Maimon Reading Group (Summer 2010)

If you are interested in participating in the conference (August 19th, 2010) dedicated to Maimon’s Essay, please see the announcement.

The dates below will have links to the posts dedicated to the discussed reading sections as the reading goes on. Click on the chapter or a rejoinder to see the post and the comments.

Participation is open to anyone interested. If you post something on the related subject matter on your blog, please send us a link and we’ll post it here as well.

6/7Why Maimon? Preliminary Issues: (by Shahar Ozeri and Mikhail Emelianov, with a Rejoinder by Bryan Carr and a Bibliographical Aside by Jon Cogburn).

[A review of the English translation can be found here.]

[A copy of Maimon’s short essay “The Philosophical Language-Confusion” is posted here.]


6/14 – Chapter 1(11-18): Matter, Form of Cognition, Form of Sensibility – (by Mikhail Emelianov, with a Rejoinder by Shahar Ozeri).

[Some quick responses by Mikhail Emelianov]

[A digression on Kant’s Transcendental Deduction by Mikhail Emelianov]

[An extended comment by Nick Midgley]

[An essay by Gideon Freudenthal, “Definition and Construction: Salomon Maimon’s Philosophy of Geometry” (warning, large PDF) linked to by Nick Midgley]

[If anyone is interested in looking at Maimon’s Logic, here it is in German – PDF]


6/21 – Chapter 2 (19-43): Sensibility, Imagination, Understanding – (by Jon Cogburn, with a Rejoinder by Mikhail Emelianov)

[Jeffrey Bell‘s reaction to Chapter 2 summary – “Thresholds of Consciousness: Leibniz-Maimon-Deleuze“]


6/28Chapters 3 & Chapter 4 (44-55): Ideas of Understanding / Subject and Predicate – The Determinable and the Determination – (by Nick Midgley)


7/5 – Chapters 5 & Chapter 6 (56-67): Thing, Possible, Necessary, Ground, Consequence / Identity, Difference, Opposition, Reality, Logical and Transcendental Negation – (by Corey McCall, with a Rejoinder by Mikhail Emelianov).

[a post “What is it like to be an object? Hume and Maïmon” by Jeffrey Bell]


7/12 – Chapters 7 & 8 (68-79): Magnitude / Alteration, Change – (by Utisz, with a Rejoinder to chapter 7 by Mikhail Emelianov)


7/19 – Chapter 9 (by Utisz) & Chapter 10 (by Mikhail Emelianov) (80-89): Truth / Materialism, Idealism.


PS. Some earlier links to posts related to this event are here.

Academia As Commons

I received this in one of the edu-factory email updates (full text and downloadalbe pdf here).  Now, I don’t really know if say, philosophical blogging, is going to amount to a sea-change within the discipline that many insist upon, but this article about open access technology and higher ed is interesting.

Academia as a Commons: How open technologies can help higher education expand collaboration, innovation and public access to knowledge.

By David Bollier

(David Bollier has been the Croxton Lecturer at Amherst College for the past semester, teaching a course, “The Rise of the Commons.” Below are remarks that he delivered at the Robert Frost Library on April 26, 2010).

I realize that any mention of digital technologies and copyright law can induce a certain mental stupor among many people. The topic is rife with many complicated legal and technical issues. But I believe that we commoners have too much at stake to leave copyright law to the lawyers and the Internet to the techies.

The very mission and identity of academia is implicated in the future of digital technologies, the Internet and copyright law. At stake is the ability of colleges and universities to act as inter-generational stewards of knowledge? to assure that their own scholarly output is freely accessible and usable?. to curate knowledge in better ways and to disseminate it as broadly as possible and to foster innovative research and learning.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a messy interregnum between the age of centralized mass media dinosaurs and the distributed, open, participatory platforms of the Internet. We are caught in a political and cultural morass filled with constant disruption, confusion, angst and uncertainty. There is one thing that I am certain of, however: This is the time to seize the initiative. Rarely have the forces for progressive change in education had such wide, inviting openings. Continue reading

College Kids Are Jerks: A Study.

Instead of curing cancer or doing whatever it is sciences are supposed to be doing, we get this groundbreaking study result – apparently, sit down now, this will blow your minds, college kids are lacking in empathy and are jerks:

FRIDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) — A three-decade analysis of prior research reveals that American college students are not quite as empathetic as they used to be.

“We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000,” co-author Sara Konrath, a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, said in a news release. “College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

Konrath and her colleagues presented their findings this week in Boston at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science.

These efforts to study empathy as though it was a chemical element are quite comical to me. I wonder if someone is working on a precise instrument to measure it – empathometer – and whether this technology could be used to assess, for example, full-of-himself-ness? “The levels of hubris are at their highest this morning, so avoid your colleagues at all cost, unless you want to hear another tirade about how their book or essay are really the best thing that ever happened.” Doesn’t early live record by Tom Waits have something about this “emotional weather forecast”?

Subprime Crisis of Student Debt

An interesting NY Times article, “Placing the Blame as Students are buried in Debt,” about student loans and financing education, given some of the recent discussions here as well as over at Ktistmatics:

So in an eerie echo of themortgage crisis, tens of thousands of people like Ms. Munna are facing a reckoning. They and their families made borrowing decisions based more on emotion than reason, much as subprime borrowers assumed the value of their houses would always go up.

Meanwhile, universities like N.Y.U. enrolled students without asking many questions about whether they could afford a $50,000 annual tuition bill. Then the colleges introduced the students to lenders who underwrote big loans without any idea of what the students might earn someday — just like the mortgage lenders who didn’t ask borrowers to verify their incomes. Continue reading

Speaking of Difficult Career Choices.

Here’s an interesting story:

Thomas Gurrath, est un professeur allemand de 29 ans, diplômé de philosophie, non fumeur et végétarien. Il vient d’être licencié de son établissement scolaire de Stuttgart : en cause, ses activités musicales privées.

Thomas Gurrath, professeur de philosophie et d’éthique à Stuttgart est aussi chanteur et guitariste du groupe de death metal Big Ball dont les clips trash à tendance pornographique sont consultables sur YouTube. Ses élèves ont découvert avec intérêt la vie privée de leur professeur. L’intérêt n’était pas le même aux yeux des parents qui ont aussitôt fait pression sur la direction du lycée Hegel de Stuttgart-Vaihingen pour licencier cet enseignant.

Le souvenir douloureux de la fusillade du lycée de Winnenden, ville proche de Stuttgart, a appuyé la décision de l’établissement scalaire. Thomas Gurrath est sommé de choisir entre son emploi de professeur de philosophie et son activité de chanteur death metal. L’enseignant a opté pour la seconde option et envisage une action en justice contre son employeur.

To rock or not to rock?

An Advice Post

I think that it’s high time we here at Perverse Egalitarianism offer our own advice for graduate students.  To that end, I’m posting last week’s New Yorker cover as a sort of carrot on the one hand, and as a little dose of “the Real” (I capitalized it so everyone can know that I’ve opened a book by either Zizek or Lacan!) on the other.  Keep on. Keep on.  (I do fear that this image is disturbingly true, however.)

Interesting Critique of the Critique of Correlationism

I read through Markus Gabriel’s essay, “The Mythological Being of Reflection” and was reminded of something I quickly posted a few months ago, “Should Philosophers just wear Labcoats?” I was avoiding grading a stack of papers and found myself quickly purusing Rorty’s Objectivity, Relativism and Truth:

…any academic discipline which wants a place at the trough, but is unable to offer the predictions and the technology provided by the natural sciences, must either pretend to imitate science or find some way of obtaining “cognitive” status without the necessity of discovering facts (35). Continue reading