By Jon Cogburn
In vain do individual great men seek to mint new concepts and to set them in circulation — it is pointless. They are used for only a moment, and not by many, either, and they merely contribute to making the confusion even worse, for one idea seems to have become the fixed idea of the age: to get the better of one's superior. If the past may be charged with a certain indolent self-satisfaction in rejoicing over what it had, it would indeed be a shame to make the same charge against the present age (the minuet of the past and the gallop of the present). Under a curious delusion, the one cries out incessantly that he has surpassed the other, just as the Copenhageners, with philosophic visage, go out to Dyrehausen "in order to see and observe," without remembering that they themselves become objects for the others, who have also gone out simply to see and observe. Thus there is the continuous leap-frogging of one over the other — "on the basis of the immanent negativity of the concept", as I heard a Hegelian say recently, when he pressed my hand and made a run preliminary to jumping. — When I see someone energetically walking along the street, I am certain that his joyous shout, "I am coming over," is to me — but unfortunately I did not hear who was called (this actually happened); I will leave a blank for the name, so everyone can fill in an appropriate name.
- S. Kierkegaard
Saturday, September 5th:
- Saturday (September 5th) Linkorama. The jugness of the jug" was how he explained Heidegger to Cal, as if that explained anything at all.
- Passing Thoughts on the Relationship Between Postmodern Nonsense and James’s Pluralism. J. Edward Hackett compares a certain kind of French postmodernism with William James' pluralism. It's very interesting and pretty central stuff, and Terence Blake's response in defense of Badiou and Latour raises the philosophical stakes in cool ways. Looking forward to where J. Ed and Blake takes this. Weird that Latour features both in Blake's response to Hackett and my response to Bensusan's post earlier this week. Given the connections between Bensusan and BP Morton, this has been the most dialogical week at phil percs since this summer's Roden book club.
Thursday, September 3d:
- Do blogs with moving adds fail to reasonably accommodate the disabled? Jon Cogburn maybe should have specified which two blogs he had in mind. In the former case, I should add that I don't understand why Sauron/Voldemort didn't just listen for people saying things like "he who cannot be named." But if it worked in both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, it surely works in the philosophical blogosophere. Right? In the latter case, (like dailynous, which I didn't have in mind) I highly value what the blog in question is doing as well as the people involved and didn't think it would be right to pick them out. First, for things like this, I genuinely have no idea the extent to which people should accommodate neurotics like myself. Part of writing the post was to try to ascertain that with respect to distracting advertisements. And I still don't know. Second, the phenomena is so universal that picking anyone out is a bit unfair. Mark Silcox's comment on the post strengthens my conviction that the decision not to kvetch about specific blogs is correct.
Wednesday, September 2nd:
- Cantor's Theorem and its Discontents. Tristan Haze vents about the manner in which Cantor's theorem is presented as opening up the higher infinite. The ensuing discussion between me, Tristan, BP Morton, Aaron Thomas-Bolduc, and Daniel Nagasse is (IMHO) worth the price of admission alone. Joe Bob says check it out.
- Is Bugs Bunny Trans? B.P. Morton discusses the myriad times Bugs Bunny dressed up in women's clothes. It's a wonderful piece of cultural history (not just about Bugs, but also cross dressing in general) containing a lot of philosophically interesting trans issues.
Tuesday, September 1st:
- Aesthetics in Relation to Ethics. Tristan Haze follows up J. Ed Hackett's earlier musings (which I can't find; please tag all of your posts J. Ed!) about the relations between ethics and aesthetics.
Monday, August 31st:
- Whitehead’s ‘importance’ and the myth of the given. Hilan Bensusan shows how Whitehead was motivated by the myth of the given. As I type this, I'm trying to get some facebook friends who work on this stuff (Carl B. Sachs on the myth, Levi Paul Bryant on Latourain translation, Shaviro on Whitehead) to add their two cents. Among many other things, this possibly connects Latour, Whitehead, and Graham Harman to a rather large chunk of analytic philosophy in a satisfying way.
- Skepticism Beyond Epistemology. B.P. Morton builds on an earlier post by Hilan Bensusan which showed that there was a sense in which the speculative move we normally associate with Schelling's response to idealism ("I am nature") has a precedent in Aenisidimus' response to Sextus Empiricus. It's a very good post, focusing on different motivations for skepticism, but I'm worried B.P. is reading Bensusan backwards. What's distinctive about Bensusan's Aenesidimus is not that Heraclitian metaphysics provides grounds for an epistemology of skepticism, but rather that an epistemology of skepticism might be taken as providing grounds for an Heraclitian metaphysics. And this is why Aenesidiumus (on Bensusan's reading) is a speculative thinker. Morton writes, Aenesidemus can be read as worrying that reality doesn’t provide the right background for human knowledge, that the world is “in a flux, multiple, mixed and undetermined." But this is in the context of accepting Sextus Empiricus' epistemic grounds for skepticism. And it's not a bug, but a feature. This connects to standard worries about skepticism being self-defeating as well as to recent trends in continental metaphysics. But I'll stop speaking for Bensusan and Morton here. I should note that I'm glad Morton misread Bensusan, because it provoked such a lovely and interesting post. Once again, Joe Bob says to check it out.
Sunday, August 30th:
- The Idea of a Platonic Heaven. As soon as we get clear about this we are OK? Nope, Tristan Haze, we are still a long way from being OK. We thought that being a soldier would do the trick, or maybe the gig boxing the ears of schoolchildren in rural Austria. But no. Not OK. Gardening in that monastery? One would think, but still nope. The Vienna Circle? Telling Cambridge scholarship kids to go work in factories? Movie after movie after movie? Front row, no less. Nope, nope, and nope. Posthumous publication of my laundry lists? Forgive my skepticism. I've been through a lot.
- Good Hair Hour Weekend #5: Big Ideas #3 - Openness. The concept "phenomenon" carries over, furthermore, to the changing modes of being conscious of something -- for example, the clear and the obscure, evident and blind modes in which one and the same relation or connection, one and the same state -- of -- affairs, one and the same logical coherency, etc., can be given to consciousness.