Category Archives: Items of the academy / learning

On productive criticisms

I have been in a couple of discussions recently in which someone opined that certain sorts of objections or criticisms are not “productive”. The basic idea is that a criticism should not be wholly negative; it should point out a … Continue reading

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Truth: an initial stab at the thing

On campus we are having a series of discussions under the title of “facticity.” No, it’s not a headlong plunge into German idealism and the impossible task of capturing the brute “thatness” of what experience coughs up. Instead, it is … Continue reading

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Putting history into history of philosophy

If we wish, however, to arrive at an interpretation of a text, an understanding of why its contents are as they are and not otherwise, we are still left with the further task of recovering what the author may have … Continue reading

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The Cold War’s shaping of American philosophy

John McCumber, Time in the Ditch: American philosophy and the McCarthy era (Northwestern UP 2001) George Reisch, How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science (Cambridge UP 2005) Whether inclined toward socialism in the 1930s or defending itself against anticommunism … Continue reading

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Philosophy: it helps you get reddit points

The blog Useful Concepts posted a set of interesting observations about why philosophy doesn’t have more of a cultural presence, particularly on the web. The author posted on reddit, and then summed up the more cogent replies. What he came … Continue reading

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Dansplaining

(Some reflections on Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back.) Daniel Dennett loves to explain. In route to explain one thing, he’ll explain three intermediate things, taking time out to explore four or five tangential things. We might call this … Continue reading

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Knowledge, that human practice

Ordinarily, we think knowledge is having in one’s head some kind of story or an explanation that matches how Things Really Are. This ordinary conception has at least two problems. First, it assumes that there is a way Things Really … Continue reading

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