Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Phosphorus and Hesperus

June 2, 2021

(Folded into this posting there will be some discussion of male-male sexual acts, and paintings of these, so the posting isn’t suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

🐇🐇🐇 To greet the new month — Pride Month, though that’s no doubt an accident — my Facebook ads on 6/1, yesterday, included one new to me, for art.com, offering giclee or canvas prints of Evelyn De Morgan’s 1882 painting Phosphorus and Hesperus:

(#1)

An embodiment of complementarity: two half-brothers (sharing their mother, Eos), one (Phosphorus) lighter haired, eyes open, facing up, bearing a flaming torch aloft; one (Hesperus) darker haired, eyes closed, facing down, holding a cold torch pointing down; with their arms intertwined and their bodies aligned complementarily, in a 69, or sideways astrological Cancer, or yin-yang pattern (with Hesperus as yin, Phosphorus as yang).

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The bristly brute

February 24, 2021

On Reddit on 2/22, posted by u/Tom7454:

“On the anniversary of Arthur Schopenhauer’s birth, David Bather Woods, a Schopenhauer expert at the University of Warwick, recommends five books on Schopenhauser.”

The typo was quoted on Facebook on 2/22  by Wendy Thrash, who explained the intervention of Schopenhauser:

“Because nobody wants to read about Schopenhauer.”

The pointer is to Five Books, a site with book recommendations from authorities; each recommendation is for five books on a specific subject, in this case David Bather Woods on Arthur Schopenhauer:

(#1)

Which inspired me to light verse:

Schopenhauser
Was a schnauzer
A bristly brute that
Played the flute

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Ethical Surrealism

February 2, 2021

An antic cartoon by Tom Gauld in the latest New Scientist magazine. combining surrealist images with a famous ethical dilemma from the philosophical literature:

(#1)

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Chaka Khan and post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought

July 31, 2020

Margalit Fox on Facebook on the 29th:

Time to get my hearing checked. This evening’s dialogue:

Husband: “Jacques Lacan is the thinker who merged post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought with Structuralism.”

Me: “Chaka Khan merged post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought with Structuralism?? …”

Jacques Lacan / Chaka Khan — some phonological similarity (same accentual pattern, shared medial /k/ and final /n/, initial /ǰ/ vs. /č/, differing only in voicing, vowels similar but not calculable here because of dialect differences in their quality), but then there’s /l/ vs. /k/), but largely the connection is through their being two relatively exotic proper names of cultural significance.

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Martin Van Buren, feeding nachos to a hyperactive squirrel

April 10, 2020

Yesterday’s Zippy has Our Pinhead imagining empathetically identifying with Grover Cleveland, Gwyneth Paltrow, Frank Zappa, Martin Van Buren, … and a (particular) squirrel:


(#1) The title of the set piece in Zippy’s dream — “Martin Van Buren, Feeding Nachos to a Hyperactive Squirrel” — uses a familiar syntactic template for describing scenes

This is the world of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and “Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer”.

Meanwhile, Zippy engages in a mental exercise that has absorbed philosophers of consciousness for about 50 years, as distilled in the title of an influential paper by Thomas Nagel: “What Is It Like To Be a Bat?”

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A building guide for the perplexed

July 5, 2019

A Dale Coverly Speed Bump cartoon (from 10/17/17) that appeared in a Facebook posting in this form:


(#1) The philosopher’s eternal question, en français

I wasn’t aware that the strip came in a French version, but evidently it does; I still don’t know where and how it’s distributed (and I now wonder if there’s a Spanish version too, though I haven’t found one).

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Revisiting 29: chants/chance

April 1, 2019

From Karen Chung on her (public) Facebook group NTU Phonetics yesterday, this texty cartoon with a pun:

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The joke turns on the (perceptual) homophony of chants and chance, parallel to the cents / sense and prints / prince cases in my 3/27/19 posting “Two cents, common sense, incense, and peppermints”.

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Sylvain Bromberger

December 31, 2018

In the annual NYT Magazine “The Lives They Lived” issue (yesterday in print, 12/27 on-line), “Sylvain Bromberger: He theorized about not knowing — and he lived with it too” by James Ryerson, with a story of a mysterious escape from the Nazis and a distinguished career in philosophy.

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Revisiting 20: X Places

November 1, 2018

The Scenes From a Multiverse of 10/9, entitled #NOTALLPLACES:

A riff on Michael Schur’s sitcom The Good Place, with Kristen Bell (as Eleanor, apparently sent wrongly to the place after her deathGood Plae modality is harsh.) and Ted Danson (as Michael, the designer of the place). Also a comment on social media (Twitter vs. Facebook).  And of course on the nature of reality and our perceptions of it.

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Contractualism, the sitcom!

October 11, 2018

From the most recent NYT Magazine (in print 10/7, on-line 10/4), “The Ultimate Sitcom” by Sam Anderson, about Michael Schur’s sitcom “The Good Place”:


(#1) Ted Danson and Kristen Bell

 “The Good Place” is not about philosophy in the way that “The Big Bang Theory” is about science — as a set of clichés to tap for silly jokes. A sitcom is not a grad school seminar, obviously, so the philosophy is highly abridged. But it is not insubstantial, and philosophical ideas actually determine and shape the plot.

I had been tangentially aware of the show (from its availability on Netflix), but didn’t appreciate its premise or its grounding in actual philosophy — a very specific brand of philosophy, as it turns out.

As embodied in a specific book.

By — moment of sheer astonishment — one of my oldest friends.

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