Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dear Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Dear NDPR,

If this is not intentionally a cruel joke at the expense of the author of the book allegedly under discussion, it's unintentionally so. Does anyone on the editorial staff even bother to look at the reviews before posting them?  If this doesn't fall way short of the standard for minimal acceptability for a book review in a professional venue, then there simply is no standard, and one might as well read reviews on

I greatly appreciate the service you are providing to the profession.  But lately this kind of thing has been happening entirely too often on your otherwise excellent site.  You need to do better.


Anonymous said...

Holy fuck. That really is the worst shite I've ever seen. Fuck.

Anonymous said...

More analytical bigotry. The review is no good because it doesn't lay out the "argument" of the book in numbered premises, a conclusion, and a bunch of arcane rules of "Reason"? Maybe the book goes beyond such small-minded fakery. Face it, your conception of philosophy insists on irrelevance. This review that you so despise is brave and presents one more indication that you're a dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 12:19. It's so much better to come up with what you guess is the reason we hate the review and get mad at us for having that reason in mind. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Joint event-hood?
SOunds like a good name for a porno

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, I attended many joint events in the hood.

Bill James said...

Surely it's a joke.

Nothing really 'is'. It is really only a semblance that we only enter into contact with through mutual genetic interaction.

Also, the author of the review is named "James Williams", and just to be sure we get it he includes "William James" in the first line.

Jeremy Goodman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

From the review: "Meditation calls for commentary. It also inspires. Sometimes, it meets with violent opposition... First, though, let's set the violent opposition aside..."

Good choice.

traumadite said...

A celebration of self-indulgent navel gazing. Yes, please. Let's sit around the master and listen to his endless flow, and worship the text that formed from the unrolling of his meditations.

"It is not that logical argument, abstract aesthetics, pure science and raw art-practice are absent from the book. They are sublimated. So the surface of the writing flows from reflection, scholarship and direct experience, revealing them in distilled form only. There is great beauty to this rarefication. Ideas and experiences are elevated above the heavy and messy work of construction, conflict and friction. Toil, frustration, struggle and abnegation are cloaked beneath the meditative unrolling."

It's now time for the reviewer to did the poop out of his nose.

This is the kind of thing that gives continental philosophy a bad name.

Glaucon said...

In my experience, 'gesture' as a verb in philosophical contexts is a fairly reliable bullshit indicator. But it's usually 'gesture at'; 'gesture to' sounds really odd: "I will ... gesture to possible sources of inspiration."

But then again, I'm probably a bigoted dinosaur

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Whitehead would say that neither the review nor the book qualifies as a footnote to Plato.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you have Simon Critchley ont he editorial board of an otherwise good service.

Anonymous said...

@11.08 Pushing the holy bible of Leiterism?

Spiros said...

11:04 wins the thread.

Anonymous said...

they should just take that review down already. it's an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...


Seems likely Critchley was the culprit here. Who else on the board traffics in this kind of crap?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

From the review: "Things are not as they seem, though. Nor should they be given the demanding and innovative art and philosophy events to follow in the book. It turns out that the reason given by Massumi is not simple at all, because it depends on a sleight of hand around uses of tense. The copula is mistreated badly; torn from its bearings in space and time. What has been is still. This has been is becoming."

This isn't English.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand, Colin McGuinn churns 3 terrible books in one year, but THIS gets shellacked?

Anonymous said...

"This has been is becoming".

I think this is perfectly sensible sentence, marred by a simple typo. He left out the word "insufferable" at the end. "This has been" refers to Critchley.

Anonymous said...

I call Poe on 5:31. The mistaken spelling of McGinn is a clue. But so is the misdirection-- so obvious as to be simply baiting. What's being "shellacked" in the original post is not the book, and not even the book review, but rather the target is NDPR for posting the book review. Not even the comments target the book, only the book review-- and rightfully so, as it is indeed irresponsible crap.

Anonymous said...

The response to the first Massumi quote struck me as telling:

The quote from Massumi:
"The reality of the world exceeds that of objects, for the simple reason that where objects are, there has also been their becoming. And where becoming has been, there is already more to come. The being of an object is an abstraction from its becoming. The world is not a grab-bag of things. It is an always-in-germ. To perceive the world in an object frame is to neglect the wider range of its germinal reality. "

The quoted passage doesn't strike me as totally opaque. I can see it being a point worth making in a metaphysical discussion in which the fact that things develop matters (characteristic examples like acorns becoming oak trees come to mind). I don't know what purpose Massumi puts the passage to, but on its own terms it strikes me as not bullshit and potentially interesting depending on what else happens in the book. (The second quote also seems like not bullshit - it reminds me of the part of the SEP entry on Heidegger's aesthetics to do with the strange stuff in the background shadows of Van Gogh's shoes painting suddenly emerging when you stare at it long enough.) The point: there is some Philosophy happening here and something worth talking about.

Anonymous said...

