Monday, July 20, 2015

Links of Note, with Some Notation

* This discussion of how Justice Kennedy's comments about Confucius's view of marriage in the Obergefell decision touched off a discussion of the subject in Chinese media was somewhat interesting. Unfortunately, it is marred by dishonesty; as anyone can see who actually reads Scalia's dissent, Scalia has no "inflammatory response to Kennedy’s use of Confucius" or a "rebuttal to Confucius", since Scalia does not at any point address Kennedy's use of Confucius. The fortune cookie comment is explicitly about the first sentence of Kennedy's opinion, in a footnote where its context could not be mistaken, which itself comments explicitly on extravagant language used in the opinion, not on the sources cited. This is an excellent example of how not to criticize a text: the author makes an association that has no actual evidence in the text, treats the association as the point of the text, and then criticizes the text for the association that does not actually exist in the text. And, again, there is no excuse whatsoever for this misbehavior; we aren't talking about a case in which the context could be confused, since the comment is cordoned off into a footnote, which explicitly quotes the sentence to which the comment is directed, to a remark on the language Kennedy uses in the opinion. Moreover, one looks in vain for other people who have read the decision making this same error. And to call something a "rebuttal to Confucius" or an "inflamatory response to [a] use of Confucius" or a "mocking dismissal" of Confucius, when the text does not even mention Confucius, nor indeed appear to have anything to do with Confucius except in the critic's own imaginative association of Confucius with fortune cookies, is nothing short of a mendacious characterization of the text.

* Speaking of which I had intended a while ago to point out Brian Beutler's comment on the decision, which is the only place that I've seen that correctly notes the fact that Kennedy's decision has very little connection to the actual work and argument of gay marriage advocates: it gets the result they were looking for, but on very idiosyncratic reasoning that they are now stuck with because it's the thing they now have to work with, despite the fact that it does the sort of thing that many gay marriage advocates have repeatedly argued against -- committing the gay community to a standard template of relationship derived from heterosexual marriage rather than gay and lesbian experience, for instance -- and downplays and muddles the arguments (particularly the equality argument) that have been the primary thrust of gay marriage advocacy.

* The most difficult English poem to read out loud. I can handle most of it without much problem, but "Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet" trips me almost every single time, as does "Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant". There's just an itch to harmonize those vowels.

* A review of a life of Vaclav Havel.

* Texas is the only state with an actual gold reserve. (Other states invest in gold certificates or the like, but Texas actually has the bullion.) It's locked away in a vault in Manhattan, so it's not surprising that some Texans want it closer to home rather than to trust to Yanks and banks. Gold depositories are expensive, though, and the Texas legislature is in a perpetual state of worrying about unnecessary costs, so I don't think it's likely to return to Texas soil anytime soon.

* Mapping Metaphor

* Craig Warmke, Modal Intensionalism

* An essay on the complexities of Lewis Carroll. But it only touches the surface; the man was many-sided in every way.

* Carlos Colorado on the beatification of Oscar Romero. I've long been in favor of Romero's canonization -- not, of course, that it matters whether one is in favor of it or not, since it's not a popularity contest. An archbishop who is shot literally before the altar while saying Mass is a martyr; all the usual objections to it turn out not to have much to them.

* Philosophers' Carnival #177.

* An interesting discussion of arthāpatti and upamāna in Indian epistemology.

* Bolos and Scott, Reformed Epistemology, at the IEP.

* Thomas Stark tries to understand Cardinal Kasper in terms of adapted Hegelianism. I've noted before that Kasper seems to be responsible for the too-common Hegelian misreading of the triplex via, so add that to the evidence.

* An interesting article on the tomb of Queen Esther in Persia.

* Robert George defends Peter Singer; very broadly speaking, of course.

* Thomas Aquinas's discussion of the parts of the Mass at Sent. IV d 8 exp. text, at "New Liturgical Movement".

* A lot of interesting women-in-philosophy articles, free until the end of the year.

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