Metaphysics

AGAINST POST-MODERN PHILO-BABBLE: reply to critics

Some people have expressed objections to my posts on Zizek’s DISPARITIES, against their style and utility, treating them as an acute case of post-modern psycho-babble. Here is the outline of a reply: ¶ “Psycho-babble”? No, definitely not. Maybe “philo-babble” would be an appropriate term. ¶ My goal in this series of posts was to write a review of Zizek’s new book that would take his ideas seriously both in themselves and in relation to a broader context of thinkers. In short, I was trying to explicate Zizek’s thought in order to show that it was not just pure “babble” as many of his detractors think, nor that it is the amazing unprecedented theory of everything philosophical that many of his admirers believe it to be. ¶ Zizek’s books can read as a conceptual mess, but I think that I have made some parts of it clearer, even though the use of some jargon is necessary if I want to be faithful to the letter of his text. Of course as I integrate his vocabulary into a larger context I transform its scope. ¶ The first post in particular has also a polemical intent. I wanted to compare Zizek’s philosophy to that of François Laruelle, and to show that Zizek gives us a better, more satisfying, and more comprehensible account. If you want to see real hard-core philo-babble just take a look at Laruelle’s writings. Zizek is much clearer, and usually more entertaining. ¶ The thing that I am proudest... -

Read More @ Agent Swarm

Two people drive drunk at night: one kills a pedestrian, one doesn't. Does the unlucky killer deserve more blame or not?

Robert J Hartman in Aeon: There is a contradiction in our ordinary ideas about moral responsibility. Let’s explore it by considering two examples. Killer, our first character, is at a party and drives home drunk. At a certain point in her journey, she swerves, hits the curb, and kills a pedestrian who was on the curb. Merely Reckless, our second character, is in every way exactly like Killer but, when she swerves and hits a curb, she kills no one. There wasn’t a pedestrian on the curb for her to kill. The difference between Killer and Merely Reckless is a matter of luck. Does Killer deserve more blame – that is, resentment and indignation – than Merely Reckless? Or, do Killer and Merely Reckless... -

Read More @ 3 Quarks Daily
Political Discussion

At the end of a long march they were talking about politics.  “We should go back to the time when everybody felt they were a big family and worked together” said Nimmi.  “That’s crazy” said Raoul.  “That led to incredible loss of life and wars.  We should go back... -

Read More @ Eric Linus Kaplan
‘Make It So’: ‘Star Trek’ and Its Debt to Revolutionary Socialism

¶ A.M. Gittlitz in the NYT: Gorky was a fan of the Cosmism of Nikolai Fyodorov and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a scientific and mystical philosophy proposing space exploration and human immortality. When Lenin died four years after meeting with Wells, the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s line “Lenin Lived, Lenin Lives,... -

Read More @ 3 Quarks Daily

Recent Sites Posting Metaphysics


All Posts in Metaphysics

AGAINST POST-MODERN PHILO-BABBLE: reply to critics Some people have expressed objections to my posts on Zizek’s DISPARITIES, against their style and utility, treating them as an acute case of post-modern psycho-babble. Here is the outline of a reply: “Psycho-babble”? No, definitely not. Maybe “philo-babble” would be an appropriate term. My goal in this series of posts was to write a review of Zizek’s new book that would take his ideas seriously both in themselves and in relation to a broader context... Agent Swarm -


On the old saw, “Remember your enemies are human too” The notion that political enemies are human, too, sharing our common human hopes and fears, triumphs and vulnerabilities, is often deployed in a way to downplay political division and enmity. In reality, though, the fact that our enemies are human, too, is what makes them morally accountable. If they were inhuman monsters who thrived on death and suffering, then we would expect nothing of them but sadism. The fact that they share our common humanity,... An und für sich -


Wittgenstein on Sensation and Perception 2017.07.19 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michael Hymers, Wittgenstein on Sensation and Perception, Routledge, 2017, 202pp., $112.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781844658565. Reviewed by Sonia Sedivy, University of Toronto Scarborough Just what does Wittgenstein's later work suggest about sensation and perception? Given the renewed interest in perception and sensation over the past three decades, these are important questions to pursue. In this book, Michael Hymers highlights the diverse ways in which the... Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -


In Philosophy Now Mahon O’Brien reviews the first Ponderings. Contrary to what some of Heidegger’s most fanatical supporters maintain, these notebooks are not rich philosophical repositories teeming with crucial insights that enhance our understanding of Heidegger’s published work. There are interesting passages here and there, not least his occasional references to Being and Time, which help to shed light on how he himself reflected on the successes and failures of his early work. Notwithstanding, it... Enowning -


Two people drive drunk at night: one kills a pedestrian, one doesn't. Does the unlucky killer deserve more blame or not? Robert J Hartman in Aeon: There is a contradiction in our ordinary ideas about moral responsibility. Let’s explore it by considering two examples. Killer, our first character, is at a party and drives home drunk. At a certain point in her journey, she swerves, hits the curb, and kills a pedestrian who was on the curb. Merely Reckless, our second character, is in every way exactly like Killer but, when she swerves and hits a... 3 Quarks Daily -


10,000 Hours With Claude Shannon: How A Genius Thinks, Works, and Lives Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni in The Mission: For the last five years, we lived with one of the most brilliant people on the planet. Sort of. See, we just published the biography of Dr. Claude Shannon. He’s the most important genius you’ve never heard of, a man whose intellect was on par with Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. We spent five years with him. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, during that period, we spent... 3 Quarks Daily -


