• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.


This blog is maintained for Archival Purposes. For information about the author, please visit www.kemcrimmins.com.


Kem Crimmins, Curriculum Vitae
Social Bookmarks

Beware of information overload. Information is your friend.







The wiki and its people have been in hibernation. Is there any interest in reviving it? Now most of the participants are in their fourth semester at PSU. That includes me; although, I am now teaching ENGL 202D for World Campus. And my physical location is no longer in PA, but rather in Huntsville, Alabama.



The blog has been slow because it's been a busy, offline summer. Holly and I are moving to Huntsville this weekend. WiFi will be up and running at the new home by next weekend. Updates will follow. Stay cool.



Clearly this act is "asymmetrical", but I don't understand how it constitutes "warfare". I'm not sure how three prisoners hanging themselves in Guantanamo can be construed as an act of war. Unless, of course, the primary battle field is the mental field, the plane ruled by rhetoric and perhaps even willfully interested in stretching the ways in which words have been used. I'm not saying that words like "warfare" are sancrosanct and don't change--of course, langauage isn't like __that__, but it's an odd way of looking at things. And it's not very smart since this is not a suicide attack by any stretch of the imagination. So, we don't even have to get into some type of left-wing analysis where what's going on now isn't a war b/c wars are between nations, etc. (An interesting position, but perhaps in need of thinking about what warfare was before the rise of modern nation states--and what it will be after their demise). Anyway, those are some grumblings as I go to watch some FIFA online.



Okay, I've been MIA again. The house purchase is moving along, and I've signed up for a few more projects to keep me busy. The main thing, though, is to finish a book review I'm working on. I'm reviewing Worst Cases: Terror and Catstrophe in the Popular Imagination by Lee Clarke. That needs to be done by the end of the month so I can move on.

P.S. Epoche wiki will be overhauled sometime over the summer. None of the work will be lost, just relocated on the side bar.



WooHoo!! Our bid for the house was accepted. Space Camp here we come!



It's been a crazy week. Finishing grading, traveling to Huntsville, placing a bid, and later today driving 13 hours back to Indiana. Now is an appropriate time to note that I'm glad the semester is over because like many I need the rest. Still, it will be strange not seeing any of you--I enjoyed spending most of my MWFs with you! Have a great summer, and feel free to continue reading/writing on epochewiki.pbwiki.com.



I'm posting this here to read later, but Human Rights Watch has a report about homosexuality and immigration and how the two intersect in the US.



Another bit of news: millions march today accross the US. Some of you wrote about immigration, and it's clearly going to be (and remain) a major legislative and social issue for this country. What is somewhat interesting, and something to think about, is the number of food processing plants that were affected by the march and boycott.



I'm sure everyone is following this story, but just in case you're not, or you think plagiarism isn't a real world issue, enjoy!




Thoughts for an essay contest on metaphysics


I'm not sure whether metaphysics is dead or alive, but I feel assured in thinking that metaphysics no longer matters. To understand my confidence, it is first necessary to say a bit about what metaphysics is and then to say why most people no longer care. In large part, the indifference about metaphysics has to do with its inability of the very model according to which metaphysics has traditionally operated (according to which it was to be the Herrshchaft, the master science if you will) to fulfill its own task. Metaphysics insists on being foundational to thinking at a time when thinking no longer cleaves to the notion of ranking.






Good luck with the move! - ParkerBlog

Hey Kem... as per your email - "how do you pick your topics" - the answer is I have no clue. The first essay I wrote on Arthurian romances was because while thinking of a topic, I had looked down and seen the books I used for my arthurian legend class (cmlit106). The second I wrote on American History X because while thinking of a topic my roommate was watching it. The third I wrote on columbine because I realized I hardly knew anything about columbine, just that it happened. The fourth I wrote on nuclear power because I've always heard people argue about it. - WilliamSkeat



Some good news: First, though I'll be moving to Huntsville sometime in August, I'll continue to work (a bit at least) for PSU via World Campus. I'll teach ENGL 202D. Second, my panel for the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP) has been accepted. So, I'll need to write a paper on this before October rolls around. The best thing about being accepted to SPEP is that the conference will be in Philadelphia, so I'll have an opportunity to return to PA sooner than otherwise.


