All entries by this author

Lots of People

Dec 5th, 2003 9:48 pm | By

Another interesting point at normblog. Well I can’t help it if he says something that catches my attention twice in three days. That’s just how things fall out sometimes. And really, this is something I’ve been mulling over for a couple of weeks or more, ever since re-reading Philip Gourevitch’s book on Rwanda. Longer than that really, maybe since last spring – maybe around the time Fareed Zakaria’s book on democracy was published. It wasn’t the book itself (which I haven’t read in any case) that sparked the pondering, it was the air of surprise in some of the reviews, that someone could make some shrewd and pertinent comments about democracy which recognized that democracy has some tensions or dangers. … Read the rest

Non-Mainstream Opinion and Blogs *

Dec 5th, 2003 | Filed by

There are more pro-war left than anti-war left bloggers.… Read the rest

Edward Skidelsky on George Steiner *

Dec 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Jeremiads are no substitute for understanding.… Read the rest

What Is He Laughing At?

Dec 5th, 2003 1:58 am | By

There was more of interest in that Start the Week than just the tv drama about the MMR issue. There was also a guy who’s written a book called A Dictionary of Idiocy, which is interesting because we have a little dictionary ourselves, so we’re interested in other examples of the genre. This one doesn’t sound much good though, frankly, at least not if the writer is anything to go by. He kept laughing too much, when nothing was all that funny. It’s always so embarrassing when people do that on chat shows and the people they’re chatting with don’t join them, but in fact get less and less giggly as they get more so. There was Stephen Bayley roaring … Read the rest

What Silence?

Dec 4th, 2003 7:37 pm | By

Front Row yesterday included discussion of and a clip from a Channel 5 drama called ‘Hear the Silence’ about the controversy over the MMR jab and autism. Monday’s Start the Week also discussed the drama, with Juliet Stevenson who stars in it.

The bit of dialogue we heard on Front Row confirmed my worst expectations of what such a drama would be like. Oh great, thought I when Mark Lawson first described the subject matter. Plucky victimized parent takes on medical establishment and shows how wrong it is about everything, thus convincing everyone that MMR jab causes autism. And sure enough – the bit of dialogue was well-acted, to be sure, but it was also utterly predictable. Chilly rational uncaring … Read the rest

Paul Johnson on Art *

Dec 4th, 2003 | Filed by

He values both order and innovation, Joe Phelan says.… Read the rest

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Eaten *

Dec 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Poor people are more likely to live near predators than rich people are.… Read the rest

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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