On England

The striking thing about driving down from Scotland to England was the simple somberness of England: the cloudy, rainy skies, the overcast streets, a people seemingly crushed in on themselves under the weight of their umbrellas and the pelting of rain.

I refer not of course to the weather, but to the horrific break up of Oasis. Will this proud people ever recover?

Get your Snark Here

Or there. Great news in the “outsourcing front.” Apparently, it’s not just PhD students who are ordering dissertations from writing mills in India. Now, you can order up some good “snark” as well. 

Alas, this would lead to some great snark, but my budget’s taking a hit from the conference and I’m unable to make pay on the services.

Agamben and animals

I see over at posthumanism Agamben’s The Open on the list of classics in the area. Hmm. I think he only reinforces all of Heidegger’s problematic assertions about animality. If one goes by what he says elsewhere about language, isn’t it the case that animals are always already in the open since they are not taken by the decisionary and sovereign language of human beings, that is, the logos? That is, they are purely present to objects as such, whereas humans are said to need to overthrow an entire era of politics and metaphysics that have kept us propagating discourses and thus every-keeping us from the open. Now, leaving aside the completely abusive use of “animals” for all manner of beings; leaving aside questionable assumptions about language (I’m writing on that now); leaving aside an entire history of writing on the animal as perfect–and thus sacrificable (we do shoot Bambi, after all); at the least can’t we start by questioning this opposition at the heart of that work? Just a question.

The Hiring Process

Here’s an inside view of one philosophy dept.’s hiring process (600 applications…bad math from there)…. Sadly as depressing as it is, it’s obviously worse when you cut out the earnestness here. I obviously take to heart the seriousness that the people described took with the process, but the give-away of what happens is the move from the specific (we took care with each application…) to the general (we got a good idea, not of individual files, but of the next generation) is swift and, sadly, what applicants are in for: the sheer volume of reading deprived us of the leisure to contemplate each and every writing sample as deeply as we might have liked, overall we got a very good sense of what the next generation of philosophers is up to.


Now Wikipedia is going to color code  entries soon based upon trustwortiness:

To appease critics and combat bias, Wikipedia will institute an optional feature called WikiTrust, which according to Wired Magazine “will color code every word of the encyclopedia based on the reliability of its author and the length of time it has persisted on the page.”  

To which I reply (a) all trustworthy text from this blog will be in your browser’s default color, (b) it’s good to see Homeland Security’s still-in-use color coding system is migrating to wiki, and (c) I can’t wait for this to come to philosophy journals…

Question for G.H. at OOP

And the object is?

(That is, for the CRESC conference we are to choose an object as part of the display.)

I haven’t finished choosing mine. I might use my father as the stand-in, since he is something I have around the house now and again and that would upset the normal discussion of what an object is. Plus, I’ve carted him all over Scotland now and it would seem a waste not to use him. Though, I do worry he won’t want to stay in the exhibit all that long. He’s a challenge, he is…

In the original language

G.H.’s post on style and original language reminded the geek in me about that great line from one of the Star Trek movies about loving Shakespeare in the original Klingon. Apparently, someone took that quite seriously:


Also, I take it that (a) style is untranslatable, that (b) the French writers post-Sartre have translations that only sound pedantic and thus have formula that get oft-repeated in translation, and (c) I don’t know whether or not to hope, from his description, I can be translated well. I had to think of this once when a friend was translating something of mine into French and asked me if that was what I meant, and I thought, well actually that’s even more subtle in the French and better.

And speaking of Graham, I want to thank him for pointing out Gibbon’s use of “insensibly.” Now when I’m driving through the Scottish countryside, I hear it each time. And, yes, if you want to know, I have a great, sharp reader of Gibbon, who uses every word of Germanic origin in the English language and has taught me that I know nothing in the art of the put-down. I mean his formula of X is as Y (vain or whatever) as he was Z (negation move). Graham’s offered several examples of it.