I was just wondering if you could comment on our introduction; it is posted on my blog under Final Paper Introduction ---- ChoppersBlog

Hey Kem. Sorry that I didn't come to class yesterday afternoon. I spent 4 and a half hours at the University Health Center yesterday, during class time, and I have to go back today for some blood work. I have a high fever and tonsilitis and I'm going to be tested today for mono. I plan on being in class tomorrow unless the Health Center directs me otherwise. If you need to see my bill or insurance proof from the Health Center I could bring them tomorrow. Sorry again.

Tara K.






For those of you looking to legalize marijuana, click on this.





Hey Kem. I may have missed it or not paid attention, but did you say or e-mail something about how many blogs total are required for full credit? -VaryAwesome


If you're working on affirmative action, race issues, descrimination or related topics, I recommend reading \"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack\" by Peggy McIntosh.



For those of you doing nuclear power (specifically) and other energy initiatives recommended by President Bush (more generally), you may want to check out 10 April, Financial Times editorial. The full editorial can be found in the library. The link is just a taste, since it's a pay-site.



One million expected to rally across the nation today about immigration reform--Not quite as many as rallied in France to protest the recent labor laws. We'll have to keep an eye on the tallies!













Hey Kem, this is Justin Wyne from last semester. I was wondering if you had grades from our final project or any feedback about them. My email is wyne@psu.edu if you do.




The manuscript, __The Reason of Terror: Philosophical Responses to Terrorism__, has been sent to press. YEAH



__Visual Argument Links__


Where were you when?


Branding and team logos




The Rhetoric of Fashion


Web-site visual rhetoric


Civil War photo


Manipulating the political ad








An example of Logos, the \"snapshot\"






On the one hand, many people in the US probably think the French an odd bunch. To believe the ether, they don't like us and we don't like them. But, their citizens are active and at times almost militant! Today 3 million took to the streets of Paris France to protest the recent labor legislation signed into law by Chirac. Perhaps it's odd, perhaps it's only possible in a country that's not as geographically extensive as the US, but it's amazing to me.



It's supposed to snow tomorrow (Wednesday). So, be sure to put on your winter coats, hats and boots. Spring? I don't think so.



Day Light Savings: yuck. I grew up in Indiana, and since 1971 (i.e., before I was born) they haven't moved their clocks. Instead, they changed time zones. That all changed this weekend. They've caved. Boo.



Humorous Arguments


A Cartoon

It sucks



Excerpts from A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, 1729

The Onion, online

\"Terrorists Win,\" PHROTH



Store Wars



The collection is going to press soon. All that remains is to finish the introduction. That will probably take tonight and all day tomorrow. Then, on Friday a bit of polishing and grading!



Rhetorical Analysis (or Combat!) links



Metallica Album cover

Sleepless in Seattle

V for Vendetta movie site


\"Culture Jamming\" Wikipedia

\"Culture Jamming (tm)\" by Carrie McLaren

\"Absolut on ice\" from Ad Busters

\"Ethiceze\" from Ad Busters


Sample Final Projects

RFID project

Proposal for PSU Sudan letter writing campaign

Proposal on childhood obesity to school board





DazedNConfuzed is missing blogs... Find them!

I found them all! I just kept hitting flashback until they were all there again and then copied/pasted them back onto my site, I guess I did it somehow? I have no idea how though, oh well, as long as I have them back! DazedNConfuzed


Are you an online gamer? Do you long for the days when Neuromancer and Snow Crash are real possibilities? If so, check out the Open Source Metaverse project. You can make it happen.



I don't watch South Park because I don't have Comedy Central. (Sad, I know.) But there's a new "cartoon scandal"--apparently, the Scientology episode has been pulled in both the US and UK. friend, Andrew Sullivan, tells us why to be concerned.

