An important contribution to the foundations of probability theory, statistics and statistical physics has been made by E. T. Jaynes. The recent publication of his collected works provides an appropriate opportunity to attempt an assessment of this contribution. * Review of E. T. JAYNES (1983): Papers on Probability, Statistics and Statistical Physics. Edited by R. D. Rosenkrantz. D. Reidel Publishing Company. US $49.50. Pp. xxiv + 434. We are grateful to Harvey Brown, Kenneth Denbigh, Udi Makov and Oliver Penrose for (...) their valuable criticisms of this paper. (shrink)
Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy provides in one volume the major writings from nearly 2,500 years of political and moral philosophy. The most comprehensive collection of its kind, it moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero) through medieval views (Augustine, Aquinas) to modern perspectives (Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Adam Smith, Kant). It includes major nineteenth-century thinkers (Hegel, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche) as well as twentieth-century theorists (Rawls, Nozick, Nagel, Foucault, Habermas, Nussbaum). Also included are numerous essays from (...) The Federalist Papers and a variety of notable documents and addresses, among them Pericles' Funeral Oration, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and speeches by Edmund Burke, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Dewey, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The readings are substantial or complete texts, not fragments. An especially valuable feature of this volume is that the works of each author are introduced with a substantive and engaging essay by a leading contemporary authority. These introductions include Richard Kraut on Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Cicero; Paul J. Weithman on Augustine and Aquinas; Roger D. Masters on Machiavelli; Jean Hampton on Hobbes; Steven B. Smith on Spinoza and Hegel; A. John Simmons on Locke; Joshua Cohen on Rousseau and Rawls; Donald W. Livingston on Hume; Charles L. Griswold, Jr., on Smith; Bernard E. Brown on Hamilton and Madison; Jeremy Waldron on Bentham and Mill; Paul Guyer on Kant; Richard Miller on Marx and Engels; Richard Schacht on Nietzsche; Thomas Christiano on Nozick; John Deigh on Nagel; Thomas A. McCarthy on Foucault and Habermas; and Eva Feder Kittay on Nussbaum. Offering unprecedented breadth of coverage, Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy is an ideal text for courses in social and political philosophy, moral philosophy, or surveys in Western civilization. (shrink)
Ideal for survey courses in social and political philosophy, this volume is a substantially abridged and slightly altered version of Steven M. Cahn's Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy (OUP, 2001). Offering coverage from antiquity to the present, Political Philosophy: The Essential Texts is a historically organized collection of the most significant works from nearly 2,500 years of political philosophy. It moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle) through the medieval period (Aquinas) to modern perspectives (Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Adam (...) Smith, Hamilton and Madison, Kant). The book includes work from major nineteenth-century thinkers (Hegel, Marx and Engels, Mill) and twentieth-century theorists (Rawls, Nozick, Foucault, Habermas, Nussbaum) and also presents a variety of notable documents and addresses, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. The readings are substantial or complete texts, not fragments. An especially valuable feature of this volume is that the works of each author are introduced with an engaging essay by a leading contemporary authority. These introductions include Richard Kraut on Plato and Aristotle; Paul J. Weithman on Aquinas; Roger D. Masters on Machiavelli; Jean Hampton on Hobbes; A. John Simmons on Locke; Joshua Cohen on Rousseau and Rawls; Donald W. Livingston on Hume; Charles L. Griswold, Jr., on Adam Smith; Bernard E. Brown on Hamilton and Madison; Paul Guyer on Kant; Steven B. Smith on Hegel; Richard Miller on Marx and Engels; Jeremy Waldron on Mill; Thomas Christiano on Nozick; Thomas A. McCarthy on Foucault and Habermas; and Eva Feder Kittay on Nussbaum. (shrink)
For individuals with synaesthesia, stimuli in one sensory modality elicit anomalous experiences in another modality. For example, the sound of a particular piano note may be 'seen' as a unique colour, or the taste of a familiar food may be 'felt' as a distinct bodily sensation. We report a study of 192 adult synaesthetes, in which we administered a structured questionnaire to determine the relative frequency and characteristics of different types of synaesthetic experience. Our data suggest the prevalence of synaesthesia (...) in the adult population is approximately 1 in 1150 females and 1 in 7150 males. The incidence of left-handedness in our sample was within the normal range, contrary to previous claims. We did, however, find that synaesthetes are more likely to be involved in artistic pursuits, consistent with anecdotal reports. We also examined responses from a subset of 150 synaesthetes for whom letters, digits and words induce colour experiences ('lexical-coiour' synaesthesia). There was a striking consistency in the colours induced by certain letters and digits in these individuals. For example, 'R' elicited red for 36% of the sample, 'Y' elicited yellow for 45%, and 'D' elicited brown for 47%. similar trends were apparent for a group of non-synaesthetic controls who were asked to associate colours with letters and digits. Based on these findings, we suggest that the development of lexical-colour synaesthesia in many cases incorporates early learning experiences common to all individuals. Moreover, many of our synaesthetes experienced colours only for days of the week, letters or digits, suggesting that inducers that are part of a conventional sequence (e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...; A, B, C...; 1, 2, 3...) may be particularly important in the development of synaesthetic inducer-colour pairs. We speculate that the learning of such sequences during an early critical period determines the particular pattern of lexical-colour links, and that this pattern then generalises to other words. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Demonstrative noun phrases (e.g. this; that guy over there ) are intimately connected to the context of use in that their reference is determined by demonstrations and/or the speaker's intentions. The semantics of demonstratives therefore has important implications not only for theories of reference, but for questions about how information from the context interacts with formal semantics. First treated by Kaplan as directly referential , demonstratives have recently been analyzed as quantifiers by King, and the choice between these two approaches (...) is a matter of ongoing controversy. Meanwhile, linguists and psychologists working from a variety of perspectives have gathered a wealth of data on the form, meaning, and use of demonstratives in many languages. Demonstratives thus provide a fruitful topic for graduate study for two reasons. On the one hand, they serve as an entry point to foundational issues in reference and the semantics–pragmatics interface. On the other hand, they are an especially promising starting point for interdisciplinary research, which brings the results of linguistics and related fields to bear on the philosophy of language. Author Recommends Kaplan, David. 'Demonstratives.' 1977. Themes from Kaplan . Ed. J. Almong, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. 481–563. The seminal work on the semantics of demonstratives and indexicals, such as I, here , and now . Kaplan introduces a distinction between content (which maps from possible circumstances to extensions) and character (which maps from possible contexts to contents). He argues that demonstratives and indexicals are directly referential : given a possible context, their character fixes their extension. Kaplan, David. 'Afterthoughts.' Themes from Kaplan . Ed. J. Almong, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. 565–614. An elaboration on the theory developed in 'Demonstratives.' Kaplan considers the connection between direct reference and rigid designation; raises the issue of whether demonstratives depend on demonstrations or speaker intentions; and discusses implications of the analysis for formal semantics and for epistemology. King, Jeffrey C. Complex Demonstratives . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. In perhaps the most influential challenge to date to the direct reference theory of demonstratives, King argues that complex demonstratives (i.e. demonstrative determiners with nominal complements) are best analyzed as quantifiers. Braun, David. 'Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 57–99. This recent Kaplanian analysis of complex demonstratives shows the 'state of the art' of direct reference approaches and responds to some of the objections to such approaches raised by King. Elbourne, Paul. 'Demonstratives as Individual Concepts.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 409–466. The most recent analysis of demonstratives as individual concepts, contrasting with both the direct reference and quantificational approaches. Fillmore, Charles. Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. In this collection of lectures, originally delivered in 1971, Fillmore considers demonstratives and indexical expressions in many languages to describe the types of information about the context (e.g. locations in space, time, and discourse) that are encoded in natural language. Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg, and Ron Zacharski. 'Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.' Language 69 (1993): 274–307. Perhaps the most detailed pragmatic alternative to formal semantic theories of demonstratives and other referring expressions. The authors argue that demonstratives are best described as imposing a condition of use in which the referent of the demonstrative has a certain level of salience for the interlocutors. Online Materials http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/indexicals/ Indexicals (David Braun) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reference/ Reference (Marga Reimer) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rigid-designators/ Rigid designators (Joseph LaPorte) http://philpapers.org/browse/indexicals-and-demonstratives/ Online bibliography of papers on indexicals and demonstratives Sample Syllabus The following syllabus can be used in entirety for a survey course on demonstratives; in addition, each of the three units is self-contained and can be used alone. Unit 1: Demonstratives and Indexicality Week 1: Indexicals 1. Kaplan, Demonstratives 2. Kaplan, Afterthoughts Week 2: Issues for Indexical Reference 1. Reimer, Marga. 'Do Demonstrations Have Semantic Significance?' Analysis 51 (1991): 177–83. 2. Bach, Kent. 'Intentions and Demonstrations.' Analysis 52 (1992): 140–46. 3. Nunberg, Geoffrey. 'Indexicality and Deixis.' Linguistics and Philosophy 16.1 (1993): 1–43. Week 3: Optional detour: Monsters 1. Schlenker, Philippe. 'A Plea for Monsters.' Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (2003): 29-120. Week 4: Demonstratives as Quantifiers 1. King. Complex Demonstratives , chapters 1–3. Week 5: Indexical and Non-Indexical Demonstratives 1. Braun, David. 'Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 57–99. Optional additional reading 2. Roberts, Craige. 'Demonstratives as Definites.' Information Sharing . Ed. Kees van Deemter and Roger Kibble. Stanford, CA: CSLI Press, 2002. 3. Wolter, Lynsey. 'That's That: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases.' Diss. University of California, Santa Cruz, 2006, chapters 2–3. 4. Elbourne, Paul. 'Demonstratives as Individual Concepts.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 409–66. Unit 2: Demonstratives, Proximity, Salience Week 6: Demonstratives and Proximity 1. Fillmore, Charles. 'Deixis I.' in Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. 59–76. 2. Fillmore, Charles. 'Deixis II.' in Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. 103–26. Optional additional reading 3. Prince, Ellen. 'On the Inferencing of Indefinite- this NPs.' Elements of Discourse Understanding . Ed. Aravind K. Joshi, Bonnie L. Weber, and Ivan A. Sag. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. 231–50. Week 7: Demonstratives and Salience 1. Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg, and Ron Zacharski. 'Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.' Language 69 (1993): 274–307. Optional additional reading 2. Brown-Schmidt, Sarah, Donna K. Byron, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. 'Beyond Salience: Interpretation of Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns.' Journal of Memory and Language 53 (2005): 292–313. Note: readers new to psycholinguistics should concentrate on the Introduction. Unit 3: Demonstratives and Copular Sentences Week 8: Background on the Typology of Copular Sentences 1. Higgins, F. Roger. 'The Pseudo-Cleft Construction in English.' Diss. MIT, 1973, chapter 5. Week 9: Demonstratives in Copular Sentences 1. Mikkelsen, Line. 'Specifying Who: On the Structure, Meaning, and Use of Specificational Copular Clauses.' Diss. University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004, chapter 8.2 (Truncated Clefts). 2. Heller, Daphna and Lynsey Wolter. ' That is Rosa : Identificational Sentences as Intensional Predication.' Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 12 . Ed. Atle Grønn. Oslo: Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo, 2008. Week 10: Demonstratives, Copular Sentences, Modals 1. Birner, Betty J., Jeffrey P. Kaplan, and Gregory Ward. 'Functional Compositionality and the Interaction of Discourse Constraints.' Language 83 (2007): 317–43. Focus Questions 1. Which of the following expressions are indexicals? Which are demonstratives? Why? (a) a pencil (b) the pencil (c) this pencil (d) Mary Smith (e) Mary's pencil (f ) my pencil (g) we (h) you (i) here (j) there (k) now (l) then 2. Do demonstratives ever interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings? If so, under what circumstances? 3. (a) If demonstratives (sometimes or always) interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings, to what extent can a direct reference theory of demonstratives be maintained? (b) If demonstratives never interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings, to what extent can a quantificational theory of demonstratives be maintained? 4. What kind of thing is a demonstration? Is it a pointing gesture? An indication of the speaker's focus of attention? Something more abstract? 5. What information do English demonstratives convey about proximity? What is 'proximity'– physical closeness to the speaker, or something more abstract? What is the status of this information: is it entailed, presupposed, or something else? 6. Do demonstratives that are accompanied by a physical gesture of demonstration have the same semantic value as anaphoric demonstratives, such as that in (a)? Why or why not? (a) John made a peanut butter sandwich and ate it quickly. Next he took an apple from the fridge. He ate that more slowly. (shrink)
Method in Ancient Philosophy brings together fifteen new, specially written essays by leading scholars on a broad subject of central importance. The ancient Greeks recognized that different forms of human activity are guided by different methods of reasoning; examination of how they reasoned, and how they thought about their own reasoning, helps us to see how they came to hold the views they did, and how our own methods of enquiry have developed under their influence. Contributors include Terence Irwin, Patricia (...) Curd, Ian Mueller, Robert Bolton, A.A. Long, Gail Fine, Constance C. Meinwald, Lesley Brown, Gisela Striker, C.D.C. Reeve, Charlotte Witt, Richard Kraut, Sarah Broadie, James Allen, and G.E.R. Lloyd. (shrink)
Where exactly should we place Adam Smith in the cannon of classical liberalism? Smith's advocacy of free market economics and defence of religious liberty in The Wealth of Nations suffice for including him somewhere in that tradition.1 The nature and extent of Smith's liberalism, however, remain up for debate. One recent trend has been to characterise Smith as a proponent of social liberalism. This includes those like Stephen Darwall, Samuel Fleischacker and Charles Griswold, who have drawn attention to a kind (...) of descriptive moral egalitarianism in Smith.2 Humans, Smith seems to hold, are naturally disposed to valuing one another under a conception of equality. But that is not all these scholars suggest. They have also hinted at something more contentious ? the idea that, according to Smith, we value one another in a way resonant with contemporary notions of human dignity, conceived as the inherent value of persons grounding certain rights to, or restrictions on, treatment by others.3 In saying so, these scholars have hit upon something remarkable. However, I also think their arguments in this respect are both indirect and incomplete. Consequently, the full import of Smith's view remains obscure. This essay aims to bring some clarity. 1I intend this historically. I grant there are good reasons to be sceptical about the ultimate fate of liberty in capitalist society (e.g. Marxist reasons and reasons based on various postmodern critiques of enlightenment ideology). Also, the designation ?free market? should be understood loosely, as most scholars now agree it is a mistake to identify Smith with thoroughgoing laissez-faire economics. 2Darwall, S., ?Sympathetic Liberalism: Recent Work on Adam Smith?, Philosophy Fleischacker, S., A Third Concept of Liberty (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) and On Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); and Griswold, C., Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Other major commentators holding some version of this view might include Raphael, D. D. The Impartial Spectator (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) and Vivienne Brown, Adam Smith's Discourse: Canonicity, Commerce and Conscience (London: Routledge, 1994). 3See e.g. Fleischacker (2004), 205; Darwall at 142, 156 and Griswold at 235?239. However, one must read Fleischacker carefully, for he also uses the adjectival ?dignified? to express Smith's concern with what is ?honourable? or ?respectable? about persons, which use does not obviously match up with the notion of inherent value (see e.g. p. 207). Darwall's argument includes by far the most explicit discussion of ?dignity? as I've defined it. But as Darwall's article is ostensibly a book review (albeit a substantive one that addresses three books at once, including Griswold's), it cannot be called a direct inquiry. Griswold never explicitly puts his interpretation in terms of ?dignity?, but that is clearly what he is after. Thus Darwall also reads him that way. (shrink)
Burning fossil fuel in the North American continent contributes more to the CO2 global warming problem than in any other continent. The resulting climate changes are expected to alter food production. The overall changes in temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide, insect pests, plant pathogens, and weeds associated with global warming are projected to reduce food production in North America. However, in Africa, the projected slight rise in rainfall is encouraging, especially since Africa already suffers from severe shortages of rainfall. For all (...) regions, a reduction in fossil fuel burning is vital. Adoption of sound ecological resource management, especially soil and water conservation and the prevention of deforestation, is important. Together, these steps will benefit agriculture, the environment, farmers, and society as a whole. (shrink)
This essay was written for the 1984 General Motors Intercollegiate Business Understanding Program. It consists of three sections, each responding to a separate issue posed by General Motors. The opinions expressed are not those of the General Motors management.The first section attempts to document, through the use of Harvard Business Review articles, a shift in the notion of managerial responsibility from a narrowly focused role responsibility to a more widely focused moral responsibility.
Recent criticism of inalienable-Rights doctrine is shown to be based upon the erroneous assumption that, In calling certain rights inalienable, Eighteenth-Century constitution-Writers implied that they are unconditional. S.M. Brown, Jr., D.G. Ritchie, And e.F. Carritt all reject the doctrine because the exercise or enjoyment of these rights can sometimes be justifiably denied. Provisions of bills of rights and other writings are cited to establish that their authors did not consider these rights unlimited. What they meant in declaring them inalienable is (...) that no man can voluntarily relinquish them. Consequently, The distinction frankena proposes is not needed to save traditional theory from the adverse verdict of its critics. (shrink)
What is the ontology of collective action? I have in mind three connected questions. 1. Do the truth conditions of action sentences about groups require there to be group agents over and above individual agents? 2. Is there a difference, in this connection, between action sentences about informal groups that use plural noun phrases, such as ‘We pushed the car’ and ‘The women left the party early’, and action sentences about formal or institutional groups that use singular noun phrases, such (...) as ‘The United States declared war on Japan on December 8th, 1941’ and ‘The Supreme Court ruled that segregation is unconstitutional in 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education’? 3. Under what conditions does it make sense to speak of a group doing something together, and what, if anything, is a collective action? In this paper, In the following, I argue that a) understanding action sentences about groups does not commit us to the existence of group agents per se, but only to the existence of individual agents; b) there is no difference in this regard between sentences which attribute actions to informal groups on the one hand and institutional groups on the other; c) collective action can be both intentional and unintentional; d) any random group of agents each of whom does something is also a group which does something together; e) while there is a sense in which groups per se perform no primitive collective actions, and therefore no actions at all, f) there is a sensible extension of talk of actions to groups, though it should be treated strictly speaking, like talk of group agents, as a façon de parler, for g) the only agents per se are individuals and the only actions are theirs. -/- . (shrink)
Baldwin D A (ed.) 1993 Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate. Columbia University Press, New York Brown M E, Lynn-Jones S M, Miller S E (eds.) 1995 The Perils of Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and International Security.
Since the earliest observations of dislocations, the majority of the experimental transmission electron microscope studies have focused on understanding their structural properties. However, the extensive use of heteroepitaxial growth for binary, ternary and even more complex semiconductor systems on lattice mismatched substrates has also highlighted the importance of dislocations in determining the overall electronic properties of devices. Electron energy loss spectroscopy, when used in conjunction with atomic resolution Z-contrast imaging, provides the ability to quantify changes in both composition and electronic (...) structure (and, therefore, electronic properties) that occur at dislocations in these semiconductor systems. In this paper, the principles behind atomic scale electron energy loss spectroscopy are described and work on their application to threading dislocations in GaN thin films performed over the last 3 years is reviewed. (shrink)
Boyers, R. and Orrill, R. Preface.--Rieff, P. The impoverishment of Western culture.--Rieff, P. Observations on the therapeutic.--Kolakowski, L. The psychoanalytic theory of culture.--Jones, J. Five versions of psychological man.--Cioran, E. M. Civilized man.--Jameson, F. Herbert Marcuse.--Beldoch, M. The therapeutic as narcissist.--Huizinga, J. Puerilism.--Brown, N. O. Rieff's "fellow teachers."--Nelson, B. and Wrong, D. Perspectives on the therapeutic in the context of contemporary sociology.--Sedgwick, P. Mental illness is illness.--Foucoult, M. History, discourse and discontinuity.
Introduction, by H. J. Cargas.--St. Paul and Teilhard de Chardin, by J. H. Adams.--Teilhard and Dante, by M. Gable.--Tennyson and Teilhard, by E. R. August.--Teilhard, neo-Marxism, existentialism, by M. Barthelemy-Madaule.--Whitman, Teilhard, and Jung, by R. Benoit.--C. G. Jung and Teilhard de Chardin, by N. Braybrooke.--Camus and Teilhard, by P. Rosazza.--Bonhoeffer and Teilhard, by C. M. Hegarty.--Voices of convergence: Teilhard, McLuhan, and Brown, by D. J. Leary.
