All entries by this author

Is the Ubiquitous Interesting?

Jun 1st, 2004 1:55 pm | By

Some people find inter-blog disputes tedious, other people fun. And no doubt many people who claim to find them tedious actually find them fun. But this at least is a dispute about a substantive matter…

So to business. Ralph on Clio. He claimed, a while ago, on B&W:

“When something is ubiquitous, the interesting question isn’t ‘how could it have been tolerated?’ because it was commonly and widely accepted.”

I think this is very silly. Ralph objects to my thinking it very silly. He says:

I made the claim in the context of a discussion of slavery and its ubiquity in the early modern world. Explaining the presence of pro-slavery arguments in a world in which slavery was ubiquitous is

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What About Apes, Do They Think? *

Jun 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Nathan Emery reviews Intelligence of Apes and Other Rational Beings.… Read the rest

Do Animals Think? How Much? What About? *

Jun 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Stan Persky reviews Clive D.L. Wynne’s Do Animals Think?Read the rest

Frans de Waal on Animal Cognition *

Jun 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Do animals have a theory of mind?… Read the rest

Twelve Ways to be a Philosopher *

Jun 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Puns, promissory notes, ethical conundrums about Nazis, personal jargon.… Read the rest

Rorty on Wolin on Postmodernism *

May 31st, 2004 | Filed by

Spirited and informative, but neglects the arguments.… Read the rest

Liberalism is 10,000 Years Old *

May 31st, 2004 | Filed by

It’s about learning to live and to trade with strangers.… Read the rest

John Gray on Richard Wolin on Postmodernism *

May 31st, 2004 | Filed by

‘just another shot fired in the unending American culture wars.’… Read the rest

Sontag and Kael *

May 31st, 2004 | Filed by

Trash, frivolity, seriousness, moral pleasure, respectability.… Read the rest

Jokes and Conversations

May 30th, 2004 11:20 pm | By

One or two or more unrelated items of interest. One from Normblog, a moment of dialogue with a very sophisticated theorist of some sort –

All Googling, and that includes self-Googling, is culturally specific and also gendered. There’s an excellent paper on it by Lesley DeTrobe. He-or-she – that’s Lesley I’m talking about, who has renounced maleness and femaleness since June 1999 – there deconstructs the notion of a universalizing universalism, showing this to be a grwelphdoop. The concept of grwelphdoopism is one of DeTrobe’s most illuminating accomplishments. Think Foucault, think Derrida, think Dr Susie Nupledor Jr and her black dog Melvy. Of course, ‘dog’ is itself one of the very grwelphdoops sent packing by DeTrobe, but in the

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Visiting Colin Wilson *

May 30th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Humphrey fell asleep when I was explaining what I meant by non-pessimistic existentialism.’… Read the rest

Ben Pimlott on Biography *

May 30th, 2004 | Filed by

Against biographies which combine hagiography with salacious exposure of sex lives. … Read the rest

‘Stella Dallas’ and Nietzsche *

May 30th, 2004 | Filed by

Emerson and Hepburn, Thoreau and Bette Davis, Hollywood and Stanley Cavell.… Read the rest

John Gross Reviews Stanley Wells *

May 30th, 2004 | Filed by

Yes Shakespeare loved sexual jokes, but ‘lewd interpreters’ exaggerate.… Read the rest

The Gulf

May 29th, 2004 8:31 pm | By

It’s all quite interesting, as I said – albeit in a rather depressing way. It shows what a great yawning gulf there can be between secular modes of thought and the non-secular variety; between rational discussion and irrational discussion; between unbelief and belief; between atheism and theism. I’m not sure I think that’s always the case. I think it may be possible for atheists and theists to find some common ground at least sometimes. At least I think I think that – but maybe I only hope it, or would like to think it, or feel as if I ought to think it, because it seems so rude not to. (Which of course is a bad principle, and just the … Read the rest

Freudians Duke it Out *

May 29th, 2004 | Filed by

College of Psychoanalysts versus British Psychoanalytical Society.… Read the rest

I’m Knitting a Guillotine

May 28th, 2004 8:22 pm | By

Well, I tried to preserve the anti-secularist’s anonymity, but I was not permitted. So very well. Now that that’s not an option, I’ll just go ahead and take a look at some more over-the-top religious rhetoric. Barn door me no barn doors, this sort of thing is both interesting and important, so I will not machine-gun it (despite being Mme. Defarge) but I will question it.

Cite me, if you will, Mr. Halasz, the secular leftists in the French Revolution who fought its excesses. Cite me, if you will, the secular leftists in Stalin’s Soviet who did not support it or look the other way when churches were razed. Cite me, if you will, all the secular leftists, in

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Indian State Changes Textbooks *

May 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Delhi chief minister: ‘these books reinforce the secular traditions of India.’… Read the rest

Pinochet Stripped of Immunity *

May 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Chilean court ruling makes trial on charges of human rights abuses possible.… Read the rest

The Joy of Being a Woman (or Girl) *

May 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Raped and impregnated so a pariah so forced to sell self to UN peacekeepers for a banana to feed baby.… Read the rest