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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2 Jun '04 09:45:46 AM

Over the weekend I met and ate with Josephine, a long-time reader whose generosity of feeling always takes me by surprise: take, for example, the reason for her trip here by plane, a plan to show up by surprise at another down friend's door and help pick her up a little. We had Japanese at a small and strangely busy place in St. Paul's deserted downtown.

Josephine asked if I felt that working on papers for my courses and exam wastes time and effort that could have gone toward projects that I want to do for myself. The answer is a sad one.

1 Jun '04 08:24:49 AM

'Can I be said to have observed that I and other people can go around with our eyes open and not bump into things and that we can't do this with our eyes closed?'

31 May '04 09:10:09 AM

Often my attempts to write are overwhelmed by my compulsions to write: driven by the latter to sit down for the former, I end up thinking so much more about having to write, needing to write, that every thought but that of the outstanding (as in a debt) work to be done is drowned out.

31 May '04 04:42:51 AM

'On the one hand, the beginning of the Logic does not establish anything particularly controversial: it shows that our judgments about "being" and "nothing" require us to speak of something as coming-to-be or passing-away, assertions that even Hegel himself admits are only "superficial." On the other hand, the beginning sections of the "Doctrine of Being" serve to bring out Hegel's main point: what might look like a "reflective judgment," in the sense of being a comparison between two items, turns out to be not a comparison of things at all but a normative ascription of entitlement, and, for that entitlement to work, it turns out that something else must be brought normatively into play (or must be revealed to be already normatively in play in it). In some ways, this is the point of the Logic as a whole: to say that we know something is not to compare two "things" at all (as we seemingly do when we match up, for example, a photograph with what it is about); it is rather to make a normative ascription, to say that the person making the claim is entitled to the claim. That is, our ascriptions of knowledge are not comparisons of any kind of subjective state with something non-subjective but instead are moves within a social space structured by responsibilities, entitlements, attributions, and the undertakings of commitments.'

30 May '04 09:03:28 PM

'Brass Monkey' is a lot better.

29 May '04 04:25:07 PM

It occurs to me (well after the point at which it should have) that my introduction to Emily Dickinson was with the 'fixed' versions of her poems, and that this may have had something to do with (in my eyes) her lameness - although I can think of plenty of other reasons I may have once thought the same of her. (Just the musty nineteenth-century air would probably be sufficient, though.)

29 May '04 08:39:57 AM

'women have always fussed with their hair'

29 May '04 01:27:10 AM

'Paul Revere' is a terrible party song.

27 May '04 08:32:07 AM

I said I wanted to write more about depression (see here, here, and here, for example), but between not being able to write, and not knowing how to extract anything significant from my grayer days, little has happened.

I often think about a pact of some sort, I think because I want someone to be accountable to, but also because I want someone to compete against. I am not sure how that might be compatible with accountability; it seems to make things harder. Or maybe it just makes it harder to find someone.