Sunday cat pix
No cat pix collection is complete without a yawn.
Nice little campus ya got there
Newt Gingrich wants a little purging of the universities. Instapundit says: I’d hate to see anything happen to tenure, but the patience of the good and decent people of this country is wearing thin. The Leiter Report has it all.
Ism-itis, or the Vanity of Labels
Nous ne faisons que nous entregloser
The following passage is from the Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Descartes and the Pineal Gland (which I discovered at Online Papers). The author is Gert-Jan Lokhorst. After a summary of Descartes’ views on the function of the gland (↓1), Lokhorst concludes with a list of interpretations of Descartes’ position on the relation of mind and body (↓2). I like this passage, because it exhibits, in all its glorious inanity, a certain method in the history of philosophy. What I say here is therefore not directed at Lokhorst in particular. For all I can tell, the last sentence in the passage below may be a bit of deadpan humor.
Wednesday garden pic
Blazing Star, Gayfeather, liatris. See Dave’s Garden for more.
Phil Fortnights Makeover
Redoing weblog layouts is the virtual equivalent of moving the furniture. I’m working on a cleaner, quieter layout. So far I’ve done the index page and the books page. It displays correctly in Omniweb (my usual browser), Safari, and Firefox for the Mac.
One nice feature: because the dimensions of the main content box are in ems, not points or percentages, the layout will be typographically almost the same no matter what the base font size is. The only disadvantage is that for very large sizes the right side of the page runs outside the window. Another feature is the little navigation menu on the lower left, which stays put as you scroll.
Here’s the link: Philosophical Fortnights 2005. At the moment links on the page (other than “Recent”) will take you back to pages in the old style.
Sunday cat pix
Josie in a box.
The march of nescience
Two more items for the bulging Less Science file.
Adjust the facts, Ma’am
Stranger Fruit summarizes a survey of scientists at NOAA by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The tale is one of interference from above, alteration of reports, and an atmosphere of intimidation.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that there was, when NOAA and other agencies were established, an understanding among Democrats and Republicans alike that the government, if it is to make reasoned decisions in the best interests of the country and its people, needs accurate information. Disagreement about policy is one thing; polluting the data is another. That understanding is being undermined by the current administration, with no greater interest in mind than the profit of a few.
The real “science war”
Pharyngula (P. Z. Myers) and others comment on a series of interviews at The New Republic Online. The topic was evolution. Myers helpfully classifies the respondents according to their positions on the intellectual tree of ascent from sheer stupidity to getting One Thing Right. The worst, I think (in agreement with Myers), are those who can’t bring themselves to say that evolution is true or false, or that they have no basis for an opinion, but instead cravenly waffle.
See also Myers’ response to Todd Zywicki and Jacques Distler’s list of awards (example: the Unclear on the Concept Award goes to Patrick Buchanan for saying “I don’t believe evolution can explain the creation of matter”; though who knows?—maybe he has Gustave Le Bon in mind).
Meanwhile, ocean temperatures are rising.
Musa: European Tour
Dominique Autié of Balles de match, balles perdues has included a photo of Musa in an entry entitled “Le philosophe” (the photo appeared here in May). The latest entry, by Maurice Corcos, is a “Mise au point sur l’alexithymie”:
L'alexithymie est un néologisme‘Alexithymy’ is a neologism coined in 1972 by Nemiah and Sifneos to designate the mode of mental functioning found in many patients suffering from illnesses with a psychosomatic component. Etymologically “alexithymy” signifies the incapacity to express one’s emotions by words (a- privative — lexis, words — thymy, humor, emotions. crée en 1972 par Nemiah et Sifneos pour désigner le mode de fonctionnement mental de nombreux patients souffrant de maladies à composante psychosomatique. L'alexithymie signifie étymologiquement, l'incapacité à exprimer ses émotions par des mots (a privatif – lexis, mots – thymie, humeur, émotions).
Le concept d’alexithymie, bien qu’il soit appréhendé par de multiples notions neurobiologiques, phénoménologiques, cognitives et comportementales, psychanalytiques mais aussi philosophiques et socio-anthropologiques (les émotions sont liées intrinsèquement à des formes de socialisation), reste flou et indécis, non pas tant du fait de l’insuffisance de ces approches que du fait de sa nature (l’exploration de l’émergence de l’émotion et de la pensée) et de son contenu (la qualification et la quantification des affects à l’origine des pensées).
Wednesday garden pic
For the bees.
Two pictures from the demonstration in Trafalgar Square. These are thumbnails. The originals are at This Too.