Rogers, C. R. and Skinner, B. F. Some issues concerning the control of human behavior.--Broudy, H. S. Didactics, heuristics, and philetics.--Craig, R. An analysis of the psychology of moral development of Lawrence Kohlberg.--Scudder, J. R., Jr. Freedom with authority: a Buber model for teaching.--Hook, S. Some educational attitudes and poses.--Strike, K. A. Freedom, autonomy, and teaching.--Elkind, D. Piaget and Montessori.--Raywid, M. A. Irrationalism and the new reformism.--Doll, W. E., Jr. A methodology of experience: the process of inquiry.--Neff, F. C. Competency-based (...) teaching and trained fleas.--Brown, A. "What could be bad?" Some reflections on the accountability movement. (shrink)
Discrete choice experiments—selecting the best and/or worst from a set of options—are increasingly used to provide more efficient and valid measurement of attitudes or preferences than conventional methods such as Likert scales. Discrete choice data have traditionally been analyzed with random utility models that have good measurement properties but provide limited insight into cognitive processes. We extend a well-established cognitive model, which has successfully explained both choices and response times for simple decision tasks, to complex, multi-attribute discrete choice data. The (...) fits, and parameters, of the extended model for two sets of choice data (involving patient preferences for dermatology appointments, and consumer attitudes toward mobile phones) agree with those of standard choice models. The extended model also accounts for choice and response time data in a perceptual judgment task designed in a manner analogous to best–worst discrete choice experiments. We conclude that several research fields might benefit from discrete choice experiments, and that the particular accumulator-based models of decision making used in response time research can also provide process-level instantiations for random utility models. (shrink)
This introduction to the Common Knowledge symposium titled “Comparative Relativism” outlines a variety of intellectual contexts where placing the unlikely companion terms comparison and relativism in conjunction offers analytical purchase. If comparison, in the most general sense, involves the investigation of discrete contexts in order to elucidate their similarities and differences, then relativism, as a tendency, stance, or working method, usually involves the assumption that contexts exhibit, or may exhibit, radically different, incomparable, or incommensurable traits. Comparative studies are required to (...) treat their objects as alike, at least in some crucial respects; relativism indicates the limits of this practice. Jensen argues that this seeming paradox is productive, as he moves across contexts, from Lévi-Strauss's analysis of comparison as an anthropological method to Peter Galison's history of physics, and on to the anthropological, philosophical, and historical examples offered in symposium contributions by Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Marilyn Strathern, and Isabelle Stengers. Comparative relativism is understood by some to imply that relativism comes in various kinds and that these have multiple uses, functions, and effects, varying widely in different personal, historical, and institutional contexts that can be compared and contrasted. Comparative relativism is taken by others to encourage a “comparison of comparisons,” in order to relativize what different peoples—say, Western academics and Amerindian shamans—compare things “for.” Jensen concludes that what is compared and relativized in this symposium are the methods of comparison and relativization themselves. He ventures that the contributors all hope that treating these terms in juxtaposition may allow for new configurations of inquiry. (shrink)
Introduction, by R. A. Markus.--St. Augustine and Christian Platonism, by A. H. Armstrong.--Action and contemplation, by F. R. J. O'Connell.--St. Augustine on signs, by R. A. Markus.--The theory of signs in St. Augustine's De doctrina Christiana, by B. D. Jackson.--Si fallor, sum, by G. B. Matthews.--Augustine on speaking from memory, by G. B. Matthews.--The inner man, by G. B. Matthews.--On Augustine's concept of a person, by A. C. Lloyd.--Augustine on foreknowledge and free will, by W. L. Rowe.--Augustine on free will (...) and predestination, by J. M. Rist.--Time and contingency in St. Augustine, by R. Jordan.--Empiricism and Augustine's problems about time, by H. M. Lacey.--Political society, by P. R. L. Brown.--The development of Augustine's ideas on society before the Donatist controversy, by F. E. Cranz.--De Civitate Dei, XV, 2, and Augustine's idea of the Christian society, by F. E. Cranz.--Chronological table.--Note on further reading (p. -423). (shrink)
continent. 1.3 (2011): 158-170. The Fragment as a Unit of Prose Composition: An Introduction —Ben Segal The fragment, the note, the idea, the aphorism even: there are many names and as many uses for such small shards of free-floating text. Typically fragments are less works than gestures, arrows pointing in the direction a person might research, meditate on or develop. Unlike paragraphs or sentences, they do not flow directly from and into their bordering text. Instead they are independent, defined by (...) their singularity, by the white space that encases them on a page – even when they are cobbled together and marshaled into service as the contents of a book. Still, though not exceedingly common, books of fragments (or notes or what-have-yous) do exist. However they are labeled, the very aloofness of disconnected micro-texts allows them certain privileges and possibilities that a writer can employ and exploit. In such instances, the book of fragments may, almost paradoxically, gain a coherence as a singular work, all the more satisfying for its fractures. Two such books are Maggie Nelson's Bluets and Evan Lavender-Smith's From Old Notebooks . In this mini-feature, continent. is pleased to present a series of excerpts from each of these books, a selection of 'outtakes' – fragments that did not make it into the final manuscripts – from each, and short interviews with both Nelson and Lavender-Smith about the fragment as a literary device. Notes on the interviews: 1) Since this feature includes excerpts and outtakes from both Bluets and From Old Notebooks , I chose to ask both Nelson and Lavender-Smith similar questions about working with the fragment as the building-block of a larger work. This means that the questions are, for the most part, more concerned with things like form than about specific passages from the books. 2) In both interviews, I ask a question that cites The Literary Absolute . It should be noted that TLA is concerned with the fragment as developed and understood in the context of the Jena Romantics (the Schlegel brothers, Novalis, etc.), not necessarily the fragment in general. Maggie Nelson Interview: 1. "Bluet" conjures a constellation of similar words. These include Blue, Bullet, and the flower to which the word actually refers. I'm wondering if this range is intentional and if there's anything I'm leaving out. Or, more simply, can you talk a little about the title? I first got interested in the word BLUETS via the painter Joan Mitchell, about whom I’d written earlier in my book on women and the New York School. LES BLUETS is the name of one of my very favorites of all her paintings; she painted it the year I was born. Later the poet Jimmy Schuyler wrote a lovely prose poem about this painting, which I also adored, and which I’ve also written about. So the word had been in my mind for some time, as had her amazing painting (which is in several panels, so also in parts—i.e. in dialogue with questions of parts/wholes). While it was in progress, I always called BLUETS “The Blue Book.” But I knew I always wanted an eventual title that referred, however obliquely, to the book’s form. In this case, the form is notably PLURAL, as is BLUETS, which seemed right. Also, I have always pronounced BLUETS “bluettes,” which is kind of a personal joke about feminization. Like, “majorettes,” etc. It’s a joke because I think the book has a lot to do with the robustness of being a female human, so I found irony in the diminutive nature of the suffix. I also liked the fact that the word means a kind of flower, as it allowed each proposition, or whatever you might call each numbered section, to be thought of as a single flower in a bouquet. This sounds cheesy here, but I think I talk about this idea in a less cheesy way in the book itself, near the end, when I’m ruminating on its composition, and its surprising (to me) slimness, or “anemia.” 2. I know you've thought (and taught) about the fragment as a mode of writing. I'm wondering how your study of the form influences the way you use it. While writing a book, I’m influenced by things the same way I would imagine most writers are: I look for what I want to steal, then I steal it, and make my own weird stew of the goods. Often while writing I’d re-read the books by Barthes written in fragments— A Lover’s Discourse , Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes —and see what he gained from an alphabetical, somewhat random organization, and what he couldn’t do that way. I mostly read Wittgenstein, and watched how he used numbered sections to think sequentially, and to jump, in turn. I read Shonagon’s The Pillow Book , and tried to keep a pillow book about blue for some time. (It didn’t last long, as an exercise, but some of the entries made it into BLUETS.) I re-read Haneke’s Sorrow Beyond Dreams , which finally dissolves into fragments, after a fairly strong chronological narrative has taken him so far. In the course I taught on the fragment, which was somewhat after the fact of writing BLUETS, but conceived in relation to it, we studied a kind of taxonomy of fragments: the decayed fragment (Sappho); the contemporary fragment (text messages, twitter, blog posts, etc.); the modernist fragment (T.S. Eliot; fragment as mark of psychological disintegration); Freud’s fragment (dreams, slips, etc. as thruways to the unconscious; the sampled or plagiarized fragment; fragment as waste, excess, or garbage; the footnote; fragment as frame (Degas, Manet); life narrative as fragment: we can’t see the whole until we’re dead, and then we can’t see it (pathos); fragment as psychological terror (castration, King’s head); fragment as fetish, or as “organ-logic,” as pornography; fragment as metonym & synecdoche; fragment as that which is preserved, or that which remains; fragment as the unfinished or the abandoned; and so on and so forth. I think, in the back of my mind, I was aware of all these categories while writing BLUETS, and put them each into play as needed while writing. The book seems to me hyper-aware of the fragment as fetish, as catastrophe, as leftover, as sample or citation, as memory, and so on. Many of the anecdotes in the book (such as about the decay of blue objects I’ve collected, or my memory of a particularly acute shade of blue, or the recountings of dreams) perform these concepts quite directly. 3. In The Literary Absolute , Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy write that "each fragment stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached."(44) They go on to explain that the fragment is both "sub-work" (in the obvious sense of being only a small piece of the Work), but also "super-work", as it stands, complete in itself, outside the work and calls up the plural potentiality of the work. What do you make of this idea and how do you understand the relation of the fragment to the Work as a whole? I like the idea of the “super-work,” the fragment that indicates the whole it has been excised from. However, on a concrete level, I don’t think that’s really true of BLUETS. Some of the propositions are very much in dialogue with the ones that have come before it, acting as rebuffs, or conclusions, or swerves. To detect their motion, one has to already be in the car. Often they are as short as: “ Disavowal , says the silence,” or “As if we could scrape the color off the iris and still see,” or “In any case, I am no longer counting the days.” These don’t make much sense outside of their context. Although, now that I’ve isolated just these few, I can see that they might gesture to the whole—but I think you’d have to know what the whole was, for the exercise to feel full. I am interested, however, in the notion of collecting, of a collection—and how to know when to stop, when you’ve amassed enough. While writing BLUETS, I thought of Joseph Cornell as the ultimate teacher in this respect: he collected enormous amounts of junk, he “hunted” for treasures all over the city, but each box or collage or even film has a certain minimalism, each feels as if it’s been distilled to become exactly as specific as it should be. In other words, the composition emanates from the piles of junk left in its wake, but it in itself becomes perfect. It may be unfashionable, but I’m interested in this sense of perfection. 