Posts

Walker Percy and me

I had been told to read Walker Percy, by people I respect, for some time. Well, I just finished Lost in the Cosmos, which contains a 40-page semiotic interlude. And what do you know? He lists his main influences as Susanne Langer, Ernst Cassirer, C.S. Peirce, and Ferdinand de Saussure, by whom I have, respectively, 6, 4, 4, and 1 book(s) on my shelves. And twice in the book he mentions the Grateful Dead. Curious, I wondered was there some known connection between Percy and the Dead? I googled and came up with this.

Hmm, so Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter read a lot of Percy. Well, all of this should prove to be interesting!

Perpetuating economic nonsense

Somebody produces YouTube videos examining medieval weapons and armor. You can easily find the link yourself.
This fellow was discussing cross bows versus long bows with some historian. Their puzzle was why crossbow archers were paid more than longbow archers, despite the (supposedly) better performance of the longbow archers. The video producer concluded “it’s because the crossbow archers’ equipment was more expensive.”
Sigh. This fellow produces videos for Internet consumption. Would he really pay me more to host his videos, with the exact same quality, reach, download speed, etc., simply because I told him that the computer I was using to host his videos was way more expensive than the one that YouTube uses?

Old economic journals...

Image
are often better than new ones. Check out what I found in Review of Economic Studies from 1936:


Modern architecture

"the primary aim of architectural design today is, very simply, not to find the best possible solution for human environments, but rather, to create adventurous new sculptural works of art on a gigantic scale" -- Michael W. Mehaffy, Cities Alive, p. 167

Practicing science is NOT a theoretical activity

One can't "put science on a scientific basis."

The knowledge of how to practice science is not itself a form of scientific knowledge.


Arguing for the sake of it

"Philosophers, especially those with an academic position, inherit a long tradition of arguing for the sake of arguing; even if they despair of reaching the truth, they think it a matter of pride to make other philosophers look foolish. A hankering for academic reputation turns them into a kind of dialectical bravoes, who go about picking quarrels with their fellow philosophers and running them through in public, not for the sake of advancing knowledge, but in order to decorate themselves with scalps." -- R.G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art, p. 106-107

Poincaré on chance

“A very small cause which escapes her notice determines a considerable effect that we cannot fail to see, and then we say the effect is due to chance.” — Henri Poincaré, Science and Method
This is something I have pointed out here repeatedly. When someone says that the cause or explanation for some event is “chance,” they have turned a word which, when properly used, should be understood to mean “we don’t know what caused that event,” into the name of a cause itself.  It is as though our ignorance of the true cause of some event is causing the event!