The reviewer then has this to say about it:
"The clauses and propositions slip along one another easily. Each claim is digestible yet set in an economical form which expands with musical repetitions and echoes. There is a satisfying rhetoric reminiscent of early sophistry. It is too easy to pass from premise to conclusion when encouraged by a 'simple reason'. Claims depend on stark and familiar use of the copula. A thing 'is' or 'is not', in various attempts at clear extensive or intensive definition."

What the fuck? It has nothing to do with what was being said. What does it mean for a proposition to slip along another proposition? Are they greasy? Does he just mean that he thinks it's well written and easy to read? Does he mean the argument seems to him to work but ultimately doesn't on further reflection? The latter seems closest to what he wants, but he's never clear about it. He says the claims are digestible (which could mean a lot of things I guess, presumably that they're understandable) and written in an economical form (which I would imagine means they aren't overly wordy), but then the point of his observation has to do with musical repetitions and echoes. Why does the poetry of the language matter? The remark about the ease of going from premise to conclusion when encouraged by a "simple reason" was strange too - if the reviewer thinks he's being misled then say why! Surely the mere use of the copula can't be a problem (he's happy to say "each claim is digestible"), it's gotta be the business about offering definitions, but then we have no idea whether Massumi is trying to offer definitions in this passage or why this is a problem! The best I can figure is that the reviewer thinks we are committed to metaphysical assumptions about the permanence of things in the use of any language whatsoever, but every time I've heard this claim it's struck me as baffling. Anything close to a definite claim the reviewer offers does just seem like navel gazing about how things feel or appear to him as he's reading the book. This also seems to be the tone of the entire review: the reviewer makes strange observations about word choice and essentially about the linguistic form that Massumi is using without explaining why they matter and instead of talking about Massumi's claims. Maybe this would be an acceptable stopping point in a poetry review but not in a philosophical review. I don't think it's a stretch to say that a review that doesn't engage with what's being said is a bad review. It picks some passages out of context and never even lets us know what the author's project is. The only thing reminiscent of sophistry is the review itself.

Anonymous said...


Agreed. Although 5:34 was damn close and takes a well-deserved second.

Anonymous said...

@5:34 - aw, snappp

Anonymous said...

I am a colleague of the author of the book (not) under discussion in this bloody awful bit of self-indulgent bullshit. I second the sentiment above. I wish NDPR would just take the review down and tell the author of it to go back and do a proper job.

Anonymous said...

It's fine to trash this NDPR masterpiece, but what about this nepotistic example? The author cannot resist insulting the Kripke Center in his smug review.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Why is that nepotistic? He doesn't insult the Kripke Center, and there's nothing smug about the review.

But aside from that, good point.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's insulting to call the Saul Kripke Center "CUNY's Center for Kripkiana." As for nepotism, the author begs the reader's forgiveness for a "nepotistic plug" of his father's book, but doesn't mention that two of the papers of the volume under review were written by his father.

Other than that, my condolences to your deceased neurons.

Anonymous said...

Why is that insulting? That is a standard way of forming a name for the study of a person from the person's name.

And why is it nepotistic not to mention that the papers were written by the author's father? That makes no sense whatsoever.

I don't get the bitchiness, is all.

Anonymous said...

That is an album review, right?

traumadite said...

I can't wait for the review of this one:

Organs without Bodies
On Deleuze and Consequences
By Slavoj Zizek

Series: Routledge Classics

"Those who thought Deleuze's forward march into the future would follow a straight path are forced to rethink their stance. From now on all readings of Deleuze will have to take a detour through this important – even necessary – book." – Joan Copjec, author of Imagine There's No Woman

In this deliciously polemical work, a giant of cultural theory immerses himself in the ideas of a giant of French thought. In his inimical style, Zizek links Deleuze's work with both Oedipus and Hegel, figures from whom the French philosopher distanced himself. Zizek turns some Deleuzian concepts around in order to explore the 'organs without bodies' in such films as Fight Club and the works of Hitchcock. Finally, he attacks what he sees as the 'radical chic' Deleuzians, arguing that such projects turn Deleuze into an ideologist of today's 'digital capitalism'.

Any takers?

Anonymous said...

What's surprising is that nobody proofread the Williams review. As a colloquialism it might not turn any heads, but academics like Williams -- and presumably his editor -- are supposed to know that there is no such word as "rarefication". Presumably what Williams meant was "rarefaction", though of course he's not using the word with any discernible resemblance to its dictionary meaning.

Anonymous said...

June 22, 2012 12:07 PM,

Both forms are correct. One could even argue that in this context, rarefication is to be preferred.

Anonymous said...

I recently received a PFO for a job application I sent to Dundee. I don't know whether to feel proud because they rejected me or depressed because that university is actually paying the incoherent writer of this review to mould (mold?) young minds.

Anonymous said...

