By Phil Percs (with Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, James Rocha, and Mona Rocha)
Vix'thra established a cult devoted to his worship, under the leadership of a vampire priest named Sodalis. This cult was based in an Underdark village called Drearing's Deep, where freed slaves came to seek refuge. In exchange for the cult's protection, the villagers were required to offer members of their community to the cult as sacrifices. Sodalis and his vampire cultists would then feast on the flesh and blood of the sacrificial victim, while the bones would be delivered to Vix'thra to be reanimated as an undead servant.
During the Silence of Lolth, the Valsharess began a campaign to declare herself the supreme ruler of the Underdark. Vix'thra entered into an alliance with her, sending undead and bone golems to bolster her army. A great adventurer, seeking ways to weaken Valsharess, travelled to Drearing's Deep and infiltrated the cult. In the deepest chamber of Vix'thra's temple, The adventurer fought Vix'thra, destroyed him and shattered his phylactory, freeing Drearing's Deep from his tyranny and depriving the Valsharess of her undead troops.
- A physicist attempts to explain what makes the world beautiful.
- The Nation's Joanna Scott defends "difficult" fiction.
- 3AM's Tristan Burke reviews Sylvère Lotringer's Mad Like Artaud. I'm angry too!
- Cracked's Christopher Bell describes six stupid characters that Hollywood puts in every movie.
- Characters Aware That Their Movies Are Ridiculous.
- Main Characters Fated To Be Heroes.
- "Kickass" Female Characters Not Really Doing Anything.
- Universal Possession of Magic Expositional Plot Visions.
- Movie Villains Instantly Picking Up The Skills Of The Heroes.
- No One Having Any Fear of Death.
- theguardian's Phil Hoad adduces some surprisingly plausible reasons why special effects heavy Hollywood blockbusters have such horrible plots.
- Boston Review's Ben Merriman tries to make sense of what "the digital humanities" might be doing to literary theory. He discusses Franco Moretti's Distant Reading and The Bourgeois: Between History and Literature,and Matthew Jockers' Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History and Text Analysis with R for Students of Literature. CONCLUDING SPIEL - "In some ways, my criticism of the program of distant reading is unfair. What I point to as weaknesses—the problems of making causal claims, relating data to subjective experiences, explaining the extent to which individual action is constrained, connecting large-scale and small-scale phenomena—are also core theoretical challenges that have dogged American sociology for the last half-century. These are stock objections that would be raised in any graduate seminar. But the difficulties are real and will become more pressing as computational literary research gains the wider attention it deserves."
- Literary Hub's Adam Fitzgerald does a two part interview with poet Fred Moten.
- The Hooded Utilitarian's Roy T. Cook investigates the uses and abuses of the transfinite in comic books.
- Different perspectives on the fight over Rojava from anarchists, communists, and libertarians.
- A historical look at the 1900 assassination of King Umberto I of Italy in response to a brutal suppression of a workers' demonstration.
- Also in anarchist history, a 1920 prison speech by Salvador Segui on Anarchism and Syndicalism.
- A couple of upcoming anarchist book fairs: in Melbourne and Seattle.
- A look at Noam Chomsky's anarchism, which of course is not anarcho-capitalism, in case you were wondering.
- Want to see the state's power in action? Check out this story of a Kentucky cop handcuffing a third grader, and read about a 7 year old being banished and spurned for his Atheism (spelled with a scarlet 'A') in a public school.
- What else is the state up to around the world? Well, there's always the global war on terror, which, according to this report, has led to the deaths of at least four million Muslims.
Ethics and Political Philosophy:
- Ever think about how weird it is that our society celebrates someone like Chris American Sniper Kyle? Here's an argument against considering him to be a hero.
- Are there important ethical issues for self-driving cars? Find out here and here.
- The debate on effective altruism continues.
- Given the Planned Parenthood sting video brouhaha, it's probably worth rereading Scott Rae's "Spare Parts from the Unborn: The Ethics of Fetal Tissue Transplantation." The rest of us would benefit from dailynous or pea soup hosting a "philosophers on" this stuff.
- Pace Rae, NYTimes Nathalia Holt defends the use of fetal tissue in medical research.
- Pace Rae, Holt, and probably every person reading this, Boston Globe's Steven Pinker tells bioethicists to get off his yard. Why do so many people who write pop-science feel the need to gratuitously crap on Philosophy? If Phil Percs had an in house Lacanian on call we could get this all cleared up post haste. But maybe nobody would understand the explanation. . .
- The Conversation's Matthew Beard replies to Pinker.
- Anticapitalist Initiative's JD Taylor presents a critique of the Accelerationist Manifesto. Overall a good piece, maybe halfway towards full-on Decelerationism.
