Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

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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Men for men, and perilous translation

August 1, 2018

(Men’s bodies, frankly and openly presented as both objects of desire and objects of pride — but it is definitely Art. Use your judgment.)

Passed on by Arne Adolfsen on Facebook, this work by noted São Paulo artist Francisco (Chico) Hurtz, with accompanying (often baffling) text from philosopher Marilyn Frye — on heterosexual masculinity as male bonding, Bros Before Hos on a grand scale — supplied by Hurtz:


(#1) Untitled, ink on paper 2018 (here, and below, his men are faceless, but decidedly embodied)

” to say that a man is heterosexual implies only that he maintains sexual intercourse exclusively with the opposite sex, i.e. women. Everything or almost everything that is of love, most straight men reserve exclusively for other men. The people they admire; they respect; they worship and worship; they honor; whom they imitate, worship and with whom they create deeper ties; to whom they are willing to teach and with whom they are willing to learn; those whose respect, admiration, recognition, honor , reverence and love they wish: these are, mostly overwhelming, other men. In their relations with women, what is seen as respect is kindness, generosity or paternalism; what is seen as honor is the placement of the woman in a dome. Of women they want devotion, servitude and sex. Male heterosexual culture is couples; she cultivates love for men.” – Marilyn Frye

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Bromuniqués

June 4, 2018

About the N bro, used first as an address term and then as a referential N with several senses, and available as an element in N + N compounds: as the first element in Bro Code and bro subculture, as the second element in code bro (roughly) ‘guy into coding’ and (hat tip to Tyler Schnoebelen) the academic-cool character named Philosophy Bro. Then, thanks to Ben Barrett on ADS-L (on May 23rd), on to crypto bro / cryptobro, which looks like it might be a portmanteau of cryptocurrency (or cryptocoin(age)) and bro, but is probably better analyzed as a straightforward compound of the clipping crypto and the N bro.

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Discordance

May 25, 2018

Via Esha Neogy on the Our Bastard Language Facebook group, this Andertoon:

(#1)

Sentence 1 asserts that some text is grammatically active, but sentence 1 itself is a grammatically passive. Vice versa for sentence 2. Each sentence shows a discordance between a grammatical voice as the topic of a text and the grammatical voice of the sentence about that text. Not actually a contradiction, much less a paradoxical self-contradiction, but a language prank that flirts edgily with these possibilities.

What it is like is the discordance of the Stroop effect, where a color name and the color the name is presented in are at odds, as in this New Yorker cover by the artist Saul Steinberg:

(#2) In my 6/15/17 posting “For Saul Steinberg”, a discussion of the effect

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Another Magrittean disavowal

April 2, 2018

Passed around on Facebook:

The 1929 Magritte original, often riffed on, went Ceci n’est pas une pipe ‘This is not a pipe’, a disavowal that sets up a contradiction between text and image. So here we have another Magrittean disavowal, as I’ve come to call the phenomenon; there’s a survey in my 8/19/17 posting “Magrittean disavowals”.

But they come in two species, and it’s not entirely clear which one the example above belongs to.

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Labeling the world

March 22, 2018

An old Gary Larson cartoon:

(#1)

Maybe yes, maybe no. Painting a label L on something or affixing L to something is a kind of ostensive definition: This is an L. And ostensive definitions aren’t fail-safe: just how much of the thing L is associated with to is an L?

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The meaning of “is”

March 22, 2018

… and betting on baldness.

Through the Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Facebook page, this To φ Or Not To φ (Daily Nous Philosophy Comic) by Tanya Kostochka:

(#1) And that’s just the beginning: cf. I’m Louise with I’m your daughter

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Jerry Fodor

December 21, 2017

In the NYT on 11/30, an obituary by Margalit Fox, “Jerry A. Fodor, Philosopher Who Plumbed the Mind’s Depths, Dies at 82”, beginning:

Jerry A. Fodor, one of the world’s foremost philosophers of mind, who brought the workings of 20th-century computer technology to bear on ancient questions about the structure of human cognition, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 82.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease and a recent stroke, his wife, Janet Dean Fodor, said.

More of the obit below, then a few personal remarks, and an extended discussion of an early influential work by Jerrold Katz and Jerry Fodor, The Structure of Langage: Readings in the Philosophy of Language (1964).

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Xmas, Zippy, Sartre, the Big Duck, and Nedwig, too

December 16, 2017

It started to look a lot like Christmas back at the end of October, and now the great wave of celebration impels us towards the day. I have my personal holiday dates: the 15th of December, for years my evacuation day from Ohio (immediately after grades were due at Ohio State); the 20th, my arrival day in California, by then transformed from dry-season gold to the rainy-season green of rebirth; the 16th, today, marking for me not only the birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven but also the birthday of my friend Ned Deily, a day I came to see as Nedwig, by association the feast day of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. (Extended discussion of these significant events in my 12/17/16 posting “Two late December holidays”.)

Meanwhile, Bill Griffith has several times connected the coming of Christmas with Jean-Paul Sarte and the Big Duck of Flanders NY (on Long Island), and here I’ll follow him a bit along that rocky, twisted path. Enjoy the journey with me.

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