3b. Fragments collected together become a whole that gestures to dozens of other, potential wholes. How, if at all, do you think about your book in relation to the preservation of potentiality? I have to admit, I don’t entirely understand this question. Preservation of potentiality—that’s what I don’t quite understand. I will say this, though: writing a book, especially a book of this kind (i.e. I’d wanted to write a book on the color blue for my whole life), has a certain pain in it—the pain of manifestation. Every word that gets set down, every decision made—form, content, sentence structure, image—begins to define a work that previously was a kind of infinitely indeterminate mental cloud, or beautifully diffuse physical sensation. As the book comes into being, I’m often thinking, “this is it? this is all it’s going to be?” For me, I think it’s this feeling, rather than that of not having anything to say, or a terror of the blank page, that can bring a sort of writer’s block. Think of Lily Briscoe at the end of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse —after her long reverie, she eventually must make the mark on the canvas. She brings the brush down, then sighs: “There, I have had my vision.” To have made the mark, to have manifested the vision, brings with it a certain satisfaction, a certain euphoria and relief—but also a brand of pathos. Of all the possible books, you wrote this book. Of all the possible brush strokes, you made this one. How very strange! The good news is, you’re usually so tired when you finish a book that you don’t care anymore—you’re just happy it’s finished, and that you can move on. And if you’re lucky, you may eventually marvel at the specificity of the result, feel the magic and largesse in its specificity, in its singularity. I feel this way about BLUETS. 4. Can you talk a little about the way traditional prose standbys like character and narrative develop out of distinct and disconnected fragments? I feel like this definitely happens in Bluets as well as other texts that use a similar approach. BLUETS always had a specific set of dramatic personae, and also a sort of narrative arc. It begins by saying, “Suppose I were to begin,” which places the whole book, at least for me, in the realm of the novelistic, or at least the speculative. That freedom was important to me while writing. I have a lot of issues, for lack of a better word, with narrative, but I also have no problem with trying to structure a work so that it acts as a page-turner. I wanted there to be a lot of momentum in this book, as well as plenty of opportunities for eddying out into cul-de-sacs. That was the tension—how to make some chains of propositions that pull you forward, and then allow for some to bring you so far afield that you might find yourself wondering, “why are we talking about this here?” before remembering how you got there, and why it might matter. While some of the fragments may seem disconnected or distinct, the truth is that they each had to fall into one the book’s major categories, which included love, language, sex, divinity, alcohol, pain, death, and problems of veracity/perception. If I truly couldn’t tether an anecdote or factoid to the thread, it eventually had to go. I also spaced out the distinct threads fairly methodically, and had the characters reappear at a fairly regular rate. There’s even a kind of “where are they now?” section at the end, announced by my injured friend’s letter to her friends, in which she tells them how her spinal cord injury has affected her life, and how she feels today. I’m sure one could write a book of very disconnected fragments that didn’t so overtly weave into a whole—I’ve read many of them—but it’s also true that the mind will always work overtime to put disparate things together; the Surrealists mined that tendency for all it was worth. I think that’s a cool approach, to let the reader make the connections, but it’s important to me as a writer to make sure that the connections, when made, actually point toward what I want to be pointing at, rather than just reflecting the human brain’s capacity to make a bridge. 5. To what extent does how you label your texts matter? What is the difference between notes, fragments, bluets, and aphorisms? Basically, is taxonomy important? Taxonomy, hmm. At some point I was very compelled by issues of taxonomy, but over the years I’ve grown less interested in the question, as the notion of the “hybrid” or the “cross-genre” seems to have become its own kind of jargon or pitch. I got very excited some time ago when I was trying to subtitle my book JANE, and I came across Brian Evenson’s book DARK PROPERTY: AN AFFLICTION. I thought—of course! A book can be a CONDITION rather than a GENRE. So I subtitled JANE “A Murder,” with this concept in mind. My most recent book, THE ART OF CRUELTY, I subtitled “a reckoning,” using the same logic. This has been one means of skirting the whole genre issue. On the other hand, I don’t really like it when people called BLUETS “notes” or “aphorisms,” or “fragments,” because it’s not really any of those things. Aphoristic philosophy—which was one of this book’s inspirations—is not made up of just aphorisms per se. There may be great aphorisms to be found in Nietzsche or Wittgenstein, for example, but neither is writing a series of one-liners. Their projects are bigger than that. They are in dialogue with argumentation as much as with impression. Likewise, I don’t really see BLUETS as poetry. I mean, I don’t care if someone wants to call it that—if they do, it happily expands the notion of poetry—but I’ve written enough poetry to have a lot of respect for its particular tools, which include the line break, and forms of logic unavailable to prose. BLUETS thinks in prose; it is written in prose. It sometimes thinks in images, and sometimes in sound, but essentially it is about sentences, and about trains of prose logic and their limits. But if someone wants to call it poetry, I wouldn’t go to the mat about it. 6. Are there other texts (of or about fragments) that you'd like to recommend? Texts about fragments to recommend: Here are the ones that come immediately to mind: The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert , Anne Carson’s If Not, Winter , Stevie Smith, “The Person from Porlock,” the poetry of Lorine Niedecker, Lucille Clifton, and Paul Celan, Tom Phillips’s A Humument , Ann Lauterbach’s essay on “the whole fragment,” Linda Nochlin, The Body in Pieces , Mary Ann Caws, The Surrealist Look , Heather McHugh, Poetry and Partiality . And the drawings of David Shrigley 7. And finally, is there anything you wish I would have asked? Please ask/answer if so. No, I’m happy with these questions!! The Beginning of Bluets (An Excerpt) 1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkins as we spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into an empty teacup, its bottom stained with thin brown excrement coiled into the shape of a sea horse) it became somehow personal. 2. And so I fell in love with a color – in this case, the color blue – as if falling under a spell, a spell I fought to stay under and get out from under, in turns. 3. Well, and what of it? A voluntary delusion, you might say. That each blue object could be a kind of burning bush, a secret code meant for a single agent, an X on a map too diffuse ever to be unfolded in entirety but that contains the knowable universe. How could all the shreds of blue garbage bags stuck in brambles, or the bright blue tarps flapping over ever shanty and fish stand in the world, be, in essence, the fingerprints of God? I will try to explain this. 4. I admit that I may have been lonely. I know that loneliness can produce bolts of hot pain, a pain which, if it stays hot enough for long enough, can begin to stimulate, or to provoke – take your pick – an apprehension of the divine. ( This ought to arouse our suspicions. ) 5. But first, let us consider a sort of case in reverse. In 1867, after a long bout of solitude, the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé wrote to his friend Henri Cazalis: “These last months have been terrifying. My Thought has thought itself through and reached a Pure Idea. What the rest of me has suffered during that long agony, is indescribable.” Mallarmé described this agony as a battle that took place on God's “boney wing.” “I struggled with that creature of ancient and evil plumage – God – whom I fortunately defeated and threw to earth,” he told Cazalis with exhausted satisfaction. Eventually Mallarmé began replacing “le ciel” with “l'Azur” in his poems, in an effort to rinse references to the sky of religious connotations. “Fortunately,” he wrote Cazalis, “I am quite dead now.” 6. The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love's primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless. I returned there yesterday and stood again upon the mountain. 7. But what kind of love is it, really? Don't fool yourself and call it sublimity. Admit that you have stood in front of a little pile of ultramarine pigment in a glass cup at a museum and felt stinging desire. But to do what? Liberate it? Purchase it? Ingest it? There is so little blue food in nature – in fact blue in the wild tends to mark food to avoid (mold, poisonous berries) – that culinary advisers generally recommend against blue light, blue paint, and blue plates when and where serving food. But while the color may sap appetite in the most literal sense, it feeds it in others. You might want to reach out and disturb the pile of pigment, for example, first staining your fingers with it, then staining the world. You might want to dilute it and swim in it, you might want to rouge your nipples with it, you might want to paint a virgins robe with it. But you still wouldn't be accessing the blue of it. Not exactly. 8. Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking that all desire is yearning. “We love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it,” wrote Goethe, and perhaps he is right. But I am not interested in longing to live in a world in which I already live. I don't want to yearn for blue things, and God forbid, for any “blueness.” Above all, I want to stop missing you. 9. So please do not write to tell me about any more beautiful blue things. To be fair, this book will not tell you about any, either. It will not say, Isn't X beautiful? Such demands are murderous to beauty. 10. The most I want to do is show you the end of my index finger. Its muteness. Bluets that did not make the final version of Bluets We think of a glowing chunk of sapphire, for instance, or a pane of Chartres stained glass, as luminous, and God knows they are. But such luminosity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with clarity . To call something a false idol is to elevate it to the company of deities, even if one eventually casts it down (cf. Milton giving Lucifer the best speeches). For the truth is that I have never really understood what love and will have to do with each other. Following the blue, as if tracking a trail of decomposing crumbs left in the woods by a benevolent or absentminded stranger, is, at times, the best I can do. Joan Mitchell: so beautiful and athletic when young; so craggy and indomitable as she aged—in both cases, without vanity —like my Swedish grandparents, whom I barely knew, but whom I remember as being tan and fair at the same time, prematurely decimated by morning vodka with OJ and an endless boil of cigarettes. Do not think, however, that this is a scrapbook in which blue is the star and I its delirious fan. For it is a mistake to think of blue as separate from us. It is the bulge of the carotid against the bracket of your skin. It is the matrix of veins that enlaces your heart. At one point during this period, Klein—no stranger to grandiosity—“signed the sky.” He also arranged performances at which he dipped naked women from head to toe in IKB blue, rolled an enormous canvas out on the floor, and instructed the women to drag each other around on top of it while a string quartet played nearby. He called the women “human paintbrushes.” In both cases, I have arguably been nothing more than a child of illusion. Beethoven felt differently. “Can you lend me the Theory of Colours for a few weeks?” he wrote to a friend in 1820. “It is an important work. His last things are insipid.” There would seem to be a lesson here, but I am not prepared to describe it. “They feel as though if you fell into them you would be trapped and unable to breathe, choked and suffocated by the powdery pigment,” wrote Berger of Klein’s IKB monochromes. At times I look forward to this ravaging, if only because it represents all that I am supposed to fear, and because, if one manages to live long enough, it seems something of an inevitability, and looking forward to an inevitability seems at least an approximation of spiritual wisdom. In the far-off blue places, one finds oneself face to face with one’s stupidity. The cradle of it. It is a tremendous relief. Instead of sputtering forth a gargle, a howl, or an assertoric proposition, one can remain silent, stupefied. It is as if one’s tongue had been sewn, at long last, into its den. For one does not just seek oblivion. One can also find it. Sometimes one can even purchase it. Of the oblivion seekers themselves, Eberhardt says simply: “They are people who like their pleasure.” Caravaggio is a serious painter. He does not use blue. Neither does Goya, nor Velasquez. They are tenebrists , not denizens of the carnival. The blues of Picasso and Matisse, even in their most melancholy applications, do not strike me as altogether serious. The blues of Joseph Cornell, Hiroshige, Fra Angelico, and Cézanne, on the other hand, strike me as quite serious. The blue of Vermeer is simply too painful to discuss here. Let us leave the woman in blue alone with her letter. Let us leave her transfixed, standing on the bright edge of the earth, about to fall. