Philosopher David Auerbach (North Carolina State) writes:
This Stone article [http://tinyurl.com/lmqsuf4 ] is remarkably flabby. But it had an interesting consequence (?)—the level of reader commentary was remarkably high (I’m grading on the usual curve here; there were the usual “there’s the trouble with academic philosophy…” comments). Here’s one of the comments:
"As a father of two sons, I actually conducted the experiment described in the article 25+ years ago (this was shortly before strong guidelines for human subjects research had been put into place nationally).
"First, I imposed a delay of several minutes before the moment of my older son’s conception. As the article predicts, the procedure eliminated his birth and later existence. Not only that, instead of a son, my firstborn was a daughter!
"The first outcome could have been a fluke, so, a few years later when the time came to conceive my second son, I decided to replicate the initial trial, this time by slightly anticipating the moment of conception. Confirming the earlier study, the second experiment also produced a positive result: my younger son never came into existence either! And, conformant to the initial outcome, my second child was also a daughter. In other words, by slightly delaying or anticipating the moment of conception, not only I was able to block completely the existence of both of my sons, I was also able to substitute two daughters for them!
"Philosophy is truly a powerful tool. 'Ah ! la belle chose, que de savoir quelque chose!'"
1. Drink booze. (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Spend time with friends. loses to Drink booze. by 74–40
3. Barbecue non-human animal products. loses to Drink booze. by 82–30, loses to Spend time with friends. by 62–45
4. Spend time with family. loses to Drink booze. by 88–33, loses to Barbecue non-human animal products. by 58–50
5. Tied: Barbecue non-animal products. loses to Drink booze. by 92–20, loses to Spend time with family. by 57–40 Spend time with yourself. loses to Drink booze. by 84–30, loses to Spend time with family. by 53–42
7. Moralize non-sanctimoniously. loses to Drink booze. by 97–16, loses to Barbecue non-animal products. by 50–36
8. Read philosophy blogs. loses to Drink booze. by 95–19, loses to Moralize non-sanctimoniously. by 44–38
9. Tied: Moralize sanctimoniously. loses to Drink booze. by 98–16, loses to Read philosophy blogs. by 41–38
Waste time on Facebook. loses to Drink booze. by 99–16, loses to Read philosophy blogs. by 47–36
11. Read left-wing blogs. loses to Drink booze. by 98–13, loses to Moralize sanctimoniously. by 46–31
12. Smoke dope. loses to Drink booze. by 93–13, loses to Read left-wing blogs. by 41–35
13. Burn the flag. loses to Drink booze. by 89–16, loses to Smoke dope. by 37–35
14. Tied: Produce rankings. loses to Drink booze. by 98–7, loses to Burn the flag. by 34–27 Thank Zeus you're an American. loses to Drink booze. by 98–12, loses to Burn the flag. by 41–29
16. Sign meaningless pledges and petitions. loses to Drink booze. by 97–7, loses to Produce rankings. by 25–21
17. Thank God you're an American. loses to Drink booze. by 100–9, loses to Sign meaningless pledges and petitions. by 26–25
18. Salute the flag. loses to Drink booze. by 99–8, loses to Thank God you're an American. by 25–22
19. Thank God you're not an American. loses to Drink booze. by 88–18, loses to Salute the flag. by 29–25
20. Barbecue human animal products. loses to Drink booze. by 95–8, loses to Thank God you're not an American. by 31–23
21. Read right-wing blogs. loses to Drink booze. by 101–4, loses to Barbecue human animal products. by 26–25
22. Tweet. loses to Drink booze. by 99–6, loses to Read right-wing blogs. by 27–17
Like last year, drinking booze dominated. And, also a bit like last year and a continuing tribute to the quality of the readership, barbecuing human animal products defeated reading right-wing blogs. Happy 4th to those who celebrated!
This is an extremely funny set of e-mails. I've no idea whether it was an actual exchange between a parent and the "school chaplain."
(Thanks to Ruchira Paul for the pointer.)
