Word and Object

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Mitt Romney and the Expertise Fallacy

November 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments ·

In an Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times former presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in with his views regarding Detroit’s request for loan guarantees. While I think Mr. Romney basically is an idiot, I have to say his views on this point are well-considered. Detroit has no more entitlement to a bailout than any […]

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Being-in-the-Ocean: Moby Dick, Spatiality and Unheimlichkeit

October 21st, 2008 · No Comments ·

In this essay I will advance an interpretation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick based on the work of the Weimar-era philosopher Martin Heidegger. I have no compunctions about taking such an approach. It is unlikely one can say anything completely new about Moby Dick, much less some of the other texts I examine herein (such […]

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Strange Signs

April 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment ·

The way signs work is complex enough as it is.  Not only is there the sign, but also: that which is signified; the person responding to it; and the social conventions that give it meaning.  A “stop sign” at an intersection, for example, has no inherent or intrinsic properties.  It commands us to brake the […]

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In Protest Against the Frequent Misuse of the Word “Folk”

March 27th, 2008 · No Comments ·

I am sick and tired of hearing George Bush (most notably) refer to people as “folk.”  Mr. Bush is not the only one with a predeliction for frequent misuse of this term, although he is the most notable example.  I now cringe whenever it is uttered by anybody, even if the context is benign.  From […]

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Nancy Reagan Endorses John McCain

March 25th, 2008 · No Comments ·

There was a widely-reported news announcement today that Nancy Reagan had endorsed John McCain for President of the United States.  I certainly don’t have anything against Ms. Reagan, who strikes me has having conducted herself with dignity and comportment during a long and illustrious career.  Neither do I have anything against Mr. McCain, though I […]

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Austin’s Self

March 22nd, 2008 · No Comments ·

J. L. Austin’s Theory of Performatives conceals a robust notion of “self.” A speaker uttering (an author writing) a performative intends to change (or describe a change to) a state of affairs in the world. Such modification might not happen, and probably wouldn’t, unless the speaker uses the performative. The speaker is an individual, performative-deploying […]

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Deconstructing Wittgenstein

March 19th, 2008 · No Comments ·

§243 – §315 of the Philosophical Investigations suggest a large quantity of imprecise notions, which is typical of Wittgenstein. I don’t want to call them “concepts” or “ideas,” and certainly not “propositions.” The definitions of each of these words is different, and they imply other contexts. “Proposals” might work, but that makes it sound as […]

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Three Words that Annoy Me

February 6th, 2008 · No Comments ·

There are three words that have found their way into our contemporary lexicon, which annoy me considerably, and here they are: “Product.”  This term frequently was used in the consumer entertainment software business, back when there was one.  It refers to “things” such as books, records (CDs, cassettes), videos (DVDs, VHS), etc.  My objection to […]

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Bukowski

January 23rd, 2008 · 1 Comment ·

Charles Bukowski recently released (posthumously, that is), a new book of poetry entitled The Pleasures of the Damned. It was poorly reviewed by somebody named David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times (Nov. 25, 2007). Mr. Ulin states, “it’s impossible not to ask some hard questions about his status and whether it is deserved. […]

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Wittgenstein’s Sensations

December 4th, 2007 · No Comments ·

At §290 of the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein avers I do not “identify my sensation by criteria.” I would need a set of function predicates in order to do so, i.e. the sensation is x only if f (x) is true; in other words, f properly can be attributed of (or to) x. One way to […]

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