Re: Discussion Section

1

Oh, that infuriated me when I was an undergrad. I'm with you on the not passing judgment on the language, but it was usually followed by something insipid and/or wrong. And the follow-up, upon being told why they are wrong: "well, I just disagree."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:32 PM
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The worst disclaimer preface I've heard (secondhand):

"I'm not sure, but I think I think that..."


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:39 PM
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I have recently become extremely irritated with people who begins questions "Well, I was going to ask..." and then proceed to ask the question. What does that even mean? Why phrase it in the past tense if the question is being asked in the now?


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:41 PM
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One of the big differences for me between teaching and taking classes is that people's verbal tics bother me a lot less when I'm teaching. I don't even really notice when someone has a particular habit, unless it's offensive. But my students do, as I do when I'm in a class. They fucking seethe, as I do. One time a classmate asked me after half a semester in class whether I was making that "pissed-off what-the-fuck face" just to make her crack up, or if it's sincere. I can't help it.

But, weirdly, when I see one of my own students giving that same face to a regular contributor, it makes me really annoyed at them for being so intolerant. And I don't appreciate getting emails about how annoying everyone else in the class is, that pissy-faced silent student is the only one who "really understands" me.

I wish it were somehow possible for me to have gotten several years of classroom teaching experience before I went to college. I would have been a lot nicer to my classmates.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:43 PM
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What does that even mean?

This was my ex's biggest pet peeve. "Why 'even mean'? What the hell does it mean for something to 'even mean' something? ARG."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:44 PM
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4.3 is a really good point. I taught in between my undergrad degrees and there is no doubt in my mind that I was much better at the game of school once I understood how it works from the other direction. Whether or not that has made me nicer to my fellow classmates or even more competitive I'm not sure...


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:47 PM
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Ah good point


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:48 PM
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Everyone I've ever had in any of my discussion sections has been a delight.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:51 PM
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I think I feel that that last point was what I was going to ask. What does that even mean?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:52 PM
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It's funny; every time I write a blog post about shit undergraduates should know about the way their profs view them (we don't win anything if you fail, we hate you extra if you kiss ass by telling us how stupid everyone else is, you are not invisible in class, etc.) I get comments from undergrads saying "Oh my God, that never occurred to me. Shit!" A lot of this stuff feels like common sense now, but I sure as hell didn't know it when I was an undergrad.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:52 PM
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I love a good "What does that even mean?" Not even a raging boyfriend could shame that out of me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:53 PM
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Here's perhaps my favorite 'I can't believe I have to put up with this shit' moment from last year. As background -- I taught baby logic last fall. Baby logic consists mostly of teaching basic critical thinking skills and, toward the end of the semester, basic logic (symbolizing, truth tables, etc).

The setup: student takes a test. On the test is a set of arguments and the student is asked to identify the type of fallacy that each argument falls prey to.

The relevant argument: "How can you, with a straight face, argue that animals have rights and expect me to believe you? You eat meat!"

The student answered that this was an appeal to force.
The correct answer is that this is an ad hominem. I give the student zero points.

The student appeals her grade on this question. This is her reason for appeal, in its entirety (I have italicized the particularly relevant bit): "Argument against the person states one arguer advances a certain argument, and the other arguer responds by directing attention not to the argument but to the person. This statement does not get directed toward the person. It is attacking the argument still, its focus on animals having rights, it is focusing on how bad the argument is not the arguer. The end states "You eat me!" This is appeal to force, threatening the arguer to eat them if they expect him to believe the argument."

Needless to say, she never did get any credit for her answer.


Posted by: grad student | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:58 PM
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8. This, of course, is completely true. I think I am most amazed by those who sit for an entire semester and don't say a single word. I like talking in seminars and I understand that not everyone does, but how bizarrely rude is it in a class of 8 or 10 to not say anything over 16 weeks. Mind boggling.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:58 PM
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11. The psychological gratification takes precedence over its linguistic meaninglessness


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:59 PM
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My favorite was how everyone at my Program X would preface any declarative statement with, "There's a way in which." Things were never just true or false. But, there's a way in which a certain thing could be true!

(I have to confess that I actually loved it when people said this. It was really very cute, and didn't irritate me at all. This is true of verbal tics in general; they will pretty much always charm me to death. This is why read is my favorite commenter.)


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 11:59 PM
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I did recently find myself checking out a cute girl during a concert who, it turned out, is an undergrad majoring in the subject with which I am affiliated at the institution with which I am affiliated. That was momentarily embarrassing.


Posted by: Dennis Kucinich | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:00 AM
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My favorite was how everyone at my Program X would preface any declarative statement with, "There's a way in which."

There was a guy on the study abroad thing I did as an undergrad who did something similar. I can't now recall what his favored phrase was, but it was SUPER ANNOYING.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:03 AM
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13: rude?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:03 AM
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12: ESL?

13: I tell them regularly, to remind them, that I love them all equally. It's kind of true, in that I think of them as a class, not as individuals. But while it's hard to rank individuals against others across semesters (which I had to do last week when picking possible TAs for myself), it's really easy to rank entire classes.

My classes that don't talk as much as others tend to be the ones I've taught a billion times. I've taught Brit Lit II survey (Ren to Mod) like 14 times at the same school, and it's hard not to be frustrated when a class doesn't get the aesthetic theory right away. I feel like I've said the same shit over and over and over for years. I keep developing more and more complex ways of talking about it, while they're always n00bs. It's not their fault. But definitely, I end up with better and more excited participation when I'm teaching material I've never taught before.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:04 AM
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Yes I had a professor who when asked particularly pointed questions would always begin with "Well, in a certain sense..." This used to drive me crazy. It felt like he couldn't give a straight answer!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:05 AM
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Aw, "there's a way in which" and "in part" are things I've had to swear off using to begin sentences.

In the introduction to my dissertation, I've decided to edit by deleting all the transitions. This makes it look like ballsy theory instead of grad studenty crap. NO TRANSITIONS. I'll use them in the chapters, but it's like an Oulipo thing for me, given my life-long obsession with transitions.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:07 AM
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THERE ARE NO STRAIGHT ANSWERS.

I just feel that this is true. There's a certain sense in which it is.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:07 AM
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This was a graduate seminar.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:07 AM
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There is a sense in which the verbal tics of one of my first-year college professors annoyed me, but it did not compare to the annoyance induced by the verbal tic of my first-year college roommate in any way, shape, or form.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:08 AM
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It's true, there are no straight answers. Only straight questions.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:08 AM
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Whenever I invent an example in class, like for a thesis statement or a plausible argument, I insert, "I totally just made that up, so it might be stupid. Tell me." They take that as an invitation to fawn all over it, which is boring. Rip me to shreds, you little fuckers!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:08 AM
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No, there are straight answers. Refusing to give straight answers isn't a way of dealing with complexity, but a way of refusing to deal with complexity. If the "certain sense" can be specified than it is irrelevant and it is just a verbal tic.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:09 AM
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In papers, I despise "due to the fact that" and "for all intents and purposes" and "I tend to think that." I write them on the board under the word "FRESHMANESE" and roll a bleary eye at them so I never see it again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:10 AM
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21: I think that like 70% of the total volume of my writing is transitions. I don't know what my papers would look like without them. Probably just lists. Of proper nouns.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:10 AM
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The jury's still out on all of this. It will always be out. On everything.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:10 AM
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31

Very smart, but transitions are HARD!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:11 AM
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in any way, shape, or form.

Ugh. This is like "mentally, physically, and spiritually," which an otherwise-favorite student of mine admitted he'd been taught to use as a thesis crutch in high school.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:11 AM
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31 --> 28


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:12 AM
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Nothing will make you aware of your own verbal tics like having a child who begins to pick them up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:12 AM
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Also, I thought "what does that even mean" is like saying "that makes no sense" - it's a string of words that doesn't "even mean" anything. But only in a way. There might be a sense in which it does mean something, and that meaning needs to be established before we can continue.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:13 AM
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29. It seems as if there are a good number of philosophers who think that this is the best way to write papers.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:13 AM
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in any way, shape, or form.
Ugh. This is like "mentally, physically, and spiritually,"

ANIMAL VEGETABLE MINERAL


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:13 AM
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34. Or writing about verbal tics


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:14 AM
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Ben's most hated verbal tic is "because why?" Hint, hint.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:15 AM
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34: Nothing like hearing "cocksucking motherfucker" come out of the mouth of a four-year-old, fifty times a day.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:15 AM
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There's a sense in which evading questions is a means of refusing to deal with complexity, but that sense can't be explicitated, only intimated.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:15 AM
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If I could delete the word "interesting" from grad students' vocabulary the world would be a better place. I would have more friends.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:15 AM
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42. Huh. That's interesting.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:17 AM
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40: No. The two I became most aware of were "I didn't get anything done today" which freaked me right out when he started saying that at three, and I've stopped saying it myself.

The other one is "well, Mama, you have a point but..." which I think is hilarious.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:17 AM
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in any way, shape, or form.

Ugh. This is like "mentally, physically, and spiritually,"

ANIMAL VEGETABLE MINERAL

ROCK PAPER SCISSORS


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:18 AM
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This thread is great. Lots of stuff to unpack.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:18 AM
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EENIE MEENIE MINEY MO.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:18 AM
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48

BALTIMORE APPLECORE STOP
WHO'S YOUR FRIEND STOP


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:20 AM
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I have this enormous fondness for ESL students because some of them don't tend to write or talk in clichés.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:20 AM
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I despise "due to"

My eleventh-grade English teacher, whose name was—pre-Harry Potter—Mr. Ha/ga/d/orn, claimed emphatically that "due to" was the language of the devil, and that "owing to" was the language of the angels, because there was a "wing" involved.

He crossed out every "due to" and replaced with an "owing to". It affects me to this day.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:25 AM
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Luckily I caught myself before I got too far into my phase of using "the claim is that..." in every other sentence.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:25 AM
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OT, but 34 made me think of it:

Says the BF's (adorable, evilhearted) 6-year-old niece this weekend: "Could I have some wine? I promise I won't tell my mom.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:25 AM
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"


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:28 AM
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50: "Being due to the fact that" and "in today's society" put any student in the ninth circle of hell.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:30 AM
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He crossed out every "due to" and replaced with an "owing to". It affects me to this day.

I learned that "due to" and "owing to" are actually used in different circumstances, though that was probably humbug. Nevertheless I still believe:

The concert's cancellation was due to a thunderstorm.
*The concert's cancellation was owing to a thunderstorm.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:31 AM
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52-3: So, after she gave that three-minute pause, did you give her some wine or what?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:33 AM
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And the asterisk? What is it due to?


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:33 AM
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re: 55

I agree the first is better, but even that looks like a slightly awkward sentence to me [in my idiolect].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:35 AM
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I remember being first amused and then, eventually, irritated by the person in one of my classes who insisted on pronouncing "scheme" as "sheam".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:38 AM
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57: the asterisk is there to indicate ill-formedness or unacceptability or whatever on the part of the sentence it precedes. You can find many other examples here.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:39 AM
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"*Fuck you and wash the dishes" is going to become my new favorite verbal tic as soon as I figure out how to pronounce the asterisk.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:41 AM
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Is there a pop song that rhymes "baby" with something other than "maybe"? Just wondering.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:42 AM
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60: That is an awesome paper.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:42 AM
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62: Doesn't seem likely.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:43 AM
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I like:

(30) Fuck these seven irregular verbs. (31) Fuck irregular verbs. (32) Fuck all irregular verbs. (33) *Fuck seven irregular verbs. (34) *Fuck any irregular verb.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:45 AM
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The reason why the concert was canceled was because of a snowstorm.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:47 AM
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64: but that doesn't take into account the possibility of rhyming "baby" with two one-syllable words, as in "flay me" or "gay pee" or "stay please".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:47 AM
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Is there a pop song that rhymes "baby" with something other than "maybe"? Just wondering.

The noun "scaby" comes to mind, but I'm of the understanding that they tend to congregate communally, rather than in the singular.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:48 AM
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62: I believe Shakespeare made that point most eloquently.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:49 AM
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Probably tied to the original complain in Stanley's post: I was always privately annoyed by people who thought that their opinion mattered a shit or should be respected because it was their opinion. That is, by people who thought that everyone's world-view was like some precious flower that should be respected and cherished [irrespective of the actual merits of the position or the robustness of the arguments for or against].

"You have a big problem with what you say here in this paragraph. Can't you see that it's not consistent with [set of totally obvious common sense claim(s)] or [totality of best available scientific evidence]?"

"Yeah, but that's my opinion."

"Yeah, but you'll need to back it up with some substance."

"But, that's my opinion. You can't question my opinion. It's like, what I believe."

"I understand you're sincere, but generally examiners are going to want to see arguments for what you believe."

"But, no-one can question my opinion. We should respect people's beliefs."

[into infinite loop of frustration]



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:50 AM
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Advertising songs don't have to rhyne.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:52 AM
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70: Ugh. Teaching poetry leads to similar crap. One young man (who insisted that his other professors had stopped even reading his papers before assigning them A+'s) tried to argue his way out of an F on a poetry analysis (in which, instead of comparing two poems, he decided to compare a poem and an essay) by arguing that "poems are about whatever I read them as being about." TELL IT TO ALEXANDER POPE, KID.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:54 AM
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The author is dead, AWB. You may not have heard.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:58 AM
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I think "What does that even mean?" or "I don't even know what that means" both try to convey that the prompting utterances were not well-formed statements or questions.

"I don't even know what that means" has an implied "so I can't answer your question or claim" at the end.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:00 AM
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It's summer. It's hard to remember why it's so aggravating that college students are mystified by fractions and cancelling, and why my eyes bulge when a student goes an entire problem writing sq rt (9) / 3, without stopping to simplify. In July, it seems sympathetic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:02 AM
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I don't get what's ungrammatical about "What does that even mean?"

Can't you insert "even" all over the place for emphasis? Why am I even confused over this?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:04 AM
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I hate, hate, HATE when people walk you through a long explanation of something they believe, and rhetorically ask ", right?" or ", yeah?" after each in a series of dubious propositions, all en route to an entirely unwarranted conclusion. It's an attempt to bully you into agreement by implying that the contentions being made are so obviously true that no one could possibly doubt their validity. Salesmen like to do this because they believe it's important to get the customer nodding his head and saying yes right away to little things, so he'll be in the right frame of mind to agree with your main point at the end.

