Saturday, December 1, 2012

Invigorating Philosophy for the 21st Century Charles S. Peirce International Centennial Conference 2014 (July 16-19 UMass Lowell).

Peirce 2014

Peirce Centennial 2014.
Deadline for panel proposals: Feb 1st, 2013. Deadline for papers: Sept 1st, 2013.

Call for Papers: Fifth Online Consciousness Conference

Daniel Dennett will give an invited talk. The conference will take place from February 15-March 1, 2013
"Papers in any area of consciousness studies are welcome (construed widely so as to include philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science, as well as the cognitive sciences) and should be roughly 3,000-4,000 words. Submissions made suitable for blind review should be sent to by January 5th 2013."

More  details here:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Albert Camus on Poverty

[An old post from Multiply. This passage is from his Lyrical and critical essays. Edited by Philip Thody. Translated by Ellen Conroy Kennedy.]
Poverty, first of all, was never a misfortune for me: it was radiant with light. Even my revolts were brilliant with sunshine. They were almost always, I think I can say this without hypocrisy, revolts for everyone, so that every life might be lifted into that light. There is no certainty that my heart was naturally disposed to this kind of love. But circumstances helped me. To correct a natural indifference I was placed halfway between poverty and the sun. Poverty kept me from thinking all was well under the sun and in history; the sun taught me that history was not everything. I wanted to change lives, yes, but not the world which I worshiped as divine. I suppose this is how I got started in on my present difficult career, innocently stepping into the tightrope upon which I move painfully forward, unsure of reaching the end. In other words, I became an artist, if it is true that there is no art without refusal or consent.
 Lyrical and Critical Essays[Image culled from:]

Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca

Quick studies: The best of Lingua Franca  edited by Alexander Star is my recent read for November. Actually, reread a bunch of other things but this compilation was quick. I used to read this on the internet.
[Image culled from:]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

De La Salle University 2013 Research Congress: Call for Abstracts

Just got this in the mail

Research Congress 2013
Organized by De La Salle University
March 7-9, 2013


Deadline for submission of abstracts: November 20, 2012

The Research  Congress 2013 (formerly the Science and Technology Congress) is an annual event organized by De La Salle University which will be held on March 7-9, 2013. This year’s theme is A Commitment to Serve: Lasallian Research for the Next 100 Years”. The congress provides an opportunity for researchers, educators and students to disseminate their research outputs and a venue for discussion and exchange of new ideas and application experiences, and to find partners for future collaboration. 

We invite the academic community, our partners and research collaborators to submit abstracts on research related to Science and Technology, Technopreneurship, and on Food, Nutrition and Health. Research papers in the academic disciplines and other allied fields are also welcome. A ONE-PAGE abstract of approximately 400-500 words must clearly state the problem, objectives, methodology, discussion of results and conclusion. Accepted abstracts will be presented during the parallel sessions of the congress, and its full papers will be published in the proceedings in CD form.
Submission steps and important guidelines:
Abstract Submission
Opens: October 19, 2012
Closes: November 21, 2012
Notification: December 15, 2012
Submission of Full Paper:  February 6, 2013 (camera-ready full paper)
The corresponding authors are requested to select the research  area listed below that best describes the abstract to be submitted. Abstracts are then to be submitted at the following addresses corresponding to the area selected:

Research  Area
Address for submission
Food, Nutrition and Health
Human Centric Technology
Learners and Learning Innovations
Women, Children and Family
Environment, Energy and Sustainability

Guidelines for Abstract Submission

General Format:
·         The ONE-PAGE Abstract should have a 12 point Times New Roman font, single-spaced  with 1-inch margins (side and top/bottom)
·         The document should be submitted as either word document or pdf file. Send the abstract to the correct address corresponding to the relevant topic area listed above.
Abstract Title:
·         Title should be concise and clearly identify the nature of the study.
·         The title should be in ALL CAPS, using 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Center the title on the page.
·         List all authors two lines below title (still centered), in normal 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
·         List the institutional or organizational affiliation on a new line after each author’s name
·         Text should start on the left-hand side of the page two lines below the author’s name

Kindly refer to the following downloadable sample abstract and full paper.

You are all invited to participate in the 2013 Research Congress. You may email for pre-registration. Kindly send the filled up downloadable registration form on or before March  1, 2013.

