Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chill, please

Hi. I do this blog for fun. I do not have time to manage it. So it needs to remain something that does not require management. If you'd like to bitch about other blogs, ok. But I don't think we need to get into bitching about particular individuals. And we don't need to use proper names. Go to the blogs you don't like and trash the proprietors there.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've been enjoying following the dictionary wars, but I'll be taking a short break.  Will be back in about a month. Behave.

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.

Screeching Halts?

In the comments on the previous thread about Whitehead, someone writes that "Bergson's the only other major 20th century figure whose 15 minutes came to such a screeching halt." Is this true?  In particular, I  wonder about the "only."  Here are some others from the 20th Century, off the top of my head, who in their lifetimes were at some point at the top of their respective philosophical heaps, but stunningly quickly were pretty much forgotten by the time they stopped writing:

R. B. Perry
Paul Weiss
F. J. E. Woodbridge


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rodney King Posse

Rodney King has a posse.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Who knew?

Apparently people still write books about Whitehead. And they even get reviewed. I think I'm having a most surprising prehension at this very moment... 

Seriously, it's hard to find anyone in 20th Century Philosophy who fell further and more swiftly into complete irrelevance.

Reader Seeking Advice

Why would anyone write to me looking for advice?  I don't know.  But someone has written with the following query (paraphrased):
I am close to finishing my coursework at my PhD program.  I'm doing pretty well, but I see that there is a big difference between doing well as a graduate students and doing well as an entry-level professional philosopher.  So I am trying to figure out what I should be doing at this point to help myself prepare for the next stage of my training, whatever that is.  Hence my question: what's the most common hang-up or mistake you see in later-stage graduate students?

What to say?  I recall a bit of cautionary advice I was given. It was presented at the time as some chestnut offered famously by a then-great old-timer (I forget now who was credited with first saying it; if you recognize this claim, let me know).  Anyway, here it is: The trouble with philosophers today is that they read too much, write too little, and think even less.

Not especially helpful advice, I suppose, since it does nothing to specify what "too much" and "too little" mean.  And there are certainly hazards on the other end (reading too little, writing too much), if some recent reviews of Colin McGinn's books are to be believed (I'm in no position to evaluate this, I should add).  But it does seem to me that one of the main pitfalls that afflicts the best students is delving too deeply into a hot debate without ever stopping to get a sense of what their own views are.  They wind up with an encyclopedic command of the issue, and then either have no view of their own, or more-or-less randomly pick one from the going options (or, worse still, pick the one their mentor favors).  I guess it's not a bad way to get into the profession, as it lends itself to a certain kind of productivity, but it does strike me as a pitfall nonetheless.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Car Talk

The Car Talk guys are retiring.  Is there any reason to listen to NPR anymore?


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Important Concert Dates

Here are the dates on the current REO Speedwagon tour.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Richard Dawson Posse

Richard Dawson has a posse.


Saturday, June 2, 2012