By Phil Percs (with Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, Duncan Richter, and James Rocha)
Immature poets imitate ; mature poets steal ; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which ti was torn ; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest. Chapman borrowed from Seneca ; Shakespeare and Webster form Montaigne. The two great followers of Shakespeare, Webster and Tourneur, in their mature work do not borrow from him ; he is too close to them to be of use to them in this way.
- Rolling Stone's Daniel Kreps shares some scoops about Star Wars: Rogue One.
- 3AM Magazine's Christopher Schaberg reviews The End of the Tour.
- lithub's Abel Debritto describes how one decides which bits of Bukowski to include in an anthology of stuff he said about writing.
- Irish Times' Anne Haverty reviews Mario Vargas Llosa's Notes on the Death of Culture. Eliot too saw culture decaying around him and foresaw a time in which there would be no culture. This time, Vargas Llosa argues, is ours. Eliot has since been under attack for what his critics often describe as his elitist attitudes – as well as much else – and Vargas Llosa will probably also be tarred with the same brush for his pains. But we must be grateful to him for describing in a relatively orderly manner the chaos of hypocrisy and emptiness into which our globalised culture has plunged and to which we seem to have little option but to subscribe.
- The Remodern Reviews' Richard Bledsoe serves up another entertaining dose of polemic against artistic post-modernism. We don’t need more dull, boring, brainless destruction of convention, what we need is not new, but perennial. We need an art that integrates body and soul and recognizes enduring and underlying principles which have sustained wisdom and insight throughout humanity’s history. This is the proper function of tradition.
- The University Bookman's Lee Oser reviews Robert Crawford's Young Eliot. As I finished this prodigious tome about “Tom,” a painful question came to mind. What American could have pulled it off? The ideal biographer is a master of language and a servant of facts. He aims to conjure the past, valuing its riches for their own sake. The American professor is averse to standard English and stubborn facts. He aims to transform the past, mining it to fuel his politics. Always the individual, Eliot would not be surprised by the totalitarian successes of groupthink in his native land. Young Eliot, the first of a projected two volumes, is the work of a Scot, a serious and accomplished poet, who is a professor of English at the University of Edinburgh. The population of Scotland is not much over five million. We had better not compete against them in any marathons of literary biography.
- 3quarksdaily's Dwight Furrow defends human omnivorism. I don't see how the argument, if sound, wouldn't justify many instances of cannibalism that most of us would be at least prima facie queasy countenancing. I'm probably missing something though.
- The Morning News' Stewart Sinclair contrasts slaughterhouse killing of sheep with what human beings get up to with knives in a family farm.
- Chimps and monkeys have now entered the stone age. At this rate, Planet of the Apes is about 27 years away... Give or take 2 million years.
Gender and its Discontents:
- Vox's Jenée Desmond-Harris presents six things people should understand about being biracial.
- Cracked's J.F. Sargent and Abigail Brady on how Wikipedia hates women.
- aeon's Charlotte Witt ponders the senses in which one's gender (or lack thereof) might be an essential property of oneself. The norms of appearance that apply to the philosophy job candidate (for whom lack of concern with attire is a norm) and those that apply to her as a woman lie in uneasy tension with one another. But – and this is the crucial point – the Smoker consensus was that the candidate’s gendered clothing norms trump the different norms that attach to her as a philosopher and an academic. No one said don’t worry about your dress, philosophers don’t care about such things. But why is this? Why can’t the woman candidate simply choose to identify as an aspiring academic, thereby making her attire unimportant?
- It turns out chastity belts are a myth. Thanks, Obama.
- Amanda Marcotte on the shaming schadenfreude around the Ashley Madison infodump.
- Alongside hearing the critical buzz over Straight Outta Compton, take a look at this review from Dee Barnes (a journalist whom Dr. Dre beat up and whose story is strangely missing from the movie) and this series of tweets from Ava DuVernay, director of Selma and native of Compton.
- Is your sex radical? Even if it's polyamorous? Yasmin Nair says no. Fredrik deBoer agrees.
Good News for Defenders of the Evidential Argument from Evil:
- Cracked's J.F. Sargent on six ways critics of political correctness have it bass-ackwards.
- Classic piece - William Hazlitt, On the Pleasure of Hating. . . .have I not reason to hate and to despise myself? Indeed I do; and chiefly for not having hated and despised the world enough.
- Cracked's David Wong presents six harsh truths that will make you a better person:
- Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement
- What You Are Inside Only Matters Because of What It Makes You Do
- You Hate Yourself Because You Don't Do Anything
- What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People
- The Hippies Were Wrong
- The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You
- The New Rambler's Martha Nussbaum reviews B. R. Ambedkar Annihilation of Caste. Above all, the present volume – along with late works including The Buddha and his Dhamma and The Buddha and Karl Marx -- shows that Ambedkar was a very considerable thinker about religion, human beings, and society. If we combine these works with his legal and constitutional thought, including his work creating one of the world’s most compelling visions of liberal social democracy, the Indian Constitution, we will begin to take the measure of this remarkable human being.