For inquiries you may email to

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Charles S. Sanders Peirce Society

The Charles S. Sanders Peirce Society just listed and its post gathered from SAAP (Feminist Pragmatism in Place).  Nice! I have been thinking of joining that, with the limited resources on Peirce here in Manila.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir by Norman Malcolm

Ludwig Wittgenstein: A MemoirFor September, I have been rereading some things apart from the comics that I have been following. This October, I have just finished reading Norman Malcolm's account of his friendship with Ludwig Wittgenstein. There are parts of the book that would be better appreciated by familiarity with the Tractatus, Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty.
    But for the most part, having some familiarity with Wittgenstein's ideas ("picture theory of propositions", family resemblance etc.), difficult and varied as some of them might be, would be enough. I think some might be more interested in how Wittgenstein was as a friend, teacher and philosopher. I was not surprised with his dim view of "professional philosophy."

[Photo culled from:]

Monday, September 3, 2012

From Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters

'Invisible Monsters' by Chuck Palahniuk.

[Not to worry, no spoilers here. This pasage is from Palahniuk (1999, 110-1), something I posted two years ago. I have not read the Remix yet.]

"Not a word, " Brandy says. "You're still too connected with your past. Your saying anything is pointless."
From out of her sewing basket, Brandy draws a streamer of white and gold, a magic act, a layer of sheer white silk patterned with a Greek key design in gold she casts ove my head.
Behind another veil, the real world is that much farther away.
"Guess how they do the gold design," Brandy says.
The fabric is so light my breath blows it out in front; the silk lays across my eyelashes without bending them. Even my face, where every nerve in your body comes to an end, even my face can't feel it.
It takes a team of kids in India, Brandy says, four-and five-year-old kids sitting all day on wooden benches, being vegetarians, they have to tweeze out most of about a zillion gold threads to leave the pattern of just the gold left behind.
"You don't see kids any older than ten doing this job," Brandy says, "because by then most kids go blind."
Just the veil Brandy takes out of her basket must be six feet square. The precious eyesight of all those darling children, lost. The precious days of their fragile childhood spent tweezing silk threads out.
Give me pity.
Give me empathy.
Oh, I wish I could make my poor heart bust.
I say, " Vswf siws cm eiuvn sincs."
No, it's okay, Brandy says. She doesn't reward anybody for exploiting children. She got it on sale.
Caged behind my silk, settled inside my cloud of organza and georgette, the idea I can't share my problems with other people makes me not give a shit about their problems.
[Photo culled from:]

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Albert Camus: From the Myth of Sisyphus

"If the world were clear, art would not exist." - Albert Camus

   I am reminded of this quote of Camus because of the films I have shown in class and the discussions we have about those films. I have anchored my classes' viewing on what are usually called existentialist themes or issues. Some might notice that the previous entry quoted Jack Nicholson. It was deliberate. In its most simplistic form, Nicholson and many other actors of his generation were aware of Camus. Camus was also an actor and playwright. Though some might not know that Camus did not consider himself an existentialist ( if I am not mistaken see "Camus on himself" in Lyrical and critical essays). But actors of Nicholson's kind and writers of Camus's kind, to paraphrase Kevin Spacey, get to ask questions that most people don't ask. Indeed, it appears that many people would rather not ask many of the questions that philosophers ask.

[Photo culled from: It's by Cartier Bresson].

Friday, August 31, 2012

Jack Nicholson on Camus's Existential Hero

"The actor is Camus's ideal existential hero, because if life is absurd and the idea is to live a more vital life, the man who lives more lives is in a better position than the guy who lives just one."
Nicholson's quote is from the 2nd edition of Robert Barton's Acting: Onstage and off.

[Photo culled from:]

Loeb and Sale's Haunted Knight: Another Recent Read for July

I've been busy. But this work of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale was another recent read for July.

[Photo culled from:]

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Of Dossiers

    When someone mentions "dossier" to me I think of the different intelligence agencies. But of course this might be the one most are familiar with, a fictional one:
[Picture culled from:]

So if we go with the "dossier" being circulated via email, does that mean they (the names listed there) are secret agents? Hehehe...

 Yes, some of us are secret agents working for a fictional intelligence agency involved in a global conspiracy that will fund a death ray obliterating all biological organisms...making way for silicon-based life...Hehehe....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some Views of DLSU-M during "Habagat'

Courtesy of Archer's Eye and the Facebook account of the Philosophy Department of De La Salle University Manila.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catwoman: When in Rome

Catwoman: When in Rome by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The continuity for this is that the events here happen approximately in-between The Long Halloween and Dark Victory.

