#Hume

the latest dream of reason

Without examining alternative views of the technical questions, which I believe will all eventually resolve to problems of the will, or to philosophical problems, or as Hegel put it rather pictorially, to fallacies of the brain as bone, we can note that the presumption of an artificially super-intelligent (an)nihilism, or of produced objective yet absolutely negative being, is nothing other than the projection of the scientist’s own self-nullity, or the inability of reason, as Hume patiently explained to us, if ever to be ignored by the most of us, to discover a reason for its own existence.

Posted in Anismism, Books, Internet, notes, Philosophy, Technology Tagged with: , , , , , ,

The Strategist’s Concession

The sound strategy, in expressing and re-producing as well as in defending or advancing the order on behalf of which it is conceived, represents the world as though orderly – as though knowably causational and susceptible to agency, one might say for Elkus – with one’s own side properly and thoughtfully led by qualified and ethically sound commander-politicians, their stratagems effectuated by courageous, skilled, and virtuous warriors supported by a willing and sympathetic people, all together on the way to deserved victories, with God in His Heaven and, eventually, all right with the world or anyway as right as the world ever is. The opposite, put as starkly, is “sauve qui peut,” each doing right in his or her own eyes, or the state of nature, and, on the way to that dreaded condition, the commander perceiving and pursuing a treasonously merely private interest at the expense of the general good.

Posted in notes, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, War Tagged with: ,

Twice more into the breach: Hume, Kahn, Schmitt; faith <-> violence (un/reason)

1. Intro by way of a response to Mr. Halasz at the Crooked Timber thread: @239: The Wikipedia entry on Kahn is a good capsule summary. I often wonder why, given that he’s a distinguished professor at Yale (not some

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, The Exception, War Tagged with: , , ,

“the false notion of heroic self-made aristocracy”

betwixt a false reason and none at all

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Politics Tagged with: , , , , ,

All I Wants Is a Room Somewhere

The phrase “extravagantly metaphysical accounts of the self” already pre-judges and conceals the question. Any account of the self will appear “extravagant” from every conceivable alternative point of view. The position on the self – on Self as a universal or equally any self at all – is already a position on an infinitude and/or nothing, a category of subjectivity other than and opposed to objectivity.

Posted in Philosophy Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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