Theater As Instruction Manual For Domestic Strife

In Benjamin Kunkel‘s new play Buzz, a central character, Tom, holds forth on theater–he says “something interesting”: TOM: The theater has a very ironic relationship to domestic life, don’t you think? Because what’s been the main preoccupation, for more than a hundred years? I’m thinking Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw, Pinter…About the biggest theme is the horror ofContinue reading “Theater As Instruction Manual For Domestic Strife”

Once More: ‘Intellectual Property’ Breeds Confusion; Drop it

Rarely, if ever, does the term ‘intellectual property’ add clarity to any debate of substance–very often, this is because it includes the term ‘property’ and thus offers an invitation to some dubious theorizing. This post by Alex Rosenberg at Daily Nous is a good example of this claim: Locke famously offered an account of theContinue reading “Once More: ‘Intellectual Property’ Breeds Confusion; Drop it”

Robespierre On The Iraq War(s)

Robespierre, in a speech to the Jacobin Club, which began on 2 January 1792, and concluded on 11 January, responding to the Girondins call for war: [T]he most extravagant idea that can arise in the mind of a politician is the belief that a people need only make an armed incursion into the territory ofContinue reading “Robespierre On The Iraq War(s)”

Why Do Yankees Fans Venerate Derek Jeter?

In an interview with The Allrounder, my friend Amy Bass (a Red Sox fan!) takes on the following question: The Yankees’ longtime captain, Derek Jeter, is retiring this season and has been the object of widespread veneration throughout the league. Do Red Sox fans share in this respect of Jeter? and answers, in part, thus:Continue reading “Why Do Yankees Fans Venerate Derek Jeter?”

Then, The Eagerly Awaited Letter; Now, The Notification

Every weekday of my two years in boarding school bore witness to the implacable ritual of the mail from home: run to the teacher’s staff-room, ask for the day’s letters and postcards–sorted into piles corresponding to your ‘house‘–and then, surrounded by eager supplicants, call out the names of the lucky ones. At the end ofContinue reading “Then, The Eagerly Awaited Letter; Now, The Notification”

Letting The Feminists Know What Time It Is

A couple of years ago, in a post commenting on Virginia Held‘s Sprague and Taylor Lecture at Brooklyn College, I wrote: My association with her goes back some twenty years, when I first began my graduate studies in philosophy as a non-matriculate student at the CUNY Graduate Center [in the fall of 1992]. My firstContinue reading “Letting The Feminists Know What Time It Is”

In Praise of Alan Watts And ‘Popularizers’

I have a confession to make: I enjoy reading Alan Watts‘ books. This simple statement of one of my reading pleasures, this revelation of one of my tastes in books and intellectual pursuits, shouldn’t need to be a confession, a term that conjures up visions of sin and repentance and shame. But it is, aContinue reading “In Praise of Alan Watts And ‘Popularizers’”

The Unread Reading

In The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, Slavoj Žižek says: All too often, when we love somebody, we don’t accept him or her as what the person effectively is. We accept him or her insofar as this person fits the co-ordinates of our fantasy. We misidentify, wrongly identify him or her, which is why, when we discover thatContinue reading “The Unread Reading”

The Wedding As Public Shared Celebration

This past weekend, I attended an ‘inter-faith’ wedding, staged in a beautiful, rural, upstate New York location–on a farm. It was an emotional and moving experience. I didn’t just attend the wedding; I also ‘officiated’; that is, I ‘performed’ the wedding ceremony. I read out a brief opening address, and with a co-officiant, shepherded theContinue reading “The Wedding As Public Shared Celebration”

Changing Philosophical Career Paths

I began my academic philosophy career as a ‘logician.’ I wrote a dissertation on belief revision, and was advised by a brilliant logician, Rohit Parikh, someone equally comfortable in the departments of computer science, philosophy and mathematics. Belief revision (or ‘theory change’ if you prefer) is a topic of interest to mathematicians, logicians, and computerContinue reading “Changing Philosophical Career Paths”