Catwoman: When in Rome (Batman)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Batman: Dark Victory

It's not the end of July yet. But I wanted to get this recent read in. I finished Batman: Dark Victory  (by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale) some weeks ago in one sitting.  Yet another stage setting for watching Christopher  Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.
Batman: Dark Victory

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Batman: The Long Halloween

Another recent read for June. Just in time for The Dark Knight Rises. Look out for what I consider an homage to The Godfather in The Long Halloween (by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale).

[Yet another picture from]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kung Fu Panda Effect Entry

The blog has been having many hits due to the Kung Fu Panda Effect entry. For some reason the image I borrowed below is one of the first few that comes out in Google.

Maybe a sequel is coming out soon?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

The Man in the High Castle
Dick's The Man in the High Castle is another of my recent reads for June. I wonder how many World War 2 veterans got to read this, and what they thought of the book.

[Picture culled from:]

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amidst all the Zombie Talk: I am Legend

     Alright, no zombies in the novel by Matheson, but vampires. Still George Romero took a lot of inspiration from this. I finished this quickly just before the end of the 5th of June. I still don't think others appreciate how influential this is. Vampires (undead). Science. One human (apparently). Survival.
     There are existential themes here. But I believe if I mentioned them it would mean talking about some specifics in the novel.
     [Photo culled from:]

Saturday, June 9, 2012

5 Books of Philosophy (via Leiter's post regarding Romano)

The link to Leiter's post is here. My reply is in the comments section, reproduced here:
[Picture culled from:]
I would say:
1. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche (Kaufmann's translation was one of the first philosophy texts I read not just for the philosophy but for the mere enjoyment of it).
2. Word and Object by Quine (I was led to Quine via Nietzsche. Quine's name was in the index of one the Kaufmann translations of Nietzsche, and so I got to "Two dogmas").
3. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Rorty (I think there are many "outside philosophy" who overstate his characterizations and conclusions from this book. I got into Quine, Sellars and Davidson even more because of this.).
4. On Certainty by Wittgenstein (To be read with G.E. Moore).
5. Pragmatism by James (Well my reading of this is influenced by Putnam's. I would have to say also that it helps if we look at James here as struggling with the implications of naturalism. Of course, James would take the religious/supernaturalist view in the end). 

I would add here that James's pragmatism also discusses Vivekananda. More generally, James concerns himself with the possible consequences of holding certain metaphysical views of the world. James was quite familiar with the expression tat tvam asi.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Bradbury (22 August 1920 – 5 June 2012)

"My personal telephone book is a book of the dead now," Bradbury told Weller in his book of interviews. "I'm so old. Almost all of my friends have died, and I don't have the guts to take their names out of the book." (


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recent Reads for May: Justice League Dark #9

      I've somehow neglected mentioning that I've been following this series from DC, never really too aware of what the "New 52" has in store (literally and figuratively). My other recent reads for may, apart from Justice League Dark are here and here.Taking over from Peter Milligan is Jeff Lemire. The cover above was done by Mike Janin.
       One of the funny things about this issue is a reference to the title.One of the characters does not like it.  Like many things in DC, the stories are better than the names of the titles or characters.
      On a different note, the web and media are abuzz with the Alan Scott Green Lantern news. How about Constantine? Some issues have been raised, but he is not as mainstream. 


Friday, June 1, 2012

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Another recent for May is Bourdain's Kitchen confidential: Adventures in the culinary underbelly. I've heard a lot about this and finally read this.
[Photo culled from:]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Super Gods by Grant Morrison

    One of my recent reads for May is Morrison's Super gods:What masked vigilantes, miraculous mutants and a sun god from Smallville can teach us about being human.  You don't have to be too engrossed in comics to appreciate this but it helps.  Some knowledge of pop culture will also help.

[Photo culled from:]

Alice in Chains: Black Gives Way to Blue

Playlist I'm listening to now.
1. “All Secrets Known”
2. “Check My Brain”
3. “Last Of My Kind”
4. “Your Decision”
5. “A Looking In View”
6.”When The Sun Rose Again”
7. “Acid Bubble”
8. “Lessons Learned”
9. “Take Her Out”
10. “Private Hell”
11. “Black Gives Way To Blue”
[Photo culled from:]

Monday, May 28, 2012

Playlist for Corona Verdict: Slayer, Seasons in the Abyss

Just in time for the Corona impeachment verdict. SLAYER. Maybe the senators should have their own entrance music before they do their speeches.

