Monday, May 09, 2011

Links for Thinking

* Paul Robinson reflects on the philosophy of statistics.

* An excellent post by Beth Haile on the nature of wisdom.

* D. G. Myers posts a course of reading on the Holocaust. Halivni in particular has been on my reading list for quite some time, due to his association with the Textual Reasoning movement; definitely will have to read him fairly soon.

* Kristina Terkun, Franchise Conflict: The Tide of Antipopes in the Aftermath of the Eastern Schism (PDF) -- an interesting attempt to apply franchise theory to religious history, although you have to get past the jarring vocabulary to the abstract point. "Obviously, the Eastern Schism represented a break by Rome with the Eastern part of the Christian Church, but we argue that the impetus for this split was a desire by the Roman See to rearrange the franchise agreements with its franchisees," means very little other than "The Eastern Schism came about in large part because Rome attempted to disassociate church and state and take a more dominant role in local church affairs." The explanation makes some implausible assumptions: contrary to the suggestion of the paper while there was extensive Roman moral influence, there was no Roman hegemony until very late; and the partnerships in question were shifting and not as well-defined as the argument seems to assume (e.g., there were no 'proper procedures' or guidelines for detecting 'termination without cause'; these would all have been constantly negotiable by both diplomacy and force). But the basic ideas of incentive misalignment and opportunism are detachable from the franchise theory framework and seem certainly to be operative in the actual history.

* Good post by John Wilkins on higher education.

* Robert Skidelsky, Hayek vs. Keynes: The Road to Reconciliation

* Jonathan Neumann corrects some misunderstandings of the concept of tikkun olam (PDF). I think I may have linked to this before, but it's worth reading.

* Rebecca and her commenters mull over the question of the reasons for, and the extent of, the disinterest of women in theology. A very interesting discussion follows

* Lindsay Beyerstein notes a college that is opening up a Department of Secular Studies. If you are going to have these general Studies departments, some of which can be pretty successful when they are thought out properly, it does make sense to have something like this. I suspect that secularists will find it is not as consistently nice a thing as some of them would think; academic politics can result in all sorts of unexpected effects on such programs. But like Lindsay, I think it makes sense to study secularity systematically; and this is the way academia generally does it.

* A reminder to look occasionally at the good ideas for addressing the problems facing women in philosophy that are submitted to the blog What We're Doing About What It's Like.

ADDED LATER

* Apparently there's a new confirmation of general relativity.

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