Note: technical problems resulted in this duplication, but as Eric's additions are in fact very funny, we'll leave both versions up.
[Posting on behalf of Protevi; the title of this post is Schliesser's--ES.]
gives a technical sense of "stupid" (bête) in Chapter 3 of Difference
and Repetition: the inability to distinguish the ordinary and trivial
from the singular and important. But that's not the only sense
of stupid this column displays: the everyday sense of "not very smart"
the absurdly anachronistic attempted reduction of AP ['AP' = Analytical Philosophy--ES] to language
analysis -- thus missing the singular moment of the revival of analytic
-- there is this head scratcher:
the 18th century, Immanuel Kant posited ideas such as "categories of
the mind" and "transcendental apperception" that were themselves beyond
To use some netspeak: Rlly? Srsly? WTF?
Read for yourself, there's plenty more like that.
me just take this occasion to formally disavow any alignment with these
jokers [not to be confused with the supervillian in the Batman series--] and to say that this proud CP person ['CP' = Continental Philosophy] does not take them to be
representative of any movement to which
to return to my beloved snark idiom, to put it in the immortal words of
Elaine Benes: "That stuff is weak. I'm not buying it and you shouldn't
be selling it."
Julian Young has now forthrightly corrected passages from his biography Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2010), discussed here a while ago. In two pages of Errata inserted in unsold copies of the book, he writes:
The author wishes to correct an oversight on his part in omitting to provide appropriate acknowledgement of
material reproduced from, and references made to, the late Curtis Cate’s biography, Friedrich Nietzsche (London:
He writes (in correspondence):
I went through my biography with a fine tooth comb and identified every occasion there was a phrase that overlapped with the earlier biography, changed the phrase, and inserted a footnote to the earlier biography. The foreign translators were informed of this.
Facebook was awash with jokes yesterday poking fun at McGinn and his defenders. (You know who you are! ["you" = the jokesters and the defenders]) Taking off from the original Defense of Snark, I would like to defend mockery in the McGinn case as an important means of norm enforcement. In other words, mocking the inanity of McGinn's defenders with their "out of context" or "he was just conveying the results of his research" maneuvers does two things I think: one, it ups the social cost of traditional defenses of the indefensible, and two, it sends a message of encouragement to those thinking of pressing charges but worried about what the defenders of the accused will say.
Does anyone know what's going on here? The best spin is that it's a way for Essex to offer unemployed and unaffiliated folks office space and a title from which to apply for jobs. (But why? What's in it for them?) The worst spin is that it's a way for Essex to build up its research profile from these folks. (But I don't even know if that's possible under the most recent REF rules.)
The School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex offers up to three non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellowships each year, commencing in October in any area of Philosophy or Art History or the intersection of the two disciplines. These are available for one year, and in exceptional cases may be extended for a further period of not more than one year. Whilst there is no salary attached to these fellowships the Fellows appointed will be entitled to shared office and study space equipped with computing facilities, and the use of all library and school services. Whilst there is no attendance requirement Fellows are expected to take part in school activities. There are no teaching duties associated with the positions, however Fellows may be entitled to take on teaching, if available, for which they will be paid at the usual University rates.
Via Stefan Heßbrüggen on Facebook, an open letter from the UBC mathematician Greg Martin tells of his resignation from the editorial board of the Elsevier production, Journal of Number Theory. In the letter Martin tells of "Elsevier’s new policy that editors would receive $60 for every article they process" for the journal. Commenters react with hilarity, knowing the kind of lagniappe (Louisiana term for "kickback") that this would motivate.
But Martin's reaction to the apparent "bribery" this looks like brings us to the discussion below between Eric and Catarina on philosophical origin myths: are we priests or are we "knowledge-workers"?
It's not helpful to make the arguments of labor’s enemies for them. So please don’t trumpet efficiency on behalf of the owners when its an argument that is almost always used as a cudgel against the rights of labor. We all know what efficiency really means: less money for labor and more for management and owners.... When management trumpets efficiency as the justification for subcontracting or any other labor practice [JP: such as changing the TT vs precarious labor ratio in HE] it's usually a front for disenfranchising labor and increasing management importance and scope.
I'm reminded of Jeff Nealon's biting and insightful "The Associate Vice-Provost in the Gray Flannel Suit" (here and here), an example of outsmarting in which he says we should welcome honest management consultants into universities, because the fat they would cut would be administration, not faculty. The trick is to find the honest management consultants!