01. War Ensemble(Araya/Hanneman)4:51
02. Blood Red(Araya/Hanneman)2:47
03. Spirit in Black(Hanneman/King)4:07
04. Expendable Youth(Araya/King)4:09
05. Dead Skin Mask(Araya/Hanneman)5:20
06. Hallowed Point(Araya/Hanneman)3:23
07. Skeletons of Society(King)4:40
08. Temptation(King)3:25
09. Born of Fire(Hanneman/King)3:07
10. Seasons in the Abyss(Araya/Hanneman)6:37

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gerald E. Myers on William James

"James’s philosophy was an old-fashioned philosophy of life. It was not primarily logical analysis, the solution of puzzles, or the clarification of concepts from some related field such as art, religion, or physics; it included these functions, but it was considerably more. His philosophy integrated multiple beliefs into a systematic outlook which provided him with practical guidelines for conducting his daily existence. Thus conceived, philosophy was a subject for the man for all seasons, a pursuit for all moods. One could philosophize light-heartedly, professional, socially, conversationally; but one could also philosophize in the face of personal crises, as James did in 1870, at the age of 28" (1986, 45-6). 
[Photo culled from:]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Music Playlist: Exodus: Bonded by Blood

[photo culled from:]
Exodus's Bonded by Blood is an acknowledged thrash classic.  Metallica's Kirk Hammett used to be part of the band. Recently, Gary Holt filled in for Jeff Hanemann for some of Slayer's gigs.

Now, of course, there are many classifications and sub-genres of music that one wonders how much of this is just pure marketing.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Adam Yauch, the Dalai Lama and Tibet

What do they have in common? I just found out here. I still remember seeing the Fat Boys tv special that featured the Beastie Boys and other rappers.

Recent reads for April part 2: Hellblazer 290

[Cover by Simon Bisley. Pic culled from:]

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So is this going to be Pacquiao vs Obama?

Just heard this on AM radio. The Facebook feeds are filled with it also it seems.  The brouhaha over Pacquiao's purported statement regarding gays and marriage. Can Mayweather be far behind? How about Romney? What about omissions or exaggerations? With all these big names, it seems expected.

King writes at the end:

In any event, it appears we -- and countless others (Ampong in particular) -- owe Pacquiao an apology. He's apparently not as much of a homophobe as Ampong made him out to be. However, he still opposes letting gay people tie the knot, which -- while being an obnoxious opinion -- is a far cry from calling for the death of human beings based on their sexual orientation.
We sent Ampong an email asking if he'd like to explain why he misled people with his article. We haven't heard back.

Big names and big stories.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Who's the Lump?

Saw this first at Feminist Philosophers blog. A passage via The Chronicle of Higher Education;

Some Lumps are simply spineless, deathly afraid of making a decision. They’ve long since determined that the best policy is just to lay low and pass the buck. Some are jaded and cynical. They’ve been there and done that, and nothing much impresses them anymore. They don’t see any need to act decisively, or maybe they just don’t see the point: It wouldn’t do any good, anyway. Some, nearing retirement, are motivated purely by reluctance to lose their high salaries and accompanying pensions.
But some Lumps are much more calculating. Lacking genuine ability and creativity, they’ve determined that their surest and safest route to the top is simply to go along to get along–to spout the party line, support whatever the higher-ups are doing, and otherwise not do much of anything lest they risk doing the wrong thing.
In any form, Lumps are incredibly harmful to an organization. They’re responsible for most of the negative attributes that people (including students) rightly associate with bureaucracy: interminable waiting, “red tape,” buck passing, narrow and rigid interpretation of policy, stubborn intransigence.
They’re also a drain on group morale. Although perhaps not as actively vindictive as authoritarian power-mongers,most Lumps will throw their colleagues under the bus in a heartbeat in order to preserve or advance their own careers. It’s not that they don’t like you. They just don’t care about you.

New Avengers and Silence of the Lambs?

