1965 review of Benardete’s Infinity


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C. W. Kilmister (1965). Review of Jose A. Bernadette ‘Infinity: An Essay in Metaphysics’ Philosophy, 40, pp 262-263.

The paragraph above shares a structural similarity to this discussion: Continue reading

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Philosophers: “long on promise, short on performance”


The first few paragraphs of Jose Benardete’s 1964 book, Infinity: An Essay in Metaphysics, seems rather apropos these days:

EVER since Hume and Kant, and now with Wittgenstein, the credentials of the metaphysician have been subjected to the severest scrutiny, and found wanting. One is almost tempted to liken the metaphysical ascent to the fabulous Indian rope-trick, one end suspended in midair, the other lost in the clouds. Houdini is reported to have said that, though he had often met people who had met people who had seen the Indian rope-trick, despite all his extensive inquiries he had never succeeded in meeting anyone who had seen the Indian rope-trick. Continue reading

Wait, Simon Critchley Is Kind of A Dick? Can’t Be.


UPDATE: I was going to add this to the comments but they are getting a bit out of control. Here is the gist of my position:

1) The dude was involved in the process – I don’t care how he came to be involved, but his involvement happened and it was accepted by the parties involved. No one just wanders off the street into this. Sure, maybe there were some issues – don’t care. The fact of involvement is established.

2) The dude got no mention in the book at all. We can argue the finer points of what does and does not constitute editorship – everyone knows high ranking folks don’t do shit on edited volumes, but still get listed at the top of the bill so books can sell – but the final fact remains – his name is nowhere in the final book.

I (and two other students at the time) helped my adviser edit a volume when in grad school. I helped him finish the last part of the introduction. Should I have been included as an editor? No. But he did generously acknowledged my help in the Acknowledgements section. If he didn’t, I would have survived but I would have been pretty annoyed.

To sum: if someone’s involved in your project and negotiates a contract on your behalf, don’t be a dick, even if things go sour later, mention the dude in your Acknowledgement. Period.

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Read this story and weep, comrades!

I wrote to Simon about this and let him know how much work I put into securing the contract for him. The next day I received a single sentence email from him stating the following: either you accept the new amendments or else I take everything and leave. I wrote back and asked him if he understood how many months of intense work I put into the project and he responded by letting me know that he would, of course, detail my work in the acknowledgements section. While I was still a little bitter, I nonetheless thought that this was better than nothing. At least I would receive a little bit of credit for my work.

I received a copy of the book today and my name is nowhere to be found.

Lesson: Volunteering your labor to help others is overrated, especially when academic egos are involved. Beware!