Made-up example for people fortunate enough not to know what I'm talking about: So oil prices are going to keep rising, right? And when that happens while interest rates are flat, it always means that means the dollar's going to fall against the yuan, yeah? So obviously we should be buying tech companies, right?"


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:04 AM
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AWB's ex's question "What the hell does it mean for something to 'even mean' something?" suggests interesting parallels:

In the case of something like "I can't even see x, much less y": "what the hell does it mean for someone to 'even see' something?".

In the case of something like "who do you even know in New York?": "what the hell does it mean for someone to 'even know' someone?".

And so on.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:06 AM
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"This book even has a table of contents!"—what the hell does it mean to "even have" something?!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:08 AM
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The use of "interesting" is deprecated, dear ben. Try to keep up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:09 AM
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76: I don't know what it is to be "even confused", heebie.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:09 AM
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It's hard to keep up with your mom around, Stanley.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:10 AM
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As an undergrad, whenever I thought the discussion was poorly framed or not addressing the right question I would interject with "What's really going on here is..."

I imagine this must have been excruciating for my class mates.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:10 AM
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re 62:

Good question.

One of the definitive 'baby' songs, and top 5 candidate for greatest 2 minutes in the history of music, cunningly rhymes 'baby' with 'baby'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ONH3hIjO3c&feature=related

And this one [another classic] cunningly uses an AABCB rhyme scheme so never rhymes baby at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-rnr-eJd8o&feature=related



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:10 AM
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I think it's short for "seven confused" or maybe "Steven confused". Then over time we came to say " 'even confused" because we're sometimes 'even quaint.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:11 AM
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Even Steven could not understand what "even Steven" even means.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:13 AM
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It's hard to keep up with your mom around, Stanley.

A cell phone call to my mother has confirmed your assertions of vas-deferens indifference. I send my condolences to you, ben, in this your time of need.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:15 AM
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Originally it was Steven Steven. Over time stuff happ'd.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:15 AM
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Wikipedia tells me that the guy who played Indiana Jones' son played a character in a series called Even Stevens.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:17 AM
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84.1: I've never seen that clip before. Holy smokes, was Ronnie Spector ever mesmerizing.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:20 AM
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assertions of vas-deferens indifference.

Assertions of vas-indeferens?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:20 AM
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What, like universities are supposed to have something to do with students or something? I thought the whole key was to arrange things so you only have to talk to shun your peers.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:22 AM
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Along with baby and maybe, it appears people "rhyme" baby with crazy.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:22 AM
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OK, guys, I'm trying to blaze a trail here:

I love you so much, baby
Even though I'm blood type O and you're AB
You're as fine as Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Or his other books, whatever they be


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:22 AM
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Mariah Carey rhymes "shake me" and "escape me" with baby in the hit classic, "Always Be My Baby." This is my personal favorite hit by Mariah Carey, although I also love the duet "Breakdown" with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and most recently I'm awfully fond of "Shake it off."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:27 AM
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Rabies?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:31 AM
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Gay bees?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:31 AM
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Scabies!


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:35 AM
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Laydeez.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:36 AM
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One hundradies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:40 AM
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Labia, if you carry the "a" to the start of the next line.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:42 AM
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To the butt crack? You're weird.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:44 AM
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Or you could just get Wu-Tang Clan to sing your song; they can make anything rhyme with anything else:

I'm terror
Razor sharp, I sever
the head from the shoulders, I'm better
than my competter
You mean competitor. Whatever!
Let's get together


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:49 AM
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94: A valiant effort, but if Achebe were here he'd denounce you as a racist for Anglicizing his name.

103: You gotta love the RZA.

Most annoying verbal tics I ever encountered in an academic setting: a History prof who used "in a sense" every other sentence. A visiting lecturer from Duke who specialized in Jamesonian theory and prefaced every other sentence with "Look," as though he were trying to get a simple point across to a Canadian the village idiot. A fellow grad student -- nice enough guy in many ways, but perhaps the most pompous individual I've ever encountered -- who used to start every point with "It seems that perhaps" as if to give the impression of measured judiciousness, a quality he rarely employed.

Of course, I did have one History prof as an undergrad who was totally free of verbal tics and a great lecturer. He had a very no-nonsense, direct way of explaining things but also had a flair for the theatrical, presenting great moments in military history almost as amusing, instructive little skits. I really thought that guy was [the shit / the bomb / the bee's knees / highly admirable] for a while, until I started researching a little further and realized that much of the stuff he told us was bullshit. As a pet peeve, verbal tics are nothing next to people who use fine style to sell bullshit as knowledge.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:26 AM
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A guest lecturer once spent the entire hour grooming her eyebrows with her index finger. Lick, groom, lick, groom, groom, lick, groom. Repeat with other eyebrow. Then back to the first. Then the second again. Etc.
Surprisingly, I can't remember what the lecture was actually about.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:49 AM
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thank you, Jms, how nice to read your comment in the morning, you totally made my day!
a very educational thread for me, hopefully i'll integrate the new knowledge, very useful
but it's hard to learn language when you are past a certain age it seems
our prof always says 'think about it' and 'the bottomline is', but it's hard to annoy me that easily
my personal annoying habit was, according to my mom, when i was reading something very absorbed i used to put my thumb into my mouth and apply a force to my front teeth like inside out, i wish i applied it evenly
i was suspicious of the vietnamese paper, like too many subtle nuances of the words and constructions and i was right, the author was not an authentic foreigner, though it's my feelings exactly about any irregular verbs, i would add the articles and sentence structures and feel like cleansed


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:19 AM
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I still remember with irritation the seventh-grade teacher who finished every other sentence with "as it were".


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:32 AM
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I know several people who frequently use the phrase "I would argue that" before a proposition, and I could never decide if it was just a verbal tic or if they were genuinely in the habit of distancing themselves from taking a position, as opposed to noting the possible arguments on all sides. When it annoyed me a lot I would respond with "Well, are you arguing that?" and refuse to proceed without some sign that I was engaging their sincere position.



Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:33 AM
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My own academic writing is appallingly replete with "the ways in which." Appallingly!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:13 AM
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It seems that perhaps

Embarassing, but I used to have to go through my writing and make sure there was no more than one qualifier per sentence. Still do sometimes. Sign of an underlying lack of self-confidence. Anonymous internet commenting is a good cure for that stylistic tic -- you'll be writing intemperate ravings in no time.

On the opposite tack, I once worked for a very non-partisan organization in a very political setting. We used to go through our final drafts and change all the "woulds" to "coulds" and in general sprinkle qualifiers everywhere. I remember one of the vets there write six single-spaced pages on a highly controversial issue, and not a single sentence could be quoted to express clear support for one side or the other.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:19 AM
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"if it's the case that p" or "if it's true that it's the case that p" in place of "if p."



Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:19 AM
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"if it's the case that p" or "if it's true that it's the case that p" in place of "if p."



Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:20 AM
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Because the longer constructions are redundant. You sam.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:20 AM
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I know several people who frequently use the phrase "I would argue that"

Most people have not read a transcript of something that they said.

Most people say stupid things before they get to the meat of their statement:

To tell you the truth...

I would like to say that....

If you really want to know.....

Reading a transcript is a very humbling experience.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:22 AM
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62, 84: This is the greatest 'baby' song ever , and it simply rhymes 'baby' with itself. Which is how the word is actually used in moments of passion.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:23 AM
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Reading a transcript is a very humbling experience.

True, but most of these tics translate as "er..." or "um...", don't they? Gasping for breath whle you work out how to say what you mean. The question is, whether you'd prefer to listen to actual umming and erring.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:28 AM
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In my writing I write cautiously in the first draft and then delete most of the qualifiers in the second. (Even blog comments.) "In my opinion", "I think", "There's reason to believe" "in a sense" "to a certain degree", etc., etc. I don't delete all of them, but the edited statement is always bolder than the draft.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:54 AM
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Students' verbal tics don't annoy me. Almost everything people have cited here I have heard in real life and failed to be annoyed.

Writing's a different matter entirely, because there you have time and the ability to revise.

116: People use a lot of filler words that they don't need to convey their ideas. It looks dumb when written down, most of the time.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:57 AM
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117 is good practice.

Face-pullers in classes and seminars annoy me.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:05 AM
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I would respond with "Well, are you arguing that?"

In certain discussions I would be tempted to say "no" and stop there.

In my personal usage that phrase can denote that I'm thinking something through as I'm saying it -- trying the argument on for size if you will.

Alternately it can signal that I'm going to attempt to recap and summarize my previous four paragraphs of gibberish.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:08 AM
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V, +ly, adverbs
my 18 mo niece learns to speak now, she points herself maamuu (baby), can tell her body parts, even ankles, all the family members' nicknames and point them or their photos correctly, all basic colours and shapes
she can say red or pink when asked, in her pronunciation of course, but when asked what colour is this particular something, she always says green and corrects herself so readily when she's corrected
soo hilarious, we can talk like this for hours
can't wait to go home and squeeze her really tight


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:11 AM
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Clients can often be divided into two groups:

1.Clients who have to be constantly reminded that the judge can see them even when they are sitting at counsel's table. Poker face people!!!

2. Clients who think that they must show their disgust to the fact-finder while someone else is testifying.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:13 AM
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It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin' down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, I need kohlrabi
I gotta know if your sweet veggies
Gonna save me


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:14 AM
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120: Most people do this when they're toying around with a position, or thinking out loud, which is why I would be hard pressed not to regard 'Well, are you arguing X' as snotty as hell. (Sorry, Nathan.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:26 AM
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A lot of the phrases undergrads use in seminars are only irritating if you read them for surface cognitive meaning. Really, though, they are forms of social signaling, and most often they are just signaling "Please don't jump on me." As social signals, they are actually an important part of communication. I tell students to delete them in formal writing, but in conversation, where this sort of signaling is important, I simply honor the request and avoid jumping on the student.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:27 AM
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Another example: A friend of mine was annoyed at questions that begin at academic conferences which began "I really liked your paper. I just have one small concern..." and then launched into the devastating counterexample. My friend thought that pretending to be concerned for quality of the paper was disingenuous.

I disagreed. Phrases like that help signal that we are all still friends, philosophy is not a blood sport, etc. Think of it as the play bow an dog gives before wrestling.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:31 AM
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124: OMG you mean context and literal meaning are sometimes at odds?!?!

126: But Rob, we're not all friends. If the questioner really thinks the counterexample is devastating, better to say something neutral like "What do you make of a case like this?..." than "just one small problem."


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:37 AM
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Following on #94

I love you so much, baby
Even more than Chinua Achebe
I love you twice as much baby
As much as Es'kia Mphahlele


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:42 AM
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My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
Yeah

There must be something rhyming in that chorus. Baby either rhymes with "hanky" or "panky".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:49 AM
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We had an interesting little episode in our family with the rise and fall of an honest-to-god verbal tic. At some point my father began inserting "on the whole thing" at almost every pause in his speech to the point of real distraction on the part of the listener. Somewhere in there we began a concerted campaign of ridicule and after a time he stopped doing it. (He then compensated by carrying around ball bearings which he agitatedly rolled around in his hand.)

I myself have verbal tics out the wazoo, so I have no high moral ground to stand on. I think in addition to social signalling, many tics also serve psychological functions such as relieving internal tension etc. (And that spectrum stretches somewhere to the vicinity of Tourette.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:51 AM
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In my wonderfully cultured hometown, I would sometimes hear, 'The thing of it is...'.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:52 AM
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Assuming it's a tic, "Assuming" is a tic I'm prone to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:54 AM
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OMG you mean context and literal meaning are sometimes at odds?!?!

I am Captain of the Obvious.

But Rob, we're not all friends. If the questioner really thinks the counterexample is devastating, better to say something neutral like "What do you make of a case like this?..." than "just one small problem."

Civility--at with it civil society-- requires at least the illusion of friendship.

To make another obvious point: you can present a devastating counterexample to someone who is your friends, and you can still do it in ways that express concern without being a concern troll. "I'm worried that you've got a big counter-example here."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:57 AM
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For a long time, I'd say 'One would...'. One day I read that it was incredibly pretentious, so I stopped.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:57 AM
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I love "the thing of it" in all its variations: "The thing of it is", "That's the thing of it"

Up here we hear a lot of "It is what it is", which delights me in a similar fashion.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:59 AM
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'The play bow' is a good name for it. 'What do you make of a case like this?' is another good play bow. (What do you expect them to make of your devastating counterexample? Origami? Hash?)

I think the play bow I abuse the most is 'Could you say a little more?'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:00 AM
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134: so I stopped.

One would certainly hope so.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:00 AM
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I am Captain of the Obvious.

A much-contested title in the study of human cognition.

135: you know, "it is what it is" has gained much currency, "it depends what the definition of 'is' is" had its brief moment in the sun, but you never hear "it is what is is". Where's the justice?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:02 AM
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In case you were wondering just what "the thing of it" is, here is an image result from google.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:03 AM
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Clients Lawyers can often be divided into two groups:

1.Clients Lawyers who have to be constantly reminded that the judge can see them even when they are sitting at counsel's table. Poker face people!!!

2. Clients Lawyers who think that they must show their disgust to the fact-finder while someone else is testifying.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:03 AM
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It is what it ate.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:04 AM
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Philosophy should be a blood sport, in my opinion. Motherfucking analytic philosophers. If I could take out half a dozen of them first, I'd die happy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:04 AM
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142: The thing of it is, it already is.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:05 AM
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142: See, what you complain about in analytic philosophers is correlated very well with thinking both that philosophy should be a blood sport and that 'death of a thousand little bitcheries' is a fine way to argue.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:07 AM
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I'd be curious to know what qualifiers were deleted from the first draft of 142 ("I'd probably die happy" -- no, better tighten that up).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:08 AM
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"The thing of it is" or "you have another thing coming" or "do your own thing" (Ralph Waldo Emerson, by the way) are actually super archaic, rather than just illiterate. "Thing" and "think" are cognate, and in Anglo Saxon and probably Middle English (as in Swedish today, per David Weman) "thingen" meant "discuss", and a "thing" was a topic or idea or issue (though it could be a physical object too).

