Traditions

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... -

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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 the crew and is described as blond and blue-eyed later in the story. Yet the sensuous descriptions of the Liverpool sailor and the Greenwich veteran elide to create a counterfactual version in which Billy becomes a black star at the centre of his constellation of shipmates. Indeed, some critics... -

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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... -

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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.... -

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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 -


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 -


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 -


video interview conducted in New Haven last October This was done in my hotel room at the very end of the architecture conference at Yale University. Nice editing job by the French filmmakers who did this (French subtitles are even included). HERE. Object Oriented Philosophy -


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 -


Timothy Hall (1969-2017) Timothy Hall, associate professor of philosophy at Oberlin College, unexpectedly died this past Sunday at the age of 48. Professor Hall taught at Oberlin for 16 years, and wrote on topics in ethics and political philosophy. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Katherine Thomson-Jones, chair of the Department of Philosophy at Oberlin, writes: It is with great sadness that... Daily Nous -


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 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 -


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 Ethics of the Family in Seneca 2017.07.18 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Liz Gloyn, The Ethics of the Family in Seneca, Cambridge, 2017, 249 pp., $99.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781107145474. Reviewed by Gretchen Reydams-Schils, University of Notre Dame In this groundbreaking study of the ethics of the family in Seneca's philosophical writings, the author's methodological presuppositions open the way for significant fresh insights. First, studying the ethics of the family as a philosophical topic does not amount... Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -


Philosophy In Germany: Too Popular For Its Own Good? An article in the current issue of Foreign Policy,“German Philosophy Has Finally Gone Viral. Will That Be Its Undoing?” describes the surge in philosophy’s popularity in Germany and asks whether it comes at too high a cost. How popular is philosophy in Germany? The article notes that the bimonthly Philosophie Magazin has a circulation of 100,000. Philosopher Richard David Precht has a TV show, Precht, with nearly one million viewers. Philosopher Markus Gabriel’s recent book, Why The World Does Not... Daily Nous -


Anne Dufourmantelle dies trying to save children from drowning The children survived, but unfortunately the French philosopher (and EGS faculty member) lost her life. Details about the unspeakable tragedy HERE. Object Oriented Philosophy -


Thoughts on "Earth's Deep History" by Martin J. S. Rudwick Joyce Havstad writes...This 2014 book provides a lovely overview of the way that many different strands of investigation by “savants, naturalists, and scientists” (as Rudwick would characterize the bunch) weave together in order to produce our current sense of Earth’s deep history as both especially deep and especially historical.  The strands discussed in the book mostly start in the seventeenth century and are followed all the way up to the present day, though they are... Extinct Blog -


What Does Christopher Peacocke mean by ‘Reflective Self-consciousness’? You have probably heard of self-consciousness. But have you heard of Christopher Peacocke's "reflective self-consciousness"? Allow me to introduce you. Via Nick Byrd - A PhD candidate studying the philosophy and science of reasoning, willpower, and wellbeing. Nick Byrd -