"Rarefaction" and "rarefication" are not both correct. Only "rarefaction" is acceptable as good English.
"Rarefy" comes from Latin rarefacio, perfect participle rarefactus, whence rarefactio which became English "rarefaction". There is no such verb as *rarefico from which "rarefication" could be derived.
Helpful hint: verbs ending in -efy such as stupefy, liquefy, putrefy, and, of course, rarefy, form deverbal nouns ending in -faction; verbs ending in -ify such as glorify, magnify, vilify, electrify form nouns ending in -fication.

Anonymous said...

According to the OED, "rarefication" is a word:

"rarefication, n.
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌrɛːrᵻfᵻˈkeɪʃn/ , U.S. /ˌrɛrəfəˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/
Forms: 16– rarefication, 16– rarification.
= rarefaction n.

1615 H. Crooke Μικροκοσμογραϕια 926 The Efficient cause of a bone is the Formatiue power which some call the Idoll or the Idea of him that ingendreth: this faculty vseth the heat for his architect, and the spirit for his chiefe worke-man, and to these the Philosopher attributeth Ordination, Secretion, Concretion, Densation and Rarification.
1686 R. Blome Gentlemans Recreation xix. 113/1 The heat of the Sun bringeth not so great a Rarification, or the cold so great a Condensation to the Air.
1729 S. Switzer Introd. Gen. Syst. Hydrostaticks & Hydraulicks I. i. 44 This Rarification, and consequently Expansion, must..take up so much Room for such a Change, that one should be very hard put to it to find where it is situated.
1794 R. J. Sulivan View of Nature I. 209 It carries the point of greater rarefication on the other side of the equator.
1847 Jrnl. Royal Geogr. Soc. 17 p. xl, The desirableness of ascertaining..whether the W. wind which blows from the Atlantic a little to the N. of the Equator be due to the rarification of the air over the African continent.
1893 Times 3 Oct. 9/5 Rarefication in quality of two orders of impressions.
1938 Proc. Royal Soc. B. 125 132 The emphysematous lung is poor in blood, as the extreme rarefication of the lung tissue will lead to the closing and eventual obliteration of very large numbers of capillaries.
1985 A. C. Graham Reason & Spontaneity (BNC) 57 Ch'i is a universal fluid out of which bodies condense and into which they dissolve... Even the void is ch'i at the ultimate degree of rarefication.
2003 Ophthalmol. 110 87 (caption) fig. 4. Complete fibrosis of the subepithelial tissue with rarification of blood vessels."

Whether or not it's the *right* word is a separate matter. But it is, in fact, a word.

Anonymous said...

Which word gladiator will now shout "Are you not entertained??!!"

Anonymous said...

One question: is the Anonymous who insisted that rarefication is not a word the same Anonymous who thinks that a reviewer need not disclose that he is reviewing the work of his relatives?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 22, 2012 9:41 PM,

you, sir or madam, just won at the internet.

Anonymous said...

I am, in fact, both Spiros' 11:04 and the more recent 9:41. "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"

Anonymous said...

10:53, the one who thinks 'rarefication' is not a word doesn't know how to use a dictionary, so that's probably the commenter who used the word 'nepotism' without knowing what it means.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's anon 6:22 who doesn't know how to use a dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary is a comprehensive descriptive dictionary: it includes words from all dialects and registers of English, including a great many that would be entirely inappropriate for use in an academic context. The fact that a number of writers have, over the years, been misled by the false analogy magnify:magnification::rarefy:rarefication does not make "rarefication" an acceptable English word, any more than the even more widespread use of "ain't" makes it acceptable in any type of formal communications. "Rarefication" is an error; a common colloquial one, perhaps, but an error nonetheless. That is why the OED doesn't have an independent definition for it, but merely redirects you to the correct form, rarefaction (a problem for anon 12:07, who apparently believes that there is an intended difference in use or meaning between rarefaction and "rarefication"!). That is why prescriptive dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster (intended for use, e.g., by copy editors) do not include "rarefication".

Anonymous said...

And no, I'm not anon 4:33/5:12, and I do know exactly what "nepotism" means.

Thread Master said...

This comment thread wins bitchiest thread in some significant category.

Anonymous said...

I rather love 10:03's argument, which is basically, "rarefication" is not a word because it's not in the dictionary I prefer, even if is it in another dictionary.

And truth be told, I couldn't care less what dictionaries copy editors prefer. Especially because the Merriam-Webster online dictionary includes a slang dictionary, with such gems as "imagineering" and "googleable."

Anonymous said...

This thread is hopeless. You have petulant defenders of a smug and unreadable review of a collection of papers, in which the reviewer admits to "nepotism" but does not disclose the potential conflict of interest that matters: that his father wrote two of the papers appearing in the book under review. This is considered perfectly reasonable. Add to that the fatuous and self-congratulatory renaming of the Kripke Center. If it were housed in the reviewer's august institution and not at CUNY, there would be no question of writing "Standford's Center for Kripkiana." But here bemused commentary is dismissed as bitchiness.

Anonymous said...

I am entertained!

