Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Death of College Debate, "White Privilege" Edition

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Richard Brody: Why Does It Matter If Heidegger Was Anti-Semitic?

But, even without particular regard to Jews and Nazis, Heidegger’s brilliance was intrinsically political. For Heidegger, the project of rescuing language from the ostensible truth of logic and restoring it to iridescent incantation implied kicking out the intellectual struts from under the claims to progress on the part of technological society. By undermining logic and science, Heidegger also undermined the Enlightenment—and the individualism, the freedoms, the claim to rights that are made in the name of reason and progress.* Even apart from his specific ideological pronouncements, Heidegger was, philosophically, an anti-humanist rightist.

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) is another splendid writer whose prose is also a performance of his philosophy. But, for Derrida (who was Jewish), the project of deconstruction, with its undoing of long-sedimented hierarchies and categories, was, in effect, a way of attacking traditional power structures philosophically. If I had to sum up his life’s work in a single sentence, it would be: redefining the Heideggerian project as leftist. Derrida is gone now, but, with the discovery of Heidegger’s “Black Notebooks,” this reconstruction of Heidegger may prove harder, in retrospect, for his acolytes to sustain.

* Tried to, I'm sure he means.

Fortunately, Herr Heidegger was unsuccessful...

But boy oh boy, Herr H sure does have power over young minds...  It's downright creepy to see how hard my students have fallen for the guy, and the crazy things some of them are willing to say in his defense...

Friday, April 11, 2014

So Far as U.S. Public Policy Goes: Nobody Cares What You Think Unless You're Rich


We're on a trajectory to have a fair approximation of a plutocracy soon enough.

Social Security Administration and Treasure Department Stealing Money From People "To Pay Parents' SS Debt"?


Apparently the idea is that they are taking money from the oldest sibling if they think that children indirectly benefited from illicit benefits their parents got.

That sounds like an extremely thin justification to me.

Three Independent Experts Refute Willingham's Claims About North Carolina Athletes

We been bombarded with claims about UNC athletes in the media. CNN's yellow journalism in particular has been laughably irresponsible, recycling the same unsupported claims from Willingham over and over and over, to make each incarnation of the same story seem like some new revelation of wrong-doing.

It's been pretty well-known on the Carolina boards for some time now that Willingham's credentials are paper thin (she has only one presentation and no publications in the relevant areas in eleven years). In recent weeks it's also become clear that her claims are radically exaggerated--and it's become hard to resist the conclusion that she is dogmatically pursuing a jihad against Carolina athletics. Even when unequivocally called out on misrepresentations, she refuses to admit error but, instead, dodges the criticism and goes on the attack again.

Today the university released a report from three independent experts who, working independently of each other, each concluded that Willingham's claims are unsupported by the data.

College athletics needs reform. There's no doubt about it. And the AFAM scandal at Carolina was just godawful. But a rabid campaign to smear UNC athletics isn't warranted, and isn't doing anything to fix the problem.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is The ACA Kicking An Unexpectedly Large Amount Of Ass?

But there's one stunning number in the Rand survey that we haven't seen before: the dramatic surge in people who have employer insurance (ESI). According to Rand, 8.2 million people—7.2 million of them previously uninsured—have gotten employer insurance since mid-2013.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown

MeFi link

R. Rorty:

"Much of the seventeenth century's notion of what it was to be a 'philosopher,' and much of the Enlightenment's notion of what it was to be 'rational,' turns on Galileo's being absolutely right and the church's being absolutely wrong."


Monday, April 07, 2014

The Great Filter and Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe

I had roughly this idea myself a few years ago:  The Great Filter.

Not 1996, though...  Probably closer to 2004. Ah well.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mysteriously Intact T. Rex Soft Tissue Explained?