The Love of the Love of Wisdom

The New York Times profiles the Rutgers Philosophy Department, ranked second in the nation, which now graduates 100 philosophy majors a year, about the same number as The University of Texas at Austin. (HT: Ann Althouse) Why is philosophy becoming more popular? One Rutgers students has an explanation: Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a 20-year-old sophomore who is majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, said philosophy had other … Continue reading The Love of the Love of Wisdom

Buffalo buffalo

Lydia McGrew posts about something I’ve entertained my children with, which has become a family joke. (Thanks to Josh Dever.) These are perfectly good English sentences: Buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. … Buffalo … Continue reading Buffalo buffalo

Roger Kimball on Will Smith and Utopianism

Roger Kimball has intriguing reflections on the utopian impulse and the underlying thought, stemming from Rousseau, that one can reshape human nature—all from thinking about Will Smith’s remark, “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today’,” said Will. “I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to … Continue reading Roger Kimball on Will Smith and Utopianism

Prisoners’ Dilemmas

A few days ago I talked about flaccid strategies for iterated prisoners’ dilemmas, noting that strategies without retaliation cannot win. I remarked: Many Western leaders seem committed not only to avoiding retaliation but to responding to defection on an opponent’s part with forgiveness and even more extensive cooperation. [Emphasis added.] That inspires a further thought. Robert Alexrod and others have investigated strategies for iterated prisoners’ … Continue reading Prisoners’ Dilemmas

Philosophical Quotes of the Day

I subscribe to Google Reader’s Quotes of the Day, and today’s are especially interesting: There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers. — William James Last night I dreamed I ate a ten-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone. — Tommy Cooper Reality is nothing but a collective hunch. … Continue reading Philosophical Quotes of the Day

Objectivity

Virginia Postrel reflects on Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison‘s book, Objectivity. Among the passages she quotes: All epistemology begins in fear–fear that the world is too labyrinthine to be threaded by reason; fear that the senses are too feeble and the intellect too frail; fear that memory fades, even between adjacent steps of a mathematical demonstartion; fear that authority and convention blind; fear that God … Continue reading Objectivity

With Friends Like These….

J. O. Urmson, introducing a volume of essays by H. A. Pritchard: Certainly it must be conceded that his influence in his lifetime was great, particularly in his own university of Oxford; but this may be counted a misfortune. Did he not constantly overbear his opponents with dogmatic assertion? ‘If we reflect, we become forced to admit…’, he would say, and further discussion would be … Continue reading With Friends Like These….