You're welcome.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:08 AM
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I don't have no problem with you fuckin' me
But I have a little problem with you not fuckin' me

see, this seems like the "but" is not warranted. But then again, maybe the double negative in the first line means that it is.

I don't understand "play bow". Like an actor taking a bow after a play?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:08 AM
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I hate when people say, 'my thoughts and prayers are with....'. I know it's a cliche rather than a verbal tic, but I fit it in here because it is seemingly distasteful to criticize at the time said.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:11 AM
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147: When two dogs start to play fight, they will usually dip a little bit to show that they're not really going to tear the other's throat out.

Or a salute before a fencing bout, or bow before sparring in karate, etc.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:11 AM
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||
12 kind of reminded me of a bleg -- I'm teaching a little (2 hour) legal writing CLE thing this fall. A little primer on "baby logic" would, I think, be immensely useful for the substance portion. Only problem is, I never took any logic [insert assorted cutting jabs about the obviousness of this here]. Anyone able to recommend something pithy?
|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:12 AM
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A PRIMER ON BABY LOGIC

I)
A)
i) Babies are not known for their logic.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:14 AM
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One acting rule is to eliminate the use of the word "just" unless it is used to describe something that recently happened. "Just" diminishes the action.

You don't just do something. You do it.

"Wow, that was brilliant!"

"Eh, I just ran faster than anyone else, that's all."

Another pet peeve of mine is when people verbally confuse feelings with thoughts and opinions.

"I feel you are stupid" is a stupid thing to say. You think I am stupid. You don't feel it.

This comes up now and then in therapy when someone is trying to learn to identify and feel his feelings.

"Tell my how you feel?"

"I feel this question is stupid."

"Sigh."


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:14 AM
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Toying around with ideas and arguments is fine. The irritating part is when it becomes a tic, such that the person, understood literally, only toys with arguments and never comes to express support for one. "I would argue that we should order pizza."


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:15 AM
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150: Want cookie? Cry!

Do not want cookie? Assertion contains a fallacy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:16 AM
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If I say something and immediately detect that people think it was a stupid thing to say, I usually follow it up with "....in theory."

doesn't often work.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:17 AM
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153: one could assert that, given a set of circumstances such as the ones we find ourselves in, that a pizza could be described as a satisfying meal for some subset of people sharing some of the characteristics of the people in this group, with that caveat that accurately predicting the future satiety of any given person is impossible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:19 AM
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I think the play bow I abuse the most is 'Could you say a little more?'

This is my most frequent choice, too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:19 AM
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151, 154: Thanks!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:20 AM
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asl,

I hate when people say, 'my thoughts and prayers are with....'. I know it's a cliche rather than a verbal tic, but I fit it in here because it is seemingly distasteful to criticize at the time said.

Well, it is difficult to express empathy and support for someone who is suffering.

"I am sorry" sounds a little like an apology. "I know how you feel" may be insulting. "I care about you" is fine for close family or friends, but too close for acquaintances, even when it is true.

So when someone is hurting how do we say "I wish I could help but I know all I can really do is remind you that you are not alone and I care about you" without being too forward or presumptuous?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:20 AM
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155: follow it up with "and shit", then you'll know for sure that you sounded stupid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:21 AM
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"Just" diminishes the action.

Isn't that the point?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:22 AM
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I was more thinking of automatic weapons.

I'm not sure that you know what I complain about about analytic philosophy. I put it at my URL. Note: pieces are of uneven quality.

Mainly, it's the suppression of history and context, the analytic preference for partial questions rather thanwhole questions, the belief that artificial hypotheticals are more philosophical because actual cases are too messy, the affectation of specialist expertise and the renunciation of generalism, the high honor given to ingenious argumentation and the very slight interest in finding good answers to substantive questions, and a tendency to bracket out practice and normativity in order to find pure formal structures.

More here. I initially liked Putnam's advocacy of "thick" philosophy, but in the end it seemed like very belated baby steps by someone at the very end of his career. For as much as 75 years analytic philosophy (and neoclassical economics) have been doing exactly the wrong thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:24 AM
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Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


Posted by: UNOPINIONATED PHILOSOPHER | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:26 AM
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A lot of these things are politenesses, ironic politnesses, and various other sorts of discourse markers telling the hearer how you intend your statement and how you hope for him to respond. They're only bad when overused or inappropriately used.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:26 AM
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During my time in England I noticed many people there used the word "sorry?" to mean everything from "what did you say?" to "WTF?!"

To me it seemed too polite but I figured when people are packed like sardines then manners become more important.

I tried to uphold the ugly American image by replying "What's your problem, you still got mud in your ears from when we had to bail you out in WWII?!"

When in France I'd say cheese instead of mud.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:27 AM
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Shut the fuck up, UNOPINIONATED PHILOSOPHER. You have no frame of reference here. You're like a little kid wandering into a movie and asking what's going on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:28 AM
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"I am sorry" sounds a little like an apology. "I know how you feel" may be insulting. "I care about you" is fine for close family or friends, but too close for acquaintances, even when it is true.

How about, "You're in my thoughts"?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:28 AM
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159: Tripp, I think the gripe is more or less grammatical -- that it would sound better to just say "I'm thinking about you" than "my thoughts are with you." The latter does, more or less, sound like something Obi Wan Kenobi should say.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:28 AM
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155- That's funny. I'll often answer 'I guess' even if believe the assertion wrong.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:28 AM
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Isn't that the point?

YES! I get what Nathan is saying, but if I were toying around with a position and softening my commitment to it by using certain signaling phrases, it would be sort of silly to ask me if I were softening my commitment to it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:30 AM
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"With all due respect" is a real winner, as I think Gonerill noted earlier.

"With all due respect, shut the fuck up, OPINIONATED PHILOSOPHER...."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:30 AM
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asl,

Isn't that the point?

It is if you are a groveling little maggot.

OK, that was harsh, I know. You bring up a good question. Is one trying to bow obsequiously or is one trying to proceed confidently?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:31 AM
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I can't figure out the authorial intent of 166, but it's hilarious either way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:31 AM
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Damn. I should have known. In theory.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:32 AM
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168, 169:

Oooh, good points. Yeah, I see what you mean. Thanks!


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:33 AM
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Hasn't anyone said "in terms of," yet? Because that one's just quitting.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:33 AM
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There actually are smart people who are rather diffident and modest, and who are reluctant to assert their ideas aggressively. Few of them are academics, however. Academic politeness seems more keyed toward slipping the knife between the ribs in such a way that the victim would look silly if he got mad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:35 AM
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I think the origins of the "my thought are with you" comes from the ritual expression of friendship many church services have.

"The peace of Christ be with you."
"And also with you."


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:36 AM
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There actually are smart people who are rather diffident and modest, and who are reluctant to assert their ideas aggressively.

Fuck 'em. We don't need those pantywaists.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:36 AM
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You think I am stupid. You don't feel it.

I can feel it, dude. In my bones.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:37 AM
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My first presidential post, as this academic tic will be instantly recognized by any student who's ever had this professor. Anyway, he's done fieldwork in Latin America for many years, but his Spanish is still not exactly fluent. Nonetheless, he punctuates his conversation liberally with the interjection "es de...", when a simple "um" would suffice. Oh, and he says "ijole" when surprised, which is very goofy. More affected use of the Spanish language I have never heard.


Posted by: Franklin Pierce | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:38 AM
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I am sorry" sounds a little like an apology

We've had this discussion, but there's nothing wrong with 'I'm sorry' to express empathy or compassion. 'I feel sorrow' is usually not thought of as apologetic.

FWIW, my 'thoughts and prayers...' comment was strictly related to death.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:39 AM
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primer

a href="http://www.amazon.com/Logic-Very-Short-Introduction-Introductions/dp/0192893203/"> Very Short Introduction to Logic ?

The series seems pretty good-- the author and intro to a topics I know is great (Charlesworth, Evolution), and I was happy with the one I got for a topic I wanted to learn. Maybe you wanted something even shorter?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:39 AM
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177: and who are reluctant to assert their ideas aggressively.

Modesty versus aggression is a false dichotomy. Has assertiveness fallen out of fashion?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:40 AM
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Re: the Shakespeare passage linked in 69 (Marry, I
cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find
out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,'
).

Fortunately for humanity, the advent of hip-hop came at a historical moment when "1980s" and "Mercedes" were available as rhymes for "ladies".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:40 AM
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||
Hey Sifu? Just what is Blume up to Germany?

Police in Germany were searching for the Rabbit Ripper, who kidnaps rabbits from their hutches, decapitates them, siphons their blood into bottles, and leaves their headless bodies on playgrounds.

Maybe you should give a call?

|>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:40 AM
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a tendency to bracket out practice and normativity in order to find pure formal structures.

Analytic philosophers are doing a ton of work on the role of context and of practical concerns on everything from language interpretation to epistemology. Of course, they do it all in an analytic style that would likely make you want to mow them down with a machine gun.

I've always had an obscure feeling that the beef with analytic philosophers was something about how they wrote, the style and technique, as much or more than what they studied. Like mathematicization in economics -- lots of different beliefs can be represented mathematically. But I'm not a philosopher so it's hard to say.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:41 AM
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Tripp, I question your frame of reference visavis "assertiveness", "aggression", and "modesty".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:42 AM
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186: the bunny libel! How dare you.

Anyhow I'm sure she needs the rabbit blood for her dissertation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:43 AM
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Alright, so more posts than I can read in the time I have. Has anyone mentioned "and whatnot" yet? A weird formulation, with hints of both hip-hop and pseudo-academic formalism, but I kind of like it. Or I did, until I heard dude-students using it like a period. Or like a misplaced ellipse, a way of saying, "This sentence is over, but I'd like to imply that there may be more I'm not saying."


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:43 AM
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185: For years, we always had to compromise and rhyme "party" with "body". Then it was discovered that brand names could be used for this purpose, and "Bacardi" was perfect.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:43 AM
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I can feel it, dude. In my bones.

Why don't you feel this bone, ahole!

This has been an introductory lesson in tit for tat, the method proven best in zero sum games. If you enjoyed this lesson please stay tuned to unfogged and skip to "Tripp," who's simple goal is to just save the world, one clueless commenter at a time. Assertively.

All Tripp all the time. Now in stereo.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:44 AM
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I think the origins of the "my thought are with you" comes from the ritual expression of friendship many church services have.

But I'm pretty sure the churches got it from Obi Wan Kenobi.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:44 AM
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173, 174: I assume this represents Tweety figuring out that Lebowski rules Emerson's world, so to speak. (Geez, you let a guy see one movie ....)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:45 AM
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he punctuates his conversation liberally with the interjection "es de...", when a simple "um" would suffice.

Oh, multilingual tics are fun. My German professor in Munich would not stop cringing whenever we punctuated our sentences with "like"; he tried, futilely, to retrain us to say to say "um" instead.

Our TA, for his part, seems to have fallen in love with "like" when speaking English--similar, I had heard, to his love for "fucking," which he had to break when it got too distracting for his students. (His favored tic in German was great, too: "ganz genau.")


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:45 AM
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he punctuates his conversation liberally with the interjection "es de...", when a simple "um" would suffice.

Oh, multilingual tics are fun. My German professor in Munich would not stop cringing whenever we punctuated our sentences with "like"; he tried, futilely, to retrain us to say to say "um" instead.

Our TA, for his part, seems to have fallen in love with "like" when speaking English--similar, I had heard, to his love for "fucking," which he had to break when it got too distracting for his students. (His favored tic in German was great, too: "ganz genau.")


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:45 AM
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183: Thanks, lw -- I'll check it out.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:46 AM
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Tripp, I question your frame of reference visavis "assertiveness", "aggression", and "modesty".

John,

Well you would wouldn't you. Why can't you just knuckle under? You know you want to. C'mon, it's great. Think of the fun we could have.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:47 AM
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oh good, someone actually helped out with the logic primer thing.

I observe that professors from India seem to use the phrase "plays a role" in lectures as much as humanly possible. This isn't a "tic" though, more of a "crutch".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:47 AM
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But I'm pretty sure the churches got it from Obi Wan Kenobi.
Di,
Now that's funny! Yes, yes you are right. At least Lucas is better than Hubbard, which isn't saying much, I know. I'm just saying.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:50 AM
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I had a tour guide in Cambodia with somewhat shaky English (light years better than my Khmer, of course) who used "Normally" as an all-purpose placeholder, which introduced a fabulous uncertainty to the world.

"So, when was this temple built?"
"Normally, this temple was built by Javaryaman in the 12th century."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:51 AM
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for all intents and purposes

Ahem. I think you mean "for all intensive purposes."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:53 AM
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Multilingual cussing is great. I can still get a laugh out of some college friends just by saying "I don't give a damn shit" in a Cherman akcent (mocking a particular person), and to this day chuckle at remembering the way southside warehouse guys I used to work with would say "pendejo".


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:54 AM
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and a "thing" was a topic or idea or issue

Or a legislature.

165. Tripp the thing about the English saying "sorry" all the time is a Europe wide cliche, I'm surprised it hasn't crossed the pond. Embarrassment is a national pastime here.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:55 AM
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Is there a pop song that rhymes "baby" with something other than "maybe"? Just wondering.

Baby, baby
Stick your head in gravy
Wash it off with bubblegum
And send it to the navy


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:58 AM
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205: I believe that should be "wrap it up in bubble gum."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:59 AM
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Multilingual cussing is great.

Oh yeah! So true. You can't imagine the chuckles at the club when I spout "Irrumpe te" to a servant.

How waggish. It never fails.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:59 AM
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I am prone to overuse of "sorry" to mean empathy. Do it less now after one too many conversations along the lines of:
"Why are you sorry it's nt your fault?"
"I know it's not my fault you freaking asshole, I am just using verbal shorthand as a way of acknowledging our common humanity and my empathy for your problem .... if you see what I mean."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:03 AM
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Decontexted studies of context. Decontexted studies of everything.