I heard about this. I saw the Scientology episode; these cartoons are intended to be making fun of stuff. It was a good episode too (very funny). And the new episode on March 22, called "Super Adventure Club" that started the new season had Chef in it, but because Hayes is not doing Chefs voice, they took it from previous episodes and put it together in this new episode, and at the end Chef dies and becomes Darth Chef (like in Star Wars). Yet, now Chef has a different voice just like in star wars. That's how they got rid of Hayes voice and still kept the character, Chef. You could see clips of that episode here and then going to Chef returns videos. (You could even see clips of the Scientology episode if you go to "View all videos from this show" which is in the bottom right corner and then look for "Traped in closet" or "R. Kelly") Kem you really need to get Comedy Central. You’re missing out. Tell me if you've got to those clips I was talking about. - JetEngine10


Directions for Proposal Draft Workshop

(3/23/06, 11AM)


Awake. And I just found good news. According to an article in The New York Times, we have a bit of time to prepare for a bird flu pandemic. Seems it would have to go through several mutations to become easily transmittable between persons.


Hey Kem. Noticed you commented on V for Vendetta on my blog. I definitely agree about the politically charged notions within the movie, such as the one you mentioned. I was just wondering if you caught on to this one thing. They kept saying the "former United States" and how there's chaos and riots over there due to the "great war." Think maybe the Wachowski Brothers disagree with the war on terror? -VaryAwesome



It's almost 7AM, and I've commented on all available proposals. Now, it's time to sleep. Good night and good luck.



An old panel proposal



Comic books and English 15; reporting by one of our own.






Have started kemcimmins.pbwiki.com...

Op-ed for causal argument

Ides of March



Who wants to be a superhero? So, the Sci-Fi channel is doing a "reality" TV series for those who want to be a superhero. Way cool. Hmm. I'll need a costume and a super name. Of course, I already have a secret identity: Rhetoric and Composition instructor.



So, I'm back from "break" and I have so much work to do! Break, for me, largely consisted of working on things that I've not yet finished! Editing the terror papers, working on an introduction for that collection, starting a paper on Husserl's use of analogy, and grading. And, now, midway through the first week back, I'm still working on all those thing. But perhaps I'll just make a snowman since there's snow on the ground.


I had to pay for tickets to see Conan, but there is a way to get free tickets. This site shows how. Hope that helps. JetEngine10



Directions for Causal Draft Workshop

Passive voice in English




Today's task: draft a few more pages for the Husserl Circle. Hopefully I'll post a substantial portion of it later!



I've been MIA again because I'm presently working on a few projects. First, there is the continuing effort to compile and edit the essays for __The Reason of Terror__. That is rapidly (I hope) concluding. Second, I'm working on paper focusing on the use of analogy in Husserl's transcendental phenomenology. I hope to have it ready to send off by the end of the week.


And, still, I found time to travel to the Bronx to visit Fordham University.


While there, I listened to a paper by Alain Badiou. The paper was called "Philosophy as Creative Repetition," and it was one of the best things I've heard at a philosophy conference in quite some time.


First of all, it was on topic, which is more unusual than one might thing! The conference theme was "The Future of Philosophy," and Badiou argued that the future of philosophy is attendant upon the future events in the world which act as goads for thinking.


Secondly, the paper argued persuasively for a vision of philoosphy's purpose. Rather than being in a leadership position (which it may never have occupied anyway), philosophy always follows behind current events. Its task, then is not predictive, nor to be the sovereign ruler for human thought, but rather to display the novelty of events in the world and to prepare human activity for future novelties.


Finally, Badiou was __funny__. Very tongue in cheek at times, and very charming. Overall the paper was a delight, and something for me to think about more seriously. Well, worth the four hour drive to the Bronx!



2004 voter turnout



OkCupid! Politics test Thanks VaryAwesome!


Okay. I've just realised that I no longer do my major work after 6PM. I'm sitting here watching the wiki changes, and recognising that a lot of work goes on after 11PM! Hmm. Maybe those are the productive hours!




Blink this!



Okay. I'm trying to teach myself German. I'm on part two, lesson 6 of Deutsche-Welle's "Deutsch, warum nicht?". Well, today I found http://www.dasding.de. It's an online radio station, and they even have a hip-hop channel. It's cool b/c they play a wider range of hip-hop than the local State College stations, the music is mostly in English (though there's the occasional German song), and the commercials/breaks are in German. I don't know if it'll help, but I'm enjoying the station.