I want to keep public higher education public in a sense [in which] for-profit content disseminated on the internet is not. A large part of Coursera's appeal lies in your own nearly-socialist vision of an informational Common to which access should no longer be restricted based on the scarcity of places at existing universities and colleges. I personally wish that this part of your vision were coming from the leaders of UC. Instead they are trying to sell students on paying higher tuition because of the demonstrated role of elite universities in generating income inequality while also persuading the legislature to increase “access” so we can generate even more revenue from the tuition we charge.
Here I agree with your and Coursera’s business logic’s implicit criticism of public higher education. Public education has all but lost sight of its egalitarian mission while raising its prices at three times the rate of inflation.
I disagree, however, with Coursera’s implicit claim that privately-financed MOOCs can fulfill the promise once made, and now abandoned, by public systems to be an engine for reducing social and economic hierarchy.
If you want the Biblical version: we have sold our birthright for a mess of pottage.
Today is the 59th anniversary of Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile barrier. Great running form, and wonderful commentary by Bannister himself. I especially like these two bits, with which I think almost every runner can identify: "my mind leaped ahead of me and drew me compellingly forward"! And "those last seconds seemed never-ending. The faint line of the finishing tape stood ahead like a haven of peace after the struggle."
In the Philosophical Lexicon, we find the entry for outsmarting, in tribute to one of the favorite rhetorical / conceptual moves of JJC Smart in defending his act utilitarianism: to accept, affirm, and even exaggerate the attempts at a reductio sent one's way. "Of course I would torture an innocent child in order to save the universe. Wouldn't you? What kind of moral monster wouldn't do that?"
We see an example of the outsmarting maneuver in Christopher Boehm's Moral Origins, this time directed at Nietzsche: "Of course the herd of weaklings ganged up and killed the solitary strong ones! You say that like it's a bad thing, when in fact, it's the secret of human evolution!"
They might lower production costs inside the university,* but previous means of doing that (increasing ratio of adjuncts vs TT faculty) haven’t resulted in reduced tuition (far from it). Instead the increased “profit” from cost savings has been kept in-house. Why should we expect the alleged savings from MOOCs to be treated any differently?
If you have a minute to kill, take a look at the 1/16/12 cartoon in this Tumblr. Is it mocking the laziness and stupidity of cartoonists for grinding out yet another Al-Gore-in-a-snowdrift cartoon about "global warming" [sic]? If so, then does its inclusion show that the Tumblr compiler is too stupid to know he or she is being mocked? Or is its inclusion a nudge-is-as-good-as-a-wink-to-a-blind-horse that the whole series is a mockery?
In the Summer of 2010, the administration of Southeastern Louisiana University announced the closure of its French program and the dismissal of three tenured faculty members, Margaret Marshall, Katherine Kolb and Evelyne Bornier, among the most highly regarded professors on campus. In violation of University guidelines and AAUP standards, the program closure was determined without consulting the faculty concerned. Nor did the program, in fact, close: French courses are still being taught; a French minor is still offered. In further violation of University policy and AAUP guidelines, these courses are being staffed by instructors, who, in cases of program closure are to be dismissed before tenured faculty.
DeLanda provides a doubled
difference, a differentiation and differenciation,
of Deleuze. While DeLanda certainly provides a straightforward explanation of
the process Deleuze calls counter-actualization (moving from the actual to the
virtual), he does so not by an interpretation of Deleuze’s full philosophical
output, but by a reconstruction of the ontology and epistemology of Difference
and Repetition and The Logic of Sense: ‘This line of argumentation
... is, in fact, not Deleuze’s own, although it follows directly from his
ontological analysis’ (39). As DeLanda puts it: Deleuze’s world rather than his
words. But this folds Deleuze back on himself, giving us a virtualization of
Deleuze, moving from the actual productions of Deleuze (his books) to the differentiated structures of his
production process (the network of his concepts) in order to produce a new,
divergent, differenciation (DeLanda’s
book). By virtue of being a book on Deleuze, of course, this product has itself
the all-important fold of explaining the structures of all processes (or more
precisely, explaining that all processes are structured, and that the structure
of the realm of those structures, the virtual, can itself by explicated).
And here's an outline of ISVP I did for a course I taught back then.
