Monday, November 04, 2013

Alex Rosenberg on Shiller and Fama
Imagine the parallel in physics or chemistry or biology—the prize is split between Einstein and Bohr for their disagreement about whether quantum mechanics is complete, or Pauling and Crick for their dispute about whether the gene is a double helix or a triple, or between Gould and Dawkins for their rejection of one another’s views about the units of selection. In these disciplines Nobel Prizes are given to reward a scientist who has established something every one else can bank on. In economics, “Not so much.” This wasn’t the first time they gave the award to an economist who says one thing and another one who asserts its direct denial. Cf. Myrdal and Hayek in 1974. What’s really going on here? Well, Shiller gave the game away in a NY Times interview when he said of Fama, “It’s like having a friend who is a devout believer of another religion.” Actually it’s probably two denominations in the same religion.
repeat ad infinitum. If economics isn't science what's left for Rosenberg's definition of philosophy?
Cartesian dualism is transubstantiation and Rosenberg's arguments for determinism consistently exempt him from its grasp. Awaiting his next book: Bosons, Fermions and Me.

notes. need to make explicit
The only model for intellectual activity qua intellectual activity -as opposed to both technical activities and the arts- is history. No one now defends a science of history, a "historical science", and the present is as hard to grasp as the past: we do no more than interpret gestures and documents; distance in time and distance in space are more similar than not.

Economists and political scientists want to imagine subtext exists only in the words of others. Formalisms, mathematical or linguistic, function in a timelessness that is irrelevant to our lives as lived, if we are to see ourselves as agents and as agents among equals. If we are simply mechanics then all bets are off, including Rosenberg's about himself (cf. the Churchland's theater of will, like the ostentatious propriety of Puritan believers in predestination).
One afternoon recently, Paul says, he was home making dinner when Pat burst in the door, having come straight from a frustrating faculty meeting. “She said, ‘Paul, don’t speak to me, my serotonin levels have hit bottom, my brain is awash in glucocorticoids, my blood vessels are full of adrenaline, and if it weren’t for my endogenous opiates I’d have driven the car into a tree on the way home. My dopamine levels need lifting. Pour me a Chardonnay, and I’ll be down in a minute.’ ”
It's not a parody.

Ranciere argues from, through, the lineage of philosophical ideas and ideas about art. His logic means that he is unable to see artistic change as a product of cultural change. He requires the existence of an intellectual philosophical avant-garde in an age of scientific progress. No art historian would be faced with that dilemma. An observer rather than follower of that tradition might tend to argue that the "aesthetic regime" came about after the separation of perception from science that is one of the hallmarks of the modern period, and the development of separate regimes of subjectivity and objectivity.  Ranciere needs intention to be the key, and ironically or not he returns again again to his teachers, masters of western philosophy, explicitly for permission to continue the line of their still eternal authority. And as a critic he begins as a critic of literature, concerned with words and the images they create; when he talks about art he refers to images. He begins with Lascaux, paintings which few people have ever seen except in reproduction. He's a good film critic, but painting is not image it's substance. I wouldn't want to read him on Titian.

The best model of the arts is somewhere between history and law, the sincere irony of lawyers performing the roles representing their clients. Literature is ironic by definition, as philosophy is sincere.  The propositions of a work of fiction are inseparable from the form they take; it's why writers are called writers. Their worlds exist fully only in language.  All art is ironic by definition. We only know the ideal through the illusion of its presence and artists are illusionists, "all liars". Flaubert.

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