So, I've been thinking a little bit about the NPR story on the "long war." I still need to listen to it more carefully, because I had it playing in the background at the time. Nonetheless, I have a few initial thoughts about the difference between a "War on Terror" and long war.


The long war comes out of the Pentagon, as I understand it. It is a change in rhetoric designed to get people to agree that a restructuring of the military is needed. The restructuring is necessary because the so-called war on terror isn't going away; indeed, the editorial below quotes the document as estimating a time-line of twenty years. And if that's the type of combat that the military is going to be pursuing, then we'd best change its structure because the world will be on this path for quite some time.


The war on terror, by contrast, rose to public consciousness through a series of speeches by President Bush. It was part of a mobilizing effort to remind the US populous that it had been attacked by terrorists and that they, consequently, had started a war with America. An act of war demands retaliation, and so the war was on.


But there was something else behind that phrase "war on terror;" it seemed to be born in a context where it was important to remind the US that Islamist thinking and terrorism wasn't representative of all Muslims. And even though little was said about this, the war on terror also implies a war of ideas. It does so for a reason that people often gave to deride the phrase--an abstract concept, such as terror, cannot be fought with bombs and guns. Sure enough, but it can be fought with __ideas__.


So, oddly enough, though the war on terror has become shorthand for a series of initiatives centered on military operations and intelligence gathering, the phrase itself points in a direction that may be missing from a "long war." Unlike a long war that sees itself in a continual fight, that in a manner parallel to a "Cold War" cannot be a battle of ideas so much as number of small conflicts fought around the globe, a war on terror--by naming an idea--holds open possibilities that I fear will be covered over in this new rhetoric. And that leaves me in an odd position, one that I would not have expected to find myself: to maintain the possibility of a battle over ideas, I must support a war on terror.



Editorial on the \"Long War.\"


Questions to use in revisions





Interactive site on Defining Terrorism, from Christian Science Monitor.



Directions for Evaluation draft workshop

Basic forms of paragraphs



The weekend was hectic. We threw a baby shower for some friends on Saturday, I'm editing essays for a collection on philosophy and terrorism, and of course, I've been grading, grading, grading. The definition papers should be done in a couple days.



Here's a link to an interesting take on the cartoon controversy. Note the reference to Hitler and appeasement at the end. Oh, Jon Stewart, where are you when we need you?



Commented on all available proposals. Some interesting stuff going on, and I look forward to reading the results.


In other news: Friends of ours are having a baby and today we're hosting a baby shower. However, we always do things in odd ways, so there'll be a Texas Hold Em tournament. Buy-in= bag of diapers and $5!



I'm freaking out in a good way. Holly got a job offer at UAH, so we'll be moving. Have to get my c.v. in order to send their way so perhaps I'll be able to teach there as well. Big day.



Links for class:



We're talking about evidence today.

Mark, 4 (KJV)

Literally true

Abu Ghraib

Moon hoax

Declaration of Independence



A real life meaning-machine!








(2/13/06) Meaning-machines, prt. 2

Okay. I'm a bit tired b/c I fell asleep thinking about meanin-machines, especially how meaning-phenomena might coalesce in a particular machine to form a new meaning-phenomena. I think the term I'd like to use for that is "lamination."


Any particular meaning-phenomenon coalescing in a meaning-machine would be a complex laminate wherein diverse meanings overlay one another. That's a bit complicated sounding, but use the notion of the clear sheets used for an over-head projector. Each sheet is a laminate, or as Husserl might say a "layer of sense." Laminates may overlay one another to form a more complicated meaning-phenomenon in the same way as one can overlay laminates on an over-head to create more complicated images. How does that explain meaning, its coming to be, and its alteration in any given meaning-machine? Well, let's take Husserl's rudimentary description of value perception, first using his language of intentionality and translating it into laminates coalescing in a meaning-machine.