- BBC's David Robson showcases Delroy Paulhus' research into everyday evil.
- Al Jazeera's Lori Gruen on people's reaction to Cecil the Lion. Also see Disability and Disadvantage's Shelley Tremain hosting Gruen on the reaction to her piece.
Gender and its discontents:
- Here's a feminist farewell to Jon Stewart: thanks Jon for bringing feminism to late night!
- Not a feminist yet? Well, perhaps it is because you haven't seen feminist depictions of gender problems through Disney Princesses! This writer tells us that she has learned everything she knows about gender, sexism, and feminism, from analogies to Disney Princess. This is either a brilliant piece of witty satire, attacking a very specific form of hipersterish-slacktivism, or it is really, really frightening.
- For anyone who is watching Orange is the New Black and not really taking home the message, the real Piper tells us about the desperate need for prison reform.
- Catherine couldn't get her novel published, so what could she do? Why change her name to George, of course!
- Victim blaming continues to plague rape investigations. In this case, the police appear to accuse a rape victim of being a "party girl."
- Does Hermione have any gender equality in that purse of hers? Well, Emma Watson is attempting to spread the word about gender equality to the fashion world, here.
- The Bechdel test has grown in popularity as a low bar of equal gender representation within a film, but this new study points to the problem across films: women are given less than a third of speaking parts across major films.
- What goes on at a Men's Right Seminar? Check out this brief account, if you really want to know.
- Lingua Franca's Amitava Kumar recounts Judith Butler speaking at Occupy Wall Street with a link to the video.
- Everyday Feminism's Jon Greenberg provides seven everyday examples of male privilege.
- Short morning routines.
- Authority confirming gender.
- Easy access to bathrooms.
- Ability to show skin.
- Moving about without fear of harassment, assault, or rape.
- Enjoying the internet without gender based harassment.
- Being widely and positively portrayed.
- theguardian's Laura Bates on the huge sexist bias that female academics face.
Good News for Defenders of the Evidential Version of the Argument from Evil:
- Locust invasion destroys Russian crops.
- Russian government destroys tons of imported foodstuffs to enforce ban.
- New Left Review's Perry Anderson on incommensurate Russia.
- African American Intellectual History Society's Keisha N. Blain presents the final part of the roundtable on Hakim Adi's Pan-Africanism and Communism. This final post is Professor Adi's response to the earlier posts by others.
- TLS's Kathryn Sullivan reviews Michael Bundock's The Fortunes of Francis Barber.
- The New Republic's Patrick Iber explores the sheer risibility of attempts to revive the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
- LARB's Tom Streithorst explains why the rent is so damned high.
- The New Rambler excerpts Paul Ham's HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath.
How to. . .
- Survive-the-Cascadia-zone-quake. A followup to to Kathryn Schultz's terrifying New Yorker piece on the Big One coming to the Pacific Northwest. Key advice: "If you're an out-of-towner planning to spend the night in the tsunami zone: don't."
In a funk?
Logic and Language:
- See entry #7 in Aesthetics.
- There is some truth in that's Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa proposes a counterexample to Rachel McKinnon's 'Supportive Reasons Norm.'
- Paul Raymont's broadly philosophical links.
- The Prindle Post's what we're reading this week.
- Daily Nous' heap of links.
- The Atlantic's week in pop culture writing.
Metaphysics, broadly construed:
- Alain Badou's What is Philosophy? lectures.
- Enemy Industry's David Roden defuses the Galapagos objection to Speculative Posthumanism.
- Michael D. Kirchhoff and Daniel D. Hutto's "Never Mind the Gap: Neurophenomenology, Radical Enactivism and the Hard Problem of Consciousness."
- aeon's Andreas Elpidorou argues that, like pain, boredom is necessary. QUOTE- "Now, imagine a life that is devoid of boredom. On first glance, many of us might find such a prospect desirable, even ideal. But consider it more carefully. We are not talking about a life bereft of boring situations. Someone like Gibson is free of pain only insofar as he cannot experience it. Such a life, however, still contains dangerous and harmful things. Similarly, the life of someone who cannot experience boredom will be free of boredom – but only because the subject of this life cannot experience boredom. If we did not have the capacity for boredom, then any situation – regardless of how trivial, banal, or humdrum it might be – would fail to strike us as boring. Nothing would be boring. Not the experience of listening to the same lecture over and over again. Not the seemingly endless time spent waiting in offices. Yet some situations should bore us."
Race and Racism:
- Tuskegee type experiments didn't just happen in Tuskegee. Johns Hopkins faces a one billion dollar lawsuit from nearly 800 Guatemalans infected by Hopkins affiliated researchers with venereal diseases in the 1940s.
