Friday, July 08, 2005


* An excellent post on the use of labels in history of philosophy at "Philosophical Fortnights": Ism-itis, or the Vanity of Labels. I think in some sense labels are for the historian of philosophy what Duhem thought mechanical models were for the physicist: they assist us in simplifying, when simplification is needed in order to reduce confusion (as it often is in pedagogy,or when we are just starting out); but precisely for that reason real progress in understanding a philosopher doesn't rest much on them at all.

* Philologos discusses interest and usury in the Bible. (HT: Paleojudaica)

* Miriam Burnstein points to this article at CoHE about the possibility that blogging might ruin one's job search. If so, I've pretty much sunk myself a thousand times over; which is entirely fine, I guess, since I'm not sure I'd want colleagues who are so far behind the times that they'd make such odd inferences. It's a bit like rejecting an applicant after finding out by accident that they've been divorced twice, or that they're all-out-no-holds-barred Manchester United fans, or (in a case almost exactly parallel to the 'Techno Geek' case, which is the one that actually irritates me) that they are passionately addicted to stamp collecting. What sort of crazy, sour-faced, self-righteous department would that be? I found this part of the article hilariously funny:

Several members of our search committee found the sheer volume of blog entries daunting enough to quit after reading a few.

I can just imagine some search committee trying to wade through a month's worth of my entries, which average about three a day, most of them hastily jotted notes on just about everything under the sun! When I started blogging, it never occurred to me to do so under a pseudonym; I was surprised to find that so many people did so, although I can entirely understand it. I don't put Siris on my CV, but it's easy enough to find, even despite the jillion and a half Brandon Watsons on the internet. People do need to keep in mind that their weblogs are accessible to the public (it's admittedly easy to forget); anything you say might come back to bite you. Probably will. Such are the consequences of saying and doing things in public. I'll still go about saying things in public; how else does one learn? [UPDATE: Daniel Drezner probably strikes the right note with his two bits of advice; see also Dr. B.]

* An interesting post on theology of the body at "Catholic Ragemonkey".

* "Studi Galileiani" has a good post on teaching science, opening discussion about whether the historical method is the best way to go about it. Duhem has a great argument that it is, at the end of La theorie physique; but for some reason I'm blanking on important parts of it at the moment, so I won't say more about it, but just direct you to the argument itself.

* Some interesting discussions touched off by the London bombings:
Soldier On at "Easily Distracted"
The Rhetorics of Violence at "Michael Berubé Online"
Some doubts at "Mode for Caleb"
Violence and Agency at "Easily Distracted"
"No right of secession from modernity" at "The Elfin Ethicist"

* (This is primarily a reminder to myself) The Provisional Schedule for the 32nd International Hume Conference can be found here. I present on Wednesday, July 20 in a good slot (not too early, not too late).

I'm still catching up on posts that I intend to write, and I'll get through them. But I'm also at the beginning of preparing for a move, and the Hume Society conference is approaching, so posts may be a bit sporadic.

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