Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Paper Option

When I was finishing grad school, my department instituted a "3 paper option," which allowed students to elect to write three papers in lieu of a dissertation. The papers were supposed to be of such a quality as to be publishable in a top-tier journal, and were expected to be related in some (at least) loose way (e.g., three papers on realism-- one in phil sci, one in metaphysics, one in ethics). This seemed to me to be a good idea at the time because many of my classmates were working on topics that were developing so quickly that their first dissertation chapter was obsolete by the time they'd finished a draft of their second chapter. The option also enabled students to finish their degree with three stand-alone articles to submit. But I suppose there are drawbacks.

Anyway, does anyone out there have any data or insight regarding the wisdom (or not) of the 3 paper option?

Monday, August 17, 2009

End of Summer...

Was this your celebrated summer?

Was this your celebrated summer?

Anyway, I'm off to enjoy some end-of-summer peace and quiet. Blogging will be light at best until mid-September.

On my way home from my office tonight, I noticed a Girls Gone Wild bus lurking around the perimeter of campus. It's a few weeks early by my estimation... But nonetheless, I notice that my colleagues have begun returning to their offices, so I'd better just go elsewhere and enjoy life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tom Sawyer

The Ayn Rand nonsense chronicled here has got me thinking about various Rand-related matters, including the band Rush and their pseudo-intellectual awful drummer/lyricist Neil Peart.

Could anyone tell me what "Tom Sawyer" is about?

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Sixteen Candles": Worthless Suckfest

The death of John Hughes yesterday prompted reflection on how badly all of his films suck. Judging from the email I've received, I have a controversial view about the value of his films. So here's why Sixteen Candles is a piece of crap. Evaluations of his other films will be posted in due course.

Sixteen Candles is a coming-of-age comedy that purports to be about an awkward teen's quest for visibility among the mature. The film of course has a standard happy ending, with Samantha hooking up with her romantic interest and the film's hero, Jake Ryan. But Jake Ryan is no hero. To wit:

In the course of the film, Jake Ryan claims to have no principled objection to having sex with ("violating," he says) his passed out girlfriend, Carolyn (he says he's "not into it" anymore). Then, in exchange for a pair of Samantha's underwear, he pimps Carolyn out to an under-age drunk geek (Ted)-- he tricks the barely conscious Carolyn into getting into a car with Ted, gives Ted the keys (Ted does not have a driver's license and has been drinking), and tells him to "have a good time" with Carolyn. They wake up in a parking lot to discover that they'd had sex, but both were too impaired to remember the act. So Hughes's hero endorses lying, under-age drinking, driving without a license, drunk driving, sex with the unconscious, and statutory rape.

In short, Jake Ryan is a fucking menace. And if there were a Seventeen Candles, and it were honestly done, we'd find a totally destroyed Samantha.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

John Hughes has a Posse

John Hughes has a Posse.

News flash: His films sucked.

The Hurt Locker and William James

I saw a very good film last night called The Hurt Locker. Highly recommended.

Anyway, I have a question for those who have seen it:

The people I saw it with insist that there's some deep (but, to them, unknown) significance in the fact that one of the main characters is named "William James," and they expected me to be able to explain it to them. (Btw: I thought there was greater significance in the fact that the character was called "Will" by his fellow soldiers.)

Now, I'm no William James expert. In fact, my knowledge of William James is limited to the usual stuff: He had an absurd view of truth, a dumb defense of religious belief, but he said interesting things about consciousness. Does anyone out there who knows the philosopher's work have any insight into why the character was named "William James"?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reader Query...

A reader asks:

If perpetually I go on to Google Street View and "drive" past the homes, hangouts, and workplaces of my exes, am I stalking them?

WTF? You're just looking at pictures! Then again, insofar as stalking has a psychological component (viz., obsessive need to monitor), then maybe this is stalking.