Actually the Minimates of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling on top of a New Avengers hardcover compilation.  Maybe they should join this version of the Avengers. A mobile phone camera was used.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pittsburgh Classics Under Siege

Sign the petition.
[via] The following is by Mary Louise Gill:

I write to alert you to a dire situation in Classics at the University of Pittburgh (my previous home before coming to Brown University). The Pitt Administration proposes to cancel graduate admissions. This would not only affect the Department in a detrimental way but would also destroy the interdisciplinary Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science and weaken Philosophy and History of Science.. More than 1000 people have signed the petition so far. We should overwhelm the admisnitration with objections! Here is the statement I wrote when I signed the petition: The University of Pittsburgh administration tried to make such a move once before, and on a broader scale (when I was Chair of Classics and Chair of the Humanities Council in 1996-97). The effort failed, though the lack of administrative support resulted in the mass exodus of good faculty, including most of the excellent Department of Linguistics. I learned at the time that Pitt Classics was the most cost-effective department in FAS at Pitt, making about 50% more for the University than we cost. The graduate students contributed substantially to that success. What financial value can there be to this recent move and what are its academic implications? It destroys Classics, destroys the internationally-renowned Graduate Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science (CPAS), and will weaken the highly ranked Departments of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science. Humanities Departments are cheap and they are the backbone of the University. The Administration should foster these departments and replace positions in Classics, including the position in ancient philosophy, the funding for which was withdrawn in 2008-2009. The current plan will reduce the University of Pittsburgh to mediocrity, an outcome foreseen by many commentators on this petition and by many colleagues at Pitt. Here is the petition, and I hope that many of you will sign and forward it to others.

Nina Strohminger's review of Colin McGinn's The Meaning of Disgust

Encountered this at Leiter's site. Funny, if you were not McGinn! With passages from Strohminger like this:

Perhaps The Meaning of Disgust is useful as an aesthetic object in itself: an emblem of that most modern creation, the pop philosophy book. Actual content, thought, or insight is entirely optional. The only real requirement is that the pages stroke the reader’s ego, make him feel he is doing something highbrow for once, something to better himself. The sad fact is the reader would learn more about disgust by reading Mad magazine.

Has McGinn "jumped the shark"?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Call For Papers: Has Feminist Philosophy Changed Philosophy?

Conference of the Nordic Network for Women in Philosophy at the University of Iceland (in cooperation with the Institute of Philosophy and EDDA – Center of Excellence), September 7 and 8, 2012.
Feminist philosophy has emerged in the last decades as a vibrant field within Western philosophy. It has resulted in questioning canons of philosophy as well as core concepts of the philosophical curriculum. Feminist epistemology, ethics, aesthetics and metaphysics have contributed to a richer understanding of the epistemic, ethical, perceiving and embodied subject. The past and the present of philosophy as an academic discipline appear in a different light. Despite this, philosophy still has one of the lowest proportion of women and minorities among students and faculty when compared to other disciplines within the humanities and the sciences as a whole. Does that have to do with the lack of acceptance of feminist work within philosophy? Or is it necessary to dig deeper in order to understand the resistance of philosophy towards change in this respect? The keynote speakers at this conference, Sally Haslanger and Linda Martín Alcoff, have gained widespread attention for their writings on the institutional culture, content and styles of philosophy, as well as for their initiatives on improving the situation of women and minorities in philosophy. The NNWP calls for papers that discuss if, and if so how feminist philosophy has changed philosophy.
Sigríður Þorgeirsdóttir, University of Iceland
Ásta Sveinsdóttir, San Franciscso State University
Eyja M. Brynjarsdóttir, University of Iceland
Salvör Nordal, University of Iceland
Abstracts (max 200 words) are due by May 25, 2012. Please submit your abstracts to
Replies to submissions will be sent out June 5th.
Dr. Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir
Associate Professor of Philosophy
San Francisco State University


Thanks for the views! Cake, (Hunter S.) Thompson and philosophy, David Chalmers, Alan Turing and Kung-fu Panda (effect) got quite a few hits.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Recent Reads for April: Avengers vs X-Men

I've read issues number 1 and 2. I will be reading the third one later. With any luck, the movie adaptations of comics (in the form of Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises) can encourage people to read. Not just comics, but reading in general. These things did not just come out of thin air. 

[Photo credit:]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Women in Logic

via Feminist Philosophers and News Apps

"Almost three years ago, I initiated the ‘Women in Logic’ list, intended to serve as source of ideas for conference organizers seeking to improve the gender balance of their conferences,in the spirit of the Gendered Conference Campaign. More generally, it was intended to increase the visibility of women working in an area that is strongly associated with men. The first draft of the list was compiled on the basis of responses to a query I had sent to the Philos-L mailing list, and since then I’ve been updating the list as I continued to receive suggestions of additions.
Now, inspired by Bryce Huebner’s wiki on feminist philosophy and Lisa Shapiro’s list of women working in history of philosophy, I decided to experiment with a new format: a Google docs spreadsheet which can be viewed and edited by anyone, so that everyone can add themselves and others. The aim is for the list to contain much more information than it did before, with names filed by geographical area/continent, information on areas of expertise and topics, webpage and email etc. In this way, it should be a much more useful tool than it has been so far, as well as being a modest attempt at data collection on the number of women working in these areas. " Posted by Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Alan Turing in Manila - from Ambassador Lillie