Anonymous said...

10:03 should email his prescriptivist bullshit to Language Log. Tell those linguists they've been doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

4:36, nobody said it was "perfectly reasonable"; you're just blowing smoke to cover the fact that you completely botched your comment.

You said it was nepotism. It isn't. It's become obvious that you don't know what 'nepotism' means. That's embarrassing, but it would have been better just to have admitted it, or better yet to have shut up.

The person responding to you wasn't in any way 'petulant'. I suspect you don't know what that word means either.

Finally, it's really obvious that you don't know what 'bemused' means.

You did choose the perfect thread to show off your illiteracy. Not that I'm a prescriptivist, of course! But I do find flaming ignorance entertaining.

Anonymous said...

No, the reviewer himself called it a "nepotistic plug," but you didn't bother to read the source. If it isn't nepotism for the reviewer to mention his father's book, then the reviewer who called it a "nepotistic plug" is illiterate. You can't see the connection between this admission and the reason the editors should have disqualified him. For a mind shrouded in tenebrous vapors like yours, this is a model NDPR review, and pointing out the conflict of interest you insist on defending is "blowing smoke." Perhaps another conflict of interest is at work.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for your defense of your use of "bemused". Wait till I get the popcorn, though. Perhaps you could also explain how a reviewer can say he is making a nepotistic comment without disclosing a potential conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

By not disclosing the relevant conflict of interest. By the way, the reviewer compounds his conflict of interest when he writes that he "...won't won't reproduce the table of contents here..."--that might make the non-disclosure obvious even to you.

I was stupefied that you could not and still cannot see the difference between mentioning his father's forthcoming book and not mentioning that his father wrote two papers for the collection, that you somehow believe that mentioning the former amounts to mentioning the latter, and that you see nothing wrong with disparaging the Kripke Center. I was mistaking whatever process you use in lieu of thinking for cognition. So you're right, I should not have been bemused.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what 'nepotism' means. You have actually admitted it. You were just echoing Burgess's misuse!
You haven't even attempted to say why using the perfectly reasonable coinage 'Kripkiana' is (as you put it) disparaging.

You "should not have been bemused", you think that's the problem! Excellent. You were stupefied. That's the best excuse I've ever read at PhilAnon.

I hope 10:08 brought enough popcorn to share.

seth edenbaum said...

The review is full of fluff, but it makes an argument. And from the response here I guess you'd all be much happier with the concision and formal rigor of the equations of the economists responsible for tanking the US economy. "Professional philosophers" in the Anglo-Amercan tradition like things neat and tidy but all to often signifying nothing.

For what it's worth I was only a little surprised to find references to Claude Lorrain and J.M.W. Turner in the NDPR, but Robert Irwin and Merce Cunningham, that was interesting. If you knew the work the silly argument would at least make sense.

I'm still left to choose between wooly headed belles-lettres and hard-nosed pseudo-science, here you add Fugazi references.

Sorry, no.

Anonymous said...

Seth, not all of us who think this review is bullshit are entirely unsympathetic to continental philosophy. 'Making an argument' is not sufficient for publishability. So go strawman somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

The suffix -iana denotes "a collection of objects or information about a particular individual, subject or place." The Kripke Center is not a collection of Kripke tchotchkes and memorabilia, as is suggested by 'Kripkiana'. The point of the Center is to publish Kripke's unpublished manuscripts, not to collect his tax returns.

seth edenbaum said...

If economists are adult readers of Ayn Rand, and analytics are adult readers of Isaac Asimov, contenentals are now adult readers of On the Road and Naked Lunch. In all the above pulp fiction is used as a basis of speclative philosophy.

Scholasticism in an age of crisis.
"barbara and baroco"
We've been here before

Anonymous said...

Good work Anonymous 8:09. Anonymous 6:14 can take a warm piss on a power line.

Victor DeDork, Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Did 8:09 get that definition from a prescriptive dictionary or a descriptive dictionary? What say the copy editors of the world?

Anonymous said...

"Why is that insulting? That is a standard way of forming a name for the study of a person from the person's name."

Dearest Epicene Criticaster,

'Kripkiana' connotes something lightweight, like you. Also, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, recommended by
Geoff Pullum, there was no problem with bemused.

What 1:13 said.

Anonymous said...

Wait, Mirriam-Webster said that there was no problem wi your very use of bemused? It really is on the ball: real time updating. Or did you mean that MW said it was a word? That x is a word does not entIl that x can be used in any context whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

This thread metaphorically poses the wisdom of Danny Trejo's two best lines against one another:

"Machete don't text."

Then after deciding to text:

"Machete improvises."

The thread has gone all-in with the latter Trejo.

I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, consider the wisdom of the former.

Anonymous said...

Think that ye may be mistaken to equate Machete Center with CUNY's Center for Macheteana. I should like to have that written over the Internet portals of every blog.

Anonymous said...

This thread contains some of the most moronic assertions in the history of Phil Anon.

