Monday, December 16, 2013

This is just hilarious. [new link]
Peter Ludlow: Well, I think that ‘philosopher’ is an honorific term that we hand out to people whose thinking about foundational issues we admire and approve of. It’s like putting a gold star next to someone’s name. I guess your question then is this: When did I decide to try and get the gold star? I started college as a business major, but existential trauma propelled me into courses on Kierkegaard and so forth. Those courses didn’t help with the existential trauma but they did help my GPA. After my junior year I took a summer school graduate course at the University of Minnesota. It was taught by Herbert Hochberg and it was all about Quine and then Kripke. That’s when the existential trauma lifted. That’s also when I gave myself the gold star.
"‘philosopher’ is an honorific term that we hand out to people whose thinking about foundational issues we admire and approve of. It’s like putting a gold star next to someone’s name. ...I gave myself the gold star."

And he's given himself and the rest of us permission to read fiction. It's more than the reinvention of the wheel, or the "the discovery of Sweden." Amazing.

Leiter again
$2.2 Million for project on "Nature and Value of Faith"...
… with philosopher Jonathan Kvanvig (Baylor) as the Principal Investigator.  There is more information about the award and the project here and here.
A philosophical essay can be called an investigation, but so can a poem; poets and novelists are not called investigators. The return of metaphysics has given new life to pseudoscience. How many angles can dance in the mind of a pinhead?

I must have been aware that the National Science Foundation funded political science.

If we've given up on the fantasy of a science of history, how can there be a science of politics?  If there's no science of the past, how is there a science of the present?

Historians use statistical and chemical analysis; they work with scientists and technicians, but history is not a science.

The fourth time I've reposted this exchange. It will never get old until it's answered.
QS 06.03.12 at 9:58 am
You’ve turned sexual harassment into an intellectual game, that is where the “creepiness” originates. How do you moderate that? You don’t. You realize that your ability to treat the issue so dispassionately, playing the game of Find the Universal, probably has something to do with your maleness and position outside this particular terrain.
Sexual harassment was banned not because we found the Universal Principle Against Harassment but because women and men who believed it to be wrong fought successfully for prohibition. These people were likely motivated by a variety of ideas and experiences. The way we keep the libertarians marginalized is not by abstract philosophical games but by appealing to this concrete history. 
Chris Bertram 06.03.12 at 10:06 am
QS: your latest tells me that you see political philosophy as it is usually practised as involving a profound mistake. You are entitled to that opinion. It is not one that I share.
Liberal Zionism is the climate denialism of American liberalism. American academics have not led the way. As always they've followed, some slightly ahead of the pack, most well behind it.

And again from another post at Leiter's, asking for recommendations for the best writing of the year.
commenter Joe Hatfield [here's a  good guess]
More Than Just War: Narratives of the Just War and Military Life, by Charles Jones (Routledge). 
In short: this highly original book does to the "Just War" tradition what Nietzsche's "On The Genealogy of Morals" did to moral theory. Jones calls into question the dominant "Just War" tradition in the ethics of war, such as the approach put forward by Michael Walzer in his classic "Just and Unjust Wars." 
Jones exposes this approach as: assuming the vantage point of the state over the individual, assuming a stereotypical definition of war, as rule-oriented (ignoring character), depending more upon revival than cumulative coherence for its claims to being a "tradition," and as more wed to its historically religious contexts than secular authors today admit. 
An alternative tradition of military ethics, whose truths about actual military experience have been expressed most frequently in film and literature, emerges from Jones' analysis.
Permission to read fiction, permission granted in the passive voice; predictable, predicted; reinventing the wheel; discovering the obvious. After Plato, Aristotle. I'm so fucking bored.

According to the suit, filed Monday, Ludlow bought the student alcohol and ignored her repeated requests to return to Evanston, taking her to his apartment where she lost consciousness. The student said she regained consciousness early the next morning in Ludlow’s bed.
Rationalists rationalize; power corrupts. It's impossible to institutionalize humility but it's very easy to institutionalize arrogance.

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