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.”