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Showing posts from May 5, 2002
Remora Carnap once complained that the talk in the philosophy lounge in the University of Chicago reminded him less of the talk of scientists than of the talk of health food cranks. Carnap, of course, had the view that philosophy, if it wasn't a science, should be ashamed of itself. Unfortunately, post Carnap, philosophy regained its shamelessness. Witness this article about faith and logic in the NYT. Emily Eakins' article reports on a conference at Yale honoring Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne . When, years ago, there was a conference at Harvard that seriously considered UFO abduction stories, the university itself came in for considerable criticism for basically condoning tripe. And it should have. But what to make of a major university sponsoring a conference that includes things like this: "For someone dead for 36 hours to come to life again is, according to the laws of nature, extremely improbable," Mr. Swinburne told an audience of more than 100
Remora Terry Eagleton begins his review of Michael Moore's book -- the one about White Men, or that has White Men in the title, or something like that -- with a few choice kicks at the US of A. Now, LI enjoys kicking Uncle Sam ourselves. It is a pity that Eagelton's kicks are so lackluster and lacking, beginning with a silly exaggeration, going on to make a valid point about Saddam Hussein (although the point should be qualified, since France and the Soviet Union were Hussein's main arms suppliers), but damning it with the lukewarm phrase, "backing" (instead of specifying the real wickedness of US policy -- namely, tilt towards Iraq during the first phase of the war, supplying the country with a four hundred million dollar loan and taking it off the blacklist of terrorist states and all that jazz, and then tilting towards Iran when it appeared Iraq had reconciled with the evil empire, as this Z Mag article documents ). Finally, and most pathetically, Eagelton
Remora The Washington Post reports on the Colombian Civil war today. The article is very impressed with the derring do that went into its making: "With the U.S.-backed military apparently powerless to intervene, leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary forces staged a major battle over several days without interference from the government. A two-day visit to this remote jungle region -- reached after six hours of river travel -- revealed a civilian population abandoned to its fate. Despite warnings that a battle was imminent, the Colombian military did not arrive in the area until Tuesday, after Mirage jets and Black Hawk helicopters fired on rebel positions on the banks of the muddy Atrato River and two of the jets dropped bombs in the jungle to clear landing zones. The army's first ground troops arrived in the town today." Six hours of river travel! You know Scott Wilson, the man who presumably traveled down river in such exciting style, will be braggin
Dope The Judge�s skin �Cambyses was a great emperor, such another as our master is. He had many lord-deputies, lord-presidents, and lieutenants under him. It is a great while ago since I read the history. It chanced he had under him, in one of his dominions, a briber, a gift-taker, a gratifier of rich men; he followed gifts as fast as he that followed the pudding, a hand-maker in his office to make his son a great man, as the old saying is: Happy is the child whose father goeth to the devil. The cry of the poor widow came to the emperor�s ear, and caused him to flay the judge quick, and laid his skin in the chair of judgment, that all judges that should give judgment afterwards should sit in the same skin. Surely it was a goodly sign, a goodly monument, the sign of the judge�s skin. I pray God we may once see the skin in England.� This is Hugh Latimer, quoted for splendid, bloody effect by Macaulay as he reaches his butcher�s hand in and takes hold of the last little sw
Dope Auguste Dupin once traced the course of his companion�s thoughts by a series of inductions that attached to the dumbshow of his companion�s expressions - the microworld of steps, frowns, glances, and furrows that, in the nineteenth century, was being explored with absurd confidence by German physiognomists -- until, interrupting that silent monologue, he made some magically relevant comment. The nineteenth century motif: detective as magician, consciousness as a rather easily demystified magic trick � we love it, we love it. LI (and the century we escaped from) has only a broken faith in the coherence and topical unity of the consciousness, even our own; still, we find it worth while (infinitely narcissistic as we are) to navigate the branches of our thought on the bateau ivre until we come to the source of our sudden interest in Macaulay. Because in the last post we lied. Our readers haven�t been clamoring for explication de texte; they�ve been clamoring for naked pictu