Saturday, December 9, 2006

son light

Frankly, I think that my characterization of Habermas' work as a philosophical anthropology can get rather profound.

But I want to again signal in such characterization that I'm in a post-Habermasian venture that nonetheless continues to honor his profound example (and prolificness that I never hoped to approach), as I've done for many years.

Not taking time soon to further detail an intimacy of involvement with his work (which I've done so much in the past, largely eliciting only frivolous response, but thanks anyway, folks; our relationship was a useful sounding board) just silently "expresses" influence by that engagement, which is ambitiously developing beyond his engagements, but will eventually return to further detailed appreciation of his example (if I don't die first) by kindred revision of his conceptions relative to that development which he in part enabled and inspired. (At least, I've mastered the Germanic sentence length.)

Perhaps, he was doing likewise in his readings: honoring the influence of mentors through explication of his entwined distance to their address (forever "Kantian," forever "Hegelian"—forever "Christian," even; certainly very "humanistic," very "evolutionary"—I said to him: "very 'Heideggerian' of you," and he didn't disagree).

So long, dear friend—until spring? I've got an incredibly heavy agenda ahead of me; in a phrase: a set of readings by which I expect to clarify a progressive integration of epistemology and ethics relative to cognitive anthropology—"progressive" inasmuch as the anticipated results entail a geopolitical ethics of development.

Monday, October 23, 2006

neuroeconomic note

Polar opposites. Two-dimensional representation of the relationships between 11 goal domains. Data are derived from a questionnaire about the importance of 57 different goals given to a sample of 1854 undergraduates from 15 different countries. Note the diametrically opposite placement of financial success and community. [Reprinted from F. M. E. Grouzet et al., J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 89, 800 (2005) in Science, Nov. 17, 2006.]

Dec. 3, 5, and 9

The text above is the caption from the Science article indicated. One might also note the diametrically opposite placement of physical health and conformity. Valuing financial success distances a person from valuing community, and valuing conformity distances a person from valuing physical health, among other interesting aspects of that chart.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

intimations on the existence of “Truth”


Your posting today suggests that you're working toward representation of your general philosophical position, expressed today inasmuch as anything brief can be fair to oneself. It's important to venture these kinds of things.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

child’s point

I’m very aware that the deaths and suffering of war turn commentary into intellectualism. To the suffering, commentary is wasted time, “academic” in the pejorative sense. “If you really care about all this, do something practical,” the voice says.

My response has to be: I am. I’ve worked for educational organizations that are dedicated to progressive practice my entire adult life. A devotion to progressive practice has to be oriented to the life that one can lead in the place that one can affect. It must (it will, with experience) grow to include a pragmatism about the actualization of ideals. In pursuit of that, and in the meantime of that pursuit, commentary is a kind of self-directed learning, an activist respite from the pursuit. So, one activism complements another.

It’s a great accomplishment for a society when there is an increase in time spent actively reading (not to mention mastering intractable issues). Passive reading placates; active reading nourishes—including reading that’s therapeutic, that “medicates.” One should feel proud of a life spent advancing basic literacy or causing one’s extended neighborhood to more highly value informed opinion. Multiplication of that modest venture universally would lead to fundamental transforms in humanity, as Truth always wins eventually, and human potential always flourishes (given fair chance), and humanity evolves in the Open, in the freedom, created by literacy. Needless to say—and far it is from there to philosophical investigations. Just the distance of that —from the economic bases of decent education systems through the politics of access to higher education to the interdisciplinarity of inquiry that constructively warrants theoretical work—all that is more than most lives can be expected to comprehend, let alone specifically-philosophical endeavors that should not be ignorant of a history of discursive inquiry.

So, relative to that, humanistic higher education battles the budgetary process with engineering, etc.

A philosophical investigation is a point in a tapestry of thousands of endeavors, most maybe frivolous (e.g., most Yahoo! groups). If the topography of Internet social networking could be securely captured by theory (analogizing the topography of discretionary communication throughout modern society), what difference would that make to the network (the society), let alone to the suffering subjects of inquiry? Why do we bother? I suppose that most people reading this take for granted a vague background sociology of value, projects, endeavors, careers, and organized life that most of the world wouldn’t understand as more than the signs of the vanity fair of wealthy societies—leisure culture’s rationalization of the imperialism that protects and feeds the leisure.

The fact is—the fact must be—that we do this, I do this, because I must. Reflecting on that might be useful to others (certainly, it has been to me), but the overriding reality of the matter is exemplified by—believe it or not—the issue of global warming: It’s been the aggregate effect of countless, undocumented conversations over decades that now an array of local environmental issues (e.g., metropolitan pollution, heat waves) imply a singularity of concern that has become truly planetary, as was expressed by “Multipolitan environmental engineering” Tuesday.

That’s not only the result of the growing consensus of the scientific community (which, by the way, is singular; it’s accurate to refer to “the” scientific community, as planetary organon); it’s more the result of countless conversations (born from reading!) about the issue which, in the shadow of scientific consensus, has forced political corporatism to act, at least in terms of fabricating new market mechanisms that serve that public interest. The Conversation creates a market for alternative technologies that politics, in turn, serves, but largely doesn’t lead. Leadership in social evolution belongs to no identifiable constellation. It’s the emergent ethos of the human interest, and it always wins (albeit one step back for every two-or-so forward).