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly thought that the most powerful mordant was a drunk man’s piss: yet another instance in which alcohol fastens the blue. But one can, I think, feel similarly bound, without the spirit. And when Cornell made Rose Hobart , he had to snip away 57½ minutes of the original film in order to showcase the object of his desire. Love, too, can sometimes be a condensery . On the other hand, speaking through the voice of the Egyptian god Thamus, Socrates comes down fairly forcefully for poison : “This discovery of yours [i.e. writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth.” But what has a soul to do with memory? I admit that here I run out of ideas; I must again consult the Encyclopedia. “Much of our moral life depends on the peculiar ways in which we are embedded in time.” This has the aura of truth, but really it takes us no further. For what has morality to do with memory, or with a soul? Instead of a roving dialogue unfolding under the shade of a plane tree, this is more like a coarse talk show taking place in a hall of mirrors: no guests, one host. To do: make a list of people who seem to have found some dignity in their loneliness, and consult it when I feel constitutionally incapable of abiding my own. “Frequent tears have run the colours from my life” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Does it follow, in spiritual matters, that one’s doubt is surrounded by a plateau of certainty? “Whosoever unceasingly strives upward, him can we save,” wrote Goethe. But who is to say that faith isn’t the abyss, and doubt the surrounding peaks? For while we may have learned the names for these things, articulation is still a form of accommodation. We stutter to each other in a sort of shorthand, at times carving out shapely analogies. But we cannot be sure that we are talking about the same things, or that we are employing the same code. —But now you are talking as if you were drowning, your lungs swollen with expired air. Why not just give up the dive? In which case you could start swimming along the surface: a cold spot here, a warm patch there. Same pond. Remember: the knights pure enough to enter the presence of the Holy Grail never return. It is only those who have been “incompletely transformed” who come back to tell the tale. And some seekers don’t come back from the wilderness as shamans, but rather as brain-damaged vegetables whose musculature now resembles gelatin. Remember this if someone appears in a field of chollas, hands you a loincloth and a tab of pure blotter acid with one hand, and keeps the other out of sight. We might here note that Andy Warhol was also, for a time, riveted by blue pussy. His blue pussy was a beatific cat, gazing upward from the last page of his 1954 book of watercolors, 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy , looking as if he were happily anticipating “pussy heaven,” as Warhol elsewhere termed the feline afterlife. Perhaps, then, the mistake is to look for a vividness, or a sweetness, apart from illusion. In which case we waste much precious time warding off the specter of the mirage . In such moments, death itself may appear a light-hearted occurrence. Evan Lavender-Smith Interview: 1) Do you consider From Old Notebooks (FON) to be a kind of constraint writing? I guess it would have been more of a constraint if you'd only culled things from your notes instead of writing pieces specifically for/relating to FON. I certainly think that the book shares something important with constraint writing, as I think it does with conceptual writing, although I don't know that it fits neatly into either of these categories. Perhaps it's a kind of faux-constraint or -conceptual writing. The book's primary constraint—only things written in notebooks are allowed —sort of collapses under the weight of its own self-reflexivity; as you say, the entries become about the book itself, which I think ends up undermining or subjugating the austerity we associate with a more typical constraint-based writing. I suppose there's also a secondary constraint associated with the structure of the book and the ordering of the entries, this zany process whereby I classified entries according to a number (1 through 12, I think) referencing subject/theme, then deleted all of the entries leaving only their reference numbers, then arranged the numbers in something resembling sonata form, then plugged all the entries back into their placeholders. But that's a very secret, Roussel-type constraint, one that perhaps does not do much to create a noticeable intensity of constraint. And also I ended up making many revisions to the order of the entries that broke with the output of my secret formula. So yes, I think something like "sham constraint" writing is probably a more appropriate designation. 2) FON is very often self-reflective, often feels as if it is struggling to pin itself down. I'm wondering if the form (disjointed notes) allows for that kind of reflection to creep in repeatedly without weighing down the whole book. Does the ability to ask a question and then immediately head off in a totally different direction free you to be self-doubting without wallowing? Does this question make sense? Maybe I should ask more generally what kinds of content does this form afford that more traditionally structured work might not? I am hopeful that the self-reflexivity is less cloying in this book than I find it to be in other highly self-reflexive texts on account of what you mention, the ability of the book to veer off in another direction nearly every time an instance of explicit self-reflexivity occurs. I would say this is also the case with respect to the book's many instances of pathos and sentiment or even bathos and sentimentality: whenever the book broaches sentimentality in an entry, it is followed by another entry about something totally different, which can serve to undercut the sentiment of the previous entry. And this is probably also the case with the book's movement toward and immediately away from entries/fragments dealing with specific literary or philosophical texts/authors with which some readers may be unfamiliar, insofar as one entry might concern Kant's transcendental idealism and the next entry the color of my infant son's poo. The book is quite contrapuntal, in this respect, which is one of the things that original structuring scheme was meant to effect. As to alternative or unusual kinds of content afforded by the book's form, I'd like to think they are many, but I have always been most excited by what I perceive to be the book's presentation of a kind of form-becoming-content, this process by which the reader is engaged with form as he might otherwise be with character, or with setting, or with plot—part of what's driving the reading experience may be the reader's sense of an evolving form, a form that begins somewhat expositionally, that becomes somewhat conflicted and tense, and that finally achieves a kind of resolution. But, from another perspective, the book's form remains exactly the same from the first to the last page. My reading of the book would posit or project a kind of talk-to/talk-back relationship between form and content; each is strongly influencing our vision of the other, and perhaps, over the course of the book, they become difficult to distinguish. 3) In The Literary Absolute , Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy write that "each fragment stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached."(44) They go on to explain that the fragment is both "sub-work" (in the obvious sense of being only a small piece of the Work), but also "super-work", as it stands, complete in itself, outside the work and calls up the plural potentiality of the work. What do you make of this idea and how do you understand the relation of the fragment to the Work as a whole? I like this idea, but I may have some reservations about generalizing it too far beyond Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe's intended historical context. In my book, there are perhaps some entries/fragments that possess a sort of immanent intensity—entries seemingly able to "speak for themselves," so to speak—but there are also very many that do not. I think that the book itself would argue—in fact, I believe it explicitly does so—against this notion that any one of its constituent parts could be removed from the whole and still remain "meaningful" or "true." I imagine the parts of the whole, in this book, not as cogs in relation to some whole mechanics or machine, say, but instead as mechanical movement itself; perhaps the most important thing about any given entry is not what it says so much as the fact that it begins and ends. The book seems to me to be always moving forward in time and space; once a fragment has happened, the book is done with it; there's no turning back, no looking over the shoulder. There's an entry somewhere that goes something like "This book is nothing more than the trash can of my imagination," a potential interpretative model that has become something of a guiding light in my understanding of the book's form: the entries/fragments do certainly accrue, as trash accrues, but we don't necessarily feel compelled to go picking through this heap of trash. 3b) Fragments collected together become a whole that gestures to dozens of other, potential wholes. How, if at all, do you think about your book in relation to the preservation of potentiality? Of course I think about this mostly in relation to the fragments/entries concerning specific potential works, the entries that begin "Story about" or "Novel about," etc. As I continue to work to see many of the ideas in the book realized, even today—and as I will likely continue to do for a long time—I remain in a sort of dialogue with the book. So I find myself still writing the book, in some sense, even though the book is already written. One of my favorite things about From Old Notebooks is how it opens its own amorphous and evolving prefatory engagement with my future writing. I believe the book references the claim of some critics that Ulysses was written in such a way to make it appear as if it were presaged by passages in the New Testament, just as some have claimed that passages in the New Testament were written to create the appearance of having been forecasted by passages in the Old Testament (I believe there is a specific poetic figure denoting this kind of retroactive foreshadowing that I'm now failing to recall). I've always really loved that idea and perhaps still hold out hope that my future writing will serve to indirectly modify From Old Notebooks in these types of sly and tricky ways. Also, in relation to the above-mentioned trash-can model as one of many such potential models for the book's form, there's a way in which the book regularly returns to a reading of itself, always trying to understand how it is working and always coming up with new strategies for its own analysis. So it seems to me, with respect to the preservation of potentiality, that the book is also intent on preserving its own "infinite hermeneutics" (or at least an illusion thereof). 4) Can you talk a little about the way traditional prose standbys like character and narrative develop out of distinct and disconnected fragments? I feel like this definitely happens in FON as well as other texts that use a similar approach. I think it's important to address the burden placed on the reader vis-à-vis development when considering narratological staples like character and plot in relation to highly fragmented narratives. In my own reading experience of books in which neat narrative progression is supplanted by a fragmentary or elliptical progression, the reader oftentimes must begin committing to processes of projection and transference in order to eke out that amount of development she would require of narrative. I especially like this possibility for two reasons. The first is that in the absence of stable or "full" development, we may feel inclined, as readers, to fill in the blanks with manifestations of our own, consciousness-specific desire for coherence, which can create a sort of personalized Möbius strip out of reading and writing, artistic creation and reception becoming tangled, distinctions and distances between these categories becoming blurred. The second, which may follow from the first for the more theoretically inclined reader, is that this process may serve to expose our own prejudices about what narrative is supposed to do or achieve, thereby leading us to an anxious readerly condition in which we are forced to confront the poverty of our own understanding regarding the first principles of narrative art. These two effects—1) tangling the reading/writing experience, and 2) forcing the reader's reconsideration of artistic rule—are, to my thinking, among the most powerful effects available to writing. 5) To what extent does how you label your texts matter? What is the difference between notes , fragments , thoughts , and aphorisms ? Basically, is taxonomy important? Supplementary question: In FON , there is a passage: "Why am I so averse to classifying FON as poetry-because poetry doesn't sell." If you want, this might be a good place to talk about genre classifications as well. This answer will surely seem coy or naïve to some people, but the fact is that my own tedious and protracted grappling with the strictures and arbitrariness of generic classification has finally given way to a vision of an imaginative writing largely unfettered by those academic or commercial or cultural pressures which have served to delimit the typological boundaries of art and language. That seems to be a goal for me, anyway, to work to maintain a position of restless and relentless searching in relation to form, and to resist, as best I can, pressures associated with the commodification or canonization of language and form. Of course that position is itself probably overdetermined by pressures both within and beyond my comprehension—e.g. it is very reactionary; very Modernist, in a sense—and it also strikes me to be of a piece with a rather antiquated and distasteful image of artistic creation and the "author-function," but nonetheless it's what I seem to prefer. 