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The Tatters of Pragmatism

I just reread the section of Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club  where Chauncey Wright is introduced and his importance to the major thinkers of the time is noted. Menand begins this introduction with what seems most humanly interesting to know about Chauncey Wright. Wright was unmarried. He lodged, after 1861, in the home of Mary […]

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In Dark Dispersal

What is truer of Man’s believing than revelation; A complicated problem is only further complicated by being simplified. A state of confusion is never made comprehensible by being given a plot. Appearances do not deceive if there are enough of them. The truth is always laid out in an infinite number of circles tending to […]

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The Custom House: Louis Agassiz with Christoph Irmscher

Episode 2 is now available for download: Agassiz, Inc. Please share far and wide, early and often. Thanks! This week I speak with biographer Christoph Irmscher about the legacy of Louis Agassiz, one of the most influential men in the development of the practice of science in America.  Irmscher’s book is called Louis Agassiz: Creator […]

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Autism, ADHD, Adaptation and Randomization

Autism, ADHD, Adaptation and Randomization

[Cross-posted at Schools Matter.] I. Some time ago I wrote a piece noting how it seems autism is becoming a useful “disorder” to have.  (I used the quotes for a reason which I hope becomes clear.)  The post, “Autism: the next ‘specialty’ credential,” tried to create a kind of choral effect between an essay by […]

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What is a Metaphysic?

Evolution may be considered as a fairly straightforward metaphysical theory with a long history which was not so much confirmed by the theory of natural selection as embarrassed by it.  The difference between the two is indicated by the fact that Darwin himself did not use the word until the fifth edition of the Origin […]

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Lord of the Level Loadstone

Thou Vain Toy, Part II [ PDF Link ] How can we be done perspectivizing?  Yesterday I offered a load of underlinings from an essay by Morse Peckham.  As a kind of “proof” text I suggested Ahab’s smashing of his Quadrant as a stance against the “sight” heavenward rather than keeping one’s eyes “level” with the horizon […]

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Thou Vain Toy

For Bobby C., underlinings from an essay by Morse Peckham, “Man’s Use of Nature,” offering powder and ball to my NO! in thunder.  And, perhaps as expected, Ahab will have the last word. *** An ideology explains the world, and justifies our behavior in it and towards it, and validates that behavior.  An ideology tells […]

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Where Be Your Tygers?

Let this serve as a kind of literary addendum to yesterday’s post. And let us first mark out some territory.  Perhaps there are two ways that humans MEAN as beings. 1. The animal that may become a god. 2. Animate matter that will decay. That’s broad, sure, and I know there are other ways to […]

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Minecraft, Or The Play’s the (Latest and Last) Thing

UPDATE: A Literary Addendum I know a boy who plays Minecraft somewhat as if it were his quest to reach the nirvana state that comes of internalizing the Jesus Prayer.  I suppose he  substitutes “Steve” for Jesus. I argue with him instead of taking away the laptop where he lives within this frame.  However, you […]

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Evolving To Heavenly Host

This morning a friend shared a link with me regarding the “good” of science spending as measured against the “evil” of suffering (“With all the suffering…“).  Basically, why spend money on “exploration” when so many are starving and dying?  Spend money combating suffering instead of space exploration. As answer or justification for spending on science […]

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]