Thursday, July 17, 2008

Notes and Links

* John Farrell, Has the Church Missed the Import of Science? at Faith magazine

* Google Book is a never-ending surprise. I recently found a copy of Lady Mary Shepherd's An Essay upon the Relation of Cause and Effect tucked away, for no clear reason, at the back of Alfred Lyall's A Review of the Principles of Necessary and Contingent Truth.

* A discussion at "Experimental Philosophy" has become an argument about blogging conferences, starting with a comment by David Velleman:

Academic blogs are threatening the spontaneity of academic conferences. Bloggers regularly publish reports of the papers and discussions they have heard at conferences, which they then go on to analyze and criticize. Conference participants who thought that they were discussing their work-in-progress with a small audience, or airing tentative thoughts on an ephemeral occasion, suddenly find that their ideas have been set down, archived, and disseminated to the entire world -- and not even in their own words. And then they find snapshots of themselves as well, not stored in someone's personal photo album, but published for all the world to see. (The only time a picture of me has appeared in a major newspaper, it was a picture that I had never seen before -- plucked by the newspaper from a conference site on the Web.)

Most undergraduates know that they need their professor's permission before recording his or her lectures. And they know that even if such permission is forthcoming, it does not cover dissemination of the lecture on the Internet. Why don't faculty members accord the same courtesy to their colleagues?

I confess myself extraordinarily skeptical of this whole argument, as I am of the argument, brought up by another commenter, that blogging conferences has a "chilling effect". But it clearly has some purchase in some quarters, and is worth thinking over explicitly. I think it's certainly the case that we need new conventions of both courtesy and critical use of sources that cover the handling of off-the-cuff remarks that have been recorded. Colleen Keating asks some worthwhile questions on the subject at "Arbitrary Marks."

(I think it's false, incidentally, that most undergraduates know that they need their professor's permission before recording his or her lectures; I've been recorded without being asked, when I was in school I was in classes where students recorded without permission, once where students got in trouble for it, and I think the general view of students is that if you don't want to be recorded, you should clearly say so in the syllabus -- and I'm inclined to think the students are right on this one. There are entirely legitimate circumstances where you'd want to limit the use of recording devices in a classroom, but in this day and age you should make explicit provision for it.)

* An entry on Chaos theory at the SEP

* They are still under construction, but the Sophistry and Illusion blog looks like it will be interesting.

* There was an interesting discussion of Hume and compatibilism at "The Garden of Forking Paths" recently that I've been intending to mention. As I note in the comments, I think there is a slip with regard to the interpretation of Hume in the post itself, but I think the post still raises interesting questions for discussion, both as to what Hume is doing in the passages and as to the general notion of 'selective compatibilism'. Some of these are touched on later in the comments. I might at some point put up a post on my interpretation of the passage, because I'm not wholly convinced by Russell's interpretation, and I'll have to work through Werking's suggested modified interpretation more carefully. If nothing else, I'm indebted to Werking's post for making me realize that my position does, in fact, seem to diverge somewhat from Russell's here, which I hadn't realized on originally reading Russell's article.

* Michael Liccione had a post on the Vincentian canon with which I am heavily in agreement.

* Tanyss Ludescher, The Islamic Roots of the Poetic Syllogism

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