Friday, February 09, 2007


* Derek Gatherer, Why the `Thought Contagion' Metaphor is Retarding the Progress of Memetics
Paul Marsden, A Strategy for Memetics: Memes as Strategies

* William Tighe discusses the history of the Thirty-Nine Articles at "Pontifications"

* Timothy Burke's 2004 discussion of the productive use of historical analogies.

* Bader has a nice summary of the dispute over the nature of Kant's noumena/phenomena distinction. I've always been skeptical of the dispute as a whole. In effect, the dispute is over whether phenomena and noumena are distinct in the objects (either distinct features or distinct objects), or the same in the objects and only distinct in our ways of knowing them (although, as he notes, these two are not exhaustive). But I'm skeptical of our ability to know what 'distinct' and 'same' are with regard to noumena without an intelligible intuition. Indeed, we can only talk of noumena at all because we can't rule out that some intelligible intuition of noumena is possible for someone, although we have no basis for saying it definitely is possible for someone, and even though we can't ourselves ever transcend the limits of possible sensible experience. By us, at least, the noumena are met with in things not insofar as we know them them but only insofar as we don't -- indeed, can't possibly. Thus the dispute is necessarily interminable. We can't rule out a vantage point from which it is resolvable; but we have no notion of what that vantage point would be. Of course, this is all in light of pure reason. When practical reason enters into the picture it becomes very much more complicated. We can have from a practical point of view what we can't from a speculative. But even there the ability of practical reason to go beyond the limits of possible sensible experience is constrained by the purely practical character of practical reason's domain, and ultimately we cannot know anything about the nature of noumena from practical reason, either: we can only think and believe -- indeed, must do so. In an interesting discussion almost a year ago, Bader almost talked me out of this skeptical view, and into recognizing the legitimacy of the dispute; but I have since relapsed. The more I read Kant himself, the more it seems to me that the dispute has slipped up by treating what is limitative as if it were substantive, and an unknown something as if it were somehow known. But, of course, I am not a Kant scholar.

* An interesting article on The Dark Tower controversy. There is a longstanding dispute about whether The Dark Tower, attributed to C. S. Lewis, is a forgery. I'm not sure the argument in the article is quite so strong as they make it sound. Lindskroog's point was not that Lewis never wrote any part of The Dark Tower, but that the story in its current form was not by Lewis; in fact, she suggested, on the basis of Morton's work, that Lewis may have written fragments of it and that someone else (Hooper is the person she points the finger at) redacted them and added their own framework, then passed it off as all Lewis's. But it's nice that there's more evidence to go on. (ht: Dangerous Idea)

* An interesting discussion of Aquinas's reflexivity argument for the intellect's independence of matter at "Maverick Philosopher"

* On February 28 Positive Liberty will host the next edition of the Carnival of Citizens. The theme: Church and State.

* Jennifer Hart Weed discusses philosophy as love of wisdom in Philosophers in Love.

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