6) Are there other texts (of or about fragments) that you'd like to recommend? Here are some things I've recently read and enjoyed in which I felt the fragment was the text's dominant or near-dominant mode of engagement with narrative/poetic/philosophical development and progression. Mean Free Path , Ben Lerner Bluets , Maggie Nelson Varieties of Disturbance , Lydia Davis Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel , Evan S. Connell AVA , Carole Maso Reader's Block , David Markson Deepstep Come Shining , C.D. Wright The Passion According to G.H . by Clarice Lispector The Crab Nebula , Éric Chevillard The Book of Questions , Edmond Jabès Monsieur Teste , Paul Valéry Mourning Diary , Roland Barthes The Arcades Project , Walter Benjamin Philosophical Investigations , Ludwig Wittgenstein "Diapsalmata," from Either/Or , Søren Kierkegaard Unfortunately, I haven't read much theory discussing the fragment as a narratological device, although I did enjoy the Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe book you mention above. 7) And finally, is there anything you wish I would have asked? Please ask/answer if so. I should say that From Old Notebooks is currently out of print, as I, perhaps bullheadedly, insisted that the publisher remove the book from their catalog when I discovered that they'd been implementing a pay-to-publish scheme, which, given the revelation of its specific details, I felt to be manipulative and unethical. There are many used copies floating around, though, and I am hopeful that the book will be reprinted someday. From Old Notebooks Excerpts NB: The first excerpt covers the first few pages of the book. The second covers pages 16 and 17. These excerpts show how FON develops from a series of ideas for texts to a more varied series of notes that further reveal the character, preoccupations, and desires of the writer. Excerpt 1: Short story about a church on the ocean floor. Congregation in scuba gear. Memoir in which narrator struggles to describe her childhood – offering two or more contrary accounts of the same event – having been raised by divorced parents with unresolved anger toward each other such that discrepancies between parents' accounts of each other's involvement in her childhood have damaged narrator's memory beyond repair. Academic essay entitled “ Cute Title: Serious Subtitle : On the Preponderance of Precious Subtitling in Academic Essays.” Novel in chapters, each chapter spanning one year, 1977 – 2006. In lieu of chapter number, photograph of Tom Cruise's face from that year. Story about a garbage man who cannot fathom how anyone might be content living a life not wholly dedicated to being a garbage man. Excerpt 2 Something entitled “From Old Notebooks,” simply a transcription of entries from these notebooks. Story involving a couple whose divorce proceedings center upon the allocation of the books contained in the family library. Living off-campus on the outskirts of a city where I knew no one, in a studio apartment the size of a large walk-in closet, I would occupy myself in the evenings with and obsessive study of the shadows of my hands against the wall as I faux-conducted piano concertos; and later, after having taken three Ambien, intimate conversations with bits of magma crawling across the carpet that had detached from the glowing wires on my electric space heater. That same year, in a fit of manic loneliness, I invited a raccoon into my apartment with a trail of cracker crumbs. Do not let Jackson and Sofia live off-campus as undergraduates. Cached auto-complete entry options that appear when I type the letter e into the search field in the toolbar of my internet browser: evan lavender-smith “evan lavender-smith” “evan lavender smith” evan + “lavender-smith” evan + “lavender smith” evan + lavender + smith The letter f: fear of death Contemporary authors who construct a thick barrier between themselves and their readers such that authorial vulnerability is revealed negatively, i.e., via the construction of the barrier. If Team USA had a mascot, it would be God. Character who refers to Wellbutrin as his muse. “I hope to one day storm out on Terry Gross during an interview because I am that kind of eccentric famous author.” ----------------- Notes that were cut from From Old Notebooks Short story about literary executors sifting through the Gmail account of a recently deceased author. It would better suit me to drive a hybrid hearse. First line of a story: "The M.F.A. in creative writing was the degree Shontiqua had her sights set on . " Story/mock-essay: conflation of the obnoxious languages of U.S.A. patriotism and M.F.A. workshops. The flag at half-mast because the market’s way down today. Awakened from dream . . . saw figure in arrangement of stars . . . closed eyes . . . dream changed. . . . The smile is perhaps the human equivalent to the dog's wagging tail, with an important caveat: the human can fake a smile. Can a man fake an erection? To do philosophy, Back then I was doing some philosophy —what a ridiculoususage. It is thanks to the proud philosopher who, attempting to justify his existence, humbles himself to a position of activity. The greatest act of fraud on the part of philosophy is that it attempts to exist outside of time , the word of the philosopher presented to us as the Word. This is what Derrida means to criticize when he praises Nietzsche's pluralism, or Levi-Strauss's mythopoetics: Philosophy cannot pretend to be above or beyond the form of the book. The question of being flashes through us , mind and body. The corporealization of the question of being. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must—write? The proliferation of M.F.A. programs in creative writing has given rise to the whirlpool of conservatism which is contemporary American literature. Surely it's no coincidence that I began From Old Notebooks shortly after I stopped seeing my therapist. Somewhere I read Edmund Wilson refer to Beckett's late style as terminal . I understand why he would say so, but I would prefer to reserve that term for David Markson's late style. Random House settles out of court to pay $2.35 million in genre-damages made by James Frey against his readers. What if the publisher of F.O.N. markets the book as a novel , and it later comes to light that the book was in fact a memoir . . . ? That the problem of death has been outmoded is the grand illusion of philosophy after Heidegger. The modern philosopher says, "Death is not my problem. Being is my problem." The modern philosopher might call death an adolescent problem , and being an adult problem . But what he fails to recognize is that the concept of being is merely an abstraction of the concept of death. (He forgets that being is incidental to non-being, and that the latter is only conceivable by way of analogy to death .) The modern philosopher wants to pretend that death is irrelevant to his project, but it is the impetus for his project. Surely the reason I lash out against it is that I am jealous of poetry. Surely contemporary poetry does not deserve my wrath . Someone could read the book with an almanac in hand and point to certain entries which suggest the concurrence of public events (e.g., terror, war, football), thereby assigning dates to those entries. As if. Do people auction their personal diaries on eBay? I might consider auctioning these notebooks if the book is ever published, in keeping with the spirit of the book, that is, the spirit of facile self-disclosure. The poem is dead. Long live the poem! The ending of F.O.N. might contain the beginning of the next book—a sequel entitled Work-In-Progress . F.O.N. might blurinto W.I.P. The point of physical distinction between the two books would be arbitrary. Work-In-Progress would be written in the same form as F.O.N., but it would be also written in an entirely different form, as the (conception of the) form of the book "F.O.N. + W.I.P." is an evolving (conception of) form, a (conception of) form that is always becominganother (conception of) form. No matter how much I want to force From Old Notebooks to become something called Work-In-Progress , I won't be able to: any contrived becoming of that sort would represent a violence on the form of the book. I'm going to have to take a leap at some point, though, a leap out of the book, like a leap from a burning building. “The Voidhood of the Void; or, An Archaeology of Nothing.” Rather than enact the high drama of self-reflexivity, the new writing will accept self-reflexivity as status quo —metafiction's birthday is passed, no need to keep celebrating—in the tradition of the documentary film, the reality TV show, and the internet blog. Such a writing must, by definition, be genreless, or make the question of genre irrelevant: hence, the post-generic . Perhaps my next novel will be a one-page poem. (shrink)
continent. 2.1 (2012): 22–28. Jeroen Mettes burst onto the Dutch poetry scene twice. First, in 2005, when he became a strong presence on the nascent Dutch poetry blogosphere overnight as he embarked on his critical project Dichtersalfabet (Poet’s Alphabet). And again in 2011, when to great critical acclaim (and some bafflement) his complete writings were published – almost five years after his far too early death. 2005 was the year in which Dutch poetry blogging exploded. That year saw the foundation (...) of the influential, polemical, and populistically inclined weblog De Contrabas (The Double Bass), which became a strong force for internet poetry in Dutch in the years to follow. In the summer of that year, a lively debate raged in the aftermath of Bas Belleman’s article “ Doet poëzie er nu eindelijk toe ?” (“Does poetry finally matter now?”), on a blog specifically devoted to this question. Up to that point, the poetical debate in the Netherlands had largely been confined to literary reviews (which were often subsidized), having become mostly marginalized in more mainstream media, where poetry could be covered by only a small number of so-called authorities. As a result, literary debate had acquired a rather placid quality. Though a variety of camps with different aesthetics could be discerned, most poetical positions shared a general acceptance of poetry as a form of art somewhat apart from fundamental political concerns. Late modernists would pursue subtlety and density of reference. Others would insist poetry was best understood as a form of entertainment that should ideally be accessible and work well on the stage. Still others would insist that poetry is mostly a play with forms. Linguistically disruptive strategies were valued highly by some, but mostly for their aesthetic effect. Values of disinterested playfulness reigned supreme everywhere. Any idea that poetry could be a field in which one confronts politics and the world was decidedly marginal. This led to a climate in which most attempts at polemics were DOA, often based on far too superficial positioning and analysis. The greatest polemical debates were revolving around the question of whether poetry should be difficult or easy, with both camps defining their ideas of difficulty and accessibility in ways that were so utterly shallow as to make the entire point moot. Debates were performed, rather than engaged with. It was a postmodern hell of underarticulated poetics. Half-consciously, people were yearning for new forms of criticism that could put the oomph back into poetry. Weblogs provided for ways to explore debate directly outside of the clotted older channels of the reviews and the newspapers. Belleman’s essay and the resulting online activity had shown that there was a widespread eagerness to take poetry more seriously as a social art form. It was in this environment that Mettes started his remarkable project Dichtersalfabet . At that moment, Mettes was active mostly in academic circles, having become noted at Leiden University as a particularly gifted student of literary theory. Within the Netherlands, the field of literary theory has a very odd relationship to literature as it is practiced in the country. Academic theory tends to have a mostly international view and engage with international debates of cultural criticism, literary theory, and philosophy, with academics often publishing in English and attending conferences around the world. Literature itself however is much more concerned with domestic traditions. Consequently, in the Netherlands, there exists a language gap between academic theoretical practice (as it is studied in the literary theory departments) and literary practice (which, academically, gets studied in specialized departments of Dutch literature). The Dichtersalfabet can be seen as Mettes’s attempt to close this gap. It is also an attempt to bridge the divide between theory and practice, in which he could apply his theoretical knowledge in a very unorthodox and unacademic critical mode that moreover could reach far beyond the domain of conventional criticism. Mettes’s goal was to trace a diagonal through Dutch poetic culture, to “strangle” what he perceived to be its dominant oppressive traditions of agreeable irrelevance, in order to see whatever might be able to survive his critical assaults. But he could only do so by means of a very serious engagement with poetry itself. To this end, he would go systematically through the poetry bookshelf of the Verwijs bookshop (part of a mainstream chain of booksellers) in The Hague, buying one publication per blog item, starting from A and working his way through the alphabet, reading whatever he might encounter that way in the restaurant of the HEMA store (another big commercial chain in the country). He would subsequently write down his reading experiences, refraining however from trying to write a nuanced book review. Rather, he would write about anything that caught his attention and sparked his critical interest. This way of working would yield vast, at times somewhat rambling, dense, lively, and generally brilliant essays, in which he held no punches. He never hesitated to pull out his entire arsenal of concepts from the