Monday, February 15, 2010

Fictional History in "Fast Times"

The Platt Amendment is real but as far as I can tell, there's no such thing as the Davis Agreement. Which shouldn't be surprising, because Mr. Hand's American history textbook, the "Land of Truth and Liberty", doesn't appear to exist either.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Damone's Special Five Point Plan

Men have died trying to obtain this valuable information.

1. You never let on how much you like a girl.

2. You always call the shots.

3. Act like wherever you are, that's the place to be.

4. When ordering food you find out what she wants and order for the both of you.

5. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.

Philosophers on Common Sense

"[C]ommon sense -- that repository of ancient error."

-Nelson Goodman ('Languages of Art', p. xii)

"Common sense is the metaphysics of savages."

-Bertrand Russell (quoted by Ray Monk in 'What Philosophers Think', p. 168)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Best CD Cover Ever

Got this in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Absurdity Trap

A long time ago, I proposed collecting moments when philosophers were led to say ridiculous things, things that they simply wouldn't say, take seriously, or take to be important were it not for having been led astray by philosophical argument. Well, add this to the list:

"My point is that we could happily conceive of a photograph where every detail lies outside the photographer’s control, yet nonetheless every one of those details could pierce us in an aesthetically significant way."

(I'm not going to include citation information, though it's easy enough to find it yourself by googling the text.)

I take this statement to be on par with saying something like: "We could happily conceive of a paragraph in which every word was put there by accident but which as a whole gives us a true general theory of the physical structure of the universe." We can conceive of such a paragraph, just as we can conceive of such a photograph. Do any such paragraphs or photographs exist? Nope. Should we spend time thinking about such paragraphs or photographs? Nope. Most importantly: should we take them to be our starting points for thinking about scientific realism or our aesthetic interest in photography? Nope.