Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Very Low|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Moderate|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Moderate|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||High|
|Level 7 (Violent)||High|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||High|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Moderate|
Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
Obviously, you wouldn't expect it to take very much to be judged lustful or heretical by the standards implied by a 13th century work of literature notable amongst other things for its use of the explicitly religious moral code of a seemingly particularly vindictive and self-righteous ancient desert tribe in order to settle personal and political scores. The violence and fraudulence is a bit surprising though, not least because you'd expect that you'd only get high scores for vice if you also had the virtue of honesty.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Update, 22/08/07: It's going cheap on Amazon people. You don't need to beg or steal.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Someone who made the kind of tackle Solskjaer did in the centre-circle during typical midfield play would have done something much worse than what Solskjaer did, I think, even though they would hardly have denied the other side a goal-scoring opportunity in the way that Solskjaer did. I suppose the lack of protest was amplified by the fact that Manchester United hardly then had the best reputation for accepting referees' decisions, but nonetheless Solskjaer did, in my memory, accept his punishment with at least public good grace. The difference between what Solskjaer 'did' - where this stands for what I remember him doing - and making that kind of tackle in the centre-circle and then arguing with the referee seems to be something to do with the attitude towards the way that the rules of football constitute the activity of playing football, and what breaches of those rules say about your attitude towards the other people playing football with you. Perhaps spitting at another player, or racially abusing them, makes it clearer than the example of a pointlessly reckless tackle. That kind of breach of the rules of football is a breach for the sake of a breach; whatever advantage, if any, is gained by breaking the rules is an advantage which cannot easily be understood within the rules of football - at best, intimidation, and at worst, enjoyment of an attempt to dominate - and indeed depends on being the kind of thing you are not supposed to do to generate that advantage, whereas in the Solskjaer case, the advantage is easily comprehensible within the rules of the practice itself - you stop the other side (from having a chance to) score.
A breach of the rules for the sake of the breach seems worse because it is destructive of the activity at all, in a way that breaches of Solskjaer's sort are not; having people whose actions on the football field are not motivated by and not consistent with the aim of playing and winning football games is, to some degree, to stop playing football. That in turn seems a kind of disrespect of the other participants in the activity; they are there to play football, and by participating in the activity without abiding by the rules that make it that activity, it becomes much more difficult for them to play football, much more difficult than if whoever is disrupting their game had not participated at all. As a universal attitude, it even seems to disrespect one's own agency; if one is not prepared to respect the rules that constitute a practice which one is engaged in, it becomes difficult to see how one is capable of doing anything at all. Think of how annoying Robbie Savage can be; you wonder why he bothers, since it often seems like all he does is stop other people from playing football by niggling at them. This, of course, is just another example of the reflexivity of agency, and perhaps of normative considerations in general. All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football, indeed.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
This argument matters in political and moral philosophy because if it is correct, it may show (some versions of) a particular kind of political and moral theory to be incorrect, since that theory relies on certain facts to generate principles. It only may, because it seems possible that there is a principle that says that all further principles are to be generated in light of facts. The argument may of course be incorrect: it seems to appeal to a remarkably rigorous version of the fact-value distinction - is 'he was rude' a fact, and if it is, is it really neccessary for justifying censuring him afterwards to appeal to a principle 'censure rude people'? - and relies on a distinctly foundationalist notion of justification - why, when an appeal to some facts and principles is made in order to justify some other principle, should justification proceed in transitive, one-to-one relations, and not some kind of web, where the kind of regress and eventual reliance on bloody-minded insistence on self-evident principles that Cohen's model of justification must lead to can be avoided? What interests me right now, though, is a question about why it should be facts, and not falsehoods, that play this role in the justification of principles, although if I am right, it bears both of the just-mentioned issues about the correctness of Cohen's argument.
Clearly if keeping promises frustrated people's ability to form and pursue projects, then saying that appealing to the claim that keeping promises enabled people to form and pursue projects could not be justificatory of the principle that we ought to keep our promises. Why is that though? Presumably it is a fact that it is falsehoods cannot play a role in our justifications of principles. Then the question becomes what principle explains that fact. Any plausible candidate for such a principle looks like it just restates the fact, that falsehoods cannot play a role in our justifications of principles, because there seems to be nothing else to say about why it is crucial that premises in that kind of justification are true. If that is the case, though, that any putatively explanatory principle merely restates the fact that they are supposed to be explaining, then we have both an example of the breakdown of the fact-value distinction - the fact simply is normative - and a kind of example of justificatory holism - whatever it is that is important about facts and their role in justification, that cannot be captured by asking for one-to-one, directly transitive justifications. Of course, it is a while since I actually read Cohen's article, so it may be that he has an answer to this.