Style of presentation has to do with the refusal of most analytic philosophers to write for the educated general public not specialized in philosophy, and the low esteem given to "popular" works within the profession. Analytic philosophers are always telling you that they're experts and you aren't, and that they don't really care whether you understand their stuff but strongly doubt that you do understand, or ever will be able to.

real scientists seem willing and even eager to present their difficult ideas to the general public, but analytic philosophers are so uncertain about the scientific status of their work that they don't dare take that risk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:03 AM
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Most scientists don't write popular books, either.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:05 AM
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ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHERS ARE THE *DEVIL*!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED EVERYMAN | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:06 AM
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206: Yours makes much more sense, but we really did sing "wash it off with bubblegum." Somewhat related, when we were playing kickball in the street and a car was coming, we sang:

Car, car, C-A-R
Stick your head in a jelly jar


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:07 AM
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Stick your head in a jelly jar

That doesn't seem very safe when there's a car coming.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:09 AM
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A lot of the best ones do. I'm sure that I could find pop books by 40 or more different Nobelists, starting with Einstein. Many of the players in evolutionary biology have written general-interest books.

By "pop" I mean "for the non-specialist educated public", not "for Oprah's readers".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:10 AM
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Why don't you feel this bone, ahöle

That kind of come-on might have worked in the Hawaiian bus stations of your youth, Trip, but around here you're dealing with a different class of people.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:12 AM
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212: We sang "wash it off with bubble gum," too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:13 AM
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Most scientists don't write popular books, either.

And if they do they are frequently dismissed out of hand for being "simplistic" because their style is not academic enough.

See, for example, the . . . well, I won't say the name of the book. Suffice it to say that it is the book I over-plugged at one time in the recent past.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:14 AM
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I dunno, John. If we're going back as far as Einstein, I think the philosophers get to count plenty of people who have written less technical books.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:15 AM
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"wrap it up in bubble gum."

a phrase often used in pleadings in Chicago to demonstrate contempt for one's adversary.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:17 AM
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That kind of come-on might have worked in the Hawaiian bus stations of your youth, Trip, but around here you're dealing with a different class of people.

Yeah. Sure. Come back after class when you've learned to spell my name, Poindexter.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:18 AM
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Cala, when I read a book by a scientist I generally feel that a good-faith effort is being made to communicate with me, and that the technicalities are necessary. I do not get that feeling from contemporary philosophers.

I wish that the philosophers contemporary with Einstein you're thinking of still had descendents in the philosophy departments. That's my beef. Whitehead, Hartshorne, Dewey, even Popper, even Wittgenstein. (The analytic reading of Popper is very narrow, and his later work is ignored).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:19 AM
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will,

a phrase often used in pleadings in Chicago to demonstrate contempt for one's adversary.

Yeah, that Wrigley guy was a big wheel around Chicago at one time.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:20 AM
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I'm tired of beating an analytic philosophy. Let's pick something else. Hey statistical physics, just because nobody can figure out how to make productive strides in your actual field that doesn't mean you get to be neuroscientists!##!@!!$!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:21 AM
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"beating on". I blame read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:21 AM
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#220. I'm watching you.


Posted by: Admiral John Poindexter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:22 AM
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Talk is cheap-- to really let the other guy know, write the name upside down, bbı?⊥


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:23 AM
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Really, though, they are forms of social signaling, and most often they are just signaling "Please don't jump on me." As social signals, they are actually an important part of communication.

helpy-chalk is right again. I'm the first one to rag on stupid and overused turns of phrase, but we do need some of these softening expressions. I often use them to indicate that "I'm not jumping on you."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:24 AM
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Emerson, off the top of my head: van Inwagen's Problem of Evil is a very accessible discussion aimed at a general educated audience, a number of things by Appiah, Wolterstorff's Lament for A Son, which may not be a strict philosophical work but surely fits the bill of applying philosophy to hard problems.



Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:26 AM
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Hey statistical physics, just because nobody can figure out how to make productive strides in your actual field that doesn't mean you get to be neuroscientists!

Well, they gotta find something to do, and they can't all join hedge funds. Plus some just don't want to put in all those hours.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:32 AM
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statistical physics

Hey. Physics got defunded at the end of the cold war, leading people enter fields with funding wherever a plausible crossover claim could be made. Also, there has too been progress-- Wilson's Nobel work started a productive line of inquiry that hasn't petered out yet, and there is interesting crossover between hydrodynamics and the theory of nonequilibrium fluctuations.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:32 AM
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One semester, I did a little experiment as a student where I stopped using any of those softening phrases before anything that I said and just asserted stuff. (The other students in class were really annoying me with their endless "Well, if we believe that to be the case, then the possibility exists, as it were, for an interesting situation in which...") The experiment was going great until the professor slammed his fist down on the table and shouted, "Who the hell do you think you are? Werner Jaeger?!"

Apparently grad-studenty conversational conventions are necessary.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:32 AM
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Does Charles Taylor count as a philosopher?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:33 AM
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232: Why would he not? IANAP, but we Englishy types describe him as one.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:35 AM
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Car, car, C-A-R
Stick your head in a jelly jar

We got stuck on the easy part.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:36 AM
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Somewhat on topic, Jon Stewart did a piece on terms like "With all due respect" and "no offense."

"With all due respect, I think that your father was a crook. No offense."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:39 AM
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230 makes me so happy.

What field do I pick on next? I'm thinking Comp Lit is ripe for a whuppin'.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:39 AM
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I'm reading this book on how to use essays/writing effectively in a classroom, and this point has really stuck with me: when students are grappling with difficult concepts, their grammar goes down the toilet. The author asserts that you don't really need to point out the grammar flaws - help them refine the ideas in the essay, and with each revision they'll catch their own grammar crap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:40 AM
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I tend to stay out of these 'why analytic philosophers are all bastards' discussions because while I generally have some moderate sympathy with the complaints, it's also true that many of the complainants have shown themselves to know less than fuck all in previous threads on this topic.*

Also, because I can't trust myself not to start spraying insults around.

* I don't really mean Emerson.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:42 AM
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Heebie you killjoy. What's life without grammar pedantry?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:42 AM
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* I don't really mean Emerson.

You can say it, ttaM. You won't hurt my feelings.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:43 AM
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237 is very true. When I assign a paper topic that's too difficult, I can tell because it makes them write horribly. Their grammar goes to shit, it's full of platitudes, and they even forget how to spell words they otherwise spell just fine. For some reason, all my students can spell novelists' names, but they cannot spell poet's names correctly, no matter how simple. It's really strange. (The poetics class is supposed to be a prereq for my survey, but most of them don't take it. I can tell papers from the ones who have from thirty paces, because they're at least comfortable enough with the material to, like, spell words and write sentences.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:43 AM
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237: I am not an English major, but I've found something like that to be the case. When a student isn't sure what her position is, her command of the language usually goes to hell, in part because of the need to qualify.

Sometimes a blanket command, though ('get rid of 'I feel') forces the person to stop and think about what she's writing about.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:44 AM
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re: 240

It was sort of you and dsquared that I had in mind, yeah. And the desire to avoid chucking insults about is because I find you both congenial and shit on all kinds of other topics.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:49 AM
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I suspect that most of the obvious philosophers publishing more accessible work are in ethics and political philosophy, which may not fit the bill for Emerson's sense of analytic philosophy.

That sense seems to waffle between viewing it as a scientific endeavor (cf. 209's real scientists seem willing and even eager to present their difficult ideas to the general public), and lamenting the fact that it tries, on Emerson's reading, to be such.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:51 AM
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OK, I ordered Inwagen.

Of people I've seen Charles Taylor and Stanley Cavell come closest to what I'd like to see, but I don't extactly like their work, and both seem pretty isolated within their field.

Put it this way.

Start by reading a representative sample of Nietzsche, William James, John Dewey, Henri Bergson, Albert North Whitehead, and Karl Popper.

Then note what's present in those authors that is absent from contemporary philosophy. Then take a though-experiment standard average analytic philosopher and ask him what he thought about the things not present in analytic philosophy which are present in those six authors. (Pay him money to read all six of them, since he probably hasn't).

What I would expect is a mix of condescension, withering contempt, hilarious parody, bafflement, and token acknowledgement of historical significance.

Now, imagine me disagreeing with the SAAP about these philosophers, and saying that a lot was lost when the analytics took over.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:02 AM
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243: eh I got way past what I actually think in that thread just because it was so fun to get that guy wound up. I do think there are certain problems in (roughly) theory of mind where the philosophical approach (construed narrowly) has been found to have extremely limited usefulness, but I probably wouldn't go further than that unless that dude showed up again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:06 AM
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re: 245

You know, a lot of the so-called standard average analytic philosophers I know will have read several of those authors. Some will have read pretty much all of them.

I've read bits of most of them (no Bergson, or Whitehead) and I think of myself as quite poorly read compared to some of my peers.

Your standard average analytic philosopher is a gross misrepresentation. I certainly DO know people who basically know very little outside of, say, contemporary metaphysics narrowly construed, but I'd say they weren't typical.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:07 AM
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244: Can't have it both ways, really. They're in the academy. By hypothesis, they must be slave to the analytic tradition (because on this hypothesis, everyone else was run out of the academy.) They're writing popular books. Defining them as not really analytic seems to be moving the goalposts.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:08 AM
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re: 246

I do think there are certain problems in (roughly) theory of mind where the philosophical approach (construed narrowly) has been found to have extremely limited usefulness

I wouldn't even disagree with that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:08 AM
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John, are you relying on armchair intuitions about empirical matters?

More seriously the test has to be something other than "I didn't like it."

Taylor had a named chair at Oxford and then went to McGill (wiki tells me). Cavell has a named chair at Harvard. What means "isolated" here?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:09 AM
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I waggishly suggest that by taking Emerson's claims to be subject to empirical refutation, you misunderstand: they're offered as analytic.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:10 AM
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250: is anything more isolated than Canada, really? Think of him there, lost and alone in the frozen wilderness, with nothing but bears to keep him company as he tries, desperately, to start a fire from first principles.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:11 AM
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I've read all six, though I think I can only talk intelligently about two of them. But I know people who have research interests in Dewey and Whitehead. It's true that they're not their *primary* research interests, but it's not the case that it's a shameful secret and everyone laughs at them. They put it on their c.v.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:12 AM
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Taylor is now at Northwestern.

As if Cavell could get anywhere today.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:13 AM
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McGill's in Montreal, I think. His fire gets started from the latent anger of the Quebecois.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:14 AM
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The idea that having a named chair is incompatible with scholarly isolation is risible.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:14 AM
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Depends on what you mean by scholarly isolation, I suppose.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:16 AM
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These chairs are pretty isolating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:17 AM
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I have a rather limited appreciation of Cavell and Taylor. If they were leading philosophers rather than isolates they'd be better arguments for your thesis. There are a lot of isolates hanging on here and there, partly simply because of tenure. Grad students are explicitly advised not to work with them.

Awhile back CT did a couple of analyses of Leiter's reports with regard to which schools and which specialties can place people in jobs. It looked pretty grim to me. Process philosophy has been more or less extincted and (as Gonerill confirmed, I think) pragmatists rank at the very bottom. And I'm a pragmatist.

From what I've heard, Rorty's proposals for change were rejected, and he drifted out of philosophy. Toulmin drifted out of philosophy. And as I said, I even liked Putnam's books on "thick" philosophy until I realized what it said about the incredible thinness of philosophy he was arguing against.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:17 AM
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You're risible, W-lfs-n. I mean, I don't read much political philosophy, but I see references to Taylor all the time in the semi-popular press. I bought his most recent book because I ran into it on a front table at Barnes & Noble. I see citations of Cavell frequently enough to think that he's not out on the ice floes. My point is that being Chichele Professor is not the same as being drummed out of the profession.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:18 AM
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Then take a though-experiment standard average analytic philosopher

This is the problem with your case, John. You're building your conclusion into your premise. Your SAAP is a bit of a chimera, notwithstanding the views of the analyticphilosopher who posted here.

Cavell was trained in the analytic tradition.

On preview, pwned several times.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:18 AM
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231: A White Bear

Apparently grad-studenty conversational conventions are necessary.

Now that you mention it that is one of the reasons I went more for math and science. I wanted absolutes and I hated all the required groveling in some of the other subjects. I really disliked having lab partners, too. I had to spend most of my time explaining things to them instead of simply doing them.

237, 241: Yeah. Being able to explain something concisely and clearly requires a through understanding of the subject. Many times waffling and pontificating indicates that one has nothing to say and yet must say something.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:20 AM
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OK, are Cavell's and Taylor's students on the fast track to top careers? If they are, I'm wrong. Aren't they the type of guy you're warned not to do your thesis under?

The guy who showed up here recently had demoted Wittgenstein, and I've seen others doing that too. Whereas Wittgenstein is one of the redeeming feature of AP for me. The guy who showed up here confirmed my prejudices.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:21 AM
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re: 259

Whenever this topic comes up you choose to ignore the experiences of those of us actually in philosophy departments* over some impressions you've picked up from Leiter's blog and a few other places.

I even agree with you a bit about some of the things you want to say about the 'thin-ness' of some work being done, the relative inward-looking-ness of some parts of the discipline, etc.

But your claims about the sociology of philosophy departments and whom people are able to study or not study are essentially utter bollocks.

Every time I look at the list of research interests of staff here and compare it to your claims about what people can and cannot work on, it's just laughable.

* my own foothold in one is pretty tenuous, it has to be said.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:22 AM
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re: 263

Again, you're choosing to focus again and again on the individuals who confirm your prejudices and dismiss the views of those who don't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:23 AM
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Di: There are many good baby logic books that are available as free open-access texts.

I'm planning on using for all x when I teach baby logic in the spring.

Paul Teller has retrieved the rights to A formal logic primer from the publisher and now is giving it away online.

I started collecting other links to open access logic texts here. Helpful readers have supplied some more.

Given that the content of a baby logic course has been known for over a century and has not changed substantially in its presentation in decades, there is no reason why this shouldn't be part of the public domain.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:23 AM
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When someone uses "I feel..." a lot I end up mentally substituting "I fondle..."

Also Charles Taylor was a Liberian warlord noted for his frequent mass killings of analytical philosophers.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:24 AM
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As I understand it, the thing with analytic philosophy is that it has adopted that scientific-type pretension where you don't view yourself as studying stuff other people once said, you view yourself as making new original advances and new points. So to the extent there's anything they like in an old writer, it's already been adopted into the point-counterpoint flow of the wider disciplinary argument. From their perspective, studying the writer himself is part of the history of ideas, not contemporary analytic philosophy.

