All entries by this author

Hi, Welcome to the Food Chain *

Dec 4th, 2003 | Filed by

We love Nature and it loves us – we taste good.… Read the rest

If I Had A Hammer: Why Logical Positivism Better Accounts for the Need for Gender and Cultural Studies

Dec 4th, 2003 | By Steven Gimbel

Women’s studies, African-American studies, gay and lesbian studies programs, and the moving of non-western and non-“traditional” studies in general out of the anthropology and sociology departments and into the academy on their own terms is the great success story of contemporary higher education. This advance has come along with, and in large part happened because of, the rising influence outside of philosophy departments of thinkers like Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and Judith Butler who pull on insights derived from the writings of Nietzsche. Nietzschean perspectivalism lies at the heart of the standard justification for culture studies. While the desire for the intellectual egalitarianism that accompanies perspectivalism comes from a good place, perspectivalism has well-known problems at its core that stand … Read the rest


Dec 4th, 2003 1:30 am | By

There is a very interesting post at Normblog on the whole vexed question, which I’ve mentioned a time or two here, of what exactly is ‘left’ (or ‘right’) anyway, and who gets to decide, and how do we know, and why does it matter.

I find it odd, especially given that Marc himself was a supporter of the Iraq war, that he should feel it appropriate to frame the discussion as one about moving rightward – as if it’s already pre-defined where, in this division of opinion, the authentic values of the left lie, and we can gauge from that who’s moving which way. Why couldn’t it be, rather, that the left, like pretty well the rest of the world,

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Writers are Insomniacs *

Dec 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

‘Constant sobriety is not a natural or pleasant condition’… Read the rest

New Collection by Marina Warner *

Dec 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Combines ability to see behind what we take for granted and a breathtaking depth of knowledge.… Read the rest

Who Pays the Bioethicist? *

Dec 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Universities and researchers get funding from commercial interests, and so do some ethicists.… Read the rest

Hang Up *

Dec 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Walk, or chat on the phone, but don’t do both at once.… Read the rest

Claimants Decide

Dec 3rd, 2003 1:08 am | By

I thought I would try to find some more articles on this Human Remains Working Group Report. I was aware of it, I remember hearing it mentioned (and even discussed briefly, in passing) on Start the Week recently, but I didn’t pay enough attention. I think I meant to, I think I made a vague mental note, but…well, we know how it is with mental notes, don’t we.

So here is a BBC article, which starts from the point of view of people who want the bones returned and then after several paragraphs mentions the objections of scientists and museum directors and pesky people like that. But here is another BBC article from last May, and this one starts from … Read the rest

The Libet Experiment Revisited *

Dec 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Does that 1.5 second gap matter? … Read the rest

Philosophy Needs Social Science *

Dec 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

And vice versa: to clarify what disadvantage is, and figure out how to fix it.… Read the rest

Report *

Dec 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

The Working Group on Human Remains report.… Read the rest

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 *

Dec 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Will atheists have to be silent or risk punishment?… Read the rest

O That Esoteric Windiness

Dec 1st, 2003 11:39 pm | By

And another treat, this review of a long biography of Jung. It’s full of good jokes and pertinent observations. For instance –

I picked it up with some words that Macaulay wrote in a review of a two-volume biography of Lord Burleigh echoing through my mind like the insistent snatch of a tune (I quote from memory): Compared with the labour of reading these volumes, all other labour, the labour of thieves on the treadmill, the labour of children in the mines, the labour of slaves on the plantation, is but a pleasant recreation.

And then –

Jung was decidedly not born a charlatan—or at least, he was not one throughout the whole of his career. True, he grew up

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Dry Bones

Dec 1st, 2003 9:04 pm | By

There is an excellent article at spiked by Tiffany Jenkins, who wrote another excellent article for us last spring. An excellent article on a very depressing and irritating subject – this passion for defining all human remains, however old and however uncertain of provenance, as someone’s ‘ancestors,’ thus ensuring that they can’t be studied or preserved for future research and study.

Note that the report by the Human Remains Working Group, which was appointed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is called a majority report ‘because the group’s only scientist refused to accept its verdict.’ Note that and then ponder it a bit. Ponder the fact that a matter with such large implications for science is handed over … Read the rest

A Much Too Long Biography of Jung *

Dec 1st, 2003 | Filed by

‘There is nothing quite like esoteric windiness for creating a penumbra of profundity’… Read the rest

What to do With Evidence? Bury It *

Dec 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Report by Human Remains Working Group forces science to defer to mystical beliefs.… Read the rest

Noam Chomsky Interview *

Dec 1st, 2003 | Filed by

‘He recognises little distinction between conspiracy and cock-up.’… Read the rest


Dec 1st, 2003 12:55 am | By

A couple of miscellaneous items. A scientist goes off-topic to talk about women composers, thus revealing (and not for the first time) that scientists tend to know more about the arts than artists and humanist scholars know about science.

And then there’s a very interesting long post by John Holbo on Bad Writing. He’s just read Just Being Difficult?, the new book that re-ignited the subject of bad writing, and he has some excellent acerbic comments on it. There’s also a discussion of Holbo’s discussion at Crooked Timber. One reader there makes this classic comment:

I’ve always wanted to ask Steven Weinberg why he became a scientist. The answer would be most likely because of a certain kind of

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B&W auf Deutsch *

Nov 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Tom DeGregori’s ‘Shiva the Destroyer’ in the German magazine Novo.… Read the rest

Terry Eagleton the Insider-Outsider *

Nov 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Students have gone from uncritical, reverential essays on Flaubert to uncritical, reverential essays on ‘Friends.’… Read the rest