By Jon Cogburn
A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs. In the shadow under the green visor of the cap Ignatius J. Reilly’s supercilious blue and yellow eyes looked down upon the other people waiting under the clock at the D.H. Holmes department store, studying the crowd of people for signs of bad taste in dress. Several of the outfits, Ignatius noticed, were new enough and expensive enough to be properly considered offenses against taste and decency. Possession of anything new or expensive only reflected a person’s lack of theology and geometry; it could even cast doubts upon one’s soul.
- John Kennedy O' Toole
Saturday, September 18th
- Saturday (9-19-15) Linkorama. I know this book and it has those poems in it, all about Being Alive In The Fresh Air And Living With Your Woman And Eating Good Food And Smoking Pot And Watching Your Woman Getting Dinner Ready The Way Her Simple Skirt Molds Itself To Her Full Hips Outside The Voices Of The Children As The Evening Comes Down On The Mountains [Screw] You America You Can’t Change This.
- The Arendtian Source of My Disillusionment of American Presidential Politics: Rational and Factual Truth. J. Edward Hackett uses disenchantment with American politics as a jumping off point to explain some of Hannah Arendt's thinking about politics. Interesting stuff. I had no idea that Scheler and Arendt was on to some of the same critiques of mass culture that most of us associate with members of the Frankfurt School.
- In Search of the Essence of Kripke’s Puzzle About Belief. Tristan Haze further defends what his account of semantic granularity says about Pierre, who (maybe) thinks London is both pretty and ugly and isn't aware that he does so.
- Ignore the Machine. Duncan Richter shares a recent article in military ethics showing institutionally mandated acquiescence to BS ends up leading to a kind of systematic cynicism that breeds ethical lapses:
- two factors that can make lying the norm are--(a) the belief that everyone else in the system is pretending or lying too, and (b) anxiety that career success depends far more on looking good in terms of things like statistics than in actually doing a good job
- a major contributor to a is the institutional use of euphemism, e.g. “challenges” instead of “problems”
- a and b are then made worse by personnel cuts (increasing the anxiety in b), declining resources (making it harder to do a genuinely good job and more tempting to pretend to do one instead), computers (which encourage the collection of data and filing of reports “made possible by the latest software package or most recently discovered function”), and the alleged decline of honesty society-wide.
- Skepticism, Locke, and Games. Michael LaBossiere considers the way in which skeptical hypotheses might actually present a salutary lesson about the gamification of life. This one actually ties very nicely to BP Morton's very first philpercs post.
- Day in the Life. . . Anonymous does a terrible job preserving her/his own anonymity. (1) We all know which campus has the big sinkhole by the library, an (2) s/he included the title of the anthology he is working on in the post! We tried to get permission to further redact the post, but haven't been able to contact the author this week.
Thursday, September 16th:
- Non-Self-Evident, Non-Demonstrable A Priori Principles in Philosophy. Tristan Haze uses a paint program for his cool cartoons so they have color now. Step away from the green penguin, if you can. I would have grokked the post itself a little bit better if there were a discussion of Russell's view that possessing a priori knowledge requires having enough empirical experience to understand the concepts involved. I'm not sure what more is needed? Is it that the breakdown of analytic and synthetic makes Russell's distinction in practice hopelessly context dependent and in fact arbitrary? I guess it's a good thing that Haze's post has me worried about this, but I'd frankly rather be worried about Priest's gluons this morning. That fly is very busily buzzing around the bottle.
Friday, September 15th:
- Thoughts on the Serenity Prayer. BP Morton points out some substantial flaws in the serenity prayer, noting that the following is more realistic:
God grant me the serenity/courage to accept the things I maybe can’t change and the courage/serenity to strive to change the things I maybe can change cause it sure doesn’t seem like I’m wise enough to tell the difference.Morton also points out that courage and serenity are often antagonistic for finite beings (cf. justice and mercy). The hybrid virtue expressed by the new prayer would involve active reconciliation of these two virtues.
- Cool Job at MU. As is her wont, Phil Percs honors in the breach our prohibition on conference announcements and job advertisements.
Saturday, September 14th:
- A Challenge to Galen Strawson’s “I am Not a Story”. J. Edward Hackett weaves together strands of Jamesian pragmatism, phenomenology, and existentialism to rebut Galen Strawson's recent attack on the narrative notion of the self. Some meditations about the uses and abuses of psychological data there too.
Sunday, September 13th: