Notes from the Library

Mon, 21 Jul 2014

Philosophers who work outside of academia | New APPS (part 1 of 3)

I can't see how they can be happy being part of the corporate machine. Only one of them has a first sector job. Their work might be fun but is that really enough to distract them from the soul-crushing reality of the meaninglessness of most corporate toil? Moreover, why are they willing to be so distracted?

On Self-Respect by Joan Didion

Wed, 25 Jun 2014

Philosophy is not a field in which piles of small findings later help fundamental advances. Little philosophical puzzles do not usually need rather dissolved by examining the wider fram assumptions, working out what their diverse and far-ranging effects have been, constructing and evaluating alternatives, trying to foresee distant implications. It often involves trying to view quite large areas in new ways, ways that may cut across usual distinctions both within philosophy and outsi de and that may require a broad knowledge across disciplines. —Ruth Millikan

(source)

Tue, 24 Jun 2014

A Dozen Words for Misunderstood | Pacific Standard

The belief in question—that the languages we speak shape the thoughts we think—is known in linguistics as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and among the linguistic establishment, Whorfianism has fallen on very bad times indeed. The hypothesis’ namesakes, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf, have been dead for 70 years, and in my own linguistics classes I rarely heard them invoked except to be ridiculed, like biologists of yore who thought maggots grew spontaneously from rotting meat, or historians who thought the world began 6,000 years ago. What Whorfianism claims, in its strongest form, is that our thoughts are limited and shaped by the specific words and grammar we use. Mayans don’t just speak Mayan; they think Mayan, and therefore they think differently from English speakers. According to Sapir-Whorf, a person’s view of the world is refracted through her language, like a pair of spectacles (not necessarily well-prescribed) superglued to his face.

Would like to study some linguistics; surprised I didn't come across this stuff in the phil. of language I studied as an undergraduate.

Tue, 10 Jun 2014

Why Procrastinators Procrastinate | Wait But Why

How to Beat Procrastination | Wait But Why

This is cool, but I think that the dark forest for the really important things that we should do should be shorter: it's just the getting started that's really unpleasant. If it continues to be like that then maybe it shouldn't be top of our lists, unless it's some kind of day job.

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