- The New York Times' Raghu Karnad, author of “Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War," bemoans India's refusal to recognize the service of Indian soldiers in the British Army, describing his grandfather's history along the way.
- The American Conservative's Charles Hugh Smith shares some pretty scare information about a possible forthcoming housing crash in China.
- African American Intellectual History Society's Brandon Byrd presents a bibliography on the United States occupation of Haiti.
- Tablet's Walter Laqueur on the failure to communicate the reality of the Shoah as it was happening. Could such warnings have been issued to victims and perpetrators alike? Allied radio stations had a near monopoly in many of the regions affected. In the case of Rhodes, there were powerful Allied radio stations in Egypt, Cyprus, Palestine, and Southern Italy. Broadcasting was not the only means of issuing warnings. But no such warnings were given. No one can say how many lives would have been saved; all we know is that the attempt was not made.
Logic and Language:
- Heidi Savage, "Why Names are Almost Never Predicates."
- M Phi's Richard Pettigrew reviews John Burgess' Rigor and Structure.
Metaphysics, broadly construed:
- David Sanson, "Frivolous Fictions" (forthcoming Res Publica).
- Classic piece - Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols' An Experimental Philosophy Manifesto. I polled my intro class about this piece and will be publishing the results soon. Surprisingly, a plurality (38%) of them disagreed with the intuition that I play too many youtube videos.
- Even more classic piece - S. Radhakrishan's An Idealist View of Life (1929 Hibert Lectures). Pretty cool. India has to be the only country to have had a President published in Ethics.
- Waiving Entropy's Danial Bastian reviews Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist? I always forget whether the answer is 42 or 48.
- Jonathan Ichikawa Jenkins against Jason Stanley on norms of assertion.
- Eric Scwhitzgebel on a voluntaristic view of personal identity. This is not lazy relativism. What makes you the same being, or not, in philosophical puzzle cases where intuitions pull both ways, depends to a substantial extent on how you choose to view the matter; and different people could legitimately arrive at different choices, thus shaping the metaphysical facts (the actual metaphysical facts) to suit them.
- Neil Van Leeuwen's Beyond Fakers and Fanatics: a Reply to Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne (Philosophical Psychology).
- Scott Sturgeon's The Tale of Bella and Creda (Philosopher's Imprint).
- R. Scott Bakker continues his series on alien metaphysics.
- Jim Davies on Why You're Biased about Being Biased.
Philosophers, Stylin' and Profilin':
- Philosop-her's Meena Krishnamurthy features Marina Oshana. Marina Oshana is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Davis. Her publications include Personal Autonomy in Society (Ashgate, 2006) and The Importance of How We See Ourselves: Self-Identity and Responsible Agency (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). She is the editor of Personal Autonomy and Social Oppression: Philosophical Perspectives (Routledge, 2014).
- 3AM Magazine's Richard Marshall interviews Sara Uckelman. Modern logicians suddenly became interested in Anselm as a logician in the latter part of the previous decade when they realized that he espoused a modal view of agency which is very similar to that which can be found in, e.g., stit-theory. Reading some of the early accounts of the ‘discovery’ of Anselm’s modal theory by these agency theorists is quite amusing sometimes; some people seem quite shocked that such a modern approach could be found a millenia ago! I think that this can serve as a good cautionary tale: Never be too sure that what you’re doing is new, especially if you don’t have much idea about the history of your field!
- New Books in Philosophy's Carrie Figdor interviews Chad Engelland about Ostension: Word Learning and the Embodied Mind. How do we learn our first words? What is it that makes the linguistic intentions of others manifest to us, when our eyes follow a pointing finger to an object and associate that object with a word? Chad Engelland addresses these and related questions in Ostension: Word Learning and the Embodied Mind (MIT Press, 2015). Engelland, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas, explores the way in which ostension crosses the Cartesian boundary between body and mind. Drawing on historical and contemporary figures and continental and analytical traditions, he defends an embodied view of ostension in which we directly perceive intentions in ostension rather than infer to them, and gives an account of how we are able to disambiguate gestures through the joint presence of objects in a shared environment.
Politics not otherwise categorized:
- Corey Robin on family values fascism (Donald Trump's proposal to deport all illegal immigrants along with their possibly US-born children): Most ideological justifications of brutality do their work by hiding the brutality under a halo of pretty words. What’s odd about family values fascism is that the halo reveals the brutality. By deporting children along with their parents, you not only keep families together, but you also get rid of more undesirables. It’s a twofer!
