By Jon Cogburn
A philosophical thought is not supposed to be impervious to all criticism; this is the error Whitehead describes of turning philosophy into geometry, and it is useful primarily as a way of gaining short-term triumphs in personal arguments that no one else cares (or even knows) about anyway. A good philosophical thought will always be subject to criticisms (as Heidegger’s or Whitehead’s best insights all are) but they are of such elegance and depth that they change the terms of debate, and function as a sort of 'obligatory passage point' … in the discussions that follow.
Or in other words, the reason Being and Time is still such a classic, with hundreds of thousands or millions of readers almost a century later, is not because Heidegger made 'fewer mistakes' than others of his generation. Mistakes need to be cleaned up, but that is not the primary engine of personal or collective intellectual progress.
– Graham Harman
- Hindsight and Insight. Many of John Fletcher's posts are 50 percent funny, 50 percent sadly true. Seriously, there's cool stuff here about how when left to our own we are likely to draw disempowering conclusions from our interactions with people, and this leads to a Hegelian conclusion: Somewhere in my educational journey I absorbed the notion that being a critical thinker means autonomy, an ability to act as my own expert at reflection and insight. Learning to think, after all, involves in part breaking away from the authorities I’d been relying on to make sense of my experiences. I’ve hopefully gained the ability to see the lenses I use to view reality for what they are. I’ve hopefully acquired a new and more diverse and more precise set of lenses. I’ve hopefully developed some sense of how to judge which lenses can serve me best and which can’t. Can’t I think for myself, finally? Well, I suppose I can. But experience leads me to believe that I probably shouldn’t. The best, most important, moments of thinking on our own involve other people. Also, check out this boss Laity Sundasermon by Fletcher.
- Saturday (October 24th) Linkorama. I had at one point this rather depressing image of some alien culture seeing the death of this planet - coming down in their spaceships and sniffing around; finding all our skeletons sitting around our TV sets and trying to work out why our end came before its time and they come to the conclusion that we amused ourselves to death.
Friday, October 23d:
- “...actually changes the brain...” Duncan Richter provides a lovely discussion of how "changes the brain" should set off bullshit detectors. Nearly everything changes the brain, it should only be significant if the changes are major, long lasting, and actually caused by the phenomena in question. There's a nice tangent about how domain general "critical thinking" probably requires ability to recognize domain specific bullshit.
Thursday, October 22nd:
- Ghosts of Philosophy. Michael LaBossiere continues to vindicate the claim that philosophical training can give you insightful things to say about nearly anything with another entry into his series on the metaphysics of monsters (ontological zombies here and werewolves of instantiation here). Entering the whirlpool. // Gentile or Jew // O you who turn the wheel and look windward, // Consider Casper, who was once as cute and short as you.
- Backwards Time Travel: Just Say No. James Rocha begins the process of building an army to combat future him coming back in time to prevent him from building an army to combat. . .
Wednesday, October 21st:
- Thoughs on Scheler and Ross. J. Edward Hackett gives some preparatory comments on his project of using Scheler to better develop Ross' moral intuitionism. It's good stuff.
- David Krajicek’s Pathetic Hatchet Job on Jack Kerouac. Jon Cogburn gets no closer to discerning the conditions under which intentionalism goes awry (this is actually again an important issue where philosophers might be of some help), as it seems to have done since the end of literary deconstructionism.
Tuesday, October 20th:
Monday, October 19th:
- Why Larry David does so much better than Kate McKinnon and every else on stage. Jon Cogburn shares some observations that sometimes veer into the banal (comics and prophets aren't so far apart after all!) albeit with some entertaining videos.
- Making head and tail of sovereignty. Hilan Bensusan links to an interesting post at his blog.
Sunday, October 8th:
- Sunday (October 18th) Morning Recap. Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.