Thursday, July 07, 2011

Some Links, Brief Notes

* Chris Thompson, From conservation to consecration: Towards a Green Thomism (ht)

* Alfredo Watkins has an interesting essay arguing that copyright infringement is unethical. For my own part I tend to be very skeptical of attempts to ground such claims on rights (author's entitlement) but fairly sympathetic to attempts to ground them on public good (creativity and incentive).

* Paul Newall corrects some common misunderstandings of Feyerabend.

* History Carnival 100

* Paul Raymont discusses Schwabing, Munich and the contrast between Munich and Vienna.

* Nobody involved cares, but I thought this periodic table of atheists and antitheists somewhat cute. As noted, there are some people on the table who really shouldn't be: Carl Sagan and T. H. Huxley are both agnostics, and explicitly denied that they were atheists (and that he was a nontheist who wasn't against theism as such was one reason why Huxley invented the term); given what evidence we have, and if we don't suppose he was always lying when he talked about it, David Hume considered himself a theist (also here), although it's such a minimal theism it's somewhat difficult to pin down what it would involve; we don't have all that much evidence, but given the importance the gods play as exemplars of happiness in early Epicurean ethics, it seems unlikely that Epicurus was an atheist; and Samuel Clemens is a famously ambiguous case because he's never entirely serious when he talks about such matters. But unlike some lists of atheists all of these are at least borderline (no attempt to claim Voltaire, etc.). And as a lark not intended to be taken too seriously it works very nicely; it's important in these matters at least sometimes to have a good-natured sense of humor. I like the symbol for Roddenberry.

* I'm as sympathetic to the 'college is a bad choice for many students' argument as any, but Joe Carter is exactly right.

* Some people have started up a Philosophy Stackexchange (on the model of a popular help site for programmers). I'm actually very impressed so far. There's an excellent question about Malebranche just a ways down, with serious attempts to answer it, for instance. The answer to the question is yes, with the qualification that Malebranche doesn't think ideas are in our minds -- they are in God, and therefore not actually caused at all. However, we are caused to attend to them (although we can veto, so to speak, certain kinds of attention). I'd give precise references, but I don't have much time at the moment. Perhaps in some future post.

* I remember once (a year or so back) intending to point people to some excellent writing at Wayne K. Spear's Acquired Tastes. I don't recall if I ever did, so here I am doing so.


  1. Alfredo7:44 AM

    Thanks for linking to my copyright paper. Interestingly, it was actually born out of a little bit of in-group debate, Tim and I vs. everyone else in the Gang. So I decided to go all-out and mount a full defense.

  2. Josiah Neeley2:16 PM

    If copyright protection wasn't necessary to produce the plays of William Shakespeare, I'm skeptical that it is really necessary to incentivize creativity. 

  3. branemrys2:25 PM

    Well, it certainly isn't necessary for creativity; but the incentivizing standard, I think, is a much weaker standard, I think, since it's not a question of being necessary for incentives to creativity but of improving or increasing them. But I agree entirely that it's an argument that takes some real effort to put in plausible form.


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