- Boston Review's Andrew Mayersohn reviews Ken Silverstein’s recent e-book Pay to Play Think Tanks: Institutional Corruption and the Industry of Ideas. Enough bad publicity from embarrassing anecdotes like the ones Silverstein mentions could help shift think tanks’ incentives, perhaps making them marginally less likely to put out shamelessly partisan reports or hawk their services to interest groups. That would, in turn, slightly reduce money’s impact on political discourse, which would be a minor victory in itself. What it won’t do, however, is provide the kind of widespread transparency that we (mostly) enjoy in the realm of campaign finance—transparency that would help us understand how and to what extent money rules our political system. In its absence, scholars and watchdogs of transparency should do what we can with the data we have, while being aware that we are engaged in a drunkard’s search that may not always reveal the true patterns of power.
- LA Review of Books' Jacqui Shine reviews Andrew Hartman's A War for the Soul of America : A History of the Culture Wars. As a cultural force the baby boomers became glue the first time that Bill Clinton and Al Gore dressed up like Jake and Elwood Blues and played along with a band in front of a bunch of people. They still control everything else though, and as a proud Gen Exer it's my lot to whinge in utmost futility about it. May future generations learn from our stupidity.
- What happened to Europe? What's happening to Canada?'
- Dilbert's Scott Adams makes a pretty credible explanation of what exactly Donald Trump is up to.
Race and Racism:
- Have you ever wondered whether black people are magic? Then you are probably white... and racist... and a bit crazy. But at least you aren't alone, according to studies, that actually had to be done about this sort of thing, because, you know, white people.
- Speaking of black people and magic, how about black professors working in a few magic tricks? That would probably fit student expectations, according to this article about black professors having to be more entertaining.
- Did you ever feel like your criticisms of #blacklivesmatter are sooooo not racist? Like, your criticisms are so clearly distinct from the criticisms that crazy racists made against someone like Dr. King. Well, before feeling too secure about that, check out Dr. King's hate mail, here.
- NYTimes on the continuation on how the racial wealth gap in the United States is resistant to education.
- Libere's Dan Linford argues that disciples of Hassan i Sabbah (or Sartre, for that matter) are being just a bit hasty with that whole "everything's permitted" schtick.
- Speaking of the video at the right, does anyone remember Jan Hooks's Tammy Jean routine from the old Bill Tush show?
- A group of influential Islamic scholars join Pope Francis and issue a report on climate change. Roman Catholics and Muslims make up about 3/7ths of the worlds population. The strongly expressed theological support for action from both traditions is maybe some cause for optimism?
Science and Technology:
- In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.
- Slate's David Auerbach on insanely demanding jobs in the tech sector.
- The 538 has a piece arguing that Science Isn't Broken despite the rise in retractions of studies.
- It isn't enough they're designing machines that can think and move and kill. Now they have a machine that can vomit. Is nothing sacred? I mean, I'd say that it makes me want to puke, but what's the point? No human could ever hope to match that abomination's spewage.
- I09 offers some ways to avoid grey goo scenarios. (Not included on the list: a helpful animal-character PSA spokesperson, like Smokey the Bear. "Only YOU can prevent the development of omniphagous, self-replicating nanotech." Maybe an iguana. Or a walrus.)
- There's always a lot of complaints about player salaries, but Darrelle Revis is arguably the best shutdown corner in the NFL, and he negotiates his way to salaries he truly deserves, as discussed here.
- A new presidential contender from, um, let's say the South is making waves.
- See entry #2 in Religion.
- Ex-Target shoppers apparently unable to avoid that one bridge.
- Seriously, who finds a mole in his operation, invites the guy out to dinner? Jesus, that’s who.
- The God Gun.
- Philosophy as therapy as therapy.
- Karl Marx as teenager.
- Selections From H.P. Lovecraft’s Brief Tenure as a Whitman’s Sampler Copywriter.
This Week's Cool Podcasts/Videos:
- See This Week's WiPhi.
- Alistair Norcross on the immorality of premarital abstinence.
- Philosophy Talk’s John Perry and Ken Taylor on Leibniz.
- The Philosopher Zone’s Joe Gelonesi on mind uploading.
- Philosophy Bites'Nigel Warburton interviews a range of people on just what the heck philosophy is.
- The Partially Examined Life's Mark Linsenmayer on Augustine on Being Good.
This Week’s IEP:
This Week’s NDPR:
- Jakob Elster reviews Fiona Woollard's Doing and Allowing Harm.
- Donald A. Landes reviews Andrea Bardin's Epistemology and Political Philosophy in Gilbert Simondon: Individuation, Technics, Social Systems.
- Yuri Cath reviews Edouard Machery and Elizabeth O'Neill (eds.)' Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy.
- Colin Marshall reviews Nathaniel Jason Goldberg's Kantian Conceptual Geography.
- Richard Velkley reviews Robin Douglass' Rousseau and Hobbes: Nature, Free Will, and the Passions.
