All entries by this author

Latin America Expert Quits in Protest *

Jun 7th, 2004 | Filed by

Accuses Kissinger and friends of silencing him in debate over US intervention in Chile.… Read the rest

Historical Literacy Left Behind *

Jun 7th, 2004 | Filed by

Teaching to the test means students learn skills at expense of knowledge.… Read the rest

National ‘Public’ Radio *

Jun 7th, 2004 | Filed by

How to make public service commercial? Easy – redefine ‘public service.’… Read the rest

Bruce Grant on ‘Intelligent Design’ *

Jun 6th, 2004 | Filed by

The first step on the road to theistic science.… Read the rest


Jun 5th, 2004 10:42 pm | By

There is a review by Mary Midgley of a new book by Judith Butler in the Guardian. Midgley has a special place in our affections here at B&W, since in a sense she named it. In another sense of course she didn’t, Al Pope did, because she was quoting him, but in the sense that matters she did, because her use of the quotation is what the Namer of B&W had in mind. Actually the Namer and I have had many violent brawls on the subject, with books thrown and fists pounded on desks and screams screamed and horrible wounding insulting things said. No not really, I’m only joking, because it’s Saturday. But it’s almost true. I have received many … Read the rest

Twenty Best New Poets *

Jun 5th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Next Gens can expect a rough ride from the postmodernist hardliners…’… Read the rest

New Poets Can be Wrinkly *

Jun 5th, 2004 | Filed by

One can start writing poetry at any age.… Read the rest

Mary Midgley Reviews Judith Butler *

Jun 5th, 2004 | Filed by

What is gained by translating familiar terms into exotic abstract language?… Read the rest

Late-term Abortion Ban Ruled Unconstitutional *

Jun 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Judge calls it ‘grossly misleading and inaccurate’ to equate banned procedure with infanticide.… Read the rest

Mind Your Peas and Kews

Jun 4th, 2004 9:17 pm | By

Here’s an amusing bit of serendipity. I just added a quotation to Quotations and only after posting it (and doing various other tasks) realized it’s highly relevant to a little argument we were having the other day about the importance and value of precision in language. My colleague posted a Comment which made much of the difference between saying ‘a something’ and ‘the something.’ He also pointed out that ‘Precision of language matters, if you want to be understood.’ That seems like such an obvious, incontrovertible statement, doesn’t it? But people do attempt to controvert it. People in fact actually mocked the idea of making anything of the difference between ‘a’ and ‘the’.

Very well. Behold that Stanley Fish quotation … Read the rest

Buffy Conference in Nashville *

Jun 4th, 2004 | Filed by

Physicists, philosophers, theologians spoke on Buffy’s themes of redemption, mortality, evil.… Read the rest

Ian Hacking Reviews Antonio Damasio *

Jun 4th, 2004 | Filed by

Is the mind an organ in the brain?… Read the rest

MMR Does Not Cause Autism *

Jun 4th, 2004 | Filed by

US National Academy of Sciences report says there is no connection.… Read the rest

Theory of Mind

Jun 4th, 2004 1:12 am | By

Animal cognition seems to be in the air this month. I read a review by Frans de Waal of two books on the subject a few days ago, and today find that one along with two more at SciTech. Each is about one of the books that de Waal reviews, so the three together make an interesting comparative package, and they’re all interesting in themselves.

This one on Clive D.L. Wynne’s Do Animals Think? is not only interesting but also quite amusing.

Students in the first-year university philosophy classes that I teach often believe that their dogs, cats, budgies, and goldfish are thinking pretty much the same thoughts they are. Unfortunately, some of them are right, I point out

Read the rest

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Human Rights *

Jun 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Mbeki governent could do more to pressure Mugabe, critics say.… Read the rest

A Boffin is an Engineer *

Jun 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

People who are fascinated by the possibility of making something happen.… Read the rest

Nietzsche in the Movies on ‘Front Row’ *

Jun 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

B&W columnist talks about eternal recurrence and A Fish Called Wanda.… Read the rest


Jun 2nd, 2004 10:00 pm | By

I’ve been thinking about religion and the arguments people use to defend it, again. Or more likely I’ve never stopped. It’s a line of thought that shrinks or expands, that takes up a position in the middle of the living room or creeps into the back of a closet, depending on what I’ve heard or read lately, but it probably never goes away entirely, never actually packs the wheely suitcase and marches away into the sunset (which would be inadvisable from here, actually, because you would drown). Anyway I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been thinking about the idea that religion has something to do with humans’ desire for meaning – that religion does something about that desire. Satisfies it, … Read the rest

Eve Garrard on Amnesty International *

Jun 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Are violations of human rights by liberal democracies worse than greater ones elsewhere?… Read the rest

How Language Can Shape Thought *

Jun 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Philip Stott on the metalanguage of ecology.… Read the rest