Wittgenstein played a role in the history of AP, in the story by which the argument got to where it is today, but he's fading into the history of philosophy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:26 AM
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Should I not have been appalled by what Putnam's book said about whoever it was he was addressing?

But again: what do these people say about the differences between analytic philosophy and the philosophers I named? Because I like the old guys better. Leiter, for example, did a very careful book on Nietzsche which I thought was utterly awful. He essentially translated as much as he could of Nietzsche into analyticese, and then discussed his construction. It's even worse when that is done to Chinese philosophy, as it usually is. I like all these guys in their difference, not in what can be translated over into AP-speak.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:27 AM
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I'd be okay with being isolated into a named chair at Oxford. Anyone wants to do that for me, I'll even keep up the martyr complex.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:27 AM
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With that said, most analytic philosophers I know are very widely read in the history of philosophy. Contrast economists, almost none of whom read a lot of the history of economics.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:27 AM
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I've mentioned before that many people think that Leiter's interpretation of Nietzsche was utterly awful.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:28 AM
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There was also a Charles Taylor who reviewed movies for Salon and was obsessed with the idea that all movies should be sex-positive.

Given the huge range of topics the philosophical Charles Taylor has written on, and my general sense that there are at least a few other Charles Taylors out there, I have never been able to figure out who wrote what.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:29 AM
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Nietzsche and analytic philosophy are like oil and water. Nietzsche's philosophy properly understood would subsume and explain analytic philosophy on Nietzsche's terms, whereas as John says analytic philosophers will always try to do the reverse.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:30 AM
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273: I once stayed at a B&B run by an octogenarian named Charles Taylor.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:31 AM
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Charles Taylor lent his name to a fine basketball shoe, in his day.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:32 AM
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I used to get really riled up about these types of arguments, what with Leiter bashing my alma mater every couple weeks, but I find that I (at least for the present) no longer care. There are certainly philosophers who I think should be more influential, but at least at the present the only solution I can see is to write about them.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:33 AM
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274. Charles Taylor, engaging in metaphysical how's yer father.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:35 AM
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Charles Taylor, flying armbar!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:39 AM
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Was Charles the Taylor the analytic philosopher who cut off peoples' hands? Because I don't condone that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:39 AM
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>i>Was Charles the Taylor the analytic philosopher who cut off peoples' hands?

As opposed to Charles the Tailor, who hemmed their pants.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:40 AM
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haha HTML fuck you too shithead poopy butt markup language


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:41 AM
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This: haha HTML fuck you too shithead poopy butt markup language

...got an actual no-shit out loud laugh, which I suppose indicates I have some growing up to do. Still - hovertext?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:44 AM
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I don't think we've had enough jokes about analytic philosophers and genocidal madmen here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:44 AM
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269: Leiter, for example, did a very careful book on Nietzsche which I thought was utterly awful. He essentially translated as much as he could of Nietzsche into analyticese

Then why do you listen to him?

This from PGD is interesting:

268: the thing with analytic philosophy is that it has adopted that scientific-type pretension where you don't view yourself as studying stuff other people once said, you view yourself as making new original advances and new points. So to the extent there's anything they like in an old writer, it's already been adopted into the point-counterpoint flow of the wider disciplinary argument. From their perspective, studying the writer himself is part of the history of ideas, not contemporary analytic philosophy.

If this is true, it's the radical completion of a shift that I just began to perceive 5 or 10 years ago. Does it mean that primary sources are somewhat deprecated? This can't be right, that if you study Wittgenstein (or Frege, or Russell), you are doing history of philosophy.

I think PGD must be translating into terms that I have trouble believing that philosophy would accept: for, lo! We respect the elders and study their work. Unless contemporary philosophy is content to consider itself a branch of cognitive science.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:50 AM
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This discussion reminds me of the talk at DeLong's around Galbraith's death and the Richard Parker book. Somebody quoted: "The seventy-year-olds think he's important, the fifty-year-olds know the seventy-year-olds think he's important but don't know why, and the thirty-year-olds may not have heard of him." Also similar things about not having PhD students who got jobs, etc.

Without knowing anything about it first hand, I'm not at all surprised at ttaM's assertion that many practitioners are very familiar with modern pre- and non-analytic philosophers. You can have private affections and the belief that neglected figures will come back, but you have to conform. It's a lot like politics, it is politics. The sudden reemergence of Karl Polyani is just the lastet illustration that things do turn.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:01 PM
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I really should dig up the CT threads, which I also trolled. They confirmed the prejudices I already had. Some were based of Leiter and some were based on a survey of a lot of philosophers. One survey seemed to indicate that a majority of philosophers that that nothing earlier than Frege was necessary to read.

Our recent visiting analytic philosopher here also confirmed my prejudices.

I pay attention to Leiter because his gourmet report is influential. A lot of my concern is for the structure of the discipline and its internal power relationships.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:03 PM
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And the structure of the discipline and its internal power relationships are concerned for you as well, John.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:06 PM
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haha HTML fuck you too shithead poopy butt markup language

Amen brother. You know what *really* pisses me off?

(Old codger rant coming)

Using the xml format for everything under the sun.

Back when Programmers were careful and storage was dear we'd construct elegant structures that squeezed every single bit of space from a piece of storage.

Then we got cheap storage and 130 frigging GIGA byte hard drives and frigging bloated Java and then the awful, truly awful open-source bloatware with nary a comment and backward conventions but it is FREE so that is all anyone cares about CAHRAP and with it the absolutely ugly and unreadable and wasteful wasteful XML format for frigging data structures of all things. In (ugh) ascii which might as well be frigging baudot code for teletypes.

To add insult to injury we were finally making headway into demystifying and dejargoning computer programming when the idiotic Linux-head college brats arrived with their "coding" and their bone-headed jargonny names like tarballs and GNU and slackware and a whole bunch of stupid food names of all things.

Yes, I've got a deadline today and yes, I have stumbled over the stupid placement of a stupid dot which was only important because the stupid computer priests want to keep their religion un-understandable by the masses.

So I'm outta here for now.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:07 PM
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John's argument is eminently empirically testable. It doesn't matter who currently has tenure-track jobs and where. (Galbraith was at Harvard, after all, and his influence on modern economics is 0.0005%.) It matters who grad students work with, and where they get jobs.

I always found it vague surprising that formal logic is an undergraduate philosophy course. I wouldn't want to teach it to a room full of people who've had group and ring theory, let alone people who've only had Algebra II in high school.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:08 PM
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XML sucks. The rest of 289 is madness.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:10 PM
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Should I mention that I disagree with the old codger rant in its every particular? I suppose I should. I feel bad for Tripp, though, because it can't be that fun banging away at a legacy backend written in FORTRAN when you can't figure out what the hey those young whippersnappers are doing with their "internet" and their "portability" and their "descriptive metadata". Maybe someday they'll give you back your stapler, old fella.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:10 PM
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I'm sure Emerson hates him as well (Emerson being the Mikey of current English-language philosophy), but most of Daniel Dennett's books are aimed at a popular audience.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:10 PM
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I almost mentioned Dennett as a highly ranked philosopher willing to write for a general audience. I disagree with him (I'm on the Gould side, he's on the Dawkins side) but more philosophers should write that kind of book.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:15 PM
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292 was funny, but I feel guilty for laughing. Sifu, don't you hate XML, just a little bit?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:16 PM
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Hating XML seems like a waste of perfectly good emotions.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:21 PM
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Parsimon: There has been a shift, but it was probably already at work when you were in school.

There are two sides to the shift: (1) Analytic philosophers started ignoring the history of analytic philosophy and (2) "The history of analytic philosophy" became a subspeciality in its own right.

The first side started, I think, in places like the philosophy of mind with people who thought they were making progress, and therefore could ignore "history" (Fodor, Dennett and the Churchills all do that). The attitude has sense moved to people doing metaphysics, philosophy of language, and the other things viewed as important at Rutgers, NYU, Thoughts Arguments and Rants, and the Leiter report.

The rise of "history of analytic philosophy" as a sub discipline is a more heartening development. I think it started when Michael Friedman stopped doing the metaphysics of space and time and started doing things like history of positivism.

Hist-analytic is a lovely site for people who do things like Russell and Frege.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:21 PM
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Sympathies on format vs deadline collision. But places that have homemade elegant data structures and import from many sources will spend half their people loading and validating data. XML is bulky, a DOM on lots of data is terrible, but DTDs make testing whether something's maybe useful a lot faster than otherwise.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:21 PM
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Hatred is like piss. I'm always making more.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:23 PM
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295: no, but that might be a rhetorical stance. In general I think wistfully pining away from a day when computers were glorified rocks and you had to get your code down to 32 perfect bits or else you couldn't make them light up for one glorious millisecond is misapplied nostalgia. If it's a pain in the ass to format data for XML, well, that's what OOP is for. Any objective standard for raw efficiency of a given program is basically meaningless compared to efficiency of development. Look at MATLAB: that slow-ass piece of shit is, in fact, the most useful modelling platform ever devised, because of ease of development. Dreaming of going back to a day when top-down control of programming teams that worked together for decades meant you could have exquisitely integrated, perfectly operational hardware and software is (a) drawing on an imagined past and (b) saying you'd really rather be using VMS, and I don't believe anybody who says that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:24 PM
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Pwned efficiently by lw, thus proving my point somehow or other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:25 PM
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Look at MATLAB: that slow-ass piece of shit

Hey! That's... pretty fair, actually.

(You should see it try to parse XML!)


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:29 PM
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302: oh, I love MATLAB. It's an incredibly useful slow-ass piece of shit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:29 PM
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A quote from Nietzsche (OK, it's from the "Will To Power") relevant to analytic philosophy:

It is not the victory of science that distinguishes our nineteenth century, but the victory of scientific method over science. . . History of scientific method, considered by Auguste Comte as virtually philosophy itself. . . The most valuable insights are arrived at last; but the most valuable insights are methods

As Nietzsche predicted, in analytic philosophy some version of the scientific method has colonized philosophy. It's not clear he would have disapproved of this, exactly, though he would have seen the limitations. But Nietzsche's thought was partially about the cultural and psychological effects of science as a way of life, and thus he is writing about the meaning and role of science itself. So trying to just mine him for scientific insights misses the point.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:31 PM
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There is a certain type of person who voices early! and often! their pet peeves, and this sometimes incites the other group members to share their petty irritations in turn, "Oh gawd, I *know*..." Okay, cool, social kvetching can be fun. But I don't understand people who are seriously upset by tics, and get really worked up about them.

I say: let a thousand tics bloom!

The worst is when someone "corrects" someone else, and the first person is just wrong (or, in making the issue out to seem simple enough that a "correction" would be in order, betray their lack of sensitivity to subtleties, differences in context, etc.). There is something like this -- but more general -- operating in the minds of analytic philosophers, men who are argumentative pricks, and certainly in the mind of anyone who is both.

It's something that I work on and try to reinforce, but my tic is: when I'm thinking or unsure of what to say, I'm silent. But! I'll usually look upwards, so that it is obvious that I'm still engaged (though thinking).


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:32 PM
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re: 285

It's not true. We are back to people pulling crap out their arse and presenting it as fact.

re: 287

Jesus H Fucking Christ, there are half a dozen philosophers here. But you are choosing to take analyticbloke from that other thread over everyone else.

I've taught at one of the oldest and largest philosophy departments in the world. But my experience of what graduates and undergraduates learn and are required to be taught is just so much fucking noise to you because it doesn't fit with your prejudices. You can't even DO a fucking postgraduate degree here without 1/3 of your papers being historical in emphasis.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:35 PM
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there are half a dozen philosophers here

You mean half a dozen professors of philosphy, surely.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:37 PM
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294: Dennett has written some popular stuff? I found his writing style teeth-gritting in his professional work, so I haven't followed. This is, of course, glib.

There's also that guy whose name escapes me who's been writing popular books on belief, which from all reports suck.

John, unfortunately philosophy is a trained field, and its rarified air comes in large part from the fact that it speaks in code: shortcuts in language, allusions to understood (presumably) terminology, well-known debates and so on. The field can get a lot more said if it's able to assume that its readers share the language. It takes many more pages to explain these things without the terminology, and in the case of certain subject matter, the explanation can't dispense with the terminology altogether but must just introduce the reader to it, so that we may get on with things.

Ian Hacking and Simon Blackburn both write accessible stuff in Phil of Language and of Mind, in epistemology. These won't necessarily seem to you to be the grand topics.

Popularly accessible books in philosophy are more likely to be found in ethics and/or political philosophy because their subject matter is of more general interest, and, I'd venture to say, they can be addressed without quite as much need to introduce vocabulary and seemingly esoteric puzzles.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:40 PM
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re: 307

No. No, I don't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:40 PM
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I just thought of another swell tic I have (well, have mostly eliminated, but I used to be terrible): using "um" as a way to move a conversation along; if things lagged, and I couldn't think of anything to say, I would say "um," thus inspiring everybody else to wait for the thought I was working through (which thought would, in a normal person, have predicated the "um) that would turn out, an awkward silence later, to be nothing. Big winner, social awkwardness-wise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:42 PM
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OT:

Remember me, again? I have gotten my answer. I was in the middle of preparing a peach pie when he knocked on my door at 9:30 last night.

He broke up with me. Not for anything that is wrong with me, or the relationship, not for the fact that I loved him early and more, not for the fact that I asked for the break and he had to finally confront the problem that has been brewing for a few months (his withdrawal and slightly jerky behavior and my responsive insecurity, general dissatisfaction), but for the simple fact that he doesn't love me. I don't know what it would take for him to love me. He doesn't either, because our relationship is otherwise so good, that if he can't feel it for me, then he doesn't know when or who he could feel it for. He told me it wasn't my fault. There is nothing about me that should change. I am wonderful, and I was a wonderful girlfriend. So why doesn't he love me? Why could he see a future with me, and yet be so tenuously connected to our present?