I think the discussions in the books demonstrate a slogan of mine, that "our nature is to be so open to our nurture that it becomes second nature."* What I mean by this is that we are "bodies politic," that is to say, due to our neuroendrocrinological plasticity, social experience will shape our bodies in accord with the subjectification practices in which we participate more or less consciously and willingly. Experience goes deep, you could say, right down to the brain's neurons and hormones. But there's a variation in that depth, I think; some depths are deeper than others.
One of the students in my Foucault class yesterday called Jouy (from the notorious pages 31-32 of the English version of History of Sexuality, Vol 1) "the first child molestor." I agreed with that, insofar as, roughly speaking, Foucault claims that something like an ancestor of our category of "child molestor" was formed at that time, as the sexuality of children and "abnormals" like Jouy becomes the focus of intensified power / knowledge practices. But prior to that, Foucault would have us believe, no one really cared about the sort of thing that went on in the incident Foucault presents in HS1.
John’s nice post has reminded me of the importance of repetitive series for Deleuze (an issue I also discuss here). Picking up on John’s discussion of the perception of colors, series play an important role in attempting to account for our use of predicates: in short, Deleuze will often place predicates within the context of a series of predicates – e.g., shades of blue. This pattern is most obvious in Deleuze’s Logic of Sense, where each chapter is titled “First Series of…” “Second Series of…” etc.… But why series?
Two short answers, which I’ll expand on below the fold: 1) a series of differences is precisely what provides, in good Spinozist fashion, the principle of sufficient reason for determinate phenomena; and 2) series in turn provide the metaphysics science needs.
Reviewed by the excellent Scott McLemee at IHE. The original London production in 1936 (thus two years before the publication of The Black Jacobins) starred Paul Robeson as Toussaint! So two giants of the 20th century, James and Robeson, portraying a giant of world history, Toussaint.
James was, Høgsbjerg stressed, “acutely conscious of the need to challenge the mythological British nationalist narrative of abolition, one that glorified the role played by British parliamentarians such as Wilberforce. Indeed, in the original version of the playscript C.L.R. James mentioned Wilberforce himself in passing, but then later in a handwritten revision (one that I have respected) decided to remove the explicit mention of the abolitionist Tory MP. "The revision was almost certainly made “to help bring home the essential truth about abolition -- that it was the enslaved who abolished slavery themselves -- to a British audience who would almost certainly be hearing such a truth for the first time.”
Last week I presented a paper* on "Plato, Political Affect, and Lullabies"** at a wonderful conference at CUNY. One key point is Plato's claim that habits of transgression formed from repeated petty misdeeds can ripple up to bad effect in a polity (788b-c). In the plus ça change category, I read this AP story on "zero tolerance" school policies in the morning paper. Some key grafs:
Zero tolerance traces its philosophical roots to the "broken windows" theory of policing, which argues that if petty crime is held in check, more serious crime and disorder are prevented.[***]
There is a certain lack of clarity in
Judith Butler’s remarks at Brooklyn College, not so much in her words, but in
what actions they may license or lead to. I have been discussing this with
Sergio Tenenbaum, and here is what we do not understand. (Thanks to Mark Lance for helping clarify the
Butler says, first:
academic and cultural boycott seeks to put pressure on all those cultural
institutions that have failed to oppose the occupation and struggle for equal
rights and the rights of the dispossessed . . . When those cultural
institutions (universities, art centers, festivals) were to take such a stand,
that would be the beginning of the end of the boycott
I take it that universities rarely take a stand about
such matters, and especially not publicly funded universities. Who has ever
demanded, for example, that the University of Texas should take a stand on the
death penalty in Texas? (Very few people, if any, advocated sanctions against
Witwatersrand University or the University of Cape Town during apartheid,
though they may have been fairly adamant about not consuming South African
products or attending sports events involving South Africa.)
Well look, I couldn’t disagree more violently with BDS as they call it, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. As you know I’m a big supporter of Israel, as big a one as you can find in the city, but I could also not agree more strongly with an academic department’s right to sponsor a forum on any topic that they choose. I mean, if you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea.
The last thing that we need is for members of our City Council or State Legislature to be micromanaging the kinds of programs that our public universities run, and base funding decisions on the political views of professors. I can’t think of anything that would be more destructive to a university and its students.
You know, the freedom to discuss ideas, including ideas that people find repugnant, lies really at the heart of the university system, and take that away and higher education in this country would certainly die.
This is a city that loves and protects freedom—academic freedom, religious religious freedom, sexual freedom, cultural freedom, political freedom. We are the freest city in the world, and that’s why we’re the greatest city in the world.
