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Showing posts from April 24, 2005

Blake's sweet bird

LI’s friend and neverfailing antipode, Paul Craddick, recently threw himself into a defense of Nietzsche on the Maverick Philosopher site. While Paul and Mr. MP disagreed, they both exhibited a dislike for perspectivism. At least, Paul seems to think that emphasizing perspectivism in the body of Nietzsche’s work exaggerates a feature of it: “I'm sure we'll have occasion to clash again when you write on "perspectivism," because I'm not convinced that the weight of N's work supports the radically perspectival interpretation; or, at least, I'm not sure if one can make an ultimately satisfying case for him definitively holding to either perspectivism or some perspective-centric realism.” Here at LI, we are ardent perspectivists. So we thought we’d wile away a Saturday post making a few comments. …. We aren’t going to make an exhaustive survey of perspectivisms past and present. Leibniz is, famously, the inventor of the most ingenious reconciliation of rational

Good news

Notes to our readers. First, this was up almost all day before LI noticed that Blogger had done it again. Lately, every time we put a text in Blogger, it rumbles it around like a demonic washing machine and puts holes in it. It will take out a sentence there, a paragraph elsewhere, and leave the impression, among our readers, that LI has a serious drinking problem. Well, we do have a serious drinking problem. But not that serious. So, this incomprehensible post was supposed to be, one, about Mexico, and two, about the ivory billed woodpecker. Let's go to two first. Here's the story in the nyt science section : "The ivory-billed woodpecker, a magnificent bird long given up for extinct, has been sighted in the cypress and tupelo swamp of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge here in Arkansas, scientists announced Thursday. Bird experts, government agencies and conservation organizations involved kept the discovery secret for more than a year, while they worked to confirm

Gulliver's Double

There’s a tradition in the literature about Gulliver’s Travel that extracts the Lockean Gull in Gulliver. The argument goes back to a very fine essay by W. B. Carnochan entitled, Gulliver’s Travels: An Essay on the Human Understanding? Carnochan’s argument is straightforward: “Lemuel Gulliver, like the mad projector of the Modest Proposal, appears to be a version of the Lockean man.” Carnochan is probably on solid ground in thinking that the perceptual changes on which Swift plays like a jazz xylophonist are suggested by Locke’s theory that the human mind is shaped by sensation – ideas themselves being the end product of an experience that begins externally (mysterious as that beginning may be) with the encounter of a sense instrument and an object. As is well known, this theory leads elsewhere in the empirical tradition – that moment of non-experience hardening into a thing that can’t be, logically, experienced, meaning that the perceived object must be usurped by the philosopher and

The Washington Post pities the collaborators

Anne Applebaum’s column in the Washington Post is mostly ditzy foreign policy neo-conservatism. Sometimes, however, she hits new lows. The protest against commemorating the end of the war against the Nazis is the lowest of her lows. Here’s Applebaum’s assessment of May, 1945: “Not every European country will be represented, however, because not everybody feels quite the same way about this particular date. In the Baltic states, for example, May 1945 marked the end of the war but also the beginning of nearly a half-century of Soviet occupation, during which one in 10 Balts were murdered or deported to concentration camps and exile villages. The thought of applauding the same Red Army veterans who helped "pacify" their countries after 1945 was too much for the Estonian and Lithuanian presidents, who have refused to attend. Although the Latvian president will attend the Moscow festivities, she's had to declare that she will use her trip to talk about the Soviet occupation. T

tears, gentle tears

The tears that were shed over the elections in the Ukraine, do you remember? The NPR tears, PBS tears, NYT tears. Nothing, nothing was more important than the striving of the Ukranian people to put one of two corrupt dinosaurs in office. It emerged on the front pages and we were all, here in America, holding our breath for the good, pro-American, democratic side to assume its rightful place. It was just like when Tinkerbell died in the fifties and all the kids in America wished her back into life. And then there have been the recent Rice tears shed over the unjust jailing of a billionaire Mafioso in Russia. Here the tears might be a little more sincere – the Bush administration is pained by the fall of a single hair on a billionaire head as much or more than God is pained by the falling away of a single sinner. And then our intrepid Rice went to Belarus and spread the word about democracy to the benighted people there. But somehow, we haven’t yet had to bring out the mops to wipe up th

the adventures of Herbert O. Yardley

At the end of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyers hears out Huck’s plan to free Jim. Huck's plan is plain. It is a routine escape plan. It will probably work. Huck asks if the plan wouldn’t work. This is what Tom says: "WORK? Why, cert'nly it would work, like rats a-fighting. But it's too blame' simple; there ain't nothing TO it. What's the good of a plan that ain't no more trouble than that? It's as mild as goose-milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn't make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory." I never said nothing, because I warn't expecting nothing different; but I knowed mighty well that whenever he got HIS plan ready it wouldn't have none of them objections to it. And it didn't. He told me what it was, and I see in a minute it wasworth fifteen of mine for style, and would make Jim just as free a man as mine would, and maybe get us all killed besides. So I was satisfied, and said we would waltz in on it. I needn't tell what it