He didn't want to do this, I didn't want to do this, and yet we did this. I will never know if I forced this outcome because I called it too early. What if I had just waited till January, as I thought i might? But I would have become an ugly, insecure, needy person in response to his standoffish, slightly jerky behavior. And we're not those ugly people. But I am left doubting myself that maybe, in six months, either I could have had the same answer and have been more devastated, or a different answer. What is sad is that I feel cheated out of time with him,and that I cheated myself. THis is what it is like to love someone more than you love yourself: you don't care at what cost, so long as that person is in your life. I will always wonder if this is my fault, and that our end may have come later, or not at all, but right now it comes because I forced it. You warned me. I thought I was ready. But this hurts more than I thought it would. I thought that having survived a few heart aches and traumas, I would be ready, and that it was better to know sooner than later if love would never come, and that if I believed in love and that I deserved it, I should ask for it. I was unprepared, really, for the consequences.

Love is a shambling, undignified mess, and you go down fighting, as I did, by which I mean I went down begging. "Please don't do this. This is a mistake. This is the biggest mistake of your life. Don't leave. Just stay with me. We can make it an adventure, discovering love with each other. It will be a joint project. I will wait for you." By this morning, after having talked the whole night and sobbed in each others arms, it became "If there is a way back to me, find it. Try to come back. Come back."

We had a really good relationship. We were compatible in every way--physically, intellectually, hang out-y. But for the incontrovertible truth that he didn't love me, and he didn't know if he could. THe thought of him one day with some other woman, and say with a child would make me scream "that could have been our family! Why do you love her and not me? Did I break you in? Why are we no longer a "we" fucking kills me. I know this is killing him too. He will always question this decision, and this inability to feel love for me. He will always wonder about this mistake he knows he's making. For my part, I will never, ever understand this, how two people who can care so much for each other and have such a good life together can fall apart. I will never understand why he doesn't love me. I will never understand why he couldn't, with time, come to love me. I will never understand how he could walk away without giving a to-the-death fight for this. I will never understand why we ended, when we could have had everything. Why? And how? What do I do now? I feel totally lost. I can't believe that he's never coming back. I can't believe that I've lost the person I've loved more than anyone else. I can't believe he lost me. And yet, the unbelievable (well, I knew it could happen, but didn't want to believe it) happened, and it is devastating.

Sorry for emo-hijacking the thread. I have made rounds of phone calls to friends. I am now going to take sleeping pills and try to live with this diminished existence, one day at a time, each day a little sadder than the one before, until they all blend to some semblance of the normal state of things, till you can hardly remember the previous state from which it fell. Life goes on, such as it were, but it sucks. I predict that I will take me a few months of solitude to recover. Then I will try to find love again. I will bet you that I will be secretly hoping that he comes back to me, and wondering, every day a little less fervently, if today is the day. Until then, I am going to try to stick to simple goals. 1. Shower. 2. Eat, twice a day. 3. Work. 4. Leave the house once a day to walk. 5. Try to spend time with friends. This sounds like a plan.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:44 PM
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Presumably everyone who cares about philosophy has prejudices w/r/t what philosophy should be. Unless one is actively teaching or writing philosophy than I'm not sure how meaningful those opinions are. This isn't to denigrate non-philosophers only to suggest that what alters the opinions of philosophers are writings about philosophy. Ranting on message boards does very little to help.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:48 PM
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It's not true. We are back to people pulling crap out their arse and presenting it as fact.

No, it's hardly crap. There is much more interplay between contemporary "cutting-edge" analytic philosophy and the history of philosophy then there is in a pure science, or in a field like econ with really major thoroughgoing pretensions. Also, philosophy is a less unified field overall than the sciences. But the phenomenon I was pointing to is real in analytic philosophy. It may be somewhat less salient in Britain, but it's present there too.

You can't even DO a fucking postgraduate degree here without 1/3 of your papers being historical in emphasis.

No contradiction with what I said.

Of course, none of this prevents you from simply replying and saying it's all crap again.



Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:49 PM
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Wow. I think we can safely ignore my comment now.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:50 PM
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Ranting on message boards does very little to help anything ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:50 PM
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314 nonwithstanding I'm kind of excited to see Emerson's response to 312.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:51 PM
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297: Thanks, Rob. I'd posted again without previewing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:51 PM
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It's always painful, Abby, but I think you did the right thing, for whatever the class clown's opinion is worth. Your five goals are an excellent start. Stick to them and stay single for a while. The next guy who enters your life—and it usually happens sooner than you expect—will look like TheOne™ because the rebound relationship always brings some desperately needed grief relief. But it's generally an illusion. Date around. Best of luck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:52 PM
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I should point out that Leiter also rants on message boards and he does have a lot of influence. For example on the job market blog one hears about "that fraud Simon Critchley". I doubt that anyone making that statement has made much effort to engage with Critchley or his philosophy. They are probably just taking Leiter at his word. Of course Leiter has actually written substantive (even if not very good) philosophy, so there is more authority backing up his rants. But I doubt they will change anything down the road. After all it's still easier to buy Critchley's books than Leiter's.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:57 PM
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Awww, Abigail. It's hard to know what to say, but this I will never know if I forced this outcome because I called it too early. is almost certainly not true. Hang in there, okay?

In my department one has to do work in history in order to advance to candidacy, and we generally draw the line on history as 'pre-Frege.' As to the rest, the goalposts are moving so fast that I can't be bothered to keep track of it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:58 PM
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320: it's the goalpost singularity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 12:59 PM
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Re: Many

I know I said I was outta here, but my slow ass bloatware project on Eclipse is doing a project build that will probably take at least an hour so here I am.

For the record I thought PLMI, a variant of PL/I, was an excellent programming language.

I started in data communications when they had 300 baud (yes, baud, which is NOT the same as bps although sometimes it might be) and so every bit was precious.

To reassure everyone, I know all about the improved programming efficiency which shows my Computer Science is a dying field, or should I say programming is dying field and computer science is moving on. Luckily I got in when the getting was good and I'll probably be getting out, well, a little too late.

Why any bright youngster would pursue computer science these days is beyond me. Not in America at least. We can't compete with the improved efficiencies and the cheap labor from India and China.

Sadly, finance is where the money is these days (see $3.7 Billion to one guy last year) and I say sadly because finance is the last refuge of a dying country as it progresses from supplying raw materials to manufacturing to finally financing the next guy to get on top. Once you stop making something all you have left is your money and away that goes.

So computers had their run from nifty-new to mature appliances sold as commodities.

Meanwhile I ride herd on bloatware that takes 50 CDs and is developed at about a dozen locations around the world. Yeah, we are switching to DVDs but even so the project planning is a mess. Still it is the only way to make money at the moment. I don't think it will last.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:00 PM
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The notion that history is pre-Frege makes a lot sense to me. The notion that history includes Wittgenstein and Russell I think frequently gives non-analytic philosophers the idea that analytic philosophy doesn't take history seriously.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:00 PM
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After all it's still easier to buy Critchley's books than Leiter's.

Or is it? I ordered Critchley's book On Humor from Amazon, and they sent it to me . . . in Dutch. (Amazon gave me my money back and told me not to bother returning the book. If anyone would like it, please let me know.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:01 PM
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Dutch is a pretty funny language, you must admit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:04 PM
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That's awesome! And I don't have that one. Now if only I could read Dutch. Also I mainly meant that at most of the Borders I've been to they typically have a couple of his books. I have occasionally seen copies of The Future for Philosophy, but never his books on Nietzsche.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:04 PM
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Yes, Dutch is a very funny language.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:06 PM
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315: You left out about a half dozen or so exclamation points, Sifu.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:07 PM
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AA, don't blame yourself-- you didn't do anything rash. Good luck with putting one foot in front of the other for a while, it'll seem natural before you know it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:07 PM
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328: I'm saving them for read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:08 PM
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323: The notion that history is pre-Frege frequently gives analytic philosophers the idea that analytic philosophy doesn't take history seriously.

But, as you were.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:08 PM
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331: Well that's a relief.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:10 PM
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Oh, and Abby, just to echo Cala, please, please don't torture yourself with that. Waiting it out for 6 more months would have almost certainly just made you unproductively miserable and someone you don't want to be. So, it sucks that you're miserable now, but at least now you can work toward fixing it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:12 PM
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re: 313

But we are back to the presentation of claims that are true of specific sub-sections of philosophy in particular places at a particular time as if they were true of all philosophy in all places. You may not be guilty of it, but it's pretty much Emerson's standard operating procedure.

Of course there are some people who approach some of 'core' philosophy in quite an ahistorical way, but so what? There are also people who don't read any philosophy not written in Attic greek.

It's still true that the vast majority of people educated in the discipline [at least in the institutions I know] are educated in a way that's sensitive to and informed by the history of the discipline.

I'm just not comfortable with the way that 'recent work in metaphysics and epistemology as practiced at Rutgers*' is standing in for all philosophy. I barely recognize how the discipline is presented sometimes, and I'm not even unsympathetic to some of these complaints.

Worse, it's not even as if I personally have a great deal invested in some of these issues. My own research isn't even in metaphysics, epistemology or the philosophy of language and I read and write about lots of stuff that wouldn't fall under the 'analytic' canopy however widely you draw it. But the cartoonish element of this discussion just winds me up.

* insert whatever institution takes your fancy


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:13 PM
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Abby, he did you a favor by breaking up cleanly.

I'm sorry. My experience is it takes about one month of painful mourning for every six months the relationship lasted.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:14 PM
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Speaking of reading Dutch, you probably hadn't been aware that it had been permissible to masturbate to Janwillem van de Wetering, but now you'll have to stop.

And just when I'd started reading his old books, too.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:18 PM
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336: Oh, that's too bad. I like his books. He also wrote a rather good memoir about living in Japan and studying to be monk.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:23 PM
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recent work in metaphysics and epistemology as practiced at Rutgers*' is standing in for all philosophy.

hah, as it happens I know some people at Rutgers and get most of my info and feel for the discipline from there. So, touche.

It's still true that the vast majority of people educated in the discipline [at least in the institutions I know] are educated in a way that's sensitive to and informed by the history of the discipline.

I actually wasn't saying that they weren't. It's more the relationship (some) analytic philosophers feel to previous philosophers. My guess is not that they e.g. disparage Wittgenstein or thought he was a lousy philosopher, but that they think Wittgenstein isn't all that relevant to whatever cutting-edge back and forth they're engaged in in his latest journal article, because the discipline had already absorbed what it was going to absorb from Wittgenstein into the ongoing conversation. Sort of the way economists might feel about Ricardo or something. That's all I was trying to get across.

For what it's worth, the analytic philosophers I know -- even the most Rutgers-esque -- are extremely informed about the history of philosophy, and well read in many past thinkers. As I said above, there's no comparison to e.g. economics, where most economists have never read any primary historical material. Usually not even the "General Theory".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:24 PM
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334: First of all I basically agree with your claim that these discussions tend to involve something more resembling parodies of philosophy more, but I think your illustration of Rutgers is telling. I assume that part of the reason the parody/caricature of analytic philosophy as being overly scientistic or ahistorical is because Rutgers, NYU, Princeton are at the top of the PGR and this is (very loosely speaking) the type of philosophy advocated for there. (Note: this is not to say that there aren't some good historians of philosophy at these programs) This seems to suggest that, again broadly speaking, the analytic philosophy profession views this type of philosophy as its ideal.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:26 PM
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Oh, Abby, that sucks. I do think you did the right thing, however excruciating it feels now.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:31 PM
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Abby,

I will never understand how he could walk away without giving a to-the-death fight for this.

But, in time anyway, hopefully you will come to understand that you deserve someone who will fight-to-the-death for you. But it sucks, it really sucks.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:31 PM
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Note: this is not to say that there aren't some good historians of philosophy at these programs

I think that's part of TtaM's point, isn't it? What starts out as a claim about all of analytic philosophy turns out to include only a percentage of some of the top departments. That's not insignificant, but it's very different from the claims presented earlier.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:33 PM
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311: Abigail, I'm sorry for having carried on about philosophy in the midst of this post.

As lw said, one foot in the front of the other for as long as need be. There's no shame in any of this. Mourning is natural, and you'd not be human otherwise. Remember to eat, please. Call upon friends no matter what state you're in.

Sorry, babe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:35 PM
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The true formula is M = R/6D: one month of painful mourning for every six months the relationship lasted divided by the number of drunken hookups.

Abby, it really is for the best. You gave the relationship a long chance. You did the right thing by doing the trial separation; there was any chance that he felt more for you than easy familiarity, he would have reacted completely differently. The fact that he didn't fight for it proves he just didn't care about it all that much. Now you know.

It sounds to me (and this could be complete bullshit, based on the fact that I'm going by what fits in these little comment boxes) is that you're not allowing yourself to be angry. You don't need a reason to be angry; you already have one. You don't need to prove that from some Olympian remove that he wronged you and therefore you have the right to be angry. In this kind of situation, anger is not the product of dispassionate judgment. It is a self-defense against a situation that is basically unfair.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:35 PM
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342: Fine, but a quick glance through the specialty rankings in the PGR suggest that programs higher on the PGR are more likely to have have higher rankings in LEMMing areas than history of philosophy, pragmatism, feminism, or continental philosophy. Like I said, this doesn't mean that these programs don't have some good people operating in these areas, but that isn't why they are so highly valued.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:38 PM
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one month of painful mourning for every six months the relationship lasted divided by the number of drunken hookups

With the ex after the breakup? Or with other people? And if with other people, do you mean during the broken up relationship or after (during the mourning period)?

Either way, I imagine there will be a lot of dividing-by-zero errors.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:39 PM
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[the obvious] I think part of the problem here is that that there are multiple definitions of analytic philosophy at work here. I sense at least three (3):

1. Philosophy done by people who appreciate clear sentences and clear arguments.

2. Philosophy done by people like those in (1), but who also periodically use a lot of symbolic notation from logic, linguistics, or some other hard science.

3. Philosophy done by those fuckers who wouldn't give me a job and think they are all special because they are highly ranked by Leiter.

[/the obvious]


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:39 PM
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Either way, I imagine there will be a lot of dividing-by-zero errors.

I knew about the celibacy of cardinals, but I'd never before considered the cardinality of celibacy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:40 PM
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[the obvious] I think part of the problem here is that that there are multiple definitions of analytic philosophy at work here. I sense at least three (3):

1. Philosophy done by people who appreciate clear sentences and clear arguments.

2. Philosophy done by people like those in (1), but who also periodically use a lot of symbolic notation from logic, linguistics, or some other hard science.

