Bilinguality And Being ‘Different People In Different Languages’

Over at LitHub, Ana Menéndez asks that age-old question ‘Are We Different People in Different Languages,’ and, by way of a partial answer, writes: For me, language was a kind of initiation into multiple realities. For if one language could be certain of a table’s gender and another couldn’t be bothered, then what was trueContinue reading “Bilinguality And Being ‘Different People In Different Languages’”

Bernie Sanders’ Campaign And The First-Past-The-Post System

It is a truism in electoral democracies that the electoral system–the particular methodology used to convert the individual choices of voters into a composite social choice–is a key determinant of electoral outcomes. Does the system allow you to rank all candidates by order of preference or does it ask you to only pick one candidate,Continue reading “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign And The First-Past-The-Post System”

Descartes, The Planned City, And Misplaced Philosophical Desires

In Part 2 of Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking for Truth in the Sciences Rene Descartes, as a prelude to his ‘clearing away’ of prior philosophy, writes: [T]here is very often less perfection in works composed of several portions, and carried out by the hands of various masters, than inContinue reading “Descartes, The Planned City, And Misplaced Philosophical Desires”

Contra Damon Linker, ‘Leftist Intellectuals’ Are Not ‘Disconnected From Reality’

Over at The Week, Damon Linker accuses ‘the Left’ of being disconnected from reality, basing this charge on his reading of two recent pieces by Corey Robin and Jedediah Purdy. (It begins with a charge that is all too frequently leveled at the Bernie Sanders campaign: that its political plans are political fantasies.) What getsContinue reading “Contra Damon Linker, ‘Leftist Intellectuals’ Are Not ‘Disconnected From Reality’”

The Strange Case Of Anna Stubblefield And Facilitated Communication

The word ‘tragedy’ should not be used lightly. But the case of Anna Stubblefield and the young black man called ‘DJ’ calls out for such an appellation: many lives and two families lie ruined at its core. Stated baldly the facts of the case run as follows: a professor of philosophy, aided by, and reliantContinue reading “The Strange Case Of Anna Stubblefield And Facilitated Communication”

Contra Paul Starr, Presidential Elections Are Not Just About Electing Presidents

Paul Starr kicks off the latest production from the ‘Bernie Sanders is not a real candidate, merely a symbolic one’ brigade with the following assertions: I have a strange idea about presidential primaries and elections: The purpose is to elect a president. And I have a strange thought about primary voters: They have a choice betweenContinue reading “Contra Paul Starr, Presidential Elections Are Not Just About Electing Presidents”

The Least Interesting Character On Orange Is The New Black

That title goes to Piper Chapman. It is not often that the supposedly central character on a show can pull this off, but we have evidence now that such an accomplishment is possible. This is not just because Piper is guilty of being WASP’ily ‘precious’ or ‘special’ or ‘privileged’ in the way that her fellowContinue reading “The Least Interesting Character On Orange Is The New Black”

Yertle The Turtle, Cosmological Anti-Foundationalism, And Political Change

Bertrand Russell and William James were informed, in rather arch fashion, we are told, that the solution to the age-old cosmological problem was that it was turtles all the way down. Another no less distinguished philosopher, Theodor Seuss Geisel suggested, however, that the chain of turtles, rather than extending into the deepest recesses of a cosmicContinue reading “Yertle The Turtle, Cosmological Anti-Foundationalism, And Political Change”

The Oregon Militiamen Need Several Magazines Of Caps In Their Asses

Hang on just a second, America. You thought you were done with the Native Americans? Done driving them off their lands, killing them off, infecting them with smallpox-ridden blankets, massacring them, breaking treaties, taking over ancient hunting and ceremonial grounds, mocking them with derogatory and offensive stereotypes? Not so fast. Much work remains to beContinue reading “The Oregon Militiamen Need Several Magazines Of Caps In Their Asses”

The Subway Car’s Daily Dose Of Culture

My train ride into Manhattan today reminded me that yesterday’s lament about the possible lack of adequate ‘cultural consumption’ in my life in this city was sorely missing one aspect of my urban experience: the culture that this city’s residents  experience and ‘live’ by the mere fact of being in this city. This morning, IContinue reading “The Subway Car’s Daily Dose Of Culture”