I've been having a busy week but was able to go to the reception at Ambassador Lillie's residence. David Chalmers and some of the participants were there. When I'm less busy I'll probably write about that.  Anyway, here is a passage from Ambassador Lillie's blog:

"This week saw one of the Philippines’ most prestigious universities host 'Turing 2012', a commemoration and celebration of the British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing.
I was delighted to deliver the opening remarks at De La Salle University-Manila and to host a reception later at my Residence for participants and international speakers in the conference.
100 years after his birth in 2012, Alan Turing is probably most widely known in his own country for his work during the Second World War at Bletchley Park, Britain’s wartime code-breaking centre."

[The page is here:]

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chiffon Cake?

When I'm at a bookstore, I usually peruse cookbooks, especially those on desserts. I've always wondered what a chiffon cake actually is.  Here's an answer from
"Chiffon cakes are foam cakes, cakes that are leavened primarily with beaten egg whites, just like angel food cakes are. In fact, they are very similar in appearance to angel food cakes and are usually baked in the same type of tube pan. Chiffon cakes, unlike angel food cakes, contain both egg yolks and vegetable oil. These two ingredients keep the cake moist, soft and tender and result in a cake that tastes great and keeps well."

The entry also mentioned butter cakes. I will look for that next.

After sifting Google here is an image from
The entry also featured a historical background about how the Moors introduced oranges to Valencia.  Looking at the chiffon cake images for Google also led me to "Pandan chiffon cake." Looks all good to me!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

From Ellis's Less Than Zero

“Where are we going?" I asked.
"I don't know," he said. "Just driving."
"But this road doesn't go anywhere," I told him.
"That doesn't matter."
"What does?" I asked, after a little while.
"Just that we're on it, dude," he said.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Glock on Quine and Wittgenstein

[Blog comments, if at all, in square brackets. This is part of something I worked on regarding Quine and philosophical anthropology. Still a work in progress, in my view now.]
...I cite a later article of Quine  (1992, 6) ["Structure and Nature"From the Journal of Philosophy 89 (1)]:

Natural science tells us that our ongoing cognitive access to the world around us is limited to meager channels. There is the triggering of our sensory receptors by the impact of molecules and light rays. Also there is the difference in muscular effort sensed in walking up or down a hill. What more? Even the notion of a cat, let alone a class or a number, is a human artifact, rooted in an innate predisposition and cultural tradition. The very notion of an object at all, concrete or abstract, is a human contribution, a feature of our inherited apparatus for organizing the amorphous welter of neural input?

    From the above passage one does not just note the consistency of Quine’s idioms, but his consistency of views as well. But what is Quine driving at? Does it lead to the type of reductionism mentioned earlier? What Quine is driving at has implications to views on knowledge and language, not necessarily a reduction of persons in the form of “persons are nothing but physical objects.” There is nothing more to a person but a human being’s physical constituents. Quine is far from arguing for this sort of reduction.  
[Photo credit to: A page maintained by Douglas Boynton Quine]

However, going by the above passages so far cited does not close off the possibility that Quine was a behaviorist. Affirming that persons are physical objects would seem to entail this. Glock (2001, 9) aptly classifies Quine’s behaviorism as “methodological.” In Glock’s words,”mental phenomena should not feature in a scientific explanation of behavior.”  In at least both Word and object and his “Replies” (1969) [Reply to Chomsky], Quine repeatedly eschews any outright denial of the existence of mental phenomena. Following Glock’s methodological characterization of Quine’s behaviorism, Quinean naturalism does not argue that mental phenomena do not exist. Not including mental phenomena in a naturalistic study of behavior does not entail a denial of mental phenomena.  This is important to note in this paper for this is at least one difference between Husserl’s conception of naturalism and Quinean naturalism.  Such would have a bearing on the purported inappropriateness of using naturalism on the philosophical discussion of a person.

While Glock’s classifies Quine’s behaviorism as methodological, the former backtracks when he compares Quine to another influential philosopher, Wittgenstein. Glock argues that a significant difference between Wittgenstein and Quine are there versions of behaviorism. Glock (2001, 13) writes that

Wittgenstein condones a ‘hermeneutic’ distinction between understanding and explanation which implies that human action cannot be made intelligible solely through the causal explanations of natural science.