3. Philosophy done by those fuckers who wouldn't give me a job and think they are all special because they are highly ranked by Leiter.

[/the obvious]


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:41 PM
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With other people, during the mourning period. Drunken hookups with the ex should count as -1 hookups.

In honor of Po-Mo's outstanding analysis, I would like to change the formula to M = R/6(D+1).

Excel spreadsheet available upon request.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:41 PM
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[the obvious] [/the obvious]

Hold on to that Captain's hat with all your strength, rob.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:41 PM
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350: implement in MATLAB, pls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:42 PM
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348 was funny, but I felt guilty for laughing.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:42 PM
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You'll be getting that in XQuery 1.0, Sifu.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:43 PM
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347: Is this for real? This seems like the most ideologically loaded definition of analytic philosophy possible and mainly rests on thinking that everything that isn't 1-3 isn't analytic philosophy, which is self-evidently iditiotic.

I like clear writing, I'm very interested in the hard sciences, and I don't consider myself an analytic philosopher. I'm not alone in this either.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:43 PM
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I like clear writing, I'm very interested in the hard sciences, and I don't consider myself an analytic philosopher. I'm not alone in this either.

It's true, I don't consider you an analytic philosopher either.

I mean, just as of right now, and only because you said you aren't, but still. You're absolutely correct.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:45 PM
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347: That's certainly part of it. And bonus, the definition changes based on the argument's needs! To prove that the academy is dominated by analytic philosophy, define it as 'not continental' or 'not a spiritual heir of Dewey.' Thus, the academy is overrun by analytic philosophers.

To prove that there are no analytic philosophers writing for an educated popular audience, define it as 'M&E dependent heavily on symbols.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:45 PM
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re: 342

Exactly. As I said, I'm completely on board with the idea that how some people practice philosophy is unhealthy and that some of those unhealthy practices carry too much influence. I just get annoyed at the constant dismissal of all the people out there [at major institutions] who don't work that way as irrelevant or institutionally marginalized, when they clearly aren't.

I know a couple of my peers who are the epitome of Emerson's worst nightmares. I'd never dismiss the complaints are universally false. It's just the pretension that they are universally true that's infuriating.

re: 338

I wouldn't really disagree with any of that, tbh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:46 PM
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355: Yes, but did those fuckers who are highly ranked by Leiter give you a job?


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:46 PM
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re: 358

as universally false.

Bugger.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:47 PM
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338: they think Wittgenstein isn't all that relevant to whatever cutting-edge back and forth they're engaged in in his latest journal article, because the discipline had already absorbed what it was going to absorb from Wittgenstein into the ongoing conversation

You realize that this is sort of the joke. Someone like Wittgenstein is a sticking point (and therefore comes up repeatedly), just because claiming that you've already absorbed and incorporated his thinking is such a ridiculous notion, in the absence of evidence.

But yes, PGD is just describing a certain philosophical climate.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:47 PM
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M&E and L, I suppose, but most philosophers of language make me want to abandon them on an ice floe.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:48 PM
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350: These things are important. And yes, I agree with that formulation. Especially the "hookup with the ex counts as -1" thing.

Just a little fiddle to make it well-defined no matter what:

M = R/6 * e^(0.7*D)

where:
D = (number of drunken hookups with ex) - (number of drunken hookups with other people)

And voila! A handy formula that will approximately double the mourning period each time you bang the ex and halve it each time you bang someone else! Plus we could turn it into a handy differential equation for the mourning decay pattern with jumps in the first derivative for banging events!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:49 PM
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you have the right to be angry

Also, being angry gives you energy. Being sad drains your energy. It's always easier to be angry.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:49 PM
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357: As usual, Cala speaks the truth. We should hook her up to a universal Turing machine to solve the halting problem for Turing machines. (Although not, of course, the halting problem for Turing machines + Cala.)


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:49 PM
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the mourning decay pattern

That's so goth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:50 PM
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It sounds to me (and this could be complete bullshit, based on the fact that I'm going by what fits in these little comment boxes) is that you're not allowing yourself to be angry....You don't need a reason to be angry; In this kind of situation, anger is not the product of dispassionate judgment. It is a self-defense against a situation that is basically unfair.

Do you really think anger helps? I don't. And I think it's a bad emotion to indulge. She wasn't clearly wronged in any case -- they weren't married, no comittment was made, he just doesn't love her. Which is terribly sad and totally unfair and probably a mistake on his part, but not a moral failing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:50 PM
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365: if you're standing next to the Turing Machine the halting problem is easy to solve. Just get a rock.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:51 PM
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362 to ???


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:51 PM
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362 to 357, 369.

Hike.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:52 PM
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Also, drunken hook-ups when you're angry at the ex often lead to howling, window-rattling panky. Drunken hook-ups when you're sad about the ex usually lead to crying midway through. You really want the first more than the second.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:52 PM
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I can certainly understand that analytic philosophers are tired of being attacked, but continental philosophers are frustrated with being parodied as unclear/not interested in science/whatever.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:52 PM
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366: Goth mourning has a very very long half-life. High school Goth poetry is actually the classified additive that makes irradiating dirty bombs so feared.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:53 PM
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344: I echo Walt about anger. I know you're feeling really sad, but watch out for depression. If you're angry -- and I've got to imagine you are -- then be angry. It doesn't matter if some of your anger isn't "rational" or "justified" and is in fact about how he slurps his soup. As all the therapists say, depression is anger turned inward. Keep it outward where it belongs.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:53 PM
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Do you really think anger helps?

Compared to depression, absolutely.

She wasn't clearly wronged in any case

Beside the point, yo. Anger doesn't have to be rational, any more than glee does.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:55 PM
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Kraab-pwned.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:56 PM
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Anger might help. Personally, the fact that she had to do so much of driving (let's take a break, let's wait and see) would have driven me up the wall because if he wasn't feeling it, he damn well could have said so sooner.

My experience of being dumped like this was with a guy who said he didn't love me any more because I wasn't attractive, but who wanted some time to think about whether we needed to break up. I think it was helpful that I got angry and said, after two weeks of us being 'separated', that I deserved better than this bullshit, and if he didn't have the stones to break up with me, I had better things to do with my time than wait for him. Abby sounds like a gentler person than I, but I don't think she'd be wrong to be angry.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:57 PM
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367: Anger is an emotion. You can't choose whether or not to be angry any more than you can choose whether or not to be sad. You can only choose how you act. Trying not to feel angry when you are is incredibly self-destructive. Trust me, I know.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:58 PM
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PCP is the answer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:58 PM
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Do you really think anger helps?

Compared to depression, absolutely.

Depression only gets you thin. Workouts fuelled by persistant anger and sexual frustration? Now that'll give you a body to be proud of.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 1:58 PM
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||

It's been a week since we talked and revealed our mutual attraction and agreed that we probably shouldn't start kissing.

I have been thinking about kissing her pretty much constantly since then.

|>


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:00 PM
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To 357, zadfrack. I realized that I left off philosophy of language as something considered ReallyAnalytic, and then realized that I did so because I've been to so many awful language talks I walled them away in my brain.

A maze of twisty little examples, all alike, and no thesis statement. (I've been to some good ones, too, of course. It's just that when they're bad, they're the area of philosophy that I'm least likely to be able to glean something out of.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:01 PM
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379 to 381.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:02 PM
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PGD: Do you really think anger helps? I don't. And I think it's a bad emotion to indulge.

What an odd way to look at things.

I know this is simplistic of me but what do you mean by "indulge?" Feelings are not rational. Heck, feelings and rational thoughts come from totally separate parts of the brain.

Feelings are not controlled in the same way that thoughts are. Feelings may be evoked, sure, if you know how, but in general the only way to end a feeling is to feel it. Suppression surely doesn't work.

The question is not whether anger helps. Anger comes whether it helps or not. If we could control our feelings I'm sure we would do away with anger (in most cases) and grieving itself. But we can't do that.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:03 PM
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362: but most philosophers of language make me want to abandon them on an ice floe.

The field must have changed; I don't know philosophers of language who don't also do phil of mind, M&E. I suspect this is a drawing of territories and sort of a pissing contest.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:04 PM
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If we could control our feelings I'm sure we would do away with anger (in most cases) and grieving itself. But we can't do that.

Not without PCP anyway.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:04 PM
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378:

Sir Kraab, exactly right.

Anger is actually a very strong component of grieving. It is fairly common to be angry, for example, at a person who died through no fault of her own. It makes no sense, I know, but it happens.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:06 PM
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371 is really quite amazingly true. Though drunkenness is optional.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:07 PM
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I think we have a lot of control over how we feed our feelings. Self-talk is important.

With that said, the helpfulness of different emotions varies a lot for different people. I just haven't found anger useful, myself. Did nothing but burn me up inside. Probably because I didn't actually hunt the person down and use that baseball bat. That, I'm sure, would have given a nice feeling of restful ease and calm. But other people might find anger propelling them in a useful direction. As opposed to just feeding more and more fantasies about the baseball bat.

A maze of twisty little examples, all alike, and no thesis statement.

To switch back to philosophy -- hell yes. Philosophy of language is almost impossible to sit through. But strangely, philosophers of language love it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:08 PM
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Not without PCP anyway.

This is trite, I know, but then you'll just have two problems.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:08 PM
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381: Forbidden fruit is always the hardest to resist. Why did you agree it would be a bad idea to start kissing?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:09 PM
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PGD is still in the denial stage about his anger. I think bargaining is next, but I can't remember


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:09 PM
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381: Jimmy, what's the backstory? Did I miss it on another thread?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:09 PM
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388: Well, I hope you were angry in that case.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:10 PM
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Anger here (at the injustice of the situation, at John Adams for giving mixed messages) is preferable to Abby indulging in protracted and wrong-headed speculation on what she allegedly lacked such that he couldn't love her. She should give herself permission to be angry, a little, at someone who made her do all the emotional work during the relationship, and whose only contribution to that was to end it.

Wait several weeks, then have a palate cleanser.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:10 PM
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On post breakup hookups, more wisdom from PGD's Mom:

"you can't get over someone until you get under someone"

That's a direct quote.

The image is more designed for the role women traditionally play in bed, though, so it took me a second to get it when she said it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:10 PM
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I've found that there's overlap between L and M&E, and L& mind, yes. It's only a pissing contest if one is inclined to take a comment joking about putting philosophers on ice floes literally, or one thinks that I wouldn't be mildly in favor of putting most other subdisciplines on ice floes. (I'm really surprised we haven't had 100 comments on the resulting effects on the environment of the penguins and polar bears.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:11 PM
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Yeah, fraught discussions about no-no we musn't don't often lead to mustn't-ing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:11 PM
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re: 372

Both caricatures have a bit of truth in them, when invoked with respect to some people. There really are analytic philosophers who are everything that gets complained about [I know a few], and ditto for some continental types. It's just the universality of the complaints -- when there are lots of people doing good/interesting work on both sides of the alleged divide -- that are silly.

Some of my work overlaps with some continental stuff, and also with work in anthropology and sociology that shares some links with the same, and some of it I find a bit alien [because of my own educational background] but interesting and useful, and some emphatically not. And I'm sure people would say the same in reverse. Let a thousand flowers bloom, etc.

re: 382

I've been to a lot of talks on perception that make me feel the same way. I've seen the most unbelievable ignorance of basic science/neuroscience/optics, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:11 PM
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PCP is a solution, not a problem.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:12 PM
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390: Oh I don't count your scolding looks and tut tutting as problems, Tripp.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:13 PM
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PGD,

I agree with you. I'd say in my life anger has been, maybe, useful 10% of the time. It may provide energy when action is required.

Usually, though, action is not required. Then I allow myself to feel the anger while doing nothing and usually it passes. I've also learned some of my triggers and can try to steer clear of them.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:13 PM
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I've seen the most unbelievable ignorance of basic science/neuroscience/optics, etc.

This. This is what drives me crazy when I see it (which isn't that often, sure, but it's often enough).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:14 PM
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Activists are often fond of the power anger seems to bring, either against The Man or simply the man who dumped you. Kraab seems to be leaning this way. I think it is a very bad mistake. Anger precludes moving on, either to a new relationship or to a better world. You can't build with anger.

You can't make anger go away, but you can choose not to cling to it. All emotions die on their own. If you just say "Yes, I am angry now for this reason" and don't do anything to nurture it, it will die faster.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:14 PM
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394: I've tried both so as to have an effective comparison. Angry is definitely better.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:15 PM
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ANGER MAKES HULK STRONG! STRONG HULK GET SMASHED, MEET GIRL AT BAR LIKE STRONG! HULK HAVE DRUNKEN HOOKUP!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:16 PM
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395 is smart.

I think anger is most useful in cases where you are likely to blame yourself inappropriately. In such cases, the depression needs to be driven out before it starts feeding on itself.

If you're already blaming the other person a whole lot, then feeding your anger is like feeding your depression when you're blaming yourself.

Manage emotions so they check each other and none of them become really obsessive.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:16 PM
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re: 403

I'm by no means an expert on any of these things but enough to spot egregious errors. What's infuriating is that the errors were so bad that even the most cursory attempt to check the facts would have revealed them. The arrogance was pretty breath-taking.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:17 PM
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367: I do think it helps. And it's exactly the attitude you express that I want to argue against (conveniently enough). You don't need to be wronged in every instance to be angry. You don't need to dispassionately weigh his every single act in the balance before you can allow yourself to feel anger. He hurt you deeply; anger is the natural response. You're not entitled to act on that anger to wreck bloody vengeance, but you're entitled to the feeling.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:17 PM
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PCP is a solution, not a problem.

It also comes in a convenient powder form.

And I'm going to say that I feel like I agree with rob helpy-buddha.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:18 PM
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You're not entitled to act on that anger to wreck bloody vengeance

SEE, HULK NOT AGREE WITH THIS.


Posted by: OPIONATED HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:18 PM
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A calm, clear head is the goal. Ommmmm.

You have to de-cathect the love object. He's not that great anyway, objectively. A year from now, Abby will look back at him and shrug.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:19 PM
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HEH, OR WHAT THE HEY. BE MELLOW, PEOPLE. WOW.


