Posts

Showing posts from January, 2017

Epistemic Isolation

Image
Life is busy happening as I make other plans, so alas I cannae blog as much as I should like nowadays. But some thoughts on the Trump regime's recent bald faced lies regarding the inauguration crowd and reasons they lost the popular vote. (The former stands out because it is directly, indeed easily, falsifiable -- it is easily seen to be false by anyone with access to google.) These tendencies have already prompted reply from philosophers, so see Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa's piece on `facts', or this interview with Jason Stanley and Kathleen Higgins on the `post-truth era'. As much as anything I just want to have my own initial thoughts set down and organised in some place. I summarise conversations and readings with a lot of people here so don't have time to credit all the many sources that go into this -- but just to note, I claim no great originality for what follows!


One of the things we in social epistemology study is the consequences and desirability of some s…

Criteria of Personal Art

My friend maintains a poetry blog, and he recently produced and commented upon his own translation of a classic poem by Su Tung-p’o:

Spring night, one moment worth a thousand gold coins; faint scent of flowers, shadowy moon. Flute song from the high tower: sound soft, soft; Swing in the courtyard, night heavy, heavy.
I had read this poem a long time ago, but I had forgot about it until recently. It has me thinking about what I think makes for good writing, and in particular what kind of aesthetic standards I should uphold through my work in philosophy.
I am not sure what I think the significance of philosophy being a humanistic discipline should be; but a consequence of it is that we can be very open about consciously striving for aesthetic goals, in a way that might be uncomfortable for a scientist outside of pure mathematics or high theoretical physics. As such, I have never made any secret to my friends and colleagues that I take the aesthetic element of writing very seriously; but…