By Philadora Percs (with Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, Duncan Richter, and James Rocha)
Behold, the Spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!
Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land.
Yet, hear me, people, we have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.
They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. The nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all that are in its path.
- Rob Beschizza took H.P. Lovecraft's famous story "Call of Cthulhu" and edited out similes, metaphors, and adjectives. It's like... It's... I would describe it as... Hm.
- 3AM excerpts Eugene Thacker's Starry Speculative Corpse. What Kant doesn’t consider is that reason might actually be connected to depression, rather than stand as its opposite. What if depression – reason’s failure to achieve self-mastery – is not the failure of reason but instead the result of reason? What if human reason works “too well,” and brings us to conclusions that are anathema to the existence of human beings? What we would have is a “cold rationalism,” shoring up the anthropocentric conceits of the philosophical endeavor, showing us an anonymous, faceless world impervious to our hopes and desires. And, in spite of Kant’s life-long dedication to philosophy and the Enlightenment project, in several of his writings he allows himself to give voice to this cold rationalism.
- 3AM excerpts Eugene Thacker's Tentacles Longer than Night. In the second volume of this series – Starry Speculative Corpse – I proposed “mis-reading” works of philosophy as if they were works of horror. There we saw how each philosophy contains a thought or set of thoughts that it cannot think without risking the integrity of the philosophical endeavor itself. In this volume – Tentacles Longer Than Night – I would propose we do the same. Except that, in this case, we will be mis-reading works of horror as if they were works of philosophy. What if we read Poe or Lovecraft as philosophers rather than as writers of short stories? What if we read Poe or Lovecraft as non-fiction? This means that the typical concerns of the writer or literary critic – plot, character, setting, genre, and so on – will be less relevant to us than the ideas contained in the story – and the central thought that runs through much of supernatural horror is the limit of thought, human characters confronted with the limit of the human. In short, we will be taking the horror genre as being essentially idea-driven, rather than plot-driven (and this certainly bears itself out in writers such as Lovecraft and his circle). In fact, I would even go so far as to say that what is unique about the horror genre – and particularly supernatural horror – is its indifference to all the accoutrements of human drama. All that remains is the fragmentary and sometimes lyrical testimony of the human being struggling to confront its lack of “sufficient reason” in the vast cosmos. And even this is not sufficient.
- TNR's excerpts Rachel Cusk's Introduction to a collection of Kingsley Amis' short stories. The part of Frank that could be seen above the back of the pew seemed to Alec to offer a good deal of information. The thick black hair was heavily greased; the neck bulged in a way that promised a roll of fat there in due course; the snowily white shirt- collar and the charcoal-grey suit material did somehow or other manage to suggest, not lack of taste exactly, but the attitude that money was more interesting.
- The Atlantic's Joshua Dietz on the fortieth anniversary of Born to Run.
- oooo! A 1982-era, in-house style guide for DC Comics characters drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.
- Michael J. Lewis lays out his take on how art became irrelevant.
- Here is a great resource for learning more about political prisoners, and their addresses in case you would like to correspond with them.
- Feminists form methods of justice that avoid the use of the police.
Ethics and Political Philosophy:
- As we head back to classes, Andrew Fiala has some good advice for students on the ethics of education. That is, we would like our students to treat their own education as a process with inherent goodness that they ought to act virtuously toward.
- One of our most important ethical tools is being able to spot a villain in a movie. Yet, did we get it right with the Karate Kid? Here's some compelling cases that Danielson is the true face of evil.
- Aeon's Antonia Malchik on the right to walk and how Americans lost it.
- Jacobin's Mathew Snow against charity.
- Pea Soup hosts a symposium on Matt King's "Manipulation Arguments and the Moral Standing to Blame".
- The New Rambler's John C.P. Goldberg reviews R. H. Helmholz's Natural Law in Court: A History of Legal Theory in Practice.
Gender and its Discontents:
- Somebody please do something quick about the fraternity system. The way the old line "that's somebody's sister/mother/daughter" gets deployed is beyond problematic, because it only makes sense if "that's a human being" isn't good enough. And the offensive frat signs taunting fathers dropping their freshmen daughters off to school show that being someone's daughter or mother isn't enough in any case for people like that.
- And this. Yes. Yes, we should ban frats.
- Entry #6 in Superfunpack.
- A girl was bullied for liking Star Wars. But now she is a member of the 501st Legion, and got to meet Weird Al!
