CFP: Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash


An interesting CFP:

Philosophical Investigation of the  Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud and Midrash

The Hebrew Bible occupies an anomalous position on the contemporary academic landscape. The field of biblical studies produces a steady stream of works on the compositional history, philology, and literary character of the biblical texts. But the ideas that find expression in the Hebrew Scriptures—the metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy of the biblical authors—have seldom been explored by the field of biblical studies in a systematic fashion. At the same time, philosophers, political theorists, and historians of ideas, who see the study of ideas as the principal interest of their work, tend to assume that the biblical texts fall outside the scope of their disciplines. The result is that despite general agreement that the Bible has had an unparalleled significance in the history of the West, its ideas have remained, until recently, largely beyond the reach of sustained academic investigation. Continue reading

Kierkegaard (and the APA)


I read this and couldn’t help but think of this year’s Eastern APA meeting.  However, it’s probably better to be fair and simply substitute ‘academics’ for ‘busy man of affairs.’

Of all the ridiculous things it seems to me the most ridiculous is to be a busy man of affairs, prompt to meals and to work… Who could not help laughing at these hustlers? What do they accomplish? Are they not like the housewife, when her house was on fire, who in her excitement saved the fire-extinguisher? What more do they save from the great fire of life?” (Either/Or)

Advice…


Now here’s some advice that’s actually useful:

You probably associate fads with fashion and junior high school, but fads are very much a part of modern academic culture. Whole disciplines and sub-disciplines rise and fall in popularity, as do certain ideas and personalities, the influence of which will often cross disciplinary boundaries. The pernicious effects of this faddishness are most often felt by those who study something that is out-of-fashion at the time they enter the job market. The most savvy (if un-idealistic) graduate students will choose their programs of study and dissertation topics with an eye to what is fashionable. Just hope that your choice is still fashionable a decade hence.

via 100 reasons not to go to graduate school.

 

A sincere question (about Meillassoux)


I raised this question on Twitter yesterday, and I’m still curious: Does Quentin Meillassoux represent such a sea-change in philosophy he needs a book introducing his, er, one book, and handful of articles? Really, I’m not being sarcastic or snarky, but am asking this question in good faith because I’m genuinely perplexed.  Here’s the blurb:

…a unique study of the fastest-rising star in French philosophy since Derrida in the 1960s: Meillassoux. He discusses a broad range of his work, which includes After Finitude, and some of his remarkable yet unpublished work, such as L’Inexistence Divine, all of which assure his prominent position in the London-based speculative realism movement. Continue reading

Nine Worthies


I came across a medieval tradition of “Nine Worthies” and the three from the Classical period are Hector, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. I have to say I’m puzzled by why Hector is one of the figures? Is it because of Aeneas and the Roman connection?

Two Cultures, today…


I was led to a discussion with Quentin Meillassoux (via Fabio at Hypertiling) wherein this passage caught my eye:

…the difficulty is to have the culture of the problem. People think that to be intelligent is to say there is no problem. But what is rare is a philosopher who tries to work in the direction of amazement, at what is right under their nose.

I’m certainly sympathetic with the final sentence, in fact I’d even go so far as to say I agree with Meillassoux.  However, the reference to the “culture of the problem” and the italicized sentence above caused me to raise my eyebrows.  Generally, this is the standard critique of  ‘analytic’ philosophy, isn’t it?  e.g. ‘they’ spend all their time coming up with counter-examples to undermine whatever claim is under their nose (this of course is something some have equated with ‘sneering’ or ‘trumpery’–yawn). A while back I chanced upon a comment by Rogers Albritton, which is probably what Meillassoux should have said instead of correlating attempts at dismantling theory with intelligence: Continue reading

Annals of Bad Faith: “Bush on Bush”


NY Times review of Bush’s Decision Points:

Doubts arise about the depth of Bush’s principles in part because he so often clung to them even as he violated them. A typical Bush mind change goes like this: (1) I have always believed deeply that X. But (2) in this case X would cause vast human suffering or higher taxes or some other terrible tragedy that I couldn’t, as president, allow. Therefore (3) I will abandon X on this occasion. But (4) I still believe deeply that X.

Bush claims to have been the first president to really get tough on terrorism. “My decision” to invade Afghanistan “was a departure from America’s policies over the past two decades.” President Reagan withdrew American forces from Lebanon after Hezbollah bombed our Marine barracks there. President Clinton withdrew from Somalia when warlords shot down an American helicopter. He doesn’t mention his own father’s decision to stop the Persian Gulf war of 1991 at the Kuwait-Iraq border rather than proceed to Baghdad and take Saddam Hussein down. Bush concludes: “Terrorists had interpreted our lack of a serious response as a sign of weakness. . . . I was determined to change that impression.” So he made a serious response.  A pugnacious determination to be taken seriously is about half an inch below the surface of “Decision Points.” It’s poignant that even as a former two-term president, Bush should feel the need to strut the way he does. The book is full of maxims and advice. “I prided myself on my ability to make crisp and effective decisions,”