George Orwell, human resources and the English language | "Had he been alive today, George Orwell – the great opponent and satirist of totalitarianism – would have deplored the bureaucratic repression of HR. He would have hated their blind loyalty to power, their unquestioning faithfulness to process, their abhorrence of anything or anyone deviating from the mean. In particular, Orwell would have utterly despised the language that HR people use..." [more inside]
Open Mind - "This is a website with numerous peer-reviewed philosophical texts covering a wide range of topics and disciplines that are available for free. This means that the texts are not restricted to the use of academics and students in the developed world who can afford to download them, but are available to anyone, anywhere." [more inside]
Thrown by Kerry Howley chronicles the author's exploits as a philosophy grad student turned devoted follower of a succession of MMA fighters; the connection is less odd than it sounds. The Paris Review has an excerpt from the book (parts one and two), detailing the weigh-in process for fighter Erik Koch before his victory over Cisco Rivera in 2010 in Las Vegas. At Salon, Lydia Kiesling writes that Thrown recalls the best of literary fiction: The nearly hysterical circumlocutory gymnastics of the narrator, and her dual position as a predator and supplicant to her fighters, reminded me of nothing so much as Humbert Humbert, with immense cauliflower-eared men in the startling role of Lolita. More reviews of Thrown at Time (paywalled) and Oxford American.
We need a theory of jerks. We need such a theory because, first, it can help us achieve a calm, clinical understanding when confronting such a creature in the wild. Imagine the nature-documentary voice-over: ‘Here we see the jerk in his natural environment. Notice how he subtly adjusts his dominance display to the Italian restaurant situation…’ And second – well, I don’t want to say what the second reason is quite yet.[more inside]
A case against "starring*" and "looking-glassingLG" in philosophy: G. Strawson on intentionality and experience. In a very engaging and stimulating paper, Galen Strawson takes contemporary philosophy of mind to task on certain supposed terminological subreptions and conceptual reductions (pdf). You, like others, may of course not find G. Strawson's views fully convincing. (G. Strawson previously on Metafilter here and here.) [more inside]
Meditations on: the poetic and profane; on silence; death; catastrophe; Cage — and yet more strangeness and beauty from David Ralph Lichtensteiger's travels within the world of 20th C. avant garde music and postmodernism.
The Ecology of Magic is the abbreviated first chapter of David Abram's Spell of the Sensuous. Abram explores the intersection of phenomenology, synesthesia and linguistics to discover the magic of the alphabet, the sacred winds, and ultimately, the root of animism. Abram finds the locus of these superstitions not in an imagined metaphysical sphere, but rooted in our sensuous experience of the world around us. He attributes much of our cavalier attitude towards our environment to our separation from our own experience, and ultimately, our loss of magic. "The fate of the earth depends on a return to our senses."
Beethoven stretches out and relaxes. Gorillas belch to let others know where they are. Fish sing the body electric (.mov, 12 MB) for food and safety. How has your own perception shaped your worldview?
Paul Ricoeur dies. A sketch of his life's work can be found here. (Warning, somewhat dense, NSF-sunday mornings). Here's a little on phenomenology, Ricoeur's philosophical paradigm.