- Gary Watson reviews Trudy Govier's Victims and Victimhood.
- Bradley Rettler reviews Francesco Berto and Matteo Plebani's Ontology and Metaontology: A Contemporary Guide.
- Ioannis D. Evrigenis reviews Andre Archie's Politics in Socrates' Alcibiades: A Philosophical Account of Plato's Dialogue Alcibiades Major.
- Michael Forster reviews Karl Ameriks' (ed.) The Impact of Idealism: The Legacy of Post-Kantian German Thought; Volume I, Philosophy and Natural Sciences.
- Lenny Clapp reviews Ernie Lepore and Matthew Stone's Imagination and Convention: Distinguishing Grammar and Inference in Language.
This Week's SEP:
- Privacy and Medicine (Anita Allen) [REVISED: August 20, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography.
- Qualia (Michael Tye) [REVISED: August 20, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography.
This Week’s WiPhi:
- Eduardo Mendieta's Race and Racist Institutions.
- More distressworthy news from up north. Inside Higher Ed's take here.
- The show me state shows graduate students the door. The problem isn't the ACA here. It was that the University of Missouri gave us non-ACA compliant insurance, purposely banned us from working more than 28 hours per week to earn the good faculty/staff insurance, knew about the consequences it for nearly a month, and didn't bother to tell us until after the close of business on Friday evening. The University had the ability to do the right thing from the start. They just didn't chpose to. This has been years in the making.
- Perhaps the only service job that rivals departmental leadership in terms of overall-sucking is assessment. No one wants to do it, but someone has to. I think. Or, at least, we are told. Surely, at some time, there were good reasons for it--one can even imagine what they were. But, at this point, is assessment actually making anything better? Read here to find out, or not find out. Or, at least, you can assess the article's contributions to the overall goal of finding out.
- Phil Percs own Helen De Cruz at Philosophers' Cocoon on how to organize an academic conference.
- Digressions&Impressions' Eric Schliesser on what might follow from the fact that academic philosophy is not a moral community.
- Flavorwire's Sarah Selzer presents five reasons to doubt scaremongering about campus coddling.
- Most of the examples to support these pieces are purely anecdotal.
- Conservatives are in fact more likely to be “sensitive” and “babyish” about content, yet all the alarm is about liberalism.
- There may be real ways that millennials have a different cultural outlook, but no one is exploring the cause and effect of technology and culture on that outlook.
- There are crises in academia, but they are not solely curricular or student-caused.
- PTSD is not a being a baby.
- LA Times' Chris Kirkham and Alan Zarembo describe how for profit colleges take advantage of the GI Bill.
- Academeblog's Aaron Barlow chronicles the ongoing decline of for profit colleges. Can the other command heights be too far behind?
- the guardian's Joana Williams critiques a little area of management/assessment cultural hell in Great Britain.
- Frederick DeBoer argues that the labor market is the biggest threat to academic freedom. Part of the reason why I’ve grown so dissatisfied with complaints about “political correctness” on campus, despite being associated with those complaints myself, is that they fail to recognize the self-fulfilling prophecy aspect of all of this. The notion that young academics must watch what they say, for fear of offending students, becomes the tool that accomplishes the effective silencing of young academics itself. I’ve very rarely been told “it was wrong that you wrote that, that argument is unacceptable” by faculty. I have constantly been told “you shouldn’t have written that, because someone out there will find it unacceptable.” I know they mean well. And they may very well be right. But such warnings inevitably become the means through which the conversation is narrowed. Yes, I still maintain worries about the way in which some student activists have attempted to police on-campus expression. But the actual power they have over my own expression has been limited. The power of faculty, who sit on academic job search committees, who work as editors, or who are otherwise in positions of power within academia, is direct and enormous. And while I am confident that the large majority of them believe in and would fight for the concept of intellectual freedom when those conflicts are stark, I also think that as a class many of them are subject to the notion of “baggage,” the vague sense that someone with a public political profile isn’t worth working with when there are so many academics desperate for recognition.
- Huffington Post's Carolyn Gregoire adds to the pile of pieces about how the philosophy major is good for bizness. It's a nice read with some good links.
- Against Professional Philosophy's X and Z critique publish or perish. With impetuous recoil and jarring sound // Th’ infernal doors, and on their hinges grate // Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook //Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut //Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood.
- The Wall Street Journal's Douglas Belkin and Mellisa Korn do a story on adjunctification. Nice of administrators to warn us about rising costs.
What it's Like:
- Being a reality TV show judge.
- Being a patient of a philosopher acting as a therapist.
- Reading Tony Judt in war torn Ukraine.
- Writing fan fiction.
I wonder, by my truth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved; were we not weaned till then,
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.
And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere.
Let sead discoveries to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess our world; each hath one and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp North, without declining West?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one; or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.