international theory traditions, while never degenerating into mere academic exercise and pointless intertextualities. The attempt was rather to live the poetry that he read, and to engage it with the full range of political, academic, cultural, and personal references that he had at his disposal—all that composed the individual named Jeroen Mettes as a reader. Often what he wrote would not be according to the standards of what we usually think of as a critical review of a book of poetry. Sometimes he would even be a little sloppy in his judgments of poets or representations of the books he read, for example by basing an entire essay on the blurb of a book rather than its poetry content. But what he did was always brilliant writing nonetheless—virtuoso riffs on poetic fragments randomly found within capitalist society, exposing an incisive and insistent poetical sensibility. Mettes read poetry for political reasons, to see whether poetry could offer him a way to deal with a political world he detested. The right-wing horrors of the Bush years, the Iraq war, and the turn of Dutch public opinion towards ever more conservative, narrow-minded, and xenophobic views alongside a complete failure of the political left to present any credible alternative, were weighing heavily on the times in which Mettes reported on his reading. Poetry was to measure this world, diagram it, to lay bare its inconsistencies and faults, to indicate where lines of flight might be found. Amid the ruins of a world wrecked by imperialist policies, corporate capitalism, and doctrinal neoliberalism it would have to show the possibility of a new community. And it was, through its rhythmical workings, to release the reading subject from his confinement to ideologically conditioned individuality and lead him into the immanent paradise of reading. The stakes were high. Much higher than anything Dutch poetry had seen for many years. Mettes’s blog was widely read from the start. His posts sparked lively debates. Some of these subsequently led to the publication of extensive essays on a few key poets in some literary journals, particularly Parmentier and the Flemish journal yang , for which Mettes would become a member of the editorial board, a few months after starting the Dichtersalfabet . This could have been the start of a brilliant career, but this was not to be. The initial manic energy that fueled the blog gradually subsided. The Alfabet was updated less and less regularly. Mettes sometimes just disappeared for many weeks, then suddenly returning with a brilliant essay. Until, on September 21, 2006, he posted his final blogpost, consisting of no text whatsoever. That night I learned from his mentor at Leiden University that he had committed suicide. Mettes and I had had some fruitful exchanges on poetry, rhythm, music, and form, mostly on the blogs, but also by email. Three weeks before his death was the last time I heard from him: a very sudden, uncharacteristically curt note saying “My old new sentence epic.” Attached to that message I found a DOC-file of a work so major that I felt intimidated. This was N30 , a text he had been working on for over five years. After his death, it took me a long time before I dared to read it in its entirety. In the meantime, the work of preparing the manuscript for publication was entrusted by his relatives to his colleagues at yang magazine. It took them a few years to brush up the text and to edit the Dichtersalfabet -blog (which, apart from the Alphabet project itself, incorporated many other fragments of political, polemical, and theoretical writing) into book form along with the essays. The result of this labor was finally published in 2011 as a two-book set, and Mettes burst onto the Dutch poetry scene for the second time. The work was widely reviewed, on blogs, in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Many critics who had not followed the blogs in 2005 showed themselves surprised, baffled even, by the intensity of Mettes’s critical writing. But for those who had read the blog, the main surprise was in the poetry. During Mettes’s lifetime, some of his poems had already been published in Parmentier . Although these were strong texts by themselves, in no way did they prepare readers for N30 . Nothing like it had been written in Dutch before. Instead, N30 explicitly follows the American tradition of Language Writing, directly referencing Ron Silliman and his concept of The New Sentence. However, it would seem that much of the poetical thinking around his use of this technique puts him closer to a writer such as Bruce Andrews. For Mettes, using non sequiturs as a unit of poetic construction was not only a way of reinventing formal textual construction, but it was another way of finding the fault lines in the social fabric. From the perspective of the Language tradition, one may put N30 somewhere between Silliman and Andrews. N30 shares an autobiographical element with Silliman’s New Sentence projects, and as in Andrews, there is a concern for mapping out social totality within text—what Mettes refers to as a “textual world civil war.” Again this shows a formal textual strategy for allowing the person “Jeroen Mettes” to be absorbed by the world, which here appears as a whirlwind of demotic and demonic chatter, full of violence, humor, intensity, beauty, disgust, sex, commerce, and strife. Influenced as it may by American precursors, Mettes’s tone and form end up quite different from his American counterparts, consistently referencing a world that is Dutch, all too Dutch, taking on the oppressive orderliness of Dutch society with its endemic penchant for consensus by introducing chaos into its daily life and laying bare its implicit aggressions. The work’s 31 chapters each have a different feel and rhythmical outline, but none of them follow a predetermined pattern. Rather, Mettes would consistently edit and reedit the text, randomly rewriting parts of it, as he explains in his poetical creed Politieke Poëzie (Political Poetry). N30 – referring to the 1999 antiglobalist protest in Seattle – was to be the first text of a trilogy. The work itself was written “in the mode of the present.” A second text was to be written in the mode of the future, and a third one, in the mode of the past, was going to be an epic poem about the Paris Commune, and to form an alternative poetic constitution for the European project. I still deeply regret that Jeroen Mettes never got to complete those projects, just as I would be very keen on knowing what he might have had to say about more recent political developments. Instead, in 2006, he remained stuck in the horrors of the present, that ended up consuming him completely. He left Dutch literature with some of its most piercing criticism and its most profoundly moving, exciting and powerful poetry. Excerpts from N30 Translated by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei from Jeroen Mettes. "N30." In N30+ . Amsterdam: De wereldbibliotheek, 2011. Published with permission of Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek, Amsterdam. Chapter 1 1999. A day is a space too. And another man, who had chained himself, had his ribs crushed, and a motor has driven over somebody’s legs. Dutch health care system spends ±145 million guilders per year on worriers. A spiderweb vibrates as I pass by. Randstad renovating. She slaps her bag against her ass: “Hurry up!” OPINION IS TRUE FRIENDSHIP Your skin. It doesn’t express anything. “But the use of the sword, that’s what I learned, and you’ll need nothing more for the moment.” Just try to interrogate a guy like that. Gullit in Sierra Leone. Codes silently lying all around. But that’s simply what belongs to “that it’s just allowed”: that sigh of “world” (a word expressing that the trees are now standing along the water like black men with white bags in their hair); that’s nothing else right? And you see how everything has to move, and first of all what cannot do so. Without Elysium and without savings, barbarians lashing out, horny for an enemy, staring across the water, staring into the air—staring to get out of it. “You’ve never showed me more than the mall,” she said. All those “dreams” in the end—and now? It was lying on the stairway, so I picked it up and took it upstairs. Chapter 3 “You know what?” Telecommunication. For love… I don’t really like that cheap cultural pessimism, but… The holy city is on pilgrimage in the earthly bodies of the faithful until the time of the heavenly kingdom has come. The end of an exhausting autumn day behind the computer, my eyes filled with tears of fatigue. KITCHEN / INSTALLATION / SPECIALIST. Network integration. In the sun, stretched out on a sheet. (…) I don’t believe what I’m reading, because I want to believe something else. An illusion? Suits me. There’s a variety of shapes and tastes… “So what?” you may think. 102 dalmatians can’t be wrong. But I want more, dear… A feel good movie. I’m smashing the burned body. So what? We continue to save the European civilization. What’s there to win? Plato with poets = Stalin without gulag? Ball against the crossbar. No wonder. She comes straight to her point. She’s standing in the kitchen eating an apple. (…) The godless Napoleon had used her as a stable and wanted to have her taken down. “Our” Rutger Hauer. Ready or not here I come. Psst… are you also wearing a string? Nobody understands our desire. Cliffs breaking the waves and shattering the sunset. I used to be a real romantic (as a poet). A typical fantasy used to be the one in which I brutally raped mother and daughter Seaver from the sitcom Growing Pains . Nevertheless you only contain bad words. Eyelashes. Automatic or manual? That your skin always in the afternoon. Integration. The air is empty. Too bad! Hand in hand on their lonely way. Alaska! Chapter 12 May 5, 2001 [10:00-10:30] A dust cloud on a hill. Globe. Indian (British) (tie) / pope. Damascus. Rape. We’re carrying the ayatollah’s portrait through the streets. At the moment the girl is mostly suede jacket with white ribbons on her sleeves. A small explosion flares up/impact. Camouflage. Close up. We’re analyzing the situation. He’s dead right? Dead dead. Dead. Everything without, these, and only with the body. Indices signal death. Dollar bills are printed in factories. Holes. Light patch. Globe in a box. Microphone. What’s the situation? Grey impact on a green hill (field?). The water is blue. He has no lips. Interns on the background with skirts that are too long. This is an example of a sonnet. An Islamic woman pushes against the door of an electronics shop. Arrows (percentages (prices)). Is this what awaits the American? Touch screen interface. The word, an island, can only be a sign in that situation. We pull up a chair, join in on the fun. On the shelves only books about computers. One glance in the distance is enough to lighten up a luna park in the distance. She’s really desperate, especially when she laughs. Click. Ah. Next. And now it’s raining, but that’s ok. Yellow stains sliding over the south. Shallow caves light: clothes, boots, electrical equipment. 45. 22:10. Nothing gives you the right to eat more than people starving to death. The Hague. Slam dunk. Traffic light. Two H’s, one L (standing for the L (little prick)). We’re happy to say something. Clouds, small suns, temperatures, cities. The truth is never an excuse. Yellow. Yellow. Green. Yellow. Yellow. Yellow. Yellow. Green. Green. Yellow. Will you email me? Skeleton: “No.” Ex-nerds in brand-new and brightly red sport cars. $$$. I love. Shihab. Hooves in the sand. Skinny senior with over-sized sunglasses; old jockey (cap, trophy) smiling in slow motion. And there I am again, flashback, crying with my head in between my hands. Sometimes I’ve got the feeling that cannibals. Eyes: blue. Cancer. Why would I wait until tomorrow? Golden beams protruding from the lifted/lit earth. May 5, 2001 [11:30-12:45] You’ll remember this for the rest of your life. Graphs, diagrams. Bu$ine$$. Blue shirt, white collar, no neck (porn star). A name lights up. I’m hysteric. Will you join us? Letters falling in their words. Fingers set up a tent and start to dance. Young entrepreneurs from poor neighborhoods (read: black) guided by Microsoft. Kinda makes me happy, that sort of kitsch. A sense of exhaustion/impotence to see anything but the present. (…) Wouldn’t you like to? Orange explosion in an industrial zone. YOU’RE DOING THIS FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. Would you. A familiar face. Clouds and blossom. Sunflowers. Supermodels. Mountainous area in a rectangle: shades of brown, from dark to beige, more green toward the south. Tents and next to them (it’s all a blur) people. Plane. Stadium. Geometrical block of people. No, I ain’t crying. I don’t speak no more. I just want. Quote + photo. (Positive:) screaming crowd. Three-piece suit, seen from the back, before entering the arena. On the back: “Daddy abused me.” Oh, bummer. State of emergency has been declared and everyone has to cooperate. She’s cut her wrists. What we do know (…) is that there’s never been a unique word, an imperative name, nor will there ever be. [Click here for work that suits you.] Barefooted children are watching it (coherent pieces revelation of what’s lying below). Who knows how she’s changed during those two years. “Everything used to be better” + sigh. And here we are. An empty field of parquet. A city lying behind it. Explosion. Blue. A rain drop falling in my coffee. May 5, 2001 [14:30-15:30] A young Arafat on video speaking with raised finger. “I’m calling from my convertible.” Names on walls, victims, numbers… Tourists. Yellow. Yellow. “Your own child! Really, what kind of human are you?” I don’t want to hear it no more. A woman jumping out of the water in a yellow bikini against a background of fireworks and the Cheops pyramid. Thy