If my conversation can do some part to remind non-academic others of the importance of academic work—or remind people in academia of the virtue of philosophy beyond the general (well-rounding) curriculum, beyond filling out that portfolio taken into the budgetary process (“Can’t we justify cutting back faculty in the humanities?”)—or remind academics slumming in philosophy that public policy can be both multidisciplinary and effective in real institutions....If “Habermas” only stands for the potential importance of philosophy in understanding a world that would never have time for it, is that not reason enough to be here? Of course, notwithstanding—excuse me—the apparent attention-deficited and disssociative self-interestedness of the mall that Internet communications must live in.

Fact is, one person, a few, likely contribute very little directly. But it’s like voting. The upshot of history’s pointillism only happens by making points. Your point is the background topography of communications you exemplify, not basically the overt promotion of issues (though that too), but the way you live, the way you remember. Let us not forget.... Let us not lose sight....

I live far, far from Middle East crises. I live where Christian, Muslim, and Jew live well together, truly—which extremists (those diseases of modernization who confuse pathological crime with “resistance”) would like to see destroyed, in “light” of imputed imperialism (the disowned face of rage against their own incapability?). I live in knowledge that, no matter how well a society manages to be democratic, there is no escaping new generations of well-heeled “citizens” who would undermine the legacy of the generations that made such undermining possible. So, democracy is an endless project, just as education faces new generations endlessly, living with the power of those who love their own leisure luxuries more than their children (which is what spiraling national debts exhibit).

Meanwhile, as one commentator put it this week, the Middle East is plagued by “extremists who hate their enemies more than they love their children.” Connect the dots: So many marginalized children in the anthropology of self-interest: accidents of passion, cheap labor, orphans of disease, and heirs of debt and war.

What motivates a prevalence of decency in lives? What really redeems the decency of mentally diseased lives? What creates the “motivation,” the volition to live or to sustain living really honorably?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

toward a comprehensive comprehension going forward

I should imagine (and post) a comprehensive sense of this blog project, which generally here is meant to complement Webpaged discussions that are developing. I can imagine an integrated sense of the early postings relative to a conceptual projection (comprehensive prospectus) of this project that now seems fairly definite (as my motto that "learning never ends" pertains to conceptuality, too—even especially).

Comprehensive conceptualization is prospective, relative to unmet others' profound influence, such that a retrospective interest (inevitably reconstructive) is destined to be so relative. Any sense of the past is at best led by its background futurity, itself at best evolving—so too, thereby (at best), any sense of developmentality, historicity, or historicality.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

academic standards, etc.

A little exchange at the Habermas group today and yesterday (Mar. 17-18 messages #1439-1442) about Leo Strauss and neo-conservatism may be validly seen to express more than meets the eye (reading the brief postings). It's like walking past a conversation during a conference recess, not that Fred Welfare (professor of biology?) and Bill Barger (professor of philosophy?) have any long-running philosophical dispute signaled by their recent exchange; rather, the group itself can be seen as a singular long-running conversation (if not conference) returned to mind by any short exchange between members of the group—a conversation/conference which is, perhaps, an ongoing course on Habermas that is mostly freeze-framed, but gets active again briefly.

After quantum theology

Earlier today, I sent a letter to Dennis Overbye, New York Times, relating to his response to questions about an article by him earlier this week, "Far Out, Man. But Is It Quantum Physics?".

Subject: After quantum theology

Dear Mr. Overbye,

What fun your whole response-to-questions article is! I imagine you and your editor sharing a big tongue-in-cheek by providing that whole discourse by Ed Reno, which you tacitly covered in your comments prior to the overt response to questions.

Most interesting, though, is the frame: that the NY Times is giving its readers a taste of real philosophical controversy—America's own Die Zeit (though I don't read German anymore). I hope that the Times will do more of this kind of deep controversy. You're probably the Times' best-placed advocate for that.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Habermas’s “abstractness”

An online friend (a philosophy professor!) noted that Habermas “needs another translation [besides German to English] making his work clearer and more comprehensible.”

I have much fondness for the idiom of saying “you need to [whatever].”

“Gee,” I say to myself, “I didn’t realize I needed that.”

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Habermas and Derrida via Wikipedia

Who knows how long a passage at Wikipedia will be allowed to persist; so, I've recorded the following. (Who wrote this rather amazing passage?)

Habermas and Jacques Derrida, perhaps Europe's two most influential philosophers, engaged in somewhat acrimonious disputes beginning in the 1980s and culminated in a refusal of extended debate and talking past one another. Following Habermas's publication of "Beyond a Temporalized Philosophy of Origins: Derrida" (in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity), Derrida, citing Habermas as an example, remarked that, "those who have accused me of reducing philosophy to literature or logic to rhetoric ... have visibly and carefully avoided reading me" ("Is There a Philosophical Language?," p. 218, in Points...).