Terms like “pragmatism” as it applies to philosophy and the history of ideas – most isms really – are intrinsically vague and useful only to the (necessarily limited) extent that they help to bring out persistent or more fleeting strands or commonalities in thinking within or across populations. Even the views of individuals are often … Continue reading A few thoughts on intellectual history, abstraction and values.
In a letter to a friend I briefly outlined my current investment situation and strategy. It's important, I think, to maintain a steady and realistic perspective on the general situation in financial markets both for practical, investment-related reasons and also for understanding current affairs. Politics, economics and finance are inextricably intertwined. It helps me to … Continue reading Investment decisions; geopolitics
The first move was tentative. He "just wanted to pick up on a tangential point" regarding what I had been saying. But this was merely a lead-in, a toe in the water. Joe Smith was responding to a mildly polemical piece that I wrote recently for The Electric Agora. "I was simply making a correction … Continue reading A case study in noncommunication
I once claimed that all the best people are dead. Such an assertion, taken at face value, is little more than a rhetorical flourish or provocation. Just a little hyperbolic, you could say. Compare and contrast the stated views of John Cleese. Informed by an interviewer in September, 2017 that he (Cleese) was “very, very old”, the … Continue reading Accentuating the negative
Here is a short extract from a piece I wrote early this year: Variations on the general theme that things ain’t what they used to be are often heard but rarely taken seriously. And, as a general rule, the older the speaker is, the less seriously the claims are taken. Of course he would say that, the … Continue reading Karl Lagerfeld
David Ottlinger has (as I see it) sound intuitions about the nature of postmodernism and other unfortunate intellectual fads and fashions but, as a committed Kantian, he inhabits a very different intellectual world from the one I inhabit. Given his Kantian assumptions, it is no surprise that he has very different views from mine concerning … Continue reading Scholarship and activism
I have been following - via The Electric Agora and via Twitter (where I maintain a fitful and tenuous personal presence*) - certain recent sex/gender identity debates and, more generally, the internecine conflict between various feminist and other progressive factions. I have not been participating in these clashes and skirmishes. They are not my battles. … Continue reading “Theory” as polemic