some ridiculous words

I just heard someone use the word ‘gerrymandering’. It’s a silly-sounding word. I think ‘glom’ and ‘glomming’ is also a bit silly. Recently I saw a poll for the ‘most beautiful word in the English language’. I don’t know what word won, but I sure hope glom and gerrymander came in last and second to last.

Incidentally, I think the suffix ‘-ness’ makes any word sound lazy. Something about ‘-ness’ signals a lack of inventiveness.

Of course, it’s ridiculous to mention things like this. But it’s my blog, so I can be ridiculous once in a while.

some music lately

I’ve acquired just a few new albums this summer, all of which I can recommend enthusiastically to anyone. There is no real coherence to the styles, but each album possesses its own virtues. Among those albums are the latest from No Age, James Blake, Bon Iver, and The Weeknd. I’m looking forward to the release of Lenses Alien by Cymbals Eat Guitars, whose Why There Are Mountains was my favorite release of 2009.

Summer, of course, is the festival season. Lots of great acts are on tour. If I could see one band right this moment, however, it would be Frightened Rabbit, who performed a couple years ago at CMU in Pittsburgh. This Scottish bunch may not be at the edge of the avant-garde, but if you ever want to see a band who is as excited to be playing as you are about listening, it’s difficult to outdo FR.

in another iteration of myself

If I could do my philosophical trajectory all over again, there’s a good chance that I would have devoted all of my intellectual energy to the history of early modern philosophy and science, just so I could write books like the following. Which is to say, I hope to have the time to indulge in these books in the near future.

Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern


Stephen Gaukroger, The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility

Lorraine Daston, Histories of Scientific Observation















super white guy committee


Notice anything about the Republican choices? Yes, they have all pledged not to raise taxes to Grover Norquist (who is he, again?) I’m thinking about phenotype here…

Apparently the Republicans are already objecting to the three Democratic picks. And it’s the lone woman they have a problem with. It will be interesting to see if Pelosi continues the homogeneity theme.

philosophical obligations

Leon has linked to an article which explores the question: is God necessary for Whitehead’s system? This raises the question: say you are presented with two metaphysical systems identical save for the fact that one includes God and the other omits God. Are we as philosophers obliged to favor the Godless system?

why philosophy?

So, the other day I agreed to give a talk in October on the question, ‘Why Philosophy?’ This is, of course, something I’ve thought about in the past. But I’ve never strictly delineated an answer to myself, to the extent that I could at this very moment deliver a clear and confident paper on the topic. I thought it might be interesting to, in a sense, ‘crowdsource’ my talk. In the interest of doing so, I’d love to hear from readers about why they think philosophy is a necessary, or at least worthwhile, pursuit. Of course, the risk of cliche and redundancy looms large here. If you have some thoughts, whatever they may be, please pass them along.