All entries by this author

Whither Theory? *

Sep 22nd, 2004 | Filed by

Theory, theory, theory, high theory, theory, theory. … Read the rest



Edward Skidelsky Reviews Julian Baggini *

Sep 22nd, 2004 | Filed by

‘If value is not cosmic, then it is social.’ Really?… Read the rest



Labeling, Euphemism, Mistakes *

Sep 22nd, 2004 | Filed by

Should terrorists be called militants? Should fugitives be called terrorists? Depends.… Read the rest



Second Hostage Reported Murdered *

Sep 22nd, 2004 | Filed by

Message on Islamist website claims al-Zarqawi’s group has killed second US hostage in Iraq.… Read the rest



The Booker Shortlist *

Sep 22nd, 2004 | Filed by

Dangor, Hall, Hollinghurst, Mitchell, Tóibín, Woodward.… Read the rest



Postmodernism at the Post

Sep 21st, 2004 10:45 pm | By

This is a deeply irritating article in the Washington Post. The guy who wrote it seems to think (as so many postmodernists and ‘theorists’ seem to think) that postmodernism thought of everything and that nobody thought of anything before postmodernism came along, or independently of postmodernism after it came along. But that is not the case.

Sitting in the shadow of the Capitol, on some of the most prestigious real estate in Washington, the new museum has emerged with ambitions far greater than simply putting a sunny face on the kind of anthropology represented by Mead, or becoming a Disney-style happy magnet for native peoples. It is a monument to Postmodernism — to a way of thinking that emphasizes

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Confusion Run Riot *

Sep 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Reporter seems to have confused revisionism and critical thinking with postmodernism.… Read the rest



The Ethics of History *

Sep 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Six Indian historians on the need for skepticism, courage, truth-seeking.… Read the rest



Aaronovitch Says Give It Up *

Sep 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Life and death? Civil rights? Effete urbanites? Undemocratic? No on all counts.… Read the rest



The Noise of the Pigs

Sep 20th, 2004 5:56 pm | By

Another update. Crumb Trail has a post on the pigs comment. He points out something –

It’s only funny if you know pigs. They scream for the fun of it, to socialize. Even the wild (feral) pigs that infest the woods around here scream at one another, other animals, the sky, the moon, whatever. They’re vocal like coyotes. Two pigs, or coyotes, can make enough noise in enough distinct ways that you might think there were dozens of them involved in some life and death drama unless you knew their ways. They scream more when they find something yummy than they do when they are being eaten alive by a predator.

Fair point. Pigs do scream a lot – … Read the rest



Prince Charles’ Slow Reaction Time *

Sep 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Roy Hattersley says future monarch might want to have a word with his friends.… Read the rest



Knowing the Accusation is False is Traumatic Too *

Sep 20th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Why couldn’t I withstand the pressure? I still search for that moment I gave in.’… Read the rest



Selective Hostility to Bias and Judgmentalism *

Sep 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Eve Garrard on the real reason for not using the T word. … Read the rest



The Sleep of Reason

Sep 20th, 2004 | By H. E. Baber

The embrace of relativism by many leftist intellectuals in the United States, while it may not be politically very important, is a terrible admission of failure, and an excuse for not answering the claims of their political opponents. The subordination of the intellect to partisan loyalty is found across the political spectrum, but usually it takes the form of a blind insistence on the objective truth of certain supporting facts and refusal to consider evidence to the contrary. So what explains the shift, at least by a certain slice of the intellectual left, to this new form of obfuscation?

When I was an undergraduate I volunteered to go door to door for Zero Population Growth to promote the liberalization of … Read the rest



Elephants, Foxes and Pigs

Sep 19th, 2004 8:22 pm | By

The discussion continues to continue. Norm has more, so does Harry, so does David T. Plus I had a long talk with Polly Toynbee on the phone earlier. No I didn’t, that’s just one of my jokes. (Or irony? No, just a joke. I don’t know from irony.) There’s quite a lot of agreement this time around. This from Harry’s –

For what it is worth I am not a supporter or defender of fox hunting nor am I opposed to a ban. I accept Ophelia Benson’s criticism of Polly Toynbee’s phrase “Liberals should always be wary of banning people from doing as they like”. There clearly need to be some qualifications added to such a statement

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You’ll Never Ever Guess in a Million Years

Sep 19th, 2004 6:19 pm | By

Maybe I should do one before anyone else does.

I was just thinking, while staring out the window in a daze and scratching, that books are one thing and people are another. How about that.

People don’t like science. What’s up with that?

Multiculturalism – hmm – one sees the point, and yet.

I’ve been reading this book. Here are some quotations from it.

Here are some more quotations from that book I’ve been reading.

Richard Dawkins rocks.

I’ve read another book. Here are some quotations from it.

Here are some more quotations from aforementioned book. Aren’t you thrilled?

People say silly things sometimes. Here’s an example. Here’s why it’s silly. I never say silly things.

I agree with my … Read the rest



Matt Ridley Reviews Richard Dawkins *

Sep 19th, 2004 | Filed by

A philosopher of evolutionary process, explaining bodies as vehicles for propagation of genes.… Read the rest



Banned in Lebanon *

Sep 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Catholic leaders call Da Vinci Code offensive to Christians, so it’s off shelves.… Read the rest



Holy War Against the Infidel, love, Taliban *

Sep 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Taliban leaves ‘night letters’ to intimidate voters.… Read the rest



But What Do They Like?

Sep 19th, 2004 1:42 am | By

Ah. That’s reassuring. Perhaps I’m not so confused after all, since Norm makes a similar point. Not an identical point, because he doesn’t focus on the Toynbee column, he merely mentions it; but a similar one. The basic disagreement with what she said and with what Harry said at his place I take to be the same.

Harry endorses a piece by Polly Toynbee in which she belittles the importance of the fox hunting issue relative to the ‘things that really matter’, like social injustice. In response to which I offer the following.

(1) One should care about the suffering of other sentient beings. Indifference to the suffering of others is part of the definition of cruelty.

(2) Putting

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