UPDATE: Philosophy student Matthew Hernandez writes: "The man doing the email exchange is David Thorne, a comedian/writer who regularly 'trolls' people in real life and then posts about it on his website: http://27bslash6.com/ (Most likely a real exchange, as he regularly does this kind of thing.)"
Jon Stewart makes fun of a right-wing crazy in Nevada who has taken up arms to defend his theft of federal land to feed his cattle, and, in the process, Stewart works in references to Descartes and Locke!
Philosopher Justin Tiehen (Puget Sound) writes to share this curious story:
You might be aware that the Ultimate Warrior, an extremely famous professional wrestler, died yesterday. (It's been in the news, and the guy was famous enough that people who don't follow wrestling at all are still sometimes vaguely aware of him.) Anyway, after retiring from wrestling he became a motivational speaker and life coach. For reasons that are somewhat opaque, this involved him creating a website where he posted a glossary of "the world's philosophies," with entries on behaviorism, consequentialism, deontology, existentailism, general semantics, and on and on. Just to give you a sense, here is the entry on Kantianism.
"This is the exact opposite of Objectivism. It's epistemology is faith-eaten and mystic- appeasing. It's metaphysics is subjective, it's ethics are altruistic and it's politics are collectivistic. Kant created the exact opposite of what constitutes a philosophy based on reason. His "argument" consists of equivocations, elaborate straw-men (the entire Critique of Pure Reason for example), etc. He was quite an evil person."
As you can gather, the Ultimate Warrior was apparently a Randian. Many of his other entries also come from a Randian perspective.
...a tenured philosopher (whom I may have met once in my life, not sure) bravely issued a call a few weeks ago for other philosophers on Facebook to "ostracize" me, and since then one tenured philosopher, whom I've never met, "unfriended" me on Facebook! (I used to 'friend' folks on FB I had never met.)
Fortunately, no one has yet called for other philosophers to give me a wedgie.
Philosophy cyberspace is like high school all over again, except with tenure!
This is very funny, from Cockburn's Washington Babylon
Leon Wieseltier: ‘You let me flap this bug with gilded wings/This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings . . .’ The Tartuffe of Babylon, stabled at The New Republic where he has led the life of a second-tier literary dilettante . . . paltering with the interns, whose duties included walking his dog. Fainéant, full of pathetic self-conceit, Wieseltier evokes London’s Grub Street of the 1890s, whose Bohemian poseurs were so well recorded by Max Beerbohm (though Wieseltier would not have the courage to make a pact with the Devil, as did Enoch Soames). Cover story for a life of marked, though no doubt merciful, lack of productivity, is that he is at work on a ‘book about sighing’.
This is very clever and amusing. I remember buying the book the week it came out, because it had a lot in it about Nietzsche, and I knew Bloom was a leading Straussian, so I wanted to get a better sense of that reading. It is worth remembering that Bloom conceived the book as a bit of scholarship, not a popular work, and yet the scholarship, including about Nietzsche was so piss poor, it defied belief. Anyway, Wolff's review is very funny.
We noted this, I think, several years back, but one of the law studenst here, Bart Quintans, sent a funny example:
Apparently, if you "go to a random article on Wikipedia and keep clicking the first non-parenthesized link in the body text of each article," there is something like a 95% chance of eventually ending up at the article on "Philosophy." (See http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Ilmari_Karonen/First_link, but the phenomenon has been discussed widely across different fora.)
I just tried plugging in "Banana" and sure enough, I reached "Philosophy" as follows:
D.A.S. stands for “ding an sich,” Immanuel Kant’s concept of the “thing in itself,” the object of philosophical consideration separate from human perceptions of it. The name and the restaurant concepts conjure a beer-hall-meets-lecture-hall philosophy—a Weltanschauung of Gemütlichkeit, with emphasis on Nietzsche’s concept of the Überschnitzel.
For the record the Überschnitzel is an even less important concept in Nietzsche's philosophy than the Übermensch!
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)