- Regardless of what you think about outing people on Ashley Madison, it seems quite interesting to learn that there were almost no women using the service.
- A truly excellent consent form for women seeking abortions from a doctor in Texas, shared by a Redditor who terminated her pregnancy for medical reasons.
- Characteristically good John Corvino piece, his first in the Stone. Reddit discussion surprisingly interesting.
- 1755 - Expulsion of the Acadians.
- 1830 - 1850 Trail of Tears.
- 1915 - Armenian Genocide.
- 1947 - Partition of India.
- 1929-1950 Population Transfers in the Soviet Union.
- 2016 - ?????? I’m sure some will tell me that using a phrase associated with some of the worst crimes against humanity in history to describe a “mere immigration enforcement” operation is beyond the pale. But what is actually beyond the pale is that Trump’s proposal for ethnic cleansing is so popular among the US population. It is an abomination that 6,000 human beings have suffered agonizing deaths while attempting to get into the US over the past two decades. Compounding this injury is the insult that the US is perceived as “coddling” undocumented immigrants when the opposite is the truth. A liberal reluctance to describe the Vietnam War as a campaign of mass murder has opened space for right-wing revisionists to proclaim that the US military was too “soft” in that war and that the rules of engagement somehow hampered an easy victory. Let us not have the same hesitation. Ethnic cleansing is not a matter of “reasonable policy debate,” it is a war crime and should be discussed as such.
How to. . .
- Write like a bad philosopher.
Logic and Language:
- M-Phi's Catarina Dutilh Novaes' "Formal Methods in Philosophy: a Brief Introduction (Part I)."
- Philosophy, lit, etc.'s Paul Raymont's August philosophy links.
- Daily Nous' heap of links.
- What the Prindle Posters are reading on August 27th.
Metaphysics, broadly construed:
- R. Scott Bakker's “Alien Philosophy” pieces (here and here) garnered some thoughtful responses both from Peter Hankins at Conscious Entities, and from Rick Searle at both Utopia or Dystopia and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
- David Roden, "On Reason and Spectral Machines: An Anti-Normativist Response to Bounded Post-Humanism."
Philosophy’s Extrinsic Values (Major Recruitment):
- Another article discussing the virtues of taking philosophy classes. Hey, we keep taking the classes, our students keep growing from them, just got to spread the word!
- On the other hand, it seems Vox solicited a piece from philosopher Torbjörn Tännsjö in which he would (as is his wont) endorse the repugnant conclusion. He wrote the piece. Vox rejected it because, well, it endorsed a conclusion that readers would likely find repugnant. Tännsjö is miffed. Leiter Reports has the rundown. Non-philosopher Kevin Drum is unimpressed, framing the affair as exhibit A of why no one cares about modern philosophy.
Philosophers, Stylin' and Profilin':
- Discrimination and Disadvantage's Shelley Tremain interviews Anne Waters.
- Philosop-her's Meena Krishnamurthy features Talia Bettcher, who is doing really interesting work at the intersection of philosophy and trans studies.
- Philosop-her's Meena Krishnamurthy features Devonya N. Havis. The questions at the forefront of my research and teaching have prompted me to explore what might constitute Black Women’s Philosophies, how the French philosopher Michel Foucault can be used to illustrate state-sponsored racisms embedded in “Stand Your Ground Laws,” and ways of using parhessia as an index for liberatory practice. My current book project’s working title is Creating a Black Vernacular Philosophy. I have also co-developed an academic seminar that immerses Canisius College students in the context of Buffalo’s predominantly Black East Side communities.
Politics/Sociology/etc. not otherwise categorized:
- Conservative pundit at Redstate.com Leon H. Wolf gives an amusing account of "The Awesome, Terrible Majesty of a Donald Trump Press Conference."
- Speaking of the Majestic One, New Republic's Jeet Heer insists he's not populist, just the voice of aggrieved privilege. Crooked Timber's Eric Rauchway responds by offering some background on the US People's Party and its resemblances to the worldview that begins with "fasc" and ends with "ism."
(Pseudo?-)Science and Techmology:
- You read a study, you trust the study. I mean, p-value, right? Am I right? But, what if the study can't be easily replicated? And how would we know if it could? Luckily, a large scale study was undertaken in psychology, and it was discovered that only 36% worked out the second time around. Of course, some of this is explainable, but 36% is clearly too low to be anything but a field-shattering problem. Fortunately, Phil Percs has undertaken the task of replicating 100 philosophy thought experiments by forging modally real possible worlds to determine how well philosophy is doing. Stay tuned, dear readers, for our results, which shall be announced as soon as those worlds have completed their histories.
- Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children's genes.
Race and Racism:
- Slate's Jamelle Bouie on how Hurricane Katrina exposed our nation's astonishing disregard of black agony. In addition to disbelief that Katrina was a racial story, research and polling also showed a white public that held survivors in contempt. In a 2006 study that examined white and black attitudes toward Katrina victims, political scientists Leonie Huddy and Stanley Feldman found that 65 percent of white respondents blamed residents and the mayor for being trapped in New Orleans. In a CNN/USA Today survey, half of all whites said that people who broke into stores and took things were “mostly criminals,” compared to 77 percent of blacks who said they were “mostly desperate people” trying to find a way to survive. (Pew had similar findings.) If you turned to right-wing media, you’d find unvarnished disdain for those left behind in the city.
- Our black philosophers de-intellectualized? Lewis Gordon worries that Fanon is not sufficiently taken seriously as a deep thinker: it is his experiences of struggle, instead of theories of struggle that get the most attention, and this may be a worrisome trend.
- Is anyone sufficiently covering how impossible it is be white in America today? Well, if anyone is going to do us this service, it would have to be Fox News.
- Slavery is such an important part of US History that it makes sense that there's a whole ONE museum about it, that opened fairly recently.
- African American Intellectual History Society's Chris Cameron hosts a guest post by Andrea Milne on how the Straight Outta Compton movie misrepresents the response to Easy E's death from AIDS. Unfortunately, in failing to mention the rash of misinformation and conspiracy theories that spread around the country following Eazy E’s death, “Straight Outta Compton” unintentionally laid the groundwork for that cultural memory to grow. In a film that highlights many a terrible continuity (i.e. urban poverty, institutional racism, and police brutality), our collective understanding of AIDS was one of the few places where the filmmakers assumed a tectonic cultural change. Sadly, that assumption was incorrect.
- Are you a would-be televangelist blessed with the Word but stymied by a lack of publicity? Waiting Praying for your big break? Have we got a reality TV show competition for you: So You Think You Can Preach.
- M's Skinner Layne on growing up as an Arkansas Pharisee. All of these years were spent at the First Baptist Church of Bentonville, Arkansas, where dogma and shallow theology reigned supreme. I assume they still do. I was taught all of the major doctrines of Jesus like judge your neighbor, cast the first stone, gay people are evil, abortion is the most horrible thing to ever happen to America, war is Godly — especially if it’s against Muslims, and oh yeah, God is Love…something like that.
- It is always dangerous to get into whose horrible acts are worse, but it can be a useful reminder to point out that Michael Vick isn't the only QB on the Steelers with some worrisome allegations.
- Speaking of horrible, here's the Derrick Rose rape lawsuit details.
- You know the only thing more fun than visiting a wonderful National Park? Reading bad reviews from people who hated their trips to National Parks.
- For example, here is a complaint demanding more wild bears on this person's visit to Yellowstone.
- First faculty meeting of the year bingo.
- See entry #1 in Aesthetics.
- Žižek Says Thing.
- Twenty-five words your kindergartner absolutely must know before first grade.
- Reasons you were not promoted totally unrelated to gender.
This Week’s Cool Podcasts/Videos:
- The Partially Examined Life's Episode 122 Augustine on Mind and Metaphysics.
- The Philosopher Zone’s Joe Gelonesi on Mottainai: a philosophy of waste.
- Philosophy Bites’Nigel Warburton interviews Kimberley Brownlee on Social Deprivation.
This Week’s IEP:
- Lorne Maclachlan's F. H. Bradley: Logic.
This Week’s NDPR:
- Alex Long reviews Vasilis Politis' The Structure of Enquiry in Plato's Early Dialogues.
- Derek Ball reviews Alexis Burgess and Brett Sherman's Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning.
- Thomas Nenon reviews Dan Zahavi's Self and Other: Exploring Subjectivity, Empathy, and Shame.
- Greg Lynch reviews Jerome Veith's Gadamer and the Transmission of History.
- Franz Knappik reviews Christopher Yeomans's The Expansion of Autonomy: Hegel's Pluralistic Philosophy of Action.