Among the great early
Modern thinkers, Hobbes famously emphasizes the role of fear in the state of
nature in prompting the agreement to form the civil state—and fear of a return
to the state of nature once in such a state. The reason we must be afraid in –
and of – the the state of nature is the widespread ability of people to kill
each other; while asleep, even the strongest can be killed by the weakest (Ryan,
1996; Foucault, 2003; Hull, 2009; on the general relation of reason and passion
in Hobbes, see Coli, 2006).
The other great early Modern thinker whom we will
treat is Spinoza.
Max Weber defines political sovereignty as the monopoly on the legitimate
use of force within a territory. But there is a problem: how to
unleash yet control the killing potential of the forces of order, the army and
the police? The problem is especially acute in the
crucial point of counter-revolution: will the army fire on “the people”? Plato
saw this problem clearly in his analysis of the character of the guardians, who
had to be kind to friends yet fierce to enemies (Republic, 375c).
Interestingly enough, the problem is more on the
“unleashing” side than on the “controlling” side, for killing is less easy than
it might seem for those raised with a Hobbesian outlook in which the ability to
kill is assumed to be widespread. We should recall here the way Hobbes emphasizes the role of fear in
the state of nature in prompting the agreement to form the civil state—and fear
of a return to the state of nature once in such a state. The reason we must be
afraid in – and of – the the state of nature is the widespread ability of
people to kill each other; while asleep, even the strongest can be killed by
Simon Glendinning proposes in this blog post a trinity of philosophical stances toward the EU: Skeptics, Experimenters, and Dogmatists. Dogmatists think they have derived a political program from their insight into human nature; Skeptics think human nature (or less dramatically, the current state of human knowledge-production) doesn't allow for such insights into human nature; and Experimenters, taking their lead from Isiah Berlin, combine a suspicion of grand progress narratives with a willingness to commit to ends one nonetheless knows stand alongside other commitments in a pluralism of values. Glendinning adopts the Experimenter's position, looking toward
a Europe to come that ‘stands unflinchingly’ for the ideal of freedom to choose our own ends (including all sorts of collective ends at different levels); a condition where people increasingly feel themselves the author of their own lives rather than subjected, in imperious fashion, to Dogmatic ideals of a single end for all.
When an expert speaks to a member of parliament we should always be a bit mistrustful. However, in the Wealth of Nations (1776) Smith does not mention Steuart's nearly forgotten (1767) An Inquiry Into the Principles of Political Economy. (As Salim Rashid has explored, Smith is not generous in his citations.) So, we do not learn what Steaurt's true principles are by Smith's lights. James Steuart (1713-1780) had an exciting life, but after the publications of the Wealth of Nations Steuart's political economy became completely overshadowed by Smith's, despite their shared debts to Hume. This is a shame. For, while Steuart, who -- as the late Andrew Skinner has noted -- has a fantastic treatment of price-formation (a topic that is handled very schematically in Smith's Inquiry), is not the most elegant writer, Steuart's Inquiry is prophetic
of the world we live in: in Steuart's economic universe there are free
markets alongside active government interventions. (What's missing in
Steuart's treatment are the large bureaucratic agencies that simulate
markets--Oskar Lange and data-mining came much later.)
In particular, according to to Steuart: "The duty of the statesman is to support the double competition every where and to permit only the gentle alternate vibrations of the two scales." (229; quoting from the Dublin edition of 1770). This is the only duty of the statesman mentioned by Steuart. Steuart's is, in fact, the vision of neo-liberalism, especially the ordo-Liberals (Röpke, Eucken, and to some degree Hayek), which -- as Foucault has nicely described -- also make it the state's primary goal to create and maintain the possibilities of free markets. (This is not to claim that Steaurt and the ord0-Liberals have the same ideas about the means of doing so.)
Recent comments by Eric and John on Foucault’s reading of Adam Smith
have made me think about one aspect of Smith’s argument about domestic
industry in Wealth of Nations IV.ii; and about the phenomenological
aspect of Foucault’s thought.
Smith begins by arguing that
‘domestick industry’ benefits from the ‘invisible hand’, so that the
individual with capital directs it to the use of domestic industry rather
than foreign industry, for reasons of self interest rather than public
good. It is only that this individual does not only think of the
‘revenue of society’, not that he is completely unaware of it.
