, sense, the more desperate philosophers and theologians become to preserve their place in the imagined hierarchy. The Bible, must stand above secular literature; Plato must stand above Homer, and Kant above Proust. There must be a great truth of experience accessible to all. So every time science gives us more evidence of multiplicity you struggle to fit it into your model of unity.

In fact the proportion of biology to culture is secondary. The central fact is multiplicity, and the question is how we come to terms with that. Science tells us that we are creatures first of sense and as such are storytellers. You are storytellers from on high and the most important thing to you, though you struggle to deny it, is your imaginary altitude.

"Fairness" is a gift from above; curiosity needs to be multiform, and from below. Your politics are the politics of liberal superiority and condescension.

Hegel was not "right" and Jane Austen was not "wrong". Continental philosophers, to their credit, see themselves at least in part as literary critics. In the interest of your own self-preservation you're returning us to the moral universe of the 14th Century.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Jack Balkin writes a masterly defense of a position while claiming not to be making one. It's an object lesson in the high politics of legal argument. Here's an introductory paragraph and the last
This essay does not attempt to answer these questions in detail; I leave that to a future discussion. My goal here is to offer a basic account of the legislative history of Section 4. This discussion, I hope, will be of interest both to originalists and to non-originalists who believe that text, structure and history matter, even if they are not always dispositive of current constitutional questions.

...Like most inquiries into original understanding, this one does not resolve many of the most interesting questions. What it does suggest is an important structural principle. The threat of defaulting on government obligations is a powerful weapon, especially in a complex, interconnected world economy. Devoted partisans can use it to disrupt government, to roil ordinary politics, to undermine policies they do not like, even to seek political revenge. Section Four was placed in the Constitution to remove this weapon from ordinary politics.

As I wrote in 2003 "The debate between liberals and conservatives, and between all parties in any sort of structured proceeding, is over where to draw the line beween civil argument and civil war."

Posts at Balkinization on Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Another discussion at NewApps on textbooks in the classroom and whether Philosophy can be called "a 'normal' science." Begun in response to a post on Leiter's page.

The Constitution is a text. Much of analytical philosophy is written in a way so as to pretend that the resulting texts are not texts, or that they follow other rules, but an argument is not an equation. The corollary of a living Constitution is a living Tractatus or the living works of Nietzsche. Leiter writes ex-cathedra as an academic reactionary.

Philosophy is not a natural science and it is not a formal science. All these problems would go away if professional philosophers stopped referring to formal logic as philosophy. It's tempting to say logic is to philosophy as engineering is to architecture but I'm not sure even that holds up.