Husserl claims that value perception is a complex form of consciousness. It is complex for several reasons, but the most pertinent one's here is that it involves both perceptual and emotional intentionality in an intercalated unity. Simply put, one values something, where the something is given through the perceptive intention (perception here need not be immediate or direct, memory or imagination works just as well here) and is valued through the emotional component which manifests either approval or disapproval. The key here is that both are necessary and together sufficient for perceiving something as valuable. What's interesting about this is that Husserl claims that in value perception, the emotional component is necessarily founded on the perceptual. But is it? What kind of priority is that supposed to amount to?


Thinking in terms of meaning-machines and laminates: both the perceptual and emotional are spheres of meaning. They coalesce in meaning-machines and give rise to new phenomena. They do so as laminates. The new phenomenon might come into being equally well with the perceptual or the emotional being primary. Like the overhead: a meaning-machine can be perceiving in a fairly neutral emotional condition or perhaps its suffused with emotion and cannot help but perceive the particular phenomenon as value-laden. A glorious day when one is in love, stifling heat when one is overwhelmed.


This is very, very rough--clearly. And, there are some real issues about whether I'm being less than fair on Husserl's notion of founding. But if one thinks in terms of meaning-machines and laminates of meaning, then I'm not sure why the founding notion is needed, and furthermore, it's not as clear any more what work it actually does in explaining meaning-phenomena at all.


Okay. I need to think about this some more, but maybe next time I'll get to how this might actually relate to normativity. You can probably guess that in this schema normativity is just another meaning laminate (as by the way truth would be too!).



Glad to hear good things are happening to the course. My classes are a bit more difficult this semester and I'm going to be finishing the first round of exams tomorrow. I'm definitely looking forward to spring break! On a side note: One thing I'm grateful for is that I haven't gotten sick enough to miss class or work since middle school. I can usually make it through the winter months with no problems. - ParkerBlog





(2/12/06) Meaning-machines, prt. 1

Okay, so I'm reading this book, Radiant Cool: A Novel Theory of Consciousness. It's falls under the category of science and fiction. As the title suggests, it's part a novel and part a theory of consciousness. The first 200pp. is a fictional story that under the guise of a detective story gets you to think about consciousness, how it works, and attempts to explain it. The last part, which I've not yet reached, is a theoretical exposition to fill in the gaps w/i the fiction. I was drawn to it b/c it utilizes Husserl's theory of consciousness, and as you might glean from recent postings, I'm heavily interested in his phenomenology. The book has me thinking, thinking about consciousness and thinking about it as a meaning-machine.


The idea just occured to me in this form today, and I jotted down some notes. I think it quite possibly reorients some problems I've been working on--especially the philosophical investigation of normativity. Currently, there seem to be roughly two ways of thinking about that problem; either follow Hume or Kant. But, why not count beyond two? Both Hume and Kant share some interesting assumptions in the end: one being that meaning is coextensive with the rational. For Hume, reason is the realm of analyticity and relations of ideas; for Kant, it's all about the concepts of the understanding which must be foisted upon sensations to give them meaning. But why assume that reason and meaning are co-extensive? What if reason is merely one among several species of meaning?


Now does that actually get us somewhere? Maybe. It opens up discussion to a diversity of meaning-phenomena, each taking place in meaning-machines. Not just reason, but also emotions and feelings. Everything that 'subjects' are traditionally held to experience.


Why meaning-machines? Well, I'm thinking it may be more profitable (i.e., explain more) to think of consciousness as a nexus of meaning, a locus where meaning coalesces and then flees. Maybe that's what's implied by Husserl's talk of monads. And if so, I'm not sure what talking about subjectivity or an I-pole really gets you other than one of these nexuses--a congealing and excretion of meaning if you will.


I suppose that some might wonder about free will. But I'm not sure how we decide that question in the first place. If one accepts Kant's Third Antinomy, then we're not going to do it simply by reasoning. And even if we decide one way or another, how does that make a difference? If there is no free will, does the meaning of suffering or punishment change? How, especially, if free will is just another meaning-phenomena moving through so many meaning-machines.


Now my interest is how this might help re-orient thinking about normativity, but I'll save that for later! Cheers.









Two things: First, it's odd to see people choosing not to come to class on draft workshop day! What's that about? I mean, really, how often do you get a chance to improve your work prior to its being graded? Crazy!