Foucault’s reading is typically schematic in seeing this passage as
being about the complete invisibility of the public good. That
schematism is part of Foucault’s creativity, but we should always be
particularly careful about distinguishing between the sources Foucault
uses and the way he uses them in service of developing a schema. Getting
back to Smith, he moves onto the argument that free trade is better for a
society than protectionism, that is that the revenue of a society
benefits more from trade with other countries than the situation in
which the stare creates impediments to that trade. This is a shift away
from the initial point, and consciously or not, Smith is using a
rhetorical strategy to move the hypothetical reader, who prefers state
direction of the economy, to first accept free trade within a national
economy, and then international free trade.
Returning to the
invisibility of the hand, this is fascinating for Foucault, I suggest,
because of an underlying familiarity with phenomenology, which clearly
takes a lot from Merleau-Ponty as well as Heidegger though Foucault never
chooses to to refer to Merleau-Ponty in his publications or lectures. A
peculiar situation made even more peculiar when we remember that
Merleau-Ponty was one of Foucault’s undergraduate teachers. However, the
text by Merleau-Ponty that is key here is The Visible and the
Invisible, sadly left unfinished on Merleau-Ponty’s death.
In Tuesday's installment in his Philo Economics series, Eric discusses Foucault's analysis in Birth of Biopolitics of Adam Smith. (Jeff has a post from February 2012 on BB as well; [update, 17 Jan 12:30 pm: Eric has one on "regimes of truth" in Spinoza here.]) Common to both is the notion of non-totalizable multiplicity so that economics is "atheist." I thought I should put in my two cents, with an extract from this piece on "Foucault's Deleuzean Methodology of the late 1970s." (See also this earlier post on Foucault's notion of "statification" as integration of a multiplicity.)
We have already linked to the petition to save the Cedarville philosophy department (see also Leiter). Anyway, the group trying to save the department has been running very touching testimonials from former (and current) students about the impact philosophy has had on their development in (what is clearly) their very Christian environment. It makes for very moving reading.
I would not be surprised to learn that I share few philosophical commitments with Profs. Mills and Graves, but I am very proud that they are fellow philosophers.
After last week's post on Smith's treatment of Jupiter's Invisible Hand, I intended to post on Smith's great (and unfairly neglected) rival, James Steuart, but other obligations prevented me from composing that piece this week. So, this week I turn to Michel Foucault's treatment of Smith in The Birth of Biopolitics. While commenting on Smith's use of "invisible hand" in the Wealth of Nations (hereafter WN), Foucault
insists that Smith is committed to the claim that
must be uncertain with regard to the collective outcome if this positive
collective outcome is really to be expected. Being in the dark and the
blindness of all the economic agents are absolutely necessary. The collective
good must not be an objective... Invisibility is not just a fact arising from
the imperfect nature of human intelligence which prevents people from realizing
that there is a hand behind them which arranges or connects everything that
each individual does on their own account. Invisibility is absolutely
indispensable. It is an invisibility which means that no economic agent should
or can pursue the collective good. (Foucault 2008: 279-80)
here two features in Smith; Smith’s insistence in the Wealth of Nations that that “never… much good” is “done by those who affected to
trade for the publick good” (WN 4.2.9, 455-56) does not require that individuals do not know that if
by legally pursuing profits for their own enterprise (in competitive
environment) they can indirectly promote the public interest. If that were
right, then by Foucault’s logic, Smith should have never published. However, the reason why the merchant/employer does not know that he is contributing to
national wealth by profit seeking activity is that s/he is laboring with a
faulty ideology supplied by Mercantilists.
Smith never claims that the profit-seeker can never
know that his (her) activities may contribute to national wealth. In fact, it follows
from Smith’s account that once one is familiar with a correct (that
is, Smith’s) political economy, one can also intend to promote national wealth
just in virtue of pursing one's economic interests. This is not to deny that
according to Smith “generally” there need not be such intent, just that
sometimes there could be.
What's the difference between university admins and fast food franchise owners? Ha, trick question! There is no difference.
Starting in January 2014, any employee working 30 hours or more per week will be considered a full-time faculty member and will be entitled to health insurance through an employer under new federal rules, with an exception for certain small businesses. So far, several schools have cut adjuncts' hours to avoid the requirement and save cash. Matt Williams, vice president of New Faculty Majority, a group that advocates for collective bargaining rights of adjunct instructors and professors, told The Huffington Post in November he expects this type of action to happen more often.