- Young Straight White Males run Hollywood! Conspiracy Theory? Or empirically established and rather trivial fact? You decide by checking out this Vanity Fair piece. For example, "Of the speaking characters in the 100 top films of 2014, 73.1 percent were “White."" After giving us that statistic, Vanity Fair reminds us that Emma Stone played an Asian woman in a recent movie… Huh, could Hollywood be racist???
- Hilary Clinton stated that racism is not simply a symptom of economic inequality. Who could disagree with that? Seth Ackerman could and does in the Jacobin.
- Slate covers the most damning parts of Darren Wilson's New Yorker profile.
- Phil Percs' own Helen De Cruz publishes the twelfth Prosblogian interviews (with Amber Griffioen) about philosopher's religious practices.
- BBC's James Morgan decodes the symbols on the Detroit Baphomet statue.
- The American Conservative's Rod Dreher warns us about said statue.
- Alternet's Valerie Tarico attributes twelve horrible ideas to religion.
- Chosen People.
- Holy War.
- Glorified Suffering.
- Genital Mutilation.
- Blood Sacrifice.
- Eternal Life.
- Male Ownership of Female Fertility.
- Biblioatry (aka Book Worship).
- aeon's Natalie Emmons ponders the weird fact that people everywhere are strongly drawn to #10 of the previous list.
- Irrational Man (the new Woody Allen film, not your office mate or the really nice Walter Kaufman book on existentialism).
Philosophers, Stylin' and Profilin':
- As we say good-bye to Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Princeton University Press takes a look back at Harry Frankfurt's appearance on the show. No, he really was on the show. I'm not BS-ing you.What is Love?
- Here, we find animated takes on what various philosophers and thinkers think about love.
- 3AM Magazine's Richard Marshall interviews Philip Kitcher. INEVITABLE BIT OF ALMOST CERTAINLY UNINTENTIONAL CATTINESS: "I have enormous respect for Derek Parfit, although he seems to me bound within an unfortunate philosophical tradition – rather like the extraordinarily brilliant exponents of Ptolemaic astronomy in the Middle Ages. Parfit believes that philosophers have a priori sources of knowledge that enable them to arrive at eternal truths."
- New Books in Philosophy's Robert Talisse interviews Max Deutsch about his new book The Myth of the Intuitive: Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Method. QUOTE - "Deutsch defends analytic philosophy against the x-phi critique by showing that, in fact, analytic philosophers do not treat intuitions as evidence. Drawing on careful readings of the texts that are the central targets of the x-phi critique, Deutsch shows that analytic philosophers rarely appeal to intuitions as if they provided evidential support."
- Pea Soup's Hille Paakkunainen interviews Christine Korsgaard and Tamar Schapiro.
- See entry #1 in Religion.
Science and Technology:
- The Concourse's Albert Burneko pens a hate letter to poor HitchBOT. QUOTE - "The United States has many actual robots; they assemble Chevrolets, and throw pitches, and do battle on TV, and fall down, and probably other things too. The day the United States has need for a malingering robo-hobo with no skills that sits next to the road like a bag of shit and asks people to do things for it, we will build one for ourselves, and have the good sense to give it lasers."
- Forbes' Patrick Lin cites Jerry Kaplan on why computers probably won't kill us after all.
- Quanta Magazine's Michael Nielson discusses computer assisted explanation.
- fitisafeministissue's Audrey argues that Ronda Rousey is not a feminist hero, and that's fine!
- Philosophy major and star NFL running back, Arian Foster, admits to being an atheist. We have yet to see if this will affect his fantasy draft status.
- Grantland takes a look at the life of an agent at the outskirts of professional basketball, trying to sell American players, who are still looking to make their dreams come true, overseas.
- When news hit of offensive lineman Jevonte Domond's arrest for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, LSU immediately suspended him, with Coach Les Miles saying, ""it's a crime that we cannot condone and behavior that we will not tolerate.” Well, as the season nears and the media attention moves away, Miles seemed to have changed his mind and Domond has been reinstated.
- Random useful websites. You click the button; it opens a Huh, that's actually pretty neat website in a new tab. I can't stop clicking.
- Warner Herzog motivational posters.
- A Bruce Springsteen album where nobody exercises their personal demons.
- How things work.
- A paradigm case of trolling web con artists.
- Star Trek with philosophers. I don't know who the guys in red shirts would be.
- Cthulu announces presidential run.
This Week's Cool Podcasts/Videos:
- Robert Brandom on a pragmatist theory of concepts.
- History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps' Peter Adamnon on Peter Olivi on perception and attention.
- History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps' Peter Adamnon interviews Juhana Toivanen on medieval philosophers on animals.
- Philosophy Bites Nigel Warburton presents Shelley Kagan on Speciesism.
