Posts

God's language

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Kenneth Pearce (Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World) argues that, for Berkeley, "bodies" are linguistic constructions built up from our phenomenal experience, and that causal talk, in everyday life and in physics, is an extension of that sort of operation. But Berkeley does not therefore dismiss such talk. The reason is twofold:
First of all, to model things this way is useful: it helps us "in the pursuit of happiness, which is the ultimate end and design... that sets rational agents at work" (204).But these ideas are also true, in an important sense: they reflect the underlying reality of "the regular ordering of ideas instituted by God, i.e., the linguistic or grammatical structure of the divine language of nature. Our talk about bodies aims to capture the lexicon of this language, and our talk about causes, laws, and forces aims to capture its syntax" (204).

How do you want to get there?

We jumped in a cab in front of our apartment. We told the driver, "Newark Airport, please."

He asked, "How do you want to get there?"

I answered, “By cab.”


Dancing intelligently

Is not to do two things: first, to have an “idea“ about dancing, and then secondly to execute that idea.

Instead, it is doing one thing, namely dancing, in an intelligent manner.

(In this post I am, of course, simply practicing thinking as Gilbert Ryle does.)




Portia

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In a segment from BBC's program The Hunt, I learned of a quite amazing animal: portia, a spider-hunting spider.

In the clip, you can see a portia approach another spider, twice her size, and then, stop and carefully think about the best approach route to take her prey. She finally picks a route that will take many, many minutes to complete, and which involves her being out of sight of the prey for a great deal of the route. And faced with unfamiliar spiders, they improvise new tactics. Furthermore, they are social, and recognize other individuals of their species.

Scientism defined

"all reality that did not bend or reveal itself through the orthodox method [of the physical sciences] was a priori defined as subjective fancy." -- Colin Cordner, "Eric Voegelin and Michael Polanyi on Science and Philosophy," forthcoming in Tradition Versus Rationalism.

That's a nice, concise definition or you!

My review of Why Liberalism Failed...

is online at The American Conservative.

Canadian Goose Arctic Program

I was walking in NYC one day this fall when I was surprised to see several people nearby, wearing identical jackets, with patches claiming that they were participants in the "Canadian Goose Arctic Program." Maybe the Canadian goose was in trouble, despite its ubiquitous presence on golf courses?

Then I saw a few more participants, and then a few more. Soon I was seeing them everywhere. Apparently, there were hundreds of participants in this program, and they had all descended on New York City!

But when I asked my friend about this, he told me, "It's not a program, it's a brand."

"What?! Why would someone buy a jacket carrying such an idiotic patch, you know, given they aren't in any such program?"

"Not only do they buy them," my friend explained, "they pay $400 a jacket for the privilege of wearing the idiotic patch."

All just so one can be sure one is "fashionable"!