Arthuriana is not for tchotchkes and memorabilia of Arthur, nor does it have as its aim to disparage Arthur. Interpreting Burgess as derogating CUNY's center really is illiterate.

Anonymous said...

No, your failure to recognize the connotation of lightness commonly associated with -iana is profoundly ignorant. Ask a competent speaker of the language.

Anonymous said...

Desperate example: 'Arthuriana' is the name of a journal. 'CUNY Center for Kripkiana' is not the name of The Saul Kripke Center. It was coined in a fatuous NDPR review. It does not follow that the name in the first case has the same significance in context as the gratuitous coinage. The name 'Arthuriana' still connotes a lack of profundity.

Anonymous said...

Right, that makes it 'desperate', because one is the name of a journal and the other is not the name of a center. Excellent argument.

Probably the name of the journal was chosen to insult Arthur and attract contributions from people who don't take seriously the study of Arthurian literature.

Neil said...

I'm glad no one's mentioned Armenia, which is, frankly, offensive to arms.

Anonymous said...

Wrong suffix Neil. According to English Words with Native Roots and with Greek, Latin or Romance Suffixes," by George A. Nicholson, the the suffix -ana "(usually written -iana)" is used to form "...nouns expressing notable sayings of a person, literary trifles, anecdotes, a collection of such, or literary gossip." 5:34 can choke on his popcorn.

Anonymous said...

From the OED: "Appended orig. to proper names, and subsequently also to nouns denoting hobbies, activities, etc. with sense of: a. Notable sayings of a person, literary trifles, society verses, items of gossip etc. of a place, as Walpoliana, Tunbrigiana; b. Anecdotes of, notes about, or publications bearing upon, as Shaksperiana, Burnsiana; c. Artifacts and other collectable items associated with a place, period, person, or activity, as Africana, Churchilliana, cricketana, Victoriana 2 etc.; d. A style or fashion reminiscent of, or associated with, a particular period, as Victoriana." No argument has been given to exclude the intellectually unflattering connotations of the gratuitous coinage.

Anonymous said...


Someone has already noted that the OED can't be used. No fair changing the rules of the game!

Anonymous said...

I'm just hazarding a guess here, but you guys (girls?) never get laid, do you?

Anonymous said...

@ 1:54

Do you want to know how many times a mere mention of my major got me laid in undergrad? My frat friends called me the king of c*cksmen. The best part was that you were not limited to a certain group. Smart girls thought you were not like the dumb dudes, and dumb girls thought you were not like every other dude. Sorority girls thought you were intriguing and the non-greeks thought you were going somewhere.

How does this work out for me now? Well, after graduating girls become disillusioned with their pre-college conception of love and lower their 'standards'. But really, this is just slophound talk for the fact that all they are looking for now is some guy who looks safe and nice. P
Fortunately, doing philosophy makes you appear that way.

I may regret not making much money. I may regret not having a high-profile job. But, I will never regret walking into a bar and knowing that all the knuckle-dragging clowns will not bag the prize. For a simple reason... I'm a philosopher.

Anonymous said...

Get a grip.

It was some good-natured ribbing. You, the 'king of c*cksmen', should know better than anyone that there's nothing women like more than a man who's confident enough to happily take some of it.

But it wasn't 'the mere mention of your major' that got you laid, you dim bulb. I'm a philosopher, too, and I get laid more often than Clooney. But it takes more than the mention of one's major. Women aren't stupid. Presumably you possess other qualities (a sense of humour appears not to be one of them) that women like.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:19

"Get a grip."

I have weak hands.

"Women aren't stupid."

You don't know the women I've been with. I assume you meant that not all women are stupid. Which is a true statement. But then, I would contend we haven't gotten very far. In your case, however, we may have.

"dim bulb"

... ? ... you know what, nevermind.

Now, I did exagerrate (for effect) with regard to the mention of my major. However, I do recall a couple of instances where the time, from my introduction and stating something in that ballpark ("I'm the president of philo group X") to her in my room, was less than 30 mins. In fact, there was an instance (at my favorite bar) where the time was 15 mins. Literally, walked out to someone's car and drove back. Moreover, we didn't talk about much apart from me studying philosophy.

With regard to relationships that lasted through the morning after, I would say that philosophy helped keep the interest going. I remember over-hearing a girl excitedly tell her mom I was studying philo and one girl say the same to her friends. And we have all had numerous occurences where ppl immediately conclude you are smart and/or interesting after you tell them what you study/research/teach.

I strongly believe I do not possess many qualities that would (save philosophy) endear me to women. Not looks. Not charm. Not confidence. And according to you, not even humour. I also strongly believe that had I majored in business (or some such degree) I would have had less flings and one-nighters (and the flings for a much shorter duration).

Maybe I will see you in a bar sometime. We can shake hands. Perhaps even Clooney will be there. I could buy you an Irish Bus Bomb to get you to shut up.

Anonymous said...