Glock implies in the above passage that Quine subscribes to the notion that human action can be made intelligible solely through the causal explanations of science. This implication of Glock is further emphasized by mentioning “hermeneutic.”  This is not a paper on the differences between analytic and “continental” traditions (that includes hermeneutics), or the intersections between them, but Glock seems to capitalize on this. Some of the usual philosophical discussions of the person are readily found in the “continental’ tradition especially if one identifies the series of philosophies that came after Husserl.

Glock goes on to point that in talking of understanding (a human being) one cannot help but use an intentional vocabulary and that this is precisely what Quine denies. Glock’s differentiating the behaviorism of Quine versus Wittgenstein recalls the previous discussion on reductionism. A person’s actions are “intelligible solely through the causal explanations of science” for a person is nothing but a physical object.
Even without Glock, it seems simple enough that Wittgenstein and Quine are on divergent paths when it comes to the relationship of philosophy and science.  As has been discussed, Quine’s idiom buttresses the consistency of the naturalism he advocates. But even if this were the case, this does not mean that for Quine the causal explanations of science are sufficient to understand human action. Glock (2001, 13) continues his discussion of Quine’s divergence from Wittgenstein (and consequently to the “continental” tradition) by referring to the former’s “stimulus-response” behaviorism. It seems to be an inconsistency on Glock’s (2001, 11) part for earlier he refers to Quine’s anti-reductionism, “no individual statement can be associated with a specific set of experiences…” One major upshot of Quine’s (1961) “Two dogmas” is anti-reductionism that is incompatible to stimulus-response behaviorism. For meaningful statements do not refer to immediate experience on by one, and Quine’s rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction relegates one to the contextual or holistic. They are contextual in that even purportedly analytic statements (“All bachelors are unmarried men”) are dependent on empirical factors and usage (Quine 1961, 24) and also the rejection of reductionism. Therefore there is a need to interpret, to understand, if one follows Glock’s terminology. Quine’s naturalism does not rule out this hermeneutic aspect. Quine (1992, 6) himself, in a passage cited, earlier does write about “cultural traditions” and “human contribution” in order to make sense of neural inputs (like our encounter of cats and numbers).

Quine’s (1985, 6) discussion of “mentalistic idioms” (like belief) and their translatability to neurology can illuminate further why the previous charges of reductionism and behaviorism will not necessarily go against his naturalism:

There is no presumption that the mentalistic idioms [intentional vocabulary for Glock] would in general be translatable into the anatomical and biochemical terminology of neurology, even if all details of the neurological mechanism were understood. Thus take belief.  Assessed on its objective manifestations, belief is a very mixed bag.  Lip service is our most convenient clue to belief, but is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition.

Quine, in the paragraph before this, talks of his “identificaiton [sic] of mental states with bodily ones, neural ones; a construing of the mental as neural.”   Ontologically, as has been shown, Quine is physicalist but he does distinguish between matters of scientific knowledge (anatomy, biochemistry and neurology) and matters of mentalistic idioms (belief).  The latter is a different consideration even if “all the details of neurological mechanism are understood.” That this is Quine’s (1985, 7) point is buttressed by his endorsement of Davidson’s (1980) anomalous monism versus a metaphysical dualism of mind and body. The position is called anomalous monism in that there is only the body that may be understood through the many sciences. But when one talks of the mind there need not be any necessary connection with the sciences in making sense of this. For instance, the stomach’s being empty and all that is entailed physiologically by this state need not be connected with one’s elation at having stuck with a strict dietary regimen.  Davidson is doubtful one can find strict laws that connect what happens in the “physical” with the “psychological.”
Quine takes the other horn of Davidson’s anomalous monism in emphasizing and focusing on that which is covered by scientific laws. But this focus also serves to highlight, albeit in a different way, that beliefs and other propositional attitudes have to be understood on a different model from natural science. Notice that beliefs and propositional attitudes would apply to persons. Consequently, Quine’s would have no qualms in other areas of inquiry not having a causal explanation in the matter of persons.   In Quine’s (1985, 6-7) words and continuing his discussion of belief:

Acceptance of wagers is a firmer sign, and the accepted odds even afford a measure of the strength of a belief; but this test is available only if there is a prospect of subsequently finding the answer, acceptably to both parties, and settling the bet. Other behavior, such as searching or fleeing or standing expectantly, can serve tentatively as manifestations…but these manifestations vary drastically [emphasis added]…Other grounds…may be sought unsystematically [emphasis added] by probing the subject’s past for probable causes of his present state of mind…

