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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8 Feb '16 10:39:31 PM

(I now also think that my way forward with my 'belief-in' essay has been blocked because I wasn't laying enough emphasis on 'myth' in Part Four of Claim. Not that Cavell is any help with that; but it's clear that 'living my skepticism' and 'no longer living the myth', i.e. not believing (in) it, have to be related as part of any account of Cavellian belief in others (whatever that might be). I suppose I had been trying to exclude 'myth' from my account as much as possible—thus depriving myself of a belief-mediating element of the account—just because this seemed to be condoned by Cavell's attempt to work up a form of skepticism about others that could be stated in independent terms, 'naturalized' as it were, apart from any basis in or confounding by whatever 'fragments of a myth' about others that happened to crop up. Perhaps so; but the problem as reformulated after the 'shallow' views about the depth of the soul, the depths of our denials of others, etc., have been critiqued in the initial sections of Part Four has its roots in this 'no longer living the myth' phenomenon. A related question, then, would be why, for the philosopher, belief in God or in the world's existence do not at first seem to require the same sort of interposition of a 'believable' term between believer and the object of belief.)

8 Feb '16 06:33:59 AM

Musil on diaries, in his diary: 'the most convenient, the least disciplined form'.

6 Feb '16 08:28:10 AM

'Only those can work in it who have their own convictions about what it is.'

5 Feb '16 09:24:44 AM

'… and connect / The landscape with the quiet of the sky.'

3 Feb '16 11:09:12 PM

I never did like oranges. Juice, yes, oranges, no; too sticky, too hard to do. A hassle, to be given an orange. But the little ones, mandarins or clementines, are somehow suddenly attractive. No shortage of work to get the fruit free of the peel and the strands of pith, not much less sticky, but doable, simple. Something meditative about eating two or three, accumulating the remains in a pile.

I had a student who couldn't stand the smell of oranges in the classroom. They handed them out in jail, he said. To eat the fruit, then to use the peels to freshen the air in the cells.

2 Feb '16 06:36:34 PM

'… because he lays claim to anything and everything, there is the great risk that the sophist will scramble the selection and pervert the judgment.'

2 Feb '16 06:26:00 PM

'… keeps me writing…': a writer's existence, worried and worrying, worried and worrier, condensed into a drop of grammar.

2 Feb '16 12:18:51 AM

'Disputes do not break out (among mathematicians, say) over the question of whether or not a rule has been followed. People don't come to blows over it, for example.'

1 Feb '16 09:15:20 PM

Mulhall reads each of his authors—Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Kierkegaard—in Inheritance and Originality in multiple works, permitting in each case some recognition of a moment of continuation or renewal, subtending a view of thinking 'as at once both new and renewed', or of 'the necessary situatedness of any philosophical originality'. But this recognition's dependence, in each case, on the existence of multiple, separate works (sometimes not even finished ones, as in Wittgenstein's case)—on books—suggests that 'thought's renewal' is itself a philosophical narrative or myth laid over a more material, practical fact: that it is in, around, with, through, reading in its relation to everyday life that philosophy is fundamentally being situated. 'Go on', 'next', 'new', 'renew', 'continue', are categories to be understood relative to books and their individuation.