"I strongly believe I do not possess many qualities that would (save philosophy) endear me to women. Not looks. Not charm."

I assumed from the beginning that you're utterly charmless. Anyone with a functioning neural chassis will discern that much straightaway.

In response to my claim that "Women aren't stupid," you said:

"You don't know the women I've been with. I assume you meant that not all women are stupid. Which is a true statement. But then, I would contend we haven't gotten very far."

You then go on to give anecdotal evidence of how, just in virtue of telling them you're a phil major, you got some women into the sack. (One is left wondering whether this is what did it. Perhaps these women were simply keen on getting laid and you were handy. But let's waive that as a quibble.)

So it would seem that what you're saying is that some women are stupid enough to shag a guy--a charmless, homely guy like you--simply because he's a philosophy major.

Well, I'm not prepared to deny that. But in your initial post you made a very different claim (or at least suggested something very different), namely, that you were the 'king of c*cksmen', and slept with oodles of women, in virtue of being a philosopher - in short that women, generally speaking, are drawn to philosophers and will shag them just because they're philosophers. Bullshit.

seth edenbaum said...

Amazing that Leiter links to this sh*t. And I mean every anonymous one of you. You, the enlightened, and disenchanted:
"My frat friends";
"I'm a philosopher too!!"

And I'm supposed to prefer you to the idiot who wrote the piece for the NDPR? Why?
What can any of you tell me about the world?

Anonymous said...

"will shag them just because they are philosophers."

You have me in tears (good ones... the kind where your gut hurts, and you don't get enough oXygEn to yor brane.)


But seriously, I told you I had exagerrated for an effect (which worked). I was simply providing my life as counter-example to the claim you were implying, that none of us on here get much play. I was going the extra mile by revealing that being in philosophy has paid for itself in that regard.

Now, I'm not really sure what evidence I can provide apart from anecdotal to back up the "my life as counter-example" argument. Maybe Clooney could come run some sort of experiment?

Anyways, we already know that doing something in academia has its perks. One of those is that the average person usually thinks you are intelligent and interesting regardless of whatever else they know about you. Even despite evidence to the contrary... as in the case of you and I.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:03

One reason Leiter links to this is that people like you have to be told why the current piece under review is so bad it must be berated on a philosophy blog.

Here is a difference between us and the author of that review. We understand and believe what we write. He neither understands nor believes what he wrote.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:54, as I have quoted elsewhere, but should have quoted here,

Science must be pursued for its own sake
And never to impress potential mates!

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, could we all just get back to the point of this thread?

I liked women just as much as the next guy. I was able, however, to not let desire strain relevancy at important moments in life.

David Lewis

D. Ghirlandaio said...

Anonymous 11:03
"Here is a difference between us and the author of that review. We understand and believe what we write. He neither understands nor believes what he wrote."

I understood what he wrote. He wrote it badly with all sorts of added puffery. And the book itself sounds awful, but mostly for the same reasons the review and the response here are just as bad. The first two are trying to understand experience and narrative in terms of their opposite: to describe processes as objects. The review reads as if it were written by a boy trying to defend his choices to an overbearing father he's still trying to please. And you're all playing the older brother, daddy's favorite. Where the f'k are the adults? Where's your mamma? Where's your sister? A gay cousin maybe?

The choices in evidence here -for you- as far as I can tell are between game theory and formal theology. The majority defend one and a minority the other. Again: where are the adults?

Anonymous said...

Graham Priest is not my gay cousin.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which one's worse: the (obviously female) interlocutor not realizing that the "c*cksman" was being facetious, or the c*cksman himself for being less than 100% facetious. The apparent fact that both of you have the machinery required to reproduce is deeply troubling.

Anonymous said...

The fact that I now have you using the word c*cksman on this blog is sufficient evidence for my reproductive worth. It is also evidence of (my) good genes.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

"I don't know which one's worse: the (obviously female) interlocutor not realizing that the "c*cksman" was being facetious..."

So women aren't so smart after all. Or is it that they have no sense of humor? Is irony beyond them?
Keep digging son. The walls will start caving in soon.

I feel like a chess player at a checkers tournament.
And I'm a man.

Anonymous said...

Don't despair nor get rare/ifacted -there is a whole Department at Dundee producing even more propio -perceptive and mind-stretching reviews of this ilk.
The land of William Topaz McGonagall may well be proud. Would that he were still with us to immortalize this school.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't obvious she was female because she failed to see he was being facetious. It was obvious she was female because she was the one who decided to throw in "you don't get laid much", she harped on the self-deprecating "the women I sleep with are stupid" comment, she talked about how women love confidence, and generally she felt the need to correct the cocksman's more or less absurd statements about women's motivations for sleeping with him. Has nothing to do with her intelligence or sense of humor and everything to do with her defensiveness given the topic.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

You're referring to the comment that begins:

"Get a grip.
It was some good-natured ribbing. You, the 'king of c*cksmen', should know better than anyone that there's nothing women like more than a man who's confident enough to happily take some of it."[ribbing]
... "I get laid more often than Clooney."