Posted by: OPIATED HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:19 PM
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I didn't say anything about power. I said you've got to feel what you feel without criticizing yourself for feeling it. For some people that may mean saying "I'm angry now"; for some, imagining smashing someone's head in (an extremely normal reaction -- the imagining, that is); for some, venting to friends. Holding onto or acting out of anger can be destructive. Acknowledging it and discharging it aren't.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:20 PM
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Anger precludes moving on, either to a new relationship or to a better world. You can't build with anger.

It's also very hard to build if you haven't moved past the anger, or are mired in depression. Which I think is what most people are suggesting here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:20 PM
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Hulk knows that the appropriate spelling is "wreak".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:21 PM
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397: Of course. Sensitive about the phil of language thing, especially when it didn't make sense.

Onward and upward.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:21 PM
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Seriously, though. Anger, sadness, hookups, drunkenness. That's all really a bit further down the line. Abby already figured out that the challenges for the near term are shower, eat, leave the house. I remember around the time I filed having a friend who would periodically drop by just to ask when the last time I'd eaten was. Buy stupid protein bars that are small enough that you can force yourself to finish one even if you really, really don't want to. Make stupid commitments outside of the house that don't take much but you can't back out of.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:22 PM
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Why could he see a future with me, and yet be so tenuously connected to our present?

This, actually, makes me a little bit angry on Abby's behalf. People should not be going on about future and kids and shit like that while holding back on the love bit. My sister runs into guys like this all the time. They see a future with her, but they don't actually want to keep dating her. Breaks her heart ('but he said he could see us together forever, so I thought he must really love me even if he said he didn't know.), and isn't actually kind.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:23 PM
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416: HULK DID KNOW THAT BUT FELT LIKE CORRECTING SPELLING ERROR NOT DISPLAY CORRECT LEVEL OF RAGE AND, YOU KNOW, SMASHING.


Posted by: OPINIONATED HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:23 PM
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405: Ya know, Di, some things don't need to be attacked in the full scientific manner, with controls and everything. Sometimes you can just go with the hearsay and jump straight to the angry ex sex.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:25 PM
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Hulk is awfully polite.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:26 PM
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421: Now you tell me!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:27 PM
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You have to de-cathectcapitate the love object.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:27 PM
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Pwned by everyone, of course.

You shouldn't build your life around anger, but I think anger is a necessary part of the separation process. Anger cauterizes the wound. The alternative is to ask yourself "Why? Why?" until the feeling of hurt slowly fades. It's better to say, "fuck him, that fucking fuck." Why didn't he fight for the relationship? I don't know, but fuck him, that fucking fuck.

Of course, since Abby isn't commenting at the moment, this advice could all be laughably wrong.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:27 PM
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At the time I really regretted not punching the guy who my g-f cheated with when I caught them together. He was just such a manipulative prick. His little kid was there, it wouldn't have been appropriate, but just one punch would have been so nice. I think my post-breakup recovery would have been much shorter if I had done that. And I didn't keep that job anyway, so who cares about the fallout really?

I lost like 15 pounds during that breakup, and I was pretty skinny then to start with. Actually a great diet technique.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:28 PM
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HULK SMASH INCIVILITY!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:29 PM
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I'm pretty sure that that's Cookie Monster impersonating the Hulk.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:29 PM
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Let me further anger some people here by introducing the gender element. On the whole (remember that: "on the whole"), women* are discouraged from acting and even from being angry and are thus more inclined to turn it on themselves. I'd give the same advice to anyone about feeling ok about anger, but many women need particular encouragement on that score.

rob & PGD, I don't know if there's any gendered element to your response. It may be that you've had more opportunity to express anger, either because you're men, or you just happened to be in that kind of family. Or nothing of the kind.

I grew up with a very angry father, who blustered and yelled and bullied (not physically). That's what I thought was anger and I tried to suppress mine so I didn't turn into him. Turns out the green, frothing, Hulk model isn't the only one.

*In today's society, AWB.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:30 PM
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399: Good points. I certainly know some continental philosophers who fit all the horrible stereotypes about. I find this quite depressing actually.

I'm really interested in perception theories and it's difficult to take into account the quantity of research out there. This is not an excuse obviously and I assume that most analytic theories of perception have it all bass ackwards.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:30 PM
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393: She: Divorcing, lonely, trying to rediscover her life, vulnerable. Me: Married, open relationship. Us: Casual friends for a long time, but much closer recently.

We had both been keeping physical distance between us out of the assumption that the other wasn't interested. After a drunken hand-holding / chastely-cuddling incident, I told her that I was attracted, but felt like it probably wasn't a good idea for us to get hot and heavy, even though it sounded appealing, and she said she felt the same.

So naturally, as soon as making out was off the table...


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:30 PM
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Relationship advice mixed with philosophy bitching makes for a strange thread.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:31 PM
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433

431: That only leaves oral sex.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:32 PM
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(By "express," I don't mean punching someone. That's "acting on.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:33 PM
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GOOD. USE YOUR AGGRESSIVE FEELINGS, ABIGAIL. LET THE HATE FLOW THROUGH YOU.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PALPATINE | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:33 PM
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433 to 432.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:33 PM
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436: Obviously


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:35 PM
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I certainly know some continental philosophers who fit all the horrible stereotypes about. I find this quite depressing actually.

Try being angry about it instead, ninjaphilosopher.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:35 PM
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398: Yeah. It wasn't even a no-no-we-mustn't, though, more of a "where we are is pretty nice, let's not fuck it up."


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:35 PM
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SO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT IT'S TIME TO MURDER PEOPLE AT THE ACADEMY? IN ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY?


Posted by: OPINIONATED ANAKIN | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:36 PM
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435: See, now, if Anakin had gotten together with his buddies and talked about his anger and they had sympathized and shared their own experiences, he wouldn't have gone all genocide-y.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:36 PM
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rob & PGD, I don't know if there's any gendered element to your response.

Oh, I think there totally is. In fact, I was thinking of making the gender connection but refrained.

To add to the mix, I'd say the gender issue is partially biological as well as social. Testosterone is a powerful drug. I think men might be more likely to just feel consumed by intense rage in a way that's physically harmful to manage, and can lead to risky behavior.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:37 PM
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441: And the scene with all the Jedis squatting over mirrors would have been totally awesome, to boot.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:38 PM
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I'm with Sir and Walt. I should clarify too. When my anger has been useful it has not been during breakups or during grieving. It has been during things like weightlifting where the spurt of adrenaline can actually, temporarily, improve performance.

And Cala, usually a guy saying "maybe" about a future together is taking the cowardly way out instead of saying "I doubt it" but sometimes "maybe" does mean "maybe." I do agree that picking out places to live and names for the kids is a little more than saying "maybe" though.

When I proposed to my wife it was in private (not the big public spectacle favored nowadays) and we had not discussed specifics beforehand, just generalities. After the proposal we both seemed to step back from the idea for a couple weeks and let it sink in before we went public. It just felt like the right thing to do at the time.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:38 PM
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438: But anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. That is the path too the dark side.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:39 PM
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443: "have you ever really looked at your own light saber?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:40 PM
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In a scant hour I've converted PGD from "anger is bad" to "I should have punched somebody". My work here is done.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:41 PM
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Racists. Punching people [or maybe a wee stabbing ] is the way of my people.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:41 PM
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"have you ever really looked at your own light saber?"
"Not really. Mine's a grower."
"They're all growers, dipshit!"
Mace Windu: "Say what now?"


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:42 PM
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431: Cold showers. Frequently. I'm not even sure what about your earlier comment made me think parallels, but your clarification confirms it. Me, a few years back, divorcing, vulnerable, trying to rediscover my life. Him: married, open relationship, opportunistic bastard who fucked me up emotionally for a good long time.

You may be able to gauge how that all turned out. And that's with nothing ever having progressed beyond an innocent kiss or two and a great deal of innuendo. If you value her friendship, if you value her as a person at all, lots of cold showers and appropriate distance. Let her heal. [/transference]


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:43 PM
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443- Anger directed at the source leads to a cure.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:43 PM
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PGD,

To add to the mix, I'd say the gender issue is partially biological as well as social. Testosterone is a powerful drug. I think men might be more likely to just feel consumed by intense rage in a way that's physically harmful to manage, and can lead to risky behavior.

Roid rage is pretty real. Also, even aside from that, I think big guys especially learn early about controlling their anger because, as you say, they could do some really bad things otherwise.

So, yeah, stifling one's anger is bad but so is acting out from it.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:43 PM
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asl,

443- Anger directed at the source leads to a cure.

It didn't do much good when my sister died.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:45 PM
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In a scant hour I've converted PGD from "anger is bad" to "I should have punched somebody".

But after I had missed my chance to punch him, all the anger was bad and useless. If had hunted him down to punch him out after the moment had passed, then I would have looked all crazy and like a stalker. It wasn't practical at all.

I thought about this a lot.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:46 PM
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I think the ambiguity around what "express" means to different people with respect to anger is the cause of some of the disagreement in this thread.

And I think while there's unquestionably a therapeutic value to expressing your emotions, too much or too frequent expression of an emotion regarding one person/event can become self-reinforcing and you get stuck, wearing a rut into your brain that it's hard to escape from.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:48 PM
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Anger is an energy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:48 PM
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455: that's related to what I was getting at in 407.

In the future, you better fucking credit me or I'm going to punch you.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:50 PM
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either that or obsessively brood on my anger for months.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:51 PM
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CAN WE ALL GET ALONG?


Posted by: CIVIL HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:51 PM
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You can't spell for shit, hulk.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:53 PM
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That's when I reach for my revolver.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:54 PM
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I RESPECT YOUR ANGER.


Posted by: CIVIL HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:55 PM
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I came back to the philosophy thread with Derrida's Birthday greetings, but now the discussion has moved on, and I don't know Derrida's position on post-breakup drunken hookups. Hmm.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:56 PM
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461: did you know that Moby covered that song in the '90s and, faced with MTV's ban on lyrics about (or imagery of) guns, changed the lyrics to "that's when I reached for my chihuahua"? True.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:56 PM
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HULK SMELL!!!!1!


Posted by: CIVET HULK | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:57 PM
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464: So that's why all those rap videos on YouTube have the guns blurred out? I thought they were just trying to protect the identity and privacy of innocent firearms.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:58 PM
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Yeah, fraught discussions about no-no we musn't don't often lead to mustn't-ing.

Gawd, do they ever.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:59 PM
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Possible evidence.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:02 PM
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450: Huh. I'll try not to take that too personally.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:03 PM
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466: yep. Janie's got a gun would never be allowed on MTV today. It'd have to be Janie's Got A Secret or Janie's Got A Lunchbox or Janie's Played By An Actress Who Also Has A Pervy Dad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:03 PM
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467: Don't worry, mrh, I'm sure you'll be a fine father.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:03 PM
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464: Is that like "Do you see what happens, Larry, when you meet a stranger in the Alps"?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:07 PM
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464: Flip you, melon farmer!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:08 PM
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470: Two Ed Sullivan "censorship" moments:
1) The Doors were supposed to change "Girl, we couldn't get much higher", didn't and were not invited back.
2) Jagger did change to "Let's spend some time together". (But he didn't make up his mind until the last minute and then rolled his eyes, so I'm down with that.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:09 PM
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469: Unless you are a Chicago lawyer, chances are very slim you should take that personally. Offered more as a cautionary tale of the kind of mess you can get into when playing with attraction to a friend who is at a vulnerable stage in her life. The HULK is a pussycat by comparison.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:09 PM
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Kick out the jams, brothers and sisters.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:09 PM
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Um, Janie's Got a Pug. Duh!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:10 PM
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Janie's Got a Gut


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:11 PM
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476: I prefer to hold tight to my jams and bury them deep inside me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:13 PM
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478: A gub?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:14 PM
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Kick out the jams

Blackberry or sour cherry.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:14 PM
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Whenever I ask my 3-year to do something and she asks "Why?" I have to stop myself from saying "I have a gub."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:19 PM
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Happiness is a Warm Hug
There Goes My Buddy
Black Jellybeans in the Hour of Chaos


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:31 PM
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My booby weighs a ton
Because I'm Public Enemy Number One.
One, one, one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:36 PM
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But I bought a man in Reno
Just to touch his thigh


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:38 PM
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However, in a non-rap song you can get away with lines like "I won't think twice to stick that barrel straight down Sancho's throat / Believe me when I say that I've got something for his punk ass".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:44 PM
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White people are entertainers. Black people are criminals.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:49 PM
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But Michael Jackson is a smooth criminal.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:51 PM
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488: I love that song. I think I might have tried to buy the hat


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:57 PM
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Surely we don't need to change

"He wore his gun outside his pants
for all the honest world to feel it."

Even without modification that seems like off phrasing for talking about a gun.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 3:57 PM
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So that's why MIA shoots people without a gun.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 4:18 PM
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[I just bicycled 40-45 miles. Happy yo see that the discussion continued without me].

308: I'm just not sure that the analytic philosophy code is worth learning. It may have applications in AI but I'm not in AI. I've spent time in various difficult areas of study and doubt the value of this specific one. My anger comes from the fact that the academic real estate controlled by the Philosophy Gourmet Report could be devoted to much better purposes.

312, 314

Unless one is actively teaching or writing philosophy than I'm not sure how meaningful those opinions are.....Ranting on message boards does very little to help.

Ranting on message boards is not really a purposeful activity. It's an alternative to smutty jokes, etc. My own feeling is that the analytic academic stronghold is impregnable and that people interested in other approaches should find alternative venues. Scholasticism never disappeared and never lost its funding, people just stopped caring.

ttaM, analytic philosophers tend to speak of the divide as analytic v. continental. Continental philosophy is apparently the designated Washington Generals Hamilton Burger Brand X for philosophy. There are really more than two kinds of philosophy.

One of the issues here: how influential is the PGR? And who does get hired? The impression I get from various sources is that certain departments, tendencies, and areas are heavily favored in hiring. If I'm wrong I have no point. The fact that process philosophy has essentially disappeared and that pragmatism is doing very badly is the kind of thing I'm talking about.

No one has really responded to my 240: I think that philosophers should write like those guys, not just that they should write about those guys.

Sorry to hijack the Abigail Adams thread, but I'm responding to earlier comments. I'm on the anger side, and the not-trying-to-keep-in-touch side.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:22 PM
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Abigail's post is incredibly sad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:40 PM
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