josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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26 Jul '13 02:27:53 AM

Jonathan Lear's read on Wittgenstein as Beckett: 'philosophy both must and cannot be conducted transcendentally'.

(Later: 'Philosophy provides a means of coping with empirical exhaustion.')

25 Jul '13 08:40:24 AM

'every space is constantly trembling'

25 Jul '13 07:00:12 AM

'Da stieg ein Baum.'

24 Jul '13 11:56:22 PM

The Good Life Lab

24 Jul '13 06:18:08 AM

'There's fifty books about Clifford the Big Red Dog… They all tell the exact same story: Look how big this dog is.'

24 Jul '13 02:50:48 AM

'… the sky is so big…'

23 Jul '13 01:48:13 AM

'As television historians know, the first 10 years of Mr. Carson's run were erased by an NBC engineer.'

18 Jul '13 05:02:21 AM

For some, interpretation is, at best, something we're stuck doing—when something doesn't make sense, say because it's too complex or subtle or ambigious, or when there are competing perspectives on it which have yet to be sorted out in favor of the perspective. Interpretation is to be avoided whenever more decisive approaches are available.

I don't know if those people know what joy I can take in the least steps toward an interpretation. Take an offhand remark on Popeye and Wimpy made in a discussion of cartoons as movies, meant to question the extent to which animated human figures do justice to the fact of human embodiment:

'Does Popeye have a soul? Well, does he have a human body? A sailor is nicely suited for exaggerated forearms; and for the rest, Popeye's body survives, or ignores, everything that brute human strength can deliberately inflict upon it—if, that is, it at some point receives its magic infusion of canned fuel. His body is not so much fed as stoked, and with a substance for herbivores, anyway for creatures of non-violence, for mythical children. (His timid acquaintance is also associated with a childish food, ground meat, no real amount of which satisfies his need. Which other figures are indecorous enough to be shown eating?) Steam up, his body acts on its own, unaligned with, and not affecting, other avenues of expression: his face remains, through violence, preternaturally fixed; his voice goes on with its continuous static of undecipherable commentary; at last his pipe releases a whistle or two of satisfaction.'

One reason from way back that I wanted to do philosophy was that I had read any number of passages in which that happens—that kind of thinking, that kind of putting something to words, making it possible to see it anew, or perhaps to think much of anything about it at all—and I was convinced that it was a discipline in which that kind of thinking had a home.

I fear that when a lot of other philosophers hear that, they hear: 'just saying stuff'. They can't hear interpretation.

14 Jul '13 11:45:04 PM

Part I of Truth and Method could be subtitled, 'The Rehabilitation of Criteria'.