Of the two, which reads as more insecure?
"Do you want to know how many times a mere mention of my major got me laid in undergrad?"
It's weak, kiddo, that's all that matters.

For what it's worth I thought you[?] were referring to one of my comments, but the person you're referring to is most likely male.

It's mildly fascinating that "professional philosophers" pal around now like MBAs.

I got in an argument with a political philosopher a few years ago, whose politics is riddled with unacknowledged contradictions. One of his pals defended him by pointing out that political philosophy and politics had nothing to do with one another. If economists could defend their formalisms the same way, we'd all be better off.

Anonymous said...

The issue isn't who seems more insecure, it's the kind of shots being taken and the kind of tone being taken. Actually, the way "more than Clooney" writes reminds me of the woman who flipped out about the other woman's comment about pink shorts with "juicy" on the rear end. But of course she could easily be male. My central point was, whatever her gender, she doesn't seem to have much of a sense for what's actually being communicated by the people she's conversing with.

Anonymous said...

D. Ghirlandaio,

I say the following with the utmost kindness, sincerity, and respect: what the fuck are you talking about?

You have repeated the same point a couple of times, and it will never stick. That there is pointless and inane banter that appears - at times - on this blog is irrelevant. There is hardly ever any seriousness attatched to it when it does appear. It is for shits and gigs. That you have been spending (wasting?) time attacking such activity suggests either your ignorance of the above fact or that you do not believe what you write. If the latter, take it over to a different blog since it isn't particularly stimulating.

seth edenbaum said...

Its not the banter its the level: arrogant, very specifically male, and almost preadolescent. I choose to connect that to what you talk about when you think you're being serious. I think that choice is a reasonable one. Most of you think philosophy is 'technical' and the parallel to the attitudes of men in other actually or soi disant technical fields is pretty clear. Thats pretty much the only thing about you that interests me.


Anonymous said...

Even my point, to use a term for the lowest dimensional object that might signify something almost rising to the level of thought, that "CUNY's Center for Kripkiana" was not exactly flattering seems to have stuck. I assure the rarefied audience here that associates of the Kripke Center originally referred me to the NDPR review and emphatically stated with regard to the coinage that "of course it's insulting." The insistent denial that this could be the case prompted speculation that the current crop of philosophers were altogether deaf to conversational implicature. Entire areas of philosophy have been effaced! No wonder we could not get published! Commiserating with colleagues and friends is small consolation for the brutal reception I receive here--and that's why I return. Not to mention the tangent on another domain of human activity, now relegated to the epic, inaccessible past and which has for me become a fond memory.

Anonymous said...

"Rarefied" isn't a word, 3:50. You mean "rareficated".

(I suppose that was a "preadolescent" "male" piece of banter; I apologize.)

Anonymous said...

2:53 here. This post wins the July threads.

I am sure of this, despite the infinite waiting - that is finite - for what is to be becoming in the fluid, static future of July. This future is a contrast in the infinite eternal differance, which is also an up-ended inverse of non-differance, of what has already (though still subjected to process) had its becoming in a fluid, static future of that has had occurence... [deep breath] ... We see, then, that the post at 3:50 slides warmly and easily into the mind.

Anonymous said...

They are both words, 4:36. Rarefication in medicine refers to the lessening of density of tissue, especially of nervous tissue or bone. But in this Centre for Spirosiana, the per capita density of nervous tissue has decreased together with a striking increase in pachycephaly.

D. Ghirlandaio said...


Anonymous said...

"Rarefication" is the less common form, admittedly, though I am being needlessly polite. Go take a warm piss on a power line.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

"In a crucifixation [sic!] ecstasy
Lying cross chequed in agonyyyy!!"

But I'm being prescriptive. That's baaaaad.
And now I'm an 18 year old arguing with 12 year olds.
My brain hurts.

"Hulk have Ph.D. Hulk Smart!"

Anonymous said...

Troll 6:36 mangles lyrics as if this were somehow analogous to a documented usage. One would not ordinarily dignify ignorance as 'prescriptivist', but I blame the victim (myself) for responding to troll 4:36.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

"Troll 6:36 mangles lyrics."
It's the way they're written, son. Aren't you a Bauhaus fan?
Irregardless, maybe that's just the way you orientate yourself.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

I really don't care. I'm just having fun with idiots with graduate degrees

Anonymous said...

"Most of you think philosophy is technical"

If by philosophy you mean a subject concerned with actually figuring something out about the world, then your claim is implicitly false. There is not another attitude different from something like a 'technical' attitude. If by philosophy you mean just any old attempt at answering deep life questions or settling disputes created by smoking a J, then your claim is not implicitly false. I take it you had in mind the attempt to settle J disputes. God go with you.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

"Impatience with the long haul of technical reflection is a form of shallowness, often thinly disguised by histrionic advocacy of depth.”