On The Memory of Don Paterson’s ‘Imperial’
So, it turns out there are acts
Consent cannot redeem:
La Poverella rages at DC.
This is not quite a joke. She
She goes beyond words,
Leaves the privacy of speech behind,
Turns herself inside out, like an animal in a trap,
Is a kind of rupture,
A tear rending itself wider and wider,
A sign bereft, an empty cry.
The world is cruel, she demonstrates.
Monday, August 06, 2007
The General Requirement That Writing, If It Is Going To Be Truthful, Should Listen To What It Is Saying
However, we can imagine situations in which things would be harder. The arrivals might be very disgusting indeed: their faces, for instances, if those are faces, are seething with what seem to be worms, but if we wait long enough to find out what they are at, we may gather that they are quite benevolent. They just want to live with us - rather closely with us. Some philosophers may be at hand to remind us about distinguishing between moral and non-moral values, and to tell us that their benevolence and helpfulness are morally significant whereas the fact that they are unforgettably disgusting is not. But suppose their aim, in their unaggressive way, is to make the world more, as we would put it, disgusting? And what if their disgustingness is really, truly, unforgettable?
Part of the way that this thought that philosophy had better be for some people, at some time, rather than sub specie aeternis comes across is in the demand that it be done with an awareness of how the people who are doing it came to be in the particular place, have the particular understandings, that they do. This is not just because those who do not know the history of philosophy will be doomed to repeat it - not just to "reinvent the wheel, but reinvent the square wheel", as Williams puts it - but because otherwise they are liable to reify local understandings in ways which both fail to do justice to those understandings and will cripple their ability to deal with those who do not share them. My resistance to this thought, as what seems like an instance of conservative apologia for failure to probe hard enough - or of willingness to accept the results of probing - I suspect turns on the thought that the we of at least my branch of philosophy is more or less all humans living in reasonably stable social groups: the problems of politics are eternal, as Williams' own Basic Legitimation Demand suggests, even if his problems are much less thick than mine.
Where I am quite happy to agree with him is about the reflexivity of philosophy - a point where he acknowledges Rawls' change of heart, albeit in a footnote. I take his point here to be a kind of vulgar Hegelianism; Hegel with the really crazy metaphysics taken out, which is to say, Kant1. We had better think philosophically about what philosophy is doing, what it is for, whom it is for. Once we understand (better) whom philosophy is for, and what it might be trying to do for them, we will be able to avoid certain kinds of traps into which philosophy can be prone to falling, most usually those posed by supposing that an absolute - in the sense of being stripped of any local peculiarities - conception of the world is something it would make sense for us to aspire to over any other conceptions2 - reductionists, he is talking to you here3. The real point to be made here, of course, though, is that if philosophy is for us, to help us understand how our lives work, are structured, might be better structured, then one would expect that reflexivity to extend into them as well. It's not just that you have to live after the reflection, it's that you have to live after the reflection. Better Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, and that kind of thing, at least where Socrates is understood as standing in for lives, which, if we think of those who live them out as their authors, are aware that they are written; novels, almost, with beginnings, middles and ends; with a past and hopefully a future, all of which interact with each other, not necessarily in obviously pleasant ways.
1. I now, on the basis of absolutely no (Hegel and not much Kant) scholarship whatsoever, have a well-developed sense that everything sensible which Hegel said, is actually Kant. Because of the lack of scholarship, I have no idea whether anyone else - or at least anyone else who might matter - finds this view compelling. But, for starters, think of Kant's view on suicide; that it is wrong to commit suicide because it disrespects one's own agency. That is clearly a view about how one's own agency should reflect on its own normative significance, and as such, not that different from all that stuff I understand, without having read, that Hegel wrote about the master and the slave. Or something.
2. Now that's a bit Kantian too, isn't it? Synthetic a priori, unknowable noumena, and all that. See?
3. Most obviously utilitarians, who have the arrogance to think the universe cares about their happiness, as opposed to it being a matter for them, and maybe, but probably not if they're utilitarians, some other people who happen to care about them, but also some other people as well.