First Law of Cyber-dynamics: any unmoderated comment thread will reduce the total amount of knowledge and understanding in the world in proportion to its length.
Second Law of Cyber-dynamics: any unmoderated comment thread on a post touching on politics, race or gender will degenerate into vile idiocy within the first ten comments.
Third Law of Cyber-dynamics: no off-hand comment is too trivial to not generate thousands of words of cyber-commentary.
Fourth Law of Cyber-dynamics: no off-hand comment is too benign to fail to generate offense somewhere else in cyberspace.
Fifth Law of Cyber-dynamics: any comment thread on a blog with an ideological identity will give expression to the most extreme version of that identity within the first ten comments. (The Law of Cyber-Group Polarizaton--Brit will be shedding some light on this next week).
Speaking of unchecked punitive impulses: responding to this post, David Velleman advises on Facebook: "The key is to stop visiting Leiter's site and adding to his traffic stats. It only encourages him -- and adds to his income." I think Velleman, a "moral" philosopher, is now the first person to suggest that my speech warrants a financial penalty as well! But what percentage of my income is a proportionate remedy for my speech concerning punishment and proportionality?
ADDENDUM: Velleman offered this boycott proposal several days ago; yesterday, the blog had over 14,000 visits. Go figure?
...due to increasingly unhinged comments I infer. Too bad, it was sometimes quite amusing as it ridiculed "the Daily Snooze," "NudeChapps," the"Feminist Philosophers" and me (no nickname stuck), but I'm not surprised it got out of control: the first law of cyberspace is: anonymity + no adult oversight=cyber-cesspool.
I have been living with someone from the Millennial generation for the last four years (he’s now 27) and sometimes I’m charmed and sometimes I’m exasperated by how him and his friends—as well as the Millennials I’ve met and interacted with both in person and in social media—deal with the world, and I’ve tweeted about my amusement and frustration under the banner “Generation Wuss” for a few years now. My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective “helicopter” parents mapping their every move.
I think it's not really fair to ask several million Scots to vote on the question of independence without input from the philosophical community. Therefore, as a public service, I present the following poll:
...thankfully. (It's news to me that Camille Paglia is a philosopher, but in certain circles, I guess it turns out everyone is.)
(Thanks to Jim Klagge for the pointer.)
UPDATE: Tom Hurka (Toronto) writes: "The philosophers you link to are pikers compared to C.D. Broad -- Nietzsche was Miss Manners compared to him. Here's Broad on T.H. Green (taken from a forthcoming book of mine):
Broad did the same, saying Bradley was as inferior to Sidgwick in ethical and philosophical acumen as he was superior to him in literary style (FT 144) and making two brilliantly vitriolic remarks about Green. ‘Even a thoroughly second-rate thinker like T.H. Green, by diffusing a grateful and comforting aroma of “ethical uplift”, has probably made far more undergraduates into prigs than Sidgwick will ever make into philosophers’ (FT 144). And of a paper of Prichard’s criticizing Green: 'Seldom can the floor have been more thoroughly wiped with the remains of one who was at one time commonly regarded as a great thinker and who still enjoys a considerable reputation in some circles. A large part of the lectures is occupied with disentangling the strands of clotted masses of verbiage, in which inconsistency and nonsense are concealed by ambiguity.'"
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)