- Dale Jacquette reviews Ted Honderich's Actual Consciousness.
- Pauliina Remes reviews Danielle A. Layne and Harold Tarrant (eds.)' The Neoplatonic Socrates.
- Paul Guyer reviews Robert Doran's The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant.
- Max Kölbel reviews John MacFarlane's Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and its Applications.
- Edward Slingerland reviews Owen Flanagan's Moral Sprouts and Natural Teleologies: 21st Century Moral Psychology Meets Classical Chinese Philosophy.
This Week’s SEP:
- Social Networking and Ethics (Shannon Vallor) [REVISED: August 21, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography.
This Week's WiFi:
- Eugen Fischer's Paradoxes of Perception.
- Helen De Cruz at Philosopher's Cocoon hosts the twentieth job market boot camp, on the British interview.
- Michael Lind wants to abolish the social sciences. He sounds like Hume in wanting to consign certain things to the flames, but unlike Hume in not recognizing that there can be discoverable patterns in human behavior even if we are individually unpredictable. (Which is not to deny that there is an important difference between natural science and social science, as he rightly points out.)
- Duke freshman.
- Feminist Philosopher's noetika comments on the AAUP report on trigger warnings.
- Inside Higher Ed's Kellie Bean argues that administrators are in fact human beings. It's an interesting perspective, not to be dismissed out of hand.
- Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore on the adjunctification scandal. As Frederickson points out, the rapid growth in the use of adjunct faculty is part of a broader phenomenon in which employers seek to build a work-force of part-time contract employees with no messy and expensive benefits, no job security, and where possible, no minimum wage or other public policy protections. What makes this trend so strange in higher education, of course, is that colleges aren’t exactly resource-strapped—or perhaps would not be if they were not spending so much money on cost-centers remote from their instructional missions, from corporate-sponsored research to athletics programs to a vast administrative bureaucracy.
- Another from Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore, this one about Auburn Unviersity's athletics program keeping open a major into which they can track their athletes.
- Alice Domurat Dreger's faq on why she resigned from Northwestern.
What it's Like:
- Being raised as a racist.
- Being Stephen Colbert having to play Stephen Colbert.
- Being an NBA dancer.
- Getting a Ph.D in science.
- Taking your kids to a musical festival.
In the town of Bardez where Armenians
were still dying,
a German woman, trying not to cry
told me the horror she witnessed:
"This thing I'm telling you about,
I saw with my own eyes.
Behind my window of hell
I clenched my teeth
and watched with my pitiless eyes:
the town of Bardez turned
into a heap of ashes.
Corpses piled high as trees.
From the waters, from the springs,
from the streams and the road,
the stubborn murmur of your blood
still revenges my ear.
Don't be afraid. I must tell you what I saw,
so people will understand
the crimes men do to men.
For two days, by the road to the graveyard . . .
Let the hearts of the whole world understand.
It was Sunday morning,
the first useless Sunday dawning on the corpses.
From dusk to dawn in my room,
with a stabbed woman,
my tears wetting her death.
Suddenly I heard from afar
a dark crowd standing in a vineyard
lashing twenty brides
and singing dirty songs.
Leaving the half-dead girl on the straw mattress,
I went to the balcony on my window
and the crowd seemed to thicken like a clump of trees.
An animal of a man shouted, "you must dance,
dance when our drum beats."
With fury whips cracked
on the flesh of these women.
Hand in hand the brides began their circle dance.
Now, I envied my wounded neighbor
because with a calm snore
she cursed the universe
and gave her soul up to the stars . . .
In vain I shook my fists at the crowd.
'Dance,' they raved,
'dance till you die, infidel beauties.
With your flapping tits, dance!
Smile for us.
You're abandoned now, you're naked slaves,
so dance like a bunch of fuckin' sluts.
We're hot for you all.'
Twenty graceful brides collapsed.
'Get up,' the crowd roared,
brandishing their swords.
Then someone brought a jug of kerosene.
Human justice, I spit in your face.
The brides were anointed.
'Dance,' they thundered -
here's a fragrance you can't get in Arabia.'
With a torch, they set
the naked brides on fire.
And the charred bodies rolled
and tumbled to their deaths . . .
I slammed the shutters
of my windows,
and went over to the dead girl
and asked: 'How can I dig out my eyes?"
-Siamanto, Adom Yarjanian