Again, unlike what Glock claims, the above passage buttresses the notion that here Quine’s view would involve what Glock calls understanding. That is, Quine is not ascribing only a causal model to an intentional vocabulary.  Glock (2001, 14) then cites a passage of Wittgenstein to further contrast it to Quine’s view.  Here is some of the specified passage of Wittgenstein (1958, 126):

But can’t I imagine that the people around me are automata, lack consciousness, even though they behave in the same way as usual… Say to yourself for, for example: “The children over there are mere automata; all their liveliness is mere automatism.” And you will find these words becoming quite meaningless; or you will produce in yourself some kind of uncanny feeling…Seeing a living human being as an automaton is analogous to seeing one figure as a limiting case or variant of another; the cross pieces of a window as a swastika, for example.  

However, if one takes seriously Quine’s acceptance of anomalous monism then the above will be acceptable to Quine. That is, to borrow Glock’s (2001, 14) terms, a “special act of aspect-seeing” to regard a human being as an automata, limiting oneself to the human being as  physiological mechanism as what scientists do. If it is true that Quine is an anomalous monist then he recognizes difference in aspect. That is why the intentional vocabulary is not presumed to be translatable to science in Quine’s view. This further buttresses the idea that Quine is not a reductionist-behaviorist about a person. The next passage of Wittgenstein (1958, 126) is perhaps closer to Quine’s point also:
It seems paradoxical to us that we should make such a medley, mixing physical states and states of consciousness up together in a single report: “He suffered great torments and tossed about restlessly.” It is quite unusual; so why do we find it paradoxical? Because we want to say that the sentence deals with both tangibles and intangibles at once.-But does it worry you if I say: “These three struts give the building stability”? Are three and stability tangible?-Look at the sentence as an instrument, and at its sense as its employment.

Quine’s focus, most would say “bias” is that the intentional vocabulary would be “unsystematic” or “vary drastically” if one compares it to the methods of the natural sciences. But this hardly means, contra Glock, that Quine cannot deal with intentional vocabulary in a similar way that Wittgenstein did.  Quine has very significant qualms with the intentional vocabulary, nevertheless produces an account that I believe can address human beings as persons to be understood (“hermeneutically” following Glock’s expression).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Via Leiter Reports: Philosophy, Physics, Other Programs Threatened with Closure

[ A sad state of affairs. Maybe some are not aware of similar things in the Philippines.]
"Given the sorts of issues you track and publicize in your blog [Leiter Reports], I want to send you some information about what is happening (at lightning speed, and without any real consultation) at my university.  These include issues like post tenure review, forcing faculty who haven't met university wide publishing goals to teach extra classes (without any warning or input as to the new criteria), shutting down the Price Lab School (we are the major educational college for our state), and this last week, announcing that they will be cutting large numbers of programs (including central programs like physics, philosophy & religion, etc.) and laying off many tenured faculty with the programs.  This last cut was announced to the faculty union and the faculty senate last Monday, apparently they were expecting to ram it through in a couple of days (the Price Lab school closure happened, from Presidential announcement to Board of Regents approval, in less than a week), but they met enough resistance and strong enough legal arguments from faculty groups to give them pause.  Still, they expect to go through with the cuts next week.  As these groups were sworn to secrecy and since they also weren't even given official lists of all the programs being cut (they were merely shown overheads), information is hard to come by.  Basically, if these changes go through, it will gut the character of the university as a comprehensive liberal arts institution.  The AAUP is also involved, but I doubt they will be heard.  it's also worth noting, as the union has documented, the diversion of money from the core mission of teaching students to areas like Administration and Auxiliary services (mainly athletics).  There has been a cut anounced for athletics (nothing like what is coming for faculty), and as far as we can tell, no significant cuts for Administration."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Either you're the best or the worst!

[Image from:]

Anonymous reviews and comments give you that. Ring of Gyges ring a bell? Just had to put that in.

More TURING 2012 announcements

Via Wilfrid Sellars Society. "The conference, dubbed 'Turing 2012: International Conference on Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science,' is part of the global effort to celebrate the life and scientific influence of English mathematician, logician, and computer scientist Alan Turing."

The link is here. Other useful links are and

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Alan Turing Year Twitter, Turing 2012 here we come!

The twitter for the Alan Turing Year is here. Above is the publicity material c/o of DLSU StratCom
for Turing 2012. More details at and

Ayer and Sartre on the Meaning of Life 2