- The Philosopher's Zone's Joe Gelonesi discusses philosophy as preparation for death.
- The Partially Examined Life's Mark Linsenmayer presents Part 2 of a discussion with Eva Brann on the history of will.
This Week’s IEP:
This Week’s NDPR:
- John-Erik Stig Hansen reviews Katrien Devolder's The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
- Richard Holton reviews Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder's In Praise of Desire.
- Paul M. Livingston reviews Burhanuddin Baki's Badiou's Being and Event and the Mathematics of Set Theory.
- Craig Bourne reviews Storrs McCall's The Consistency of Arithmetic and Other Essays.
- Trent Dougherty reviews Hud Hudson's The Fall and Hypertime.
- Ryan Davis reviews Patrick Riordan's Global Ethics and Global Common Goods.
- Antonio Calcagno reviews Janae Sholtz's The Invention of a People: Heidegger and Deleuze on Art and the Political.
- Pete Mandik reviews Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick (eds.)' Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds.
- Andrew Bowie reviews Julia Peters' Hegel on Beauty.
- Gabrielle B. Jackson reviews Berit Brogaard (ed.)' Does Perception Have Content?
This Week’s SEP:
- Nicolaus Copernicus (Sheila Rabin) [REVISED: August 5, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html
- Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (Elizabeth Anderson) [REVISED: August 5, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Paul Redding) [REVISED: August 4, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
- Gottlob Frege (Edward N. Zalta) [REVISED: August 4, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, catalog.html
- The Phenomenology of the Munich and Göttingen Circles (Alessandro Salice) [NEW: August 3, 2015]
- Identity and Individuality in Quantum Theory (Steven French) [REVISED: August 3, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
- Trust (Carolyn McLeod) [REVISED: August 3, 2015]
Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
- Conservatism (Andy Hamilton) [NEW: August 1, 2015]
This Week’s WiPhi:
- Jonathan Anomaly presents Rational Choice Theory: What are Public Goods?
- Not a SEP article, but an article on the SEP.
- dailynous' Justin presents the first ought experiment, concerning love of philosophy. QUOTE - ". . .what it is that you’re loving or appreciating or tolerating can also vary. For some it’s the puzzle-solving, or the raw creativity of staring at a computer screen or dry erase board and genuinely wondering what answers will emerge. Some love shaping young minds, and seeing them wrestle with new ideas and what those ideas might mean to them. Some love collaboration, and some need to work alone. Some love conferences and exposure, and some find them in-crowdy or exhausting. Some love doing public philosophy, and some dismiss it as diluted philosophy. Some might just love the miasmic vortex of anti-fashion that is the philosopher’s dress code. And what, specifically, you love or appreciate or tolerate about philosophy might change as you move through your career. The point, again, is that there’s no right answer here. Unless what you love is faculty meetings. If you love faculty meetings, then you’re wrong."
- The Daily Beast's Samantha Allen on how the University of Phoenix might be reverting to ash. Thanks Obama (actually written non-facetiously).
- Obscenity of the week.
- Against Professional Philosophy's Z excoriates professional philosophers.
- Philosophy behind bars.
- Slate's Rebecca Schuman interviews Karen Kelsky, who charges money to help seekers of tenure track jobs, about her new book The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job. QUOTE - "It isn't just the evaporation of tenure-track lines and the scandal of adjunctification. It’s the systematic debt that is now part of the graduate school experience. Graduate school debt is the fastest-growing form of student debt. According to the National Science Foundation, the average grad student debt is almost $60,000, and 20 percent of graduate students owe over $100,000. This is not in law and medicine. This is in the humanities, where there isn’t the faintest hope of a salary sufficient to pay off those amounts, even in the unlikely event that the student gets a tenure-track offer."
- Court Holds That U. of Illinois Broke Contract in Salaita Case. An important victory, albeit narrowly decided enough so that it looks like universities who write their contracts more carefully will be able to get away with doing the same thing.
What it's Like:
- Being a black anime fan.
- Playing all of Fallout 3 as an infant character.
- Being queer and Muslim.
- Getting brain surgery.
- Working a French crisis phone line.
THE BROAD-BACKED hippopotamus
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.
Flesh and blood is weak and frail,
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.
The hippo’s feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.
The ’potamus can never reach
The mango on the mango-tree;
But fruits of pomegranate and peach
Refresh the Church from over sea.
At mating time the hippo’s voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every week we hear rejoice
The Church, at being one with God.
The hippopotamus’s day
Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;
God works in a mysterious way—
The Church can sleep and feed at once.
I saw the ’potamus take wing
Ascending from the damp savannas,
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas.
Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.
He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr’d virgins kist,
While the True Church remains below
Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.