Thursday links

July 14, 2022

Maybe I'll go a whole work week with a post every day!  (This should make you ask: what am I avoiding doing? Answer: many things.)


I like this, a nice nuanced discussion of the complications in common uses of "cultural appropriation".  Not a dismissal of the concept, but a structuring & conceptual clarification of it.


This is good on the "affects" that the academy cultivates.  It focuses on the negative affects, but a companion piece would do more to emphasize the positive affects, and how we can better inhabit, manifest, and help others cultivate them.


This is a fun story about truffles you can find here in the Appalachians:


How to make communities in the American Midwest grow again, instead of die?  This could be a good idea: “Our research on smaller communities has found that community amenities such as recreation opportunities, cultural activities, and excellent services (e.g., good schools, transportation options) are likely bigger contributors to healthy local economies than traditional “business-friendly” measures.”

Cool piece on top ten cited sociology papers by decade of their publication.  Makes me think of whether we could do something similar in religious studies—would we find patterns?  I bet we would. 


This is very throught-provoking, both about Chalmers’s book (which I’ve not read) and about the current state of a significant strand of analytic philosophy.  I'll look for a response by someone defending this style of philosophizing, and if I find one, I'll post it in forthcoming days or weeks (or months).

…what gets to count as philosophy is often generated in a vacuum, ignorant of its sources, of the contingency and localism of what it takes to be its self-evident starting-points, and destined to be as ephemeral as the pop-culture that nearly exhausts its universe of references.

Chalmers may well be living in a simulation, but not the one that he imagines. He is simulating for himself a world that is not inhabited by scholars and critics adept at exposing the ideological forces that shape a given historical era’s conception of reality; a world not inhabited by anthropologists and the people who inform them of models of the world inspired by objects of particular cultural value just as the video game inspires Chalmer’s model; a world in which there are no other ways of representing reality than those of a highly specialized caste in the learned institutions of Europe, India, and China, the latter two admitted as full members of the philosophical community only recently and begrudgingly, and at the expense of other traditions that could now more confidently be cordoned off as “non-philosophical.” Ideology yields simulations too, and the highest goal of the philosopher, now as ever, ought to be a search for “signs” that might lead us out of this simulation. These signs will not be “glitchy” cats that walk by, revealing their virtual nature as a result of some defect in the program, but rather doubts that might arise, for example while reading a pro-VR book such as Reality+. A philosopher who has no interest in even acknowledging the way in which ideological structures shape our worldviews has no business presenting himself as an authority on the question whether the world is a simulation or not.


Be well, everyone, no matter whether you think this is reality or (to riff off Putnam) t-reality.