Timothy Williamson

This is fun

Anonymous said...

"Irregardless, maybe that's just the way you orientate yourself."

Ugh -- "irregardless" is improper usage.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

And "orientate" is proper.

I just watched Spain vs Italy; I'm drunk; I assume you're sober; compared to you Italy had a good day.

Anonymous said...

4:36 here. This place seems to have an endemic impenetrability to (attempted, at least) humor. Surely it was clear that I was referring, jokingly, to the earlier squabble, having noted that the prior post, with I think also humorous intent, did so as well.

Anonymous said...

Spiros said I won this thread. Like Sartre I decline the prize.

Anonymous said...

"compared to you Italy had a good day"

Someone collect these quips. They have to be good for something. Maybe the joint event-hood porn project?

And where did Seth go? I miss his spirited defense of failed work.

Perhaps he could play the lead role in "Joint Event-Hood: Bum Play"?

William James would be played by James Williams. Seth would star as himself or DG (that claim is a paradox of something). A time machine would have to enter the fray. Nudechaps comes to mind.

I need ideas to fill out the script.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, God go with D. Ghirlandaio.

D. Ghirlandaio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. Ghirlandaio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. Ghirlandaio said...

Too much anger...
Try again.

Domenico Ghirlandaio iff Seth Edenbaum.
"And where did Seth go? I miss his spirited defense of failed work."
I don't defend failed work.

"Modern empiricism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas.
...Both dogmas, I shall argue, are ill founded. One effect of abandoning them is, as we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science."

Have any of you read "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" by Alan Sokal?

Anonymous said...

Truth or Derrida. In case anyone was interested, one of the lines in the deleted post at 10:26 as "D. Ghirlandaio iff Seth Edenbaum, idiots." Another line that didn't make it into 10:36 was that Quine and Derrida were reactions to each other. The meticulous editing was well worth the effort. The result is a most exquisitely calibrated post-- well done!

Anonymous said...

If he returns, I'll fill in the blank of this sentence, also in 10:26 but wisely edited out of 10:36:

I don't defend failures. I _______ failures."

Again, I must say that the result is an incontrovertible masterpiece, well worth the two deleted posts that precede it.

Seth Edenbaum said...

Why wait for me to return?
I think the word I wrote was compare. But as the adage goes "show, don't tell" and it's better to allow readers to make comparisons for themselves.

To say that Quine and Derrida were reactions to each another would be a bit Derridian. I'm not sure I said that. I said they were the product of their times and that one followed the other. But then if they follow each other as a pendulum swings back and forth, then there you go.

Quine is an exemplar of post war American rationalism. Biologists are empiricists; philosophers are rationalists. A rationalist defense of empiricism is not the practice of it, but you have to be willing to leave the cloister to understand that. Quine never did, which is why his arguments fit so well with standard economic theory that eschews the use of data. You see where that that lead us. And his personal politics were disgusting. He had the intellect and ethos of a moralizing purist.

Unlike him, his equally moralizing nephew did go out into the world, and died a junkie. Robert Quine fought for purity in a world that could never meet his expectations. Do you follow me now?
Alex Rosenberg says "History is bunk" but I don't think so.

Someone above compares the author of the review to William Topaz McGonagall. That works better than he realized. The last lines from The Tay Bridge Disaster:

"At least many sensible men confesses
For the stronger we our houses build
The less chance we have of being killed."

And Quine:

"One effect of abandoning them is, as we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science"

Between one and the other which should I choose?

Derrida wraps up truisms in literary allusion. He's a Talmudic scholar in love with written words. He makes a religion of close reading, but close reading is important. Do any of you follow constitutional law? For all the mannerisms and purple prose his work represents less of a danger to civilization, by which I mean democracy of one sort or another, than the works of Frederick Winslow Taylor and W.V.O Quine.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

A pompous ending. Feh.
Not wrong, just pompous.

D. Ghirlandaio said...

To be clear:

"Another effect is a shift towards pragmatism"

But there was none.
Even real science requires judgement and political reactionaries are terrible judges, so its illogical to separate political philosophy from any other branch.

Quine's logic did not lead to pragmatism it lead to Kripkiana and to stock bubbles.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Anon 9:26!
The center for Saul Kripkamarama must be central location as well p.s. this thread rocks

Anonymous said...

Thanks 10:42!

I heartily endorse your suggestion for the locale. I'm thinking that the engraving on the Centre will read "quaerere de nuda rostrum." Or... "lux et nudechaps."

Anonymous said...

"I don't know which one's worse: the (obviously female) interlocutor not realizing that the 'c*cksman' was being facetious, or the c*cksman himself for being less than 100% facetious."

Oh, I get it: as long as one is being facetious, one can spew any kind of drivel one wants and anyone else has simply to kowtow to the mighty facetiousness of it all. Fine. You're a fuckface.

In case you didn't get it, I was being facetious, so deal.

Anonymous said...

you are all very very sad