Wednesday, November 30, 2011

note-taking. posted elsewhere.
"Philosophers" imagine themselves intellectual engineers, as others are called Financial Engineers, the professional title of the "inventors" of credit default swaps (buildings that fell down). The term is an analogy. Philosophical engineering is like economic "science" without the risk of failure. Unlike economists you have no data to ignore.

There's no conflict between careerism and the teaching of philosophy, but careerism and philosophical enquiry are in conflict. Logic is technical, but logic is formalism and formalism is not second order thought. Second order thought concerning formalism is the history of formalism.
Philosophical thought is second order curiosity. It cannot be technical.

Leiter posts a note from Bertram
Many smart philosophers are thinking and writing about migration and borders at the moment, and yet this drivel is what the NYT gives us in their The Stone section. Unbelievable!
The Psychology of Walls and Fences
On a large historical scale, walls must be a blessing. And not only for the remarkable — if unuttered — philosophical and cross-cultural conversation that takes place continuously between those who built walls, on one hand, and those who want to tear them down, on the other. Above all, walls help keep the world alive and history in motion. A wall is always a provocation, and life is possible only as a response to provocations; a world without walls would soon become stale and dry. After all, history itself may be nothing more than an endless grand-scale game where some built walls only for others to tear them down; the better the former become at wall-building the braver the latter get at wall-tearing. The sharpening of these skills must be what we call progress.
The post has a Borgesian formalism. It's not very original, but Bertram is offended. He demands the proper form, as Leiter does, even if it produces nothing of lasting value. They're defending their model of intellectual life and of the academy; a model that includes political science and economics in all the ways they're implicated in neoliberal crap. What "philosopher", using that academic model, has had anything useful to say about what AA hates to call the "Arab Spring"? Bradatan, in the Times, is describing the desire to defend. Bertram and Leiter defend. Zionists defend.

Leiter accuses the author of an article on Habermas, in Spiegel, of "condescension from below."

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