Archive for January 2003

Newspaper Death Threats Cause Undergraduate Suspensions *

Jan 31st, 2003 | Filed by

‘It was fairly obviously a joke,’ says student editor of headline ‘Kill Levinsky, win a Robin reliant’. … Read the rest



Alas, Poor Roses *

Jan 31st, 2003 | Filed by

Oliver Curry reviews a collection of arguments against evolutionary psychology edited by Steven and Hilary Rose. He finds their case unconvincing, to say the least.… Read the rest



Fishy Tomatoes and Moneyish Rockets *

Jan 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Richard Dawkins suggests that subtle judgment is better than gut reactions, and that muddleheadedness helps no one.… Read the rest



Feds to Investigate Biology Professor *

Jan 30th, 2003 | Filed by

US professor, naturally enough, refuses to recommend students who don’t believe in evolution. But John Ashcroft is Attorney General.… Read the rest



Relatively Speaking

Jan 30th, 2003 | By Simon Blackburn

There are philosophers (‘absolutists’) who like to stress truth, objectivity, rationality, and knowledge. Then there are others (‘relativists’) who like to stress contingency, mutability, culture, historicity, situatedness. The first group think that the second group have no standards. The second group are accused of encouraging ‘postmodernism’, or the licentious thinking and bullshitting that goes on in some parts of the humanities. The second group think the first group are conservative and complacent, and that their words simply mark fetishes.

I like to illustrate the way these groups talk past each other with an anecdote of a friend of mine (I apologise to readers of my book Being Good, where I also tell this story). He was present at a … Read the rest



Not Just a Fashion Problem

Jan 29th, 2003 10:37 pm | By

This is a … Read the rest



Made-Up History *

Jan 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Someone saw some armor sometime and said it was authentic but where the armor is now, no one knows.… Read the rest



Six Years and $60,000 *

Jan 29th, 2003 | Filed by

Imagine what six years reading $60 k worth of decent books about subjects other than oneself might have done…… Read the rest



Just Say No!

Jan 28th, 2003 5:53 pm | By

Since everybody and their dog seem to be sending me anti-war petitions, I thought I’d get in on the act.*

Dear Friend

As the world slides towards war in Iraq, we all feel at times as though we
are powerless. Well we are. But let’s just pretend for a minute that we’re
not. It will make us feel better, honestly.

No-one likes war, right? So we’d better oppose this one, right?

Please send this email on to everyone you know NOW!

STOP THE WAR IN IRAQ!

We, the undersigned, have no idea to whom this petition is being sent or how
seriously it will be taken. We don’t like the idea of war in Iraq and so are
prepared to … Read the rest



Satire Confusingly Like Real Life *

Jan 28th, 2003 | Filed by

The Onion on pity for skeptics. Sounds all too familiar.… Read the rest



Prisoners are Intentional Systems *

Jan 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Genetic determinists and environmental determinists are both mythical beings, Daniel Dennett says.… Read the rest



What Role For School Targets? *

Jan 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Achievement targets in UK schools may be ‘counter-productive’.… Read the rest



Claiming Darwin for the Left: an interview with Peter Singer

Jan 28th, 2003 | By Julian Baggini

Peter Singer looks a very tired man. It’s not
so much the early morning start of the interview, but the weeks of media scrutiny,
misrepresentation and criticism, which seem to have taken their toll.

Singer came to England to talk about “A Darwinian
Left”, but no sooner had he stepped off the plane than the Daily Express
was reviving the old controversy over Singer’s view that in certain circumstances,
it may be better to end the life of a very severely handicapped baby in a humane
way, rather than use all modern medicine can do to let it live a painful and
often brief life. Singer tried to defend himself on Radio Four’s Today
programme, but in such a brief … Read the rest



Two Border-Crossers

Jan 27th, 2003 9:17 pm | By

Consider two writers and thinkers who are in the news at the moment, one because he’s just died and the other because he has a new book out. The New York Times “target=”_blank”>this review of his new book in the Guardian says:

But he doesn’t really write academic sociology, and is often criticised for it, from within academia and outside it…His material is an elegant mix of interview, anecdote and wide, deep book-research. His key terms have to do with common personal predicaments, understood as socio-historic formations: love and power, dignity and humiliation, impersonality and self-absorption, self-worth and self-blame.

Trevor-Roper drew on sociology to write history and Sennett draws on history to write sociology, and both produce a rich thick … Read the rest



The Blockbuster Effect *

Jan 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Are books that aren’t likely best-sellers doomed?… Read the rest



Richard Sennett *

Jan 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Works as an academic sociologist, but doesn’t really write academic sociology.… Read the rest



Well Who Did Move my Cheese? *

Jan 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Appropriately acid look at self-help ‘books’. ‘It’s very cheap and obvious to laugh at self-help books (which is no reason not to do so)’.… Read the rest



Hugh Trevor-Roper *

Jan 27th, 2003 | Filed by

His ‘approach to history was…based not so much on original research as on wide reading’ including ‘economists, sociologists, philosophers, art historians and even anthropologists and psychologists.’… Read the rest



Mind Readers on Radio 4

Jan 26th, 2003 8:37 pm | By

A recent … Read the rest



Hugh Trevor-Roper *

Jan 26th, 2003 | Filed by

The Independent’s obituary of the historian who ‘enjoyed vendettas as well as friendships’, as any historian should.… Read the rest