sorrow shall become good fortune, thy complaints laudation. All planets will float and wander. Wo die Welt zum Bild wird, kommt das System (…) zur Herrschaft. It is something, but is it? May 5, 2001 [18:30-19:00] Iris. Leaves. NASDAQ. Open / and white and. For the one who’s doing nothing, just waiting. (…) NO DEFEAT is made entirely up of defeat -- since / the world it opens is always a place / formerly / unsuspected. October 2002. “Jeroen, I’m leaving for the cemetery, byeeee.” The rise of the middle class. My entire oeuvre is an ode to the. My entire head is a fight against the. God always demands what you cannot sacrifice. You may take that the easy way, but… “The state hasn’t made us, but we make the state” (Hitler). A stork exits the elevator. Skeletons of. Moscow. Helsinki. Palermo. Paris. Chapter 30 Like your paradises: nothing. United Desire, as only remaining superpower. And even though the sea is now calmer and the wind is blowing pleasantly in my face… Heart! Who determines whether a tradition is “alive”? The yellow leaf or the white branch? Mars. This sentence is a typical example. Most Dutch people are happy. No consolation. When I see a girl sitting at a table with a book, a notepad, a pen, a bottle of mineral water, her hand writing in the light—then I consider that one thing. “Presents,” “poetry,” “classics.” We are what we cannot make from ourselves. “Left”: mendicant orders, missionaries. Saint-Just: “A republic is founded on the destruction of its enemies.” She crosses the street with a banana peel between her fingers. (…) We chose our own wardens, torturers, it was us who called all this insanity upon ourselves, we created this nightmare… But “no”? Girl (just like a beach ball) talking rapid Spanish (Portuguese?) in a mobile phone. Do I have a chance now that her boyfriend is getting bold? CLIO, horny bitch. What else do you want? An old woman, between the doors of the C1000, is suddenly unable to go on; her husband stretches out his hand, speaking a few encouraging words. Selection from. Der Führer schenkt den Jüden ein Stadt. How can it reach us if we haven’t been already reached somehow? It doesn’t “speak.” No problem. Each word she uses is a small miracle, as if she doesn’t belong to it, to language, but wanders around with a pocket light looking for the exit; she’s never desperate (maybe a little nervous), lighting up heavy words from the inside. But indeed, we’re free. But the predicate is not an attribute, but an event, and the subject is not a subject, but a shell. That’s why also samurai, knights, and warriors raised the blossom as emblem: they knew how to die. Locked up in a baby carriage with a McDonald’s balloon. Blue helicopter, the blue sky. Whether you want to refer? The point is. How / Motherfucker can I sing a sad song / When I remember Zion? You’ll feel so miserable and worthless that you think: “If only I were dead!,” or: “Just put an end to it!” “So you’re an economist?” Her card—two little birds building a nest, her handwriting shaking—is still on the mantelpiece. Guevara: “No, a communist.” A straw fire, such was our life: rapidly it flared up, rapidly it passed. I’m fleeing, coming from nowhere. (…) Eazy-E drinking coffee with the American president. If I’d scream, would that be an event? Drown it: the cleaner it will rise up from the depths. No! The night, so fast… As if there’s something opened up in that face. Come on, we may not curse life. He shows me his methadone: “If you drink that all at once, you’ll die instantly.” The last one dictates how we should behave to deserve happiness. One shine / above the earth. “I want to go to Bosnia,” I said bluntly. I don’t even know the name of the current mayor. Let’s despise our success! “There is no future; this is the future. Hope is a weakness that we've overcome. We have found happiness!” Sun. Sushi. Volvo. I feel like a bomb about to explode at any moment. Makes a difference for the reconstruction right? The decor moves forward. Daughter of Nereus, you nymphs of the sea, and you Thetis, you should have kept his tired head above the waves! Alas! This sentence has been written wearing a green cap. I receive my orders from the future. A frog jumps into it. Her husband has turned the Intifada, which he follows daily on CCN, into his hobby, “to forget that he doesn’t have his driver’s license yet." Suddenly the sun slides over the crosswalk. Her (his?) foot is playing with the slipper under the table. Is this how I’m writing this book now? I’m not a fellow man. I hate you and I want to hurt you. These are my people. Their screaming doesn’t rise above the constantly wailing sirens which we've learned to ignore. My whole body became warm and suddenly started to tremble. Unfortunate is he who is standing on the threshold of the most beautiful time, but awaits a better one. Arafat’s “removal” is contrary to American interests. Jeep drives into boy. What you can do alone, you should do alone. A food gift from the people of the United States of America. Two seagulls. [...]. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that the reading of Mill that D.G. Brown presents in ‘Mill’s Moral Theory: Ongoing Revisionism’ is inconsistent with several key passages in Mill’s writings. I also show that a rule-utilitarian interpretation that is very close to the one developed by David Lyons is able to account for these passages without difficulty.
Next SectionIn an online study conducted separately in the UK and the US, participants rated the acceptability and fairness of four interventions: two types of financial incentives (rewards and penalties) and two types of medical interventions (pills and injections). These were stated to be equally effective in improving outcomes in five contexts: (a) weight loss and (b) smoking cessation programmes, and adherence in treatment programmes for (c) drug addiction, (d) serious mental illness and (e) physiotherapy after surgery. Financial incentives (weekly (...) rewards and penalties) were judged less acceptable and to be less fair than medical interventions (weekly pill or injection) across all five contexts. Context moderated the relative preference between rewards and penalties: participants from both countries favoured rewards over penalties in weight loss and treatment for serious mental illness. Only among US participants was this relative preference moderated by perceived responsibility of the target group. Overall, participants supported funding more strongly for interventions when they judged members of the target group to be less responsible for their condition, and vice versa. These results reveal a striking similarity in negative attitudes towards the use of financial incentives, rewards as well as penalties, in improving outcomes across a range of contexts, in the UK and the USA. The basis for such negative attitudes awaits further study. (shrink)
I defend indirect perceptual realism against two recent and related charges to it offered by A. D. Smith and P. Snowdon, both stemming from demonstrative reference involving indirect perception. The needed aspects of the theory of demonstratives are not terribly new, but their connection to these objections has not been discussed. The groundwork for my solution emerges from considering normal cases of indirect perception (e.g., seeing something depicted on a television) and examining the role this indirectness plays in demonstrative assertions. (...) I argue that indirectness routinely if not typically plays a justificatory role in such judgements, and not a semantic one, and that the same can be said of such judgements when considered within the indirect realist framework. The denial of this, on my analysis, is essential to the criticisms of Snowdon and Smith. The discussion is extended to include scenarios involving the sorts of misconceptions Smith employs. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to illustrate four properties of the non-relativistic limits of relativistic theories: (a) that a massless relativistic field may have a meaningful non-relativistic limit, (b) that a relativistic field may have more than one non-relativistic limit, (c) that coupled relativistic systems may be ''more relativistic'' than their uncoupled counterparts, and (d) that the properties of the non-relativistic limit of a dynamical equation may differ from those obtained when the limiting equation is based directly on exact (...) Galilean kinematics. These properties are demonstrated through an examination of the non-relativistic limit of the familiar equations of first-quantized QED, i.e., the Dirac and Maxwell equations. The conditions under which each set of equations admits non-relativistic limits are given, particular attention being given to a gauge-invariant formulation of the limiting process especially as it applies to the electromagnetic potentials. The difference between the properties of a limiting theory and an exactly Galilean covariant theory based on the same dynamical equation is demonstrated by examination of the Pauli equation. (shrink)
Developmental psychologists have long argued that the capacity to distinguish moral and conventional transgressions develops across cultures and emerges early in life. Children reliably treat moral transgressions as more wrong, more punishable, independent of structures of authority, and universally applicable. However, previous studies have not yet examined the role of these features in mature moral cognition. Using a battery of adult-appropriate cases (including vehicular and sexual assault, reckless behavior, and violations of etiquette and social contracts) we demonstrate that these features (...) also distinguish moral from conventional transgressions in mature moral cognition. Each hypothesized moral transgressions was treated as strongly and clearly immoral. However, our data suggest that although the majority of hypothesized conventional transgressions also form an obvious cluster, social conventions seem to lie along a continuum that stretches from mere matters of personal preference (e.g., getting tattoos or wearing black shoes with a brown belt) to transgressions that are treated as matters for legitimate social sanction (e.g., violating traﬃc laws or not paying your taxes). We use these ﬁndings to discuss issues of universality, domain-speciﬁcity, and the importance of using a well-studied set of moral scenarios to examine clinical populations and the underlying neural architecture of moral cognition. (shrink)
The temporal subordinating conjunctions fall into two categories, durative and non-durative, depending on the length of time for which the main proposition is predicated to hold. Formally the two durative subordinating conjunctions in English, temporal since and until, are usually treated as though they were symmetric about the time of reference (henceforth the TOR). I examine this assumption from three points of view: the time relationships between the main and subordinate propositions, the truth conditions of the two propositions, and the (...) causal relationship that may be inferred between the states or events referred to by the main and sub propositions. The analysis is based on samples from the Brown University corpus In order to distinguish between the temporal and inferential meanings of since four criteria are needed, corresponding to the four different uses to which temporal since may be put. The principal criterion is that the main verb must be in the past aspect, corresponding to the use of since to indicate that the main proposition is true at some moment prior to the TOR. There are also three special uses of since: in a comparative construction, as part of an explicit reference to a time period and as a qualifier in a noun phrase. In all uses the sub-proposition indicates the onset of a time period which ends at the TOR. The main proposition must be true either once, several times or for the whole of this period, depending on the durative aspect of the main verb. The main proposition is also conversationally implied to be false before the onset of the time indicated by the sub-proposition. The sub-proposition is presupposed to be true. Until marks the end of a time period that, by default, begins at the TOR. The main proposition is asserted to hold during this period, except when until is being used in one of the same three special uses as we found for since. The sub-proposition is presupposed to be true when the TOR is in the past and conversationally implied to be true when it is in the present or the future, except in special circumstances. Usually one of four causal connections may be inferred between the sub and main propositions; the sub-proposition is either: 1) the cause of the main proposition ceasing to hold, 2) the cause of the starting of the unnegated form of the main proposition (only with negative main propositions), 3) the goal of the actor in the main proposition or 4) an unintended result of the main proposition. In some respects the properties of temporal since and until are the same, e.g. in marking the boundary of a time period, in having the same three special uses and in hardly ever having a negated sub-clause. They are symmetric with respect to the TOR, as evidenced by the use of the perfect with since and its absence (with one exception) with until. But there are also other nonsymmetric differences: the time of utterance may be in the middle of the time period specified for since; the tense of the subclause is always in the past for since but depends on the time of the TOR with until; until is always durative; for until a negated non-durative main verb is interpreted as durative; since may indicate only the cause of the main proposition, whereas until is not confined to indicating the result of the main proposition, but any one of four different possible causal relations may be inferred. (shrink)