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Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

I don’t see how you can “automatically” strip anyone of citizenship without a trial that establishes guilt.  And even if that were the case, the Left doesn’t care about citizenship: for them, non-citizens have the same rights as citizens. Joe Lieberman is supposedly trying to update sedition laws to preremptorily strip citizenship from people who consort with, give aid to, take training from enemies of the United States.  How do you do that without trying them?  If they are citizens, they are entitled to due process, which presumably includes the presumption of innocence.  The score: cutie pie Scott Brown is co-sponsoring Lieberman’s bill (saying, “It’s about prevention” which is precisely the problem…), Charles Krauthammer agrees with them;  John Boehner, Jacob Sullum, and some others see it my way. [Update: Sen. Lieberman explains his bill in a press conference.  My question is, do we really- really- want the State Department deciding whose citizenship gets revoked? In the 1940's, Alger Hiss was in the State Department and his ideological grandchildren are populating Foggy Bottom to this day.  The President Emeritus of the Saul Alinsky Fan Club is the Sec State, for heaven's sake.  And they did such a fine job revoking Abdulmutallab's visa-  he wasn't even a citizen! As a practical matter, this places the State Department in the role of actually doing something for our national security.  Yeah, right.]

I’m sad that this clothes designer is going out of business.  She designed the good stuff, not this.  By the way, I got the last link by googling “Michelle Obama’s ugliest outfit.”

While I agree with the sentiment behind the Arizona Immigration bill, I wonder if it is constitutional (Jennifer Rubin cautions), or even especially helpful to local law enforcement.

A mistress’s lament: “I don’t like how mistresses are being portrayed in the media,” she says as she recalls Norman Mailer’s irresistable seduction: “He offered to help her with her manuscript, which included an account of her one night stand with Warren Beatty. He put his hand on her shoulder and said, ‘Take off your panties.  I want to feel your soul.'”  I dunno.  I get the feeling that this is a woman who wants her privates in print.  Or maybe these are just the two famous guys and she’s screwed a jillion other guys whose names don’t sell books.

I’m sorry: I’m so grossed out by the idea of anyone agreeing to be touched by Norman Mailer I’m going to have to go to my happy place, which today is Part 4 of the Discourse on Method by René Descartes.  Yeah, the famous “I think therefore I am.”  What  a crock, but at least he doesn’t touch anybody’s soul.

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Why is Bart not laughing?

Because he sold his soul, but at least Bart got $5 for it (from Milhouse no less), and it cost him. As it turns out, nearly 7,500 shoppers online sold their souls as well – and I wonder if their sense of humor is intact.

Per FoxNews (today on their twitter feed as well):

A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the “immortal soul clause” to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.”

I’ve been curious as to how many people actually read the terms of agreements. Per this story, about 88% do not. Really, 12% do? Well at least I learned that from now on I will do a word search for “soul” before agreeing to terms.

Best April Fools joke this year IMHO.

PS How much of your soul do you have left after playing video games anyway?

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I’m sure this would give Prof. Sadun heartburn, but he really needs to watch it.  Please comment.  I’m interested in hearing from the “experts” who read this blog about the descriptions of the various forms of government.

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Obama on Abortion

Judith Jarvis Thomson, near the end of her well-known article “A Defense of Abortion,” writes,

… while I am arguing for the permissibility of abortion in
some cases, I am not arguing for the right to secure the death of the
unborn child. It is easy to confuse these two things in that up to a
certain point in the life of the fetus it is not able to survive outside
the mother’s body; hence removing it from her body guarantees its
death. But they are importantly different. I have argued that you are
not morally required to spend nine months in bed, sustaining the life
of that violinist; but to say this is by no means to say that if, when you
unplug yourself, there is a miracle and he survives, you then have a
right to turn round and slit his throat. You may detach yourself even
if this costs him his life; you have no right to be guaranteed his death,
by some other means, if unplugging yourself does not kill him.

Now Barack Obama, it seems, disagrees with Thomson. He thinks that a fetus who survives an abortion attempt and emerges from the mother’s body alive has no right to life and may be allowed to die. At any rate, that’s how he’s voted in the past, no matter how much that fact causes him to wriggle now. Thomson explains why someone might hold Obama’s position:

There are some people who will feel dissatisfied by this feature of my argument. A woman may be utterly devastated by the thought of a child, a bit of herself, put out for adoption and never seen or heard of again. She may therefore want not merely that the child be detached from her, but more, that it die. Some opponents of abortion are inclined to regard this as beneath contempt-thereby showing insensitivity to what is surely a powerful source of despair. All the same, I agree that the desire for the child’s death is not one which anybody may gratify, should it turn out to be possible to detach the child alive.

I’m one of those who considers a desire that the child die to be beneath contempt, a sign of such astounding selfishness that you would prefer your own child to die rather than to live apart from you.

How long, anyway, does a mother have to make this decision? A few minutes? A few hours? A few years? How does letting a child die on that table differ from later child abuse or infanticide?

In any case, favoring infanticide, if only in this kind of case, puts Obama on the extreme fringes of the pro-choice side of the abortion debate.

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Survival Skills

Here‘s an excellent article on how to survive disaster—and cope with the lesser problems and annoyances that most of us are much more likely to face. (HT: Brian Lollar)

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Plato on Craigslist

First edition! Signed copy! Thanks to Matt for telling me about it.

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Shrinkwrapped has an excellent post on the temptation to try to make people better, and the misery it inevitably entails. I trace the tendency to Rousseau’s second Discourse, which argues that private property makes people artificial, making them try to seem to be what they are not. This leads to Marx’s concepts of alienation and false consciousness, Sartre’s notion of bad faith, and massive, disastrous attempts in the twentieth century to remake human nature. I see a similar motive behind much of contemporary leftist thought, which seems to assume that, if only we make certain political reforms, people will no longer be selfish; they will no longer coalesce into factions; civil society will yield to a “socialized humanity”; and we will have a new politics where people are filled with hope and their lives are filled with meaning. It stands in stark contrast to my own Calvinist belief in the total depravity of man, which sees no redemption for our fallen state within the confines of this world.

The post begins with a quote from one of my favorite movies, which critiques the same idea:

Y’all got on this boat for different reasons, but y’all come to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. I aim to misbehave.

Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) Serenity

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Essentialiszzzz….

Lydia McGrew reflects on the essence of a pillow, with surprising results.

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Max Tegmark argues that it is, delighting neo-Pythagoreans everywhere.

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Who is the greatest modern day thinker? Most of the responses are silly—Homer Simpson, Stan on South Park, L. Ron Hubbard, etc. The striking thing is that so few people nominate anyone contemporary philosophers tend to take seriously. Depending on how loosely one defines “modern day,” within philosophy Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, W. V. O. Quine, Wilfrid Sellars, Saul Kripke, and David Lewis all strike me as plausible answers. Of those, only Kripke is living, and three comments do nominate him. Some nominate economists (e.g., Milton Friedman) or scientists (e.g., Einstein, Feynman). Whom would you nominate?

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