“A megateam of reproducibility-minded scientists” look to lowering the p-value . Having discussed the “p-values overstate the evidence against the null fallacy” many times over the past few years, I leave it to my readers to disinter the issues (pro and con), and appraise the assumptions, in the most recent rehearsal of the well-known Bayesian argument. There’s nothing wrong with a more demanding p-value–if you’re so inclined to embrace rigid, dichotomous standards without context-dependent interpretations, especially if larger sample sizes are required to compensate the... Error Statistics -


Spam, spam, spam, spam, … [Reposted/updated from thirty months ago.] There are only two options for any blog. Allow no comments at all; or have a spam-filter that filters what goes into the moderation queue. No way can you moderate by hand all the comments that arrive. For example, since I moved this blog to use WordPress — reports the plug-in at LogicMatters — there have been almost half a million(!) spam postings in the comments here filtered out by... Logic Matters -


Political Discussion At the end of a long march they were talking about politics.  “We should go back to the time when everybody felt they were a big family and worked together” said Nimmi.  “That’s crazy” said Raoul.  “That led to incredible loss of life and wars.  We should go back to a time when people were united by a common belief about what Truly Matters.”  “That would mean going back to the bloodletting of the Inquisition.”... Eric Linus Kaplan -


‘Make It So’: ‘Star Trek’ and Its Debt to Revolutionary Socialism A.M. Gittlitz in the NYT: Gorky was a fan of the Cosmism of Nikolai Fyodorov and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a scientific and mystical philosophy proposing space exploration and human immortality. When Lenin died four years after meeting with Wells, the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s line “Lenin Lived, Lenin Lives, Lenin Will Live Forever!” became not only a state slogan, but also a scientific goal. These Biocosmist-Immortalists, as they were known, believed that socialist scientists, freed from... 3 Quarks Daily -


Neil A. Manson on “What Norms or Values Define Excellent Philosophy of Religion?” Neil A. Manson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mississippi. We invited him to answer the question “What norms or values define excellent philosophy of religion?” as part of our “Philosophers of Religion on Philosophy of Religion” series. I will restrict my comments to the analytic approach to philosophy. I will also modify the question in a slight but significant way to “What personal norms or values should guide philosophers of religion?” That... Philosophy of Religion -


When Reason Goes On Holiday Neven Sesardic‘s recent book has really set tongues a wagging (to put it mildly), a book that is freely available here. Below one can Nevan hear talk on the topic. The discussion is all very disconcerting as Joseph Bottum points out in his review. History of PhilosophyJoseph BottumMartin HeideggerNeven SesardicPhilosophyPoliticsReasonregressive left Man Without Qualities -


TINA FERNANDES BOTTS SUPPORT WHAT'S IT LIKE? ON PATREON What is it like to be a philosopher? -


TINA FERNANDES BOTTS COMING SOON What is it like to be a philosopher? -


Interview with David McPherson, Summer Session Participant This post is part of a series of interviews with our incoming class for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. David McPherson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Creighton University. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life. Valerie Wallace: Where are you from? David McPherson: I am originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, but my family and I now live in Omaha, Nebraska, where I teach at Creighton... Virtue Blog -


Philosophy Time with James Franco (guest post by Eliot Michaelson) The following is a guest post* by Eliot Michaelson, Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at King’s College London, about Philosophy Time, a series of philosophy videos he created with actor James Franco. The series comprises four short films in which Franco, Michaelson, and several other philosophers discuss questions regarding the nature of beauty, metaphor, imagination, and moral worth. The project is an attempt to make philosophy, which can sometimes be intimidating to newcomers, accessible. In a press release, Franco... Daily Nous -


criticizing rorty's critics María Pía Lara at the LARB: Why then was Rorty ever considered a relativist? Here is one answer: Throughout his career, Rorty was against prescriptions, against thinking that he could provide us with universal foundations or discoveries. Instead, he sought to recover the successes of labor unions and other leftist organizations. This included younger leftists, who engaged in social disobedience, after seeing anticommunism being used as an excuse to destroy innocent people in southeast Asia. Rorty... 3 Quarks Daily -


What does Jane Austen mean to you? Geoff Dyer and many others at the TLS: We did Emma for A Level, so it was one of the first serious novels I ever read. In a sense, then, Jane Austen is literature to me. She was not just one of the first novelists I read but also the oldest, i.e. earliest. You can start further back, of course, but romping through Tom Jones feels like a bit of a waste of olde time in the way that Persuasion never... 3 Quarks Daily -


was Billy Budd black? Philip Hoare at The New Statesman: Was Billy Budd, the Handsome Sailor at the heart of the book, black? Scholars such as John Bryant believe that there is internal evidence in the manuscript of the book – found in a bread tin after Melville’s death in 1891 and not published until 1924 – that the author had played with the idea of making his hero a man of African heritage. Billy is loved by all... 3 Quarks Daily -


The New Science of Daydreaming Michael Harris in Discover: “I’m sorry, Julie, but it’s just a fact — people are terrified of being in their heads,” I say. “I read this study where subjects chose to give themselves electric shocks rather than be alone with their own thoughts.” It’s the summer of 2015 and the University of British Columbia’s half-vacated grounds droop with bloom. Julie — an old friend I’ve run into on campus — gives me a skeptical side-eye and... 3 Quarks Daily -