Second, the analogy of reason proposal needs some work, especially that opening paragraph, b/c it's not at all clear how the problem it outlines is solved by Husserl (and me). That's not good. Most likely, the difficulty remains b/c I need to get clearer in my own thinking. So, I'm reading through Hume's Treatise and hoping to put together a clear presentation. Such is the writing process.


So what happened to your old laptop? I hope class is going well. - ParkerBlog





Links for class

Jon Stewart on Hitler analogy


Sample Definition Arguments


Examples of Arguments about Definition



Examples of Definition via Analogy






Kem, the jump from Xbox to Xbox 360 is certainly a considerable one. At this moment, you are right; there are simply not enough reasons for a casual gamer such as yourself to purchase the $400 product. But in the coming months, the "360"'s repertoire of games will grow considerably. Games including Halo 3 and Gears of War will undoubtedly give casual gamers a reason to purchase the system. In-game graphics will continue to improve on the system over the next few months and by the end of 2006 one may not be able to tell the difference between in-game cinematics and the actual game. Hopefully you will get some more time to play videogames in the future. Maybe if you assign less work to your students you will have less work to do. Just kidding. Or am I??? - SudokuLegend




Here it is, as promised! Comments welcome.

Analogy of Reason proposal, 1


Kant’s Copernican revolution, which in part sought to overcome Hume’s radical separation of reason and morality, left modern philosophy in a difficult position. Kant left unexplained how ethics could relate to empirical subjects because he transposed Hume’s disjunction between morality and science to a division within reason itself. By separating empirical knowledge from pure reason and assigning the former to natural science and the latter to moral thought, Kant left unexplained how ethics could relate to empirical subjects while still counting as a type of knowledge. Accordingly, Kant’s approach fails because it simply imports Hume’s radical division between science and morals from the province of natural philosophy to the realm of transcendental idealism.


Husserl responds to this challenge by developing an analogy of reason rooted in intentional experience. All conscious experience, according to Husserl, embodies meaning (Vermeinen). Those meanings are susceptible to clarification and critique through the employment of reason. Reason in this sense focuses on the position-takings (Stellungnahmen) within each act of consciousness and proceeds by bringing these to light in expressions (?). Hence, one can speak of reason’s operation in one sphere of experience as being analogous to its operation in another region. This holds equally well for experiences giving rise to science as for those giving rise to morality. In the end, for Husserl, reason’s objects for investigation are the meanings inherent to conscious experience, and this fundamental analogy drives him to pursue the analogy at higher levels, to construct parallels between formal logic, on the one hand, and formal axiology and formal praxis on the other. The parallel overcomes the bifurcations bequeathed by Hume and Kant because Husserl roots scientific and ethical disciplines in the analogous forms of consciousness which those disciplines seek to explain.



Husserl, Edmund. Ideas I

——. Ideas II

——. Formal and Transcendental Logic

——. Cartesian Meditations

——. Lectures on Value and Value-Theory (1908-1914)

——. Lectures on Ethics (1924/28)


(Yes, I need to complete the bibliographic information!)








TheFiveFoldWayOfRhetoric and me: Argh. I've been working on a book length project whose theme is Husserl's treatment of normativity. I keep starting and stopping, having the pieces roughly crafted, considering claims, reasons and warrants, but never really putting it together. The problem, I just realized, is that I'm not utilizing my fighting styles, overlooking the five fold way. The problem is that I've not been giving sufficient attention to Information Flow, which is solved with a simple rule: Old information to new. So, here goes:


1. Problem of reason's disintigration occassioned by Hume and Kant and its effect upon normativity.

2. Husserl's reunification attempt as spelled out through his analogy of reason.

3. Locating the normative subject in Husserl's thought.

4. Exploring the activity of the normative subject, i.e., evaluative intentionality.

5. Critical consideration of genesis and generative issues, i.e., the impact of culture and society on evaluative intentionality.

6. Further developments in phenomenology

7. Conclusion.






Coming soon: A proposal for an argument about definition by Kem!



Here's a thoughtful editorial on the cartoon controversy by John Smipson, BBC World Affairs Editor.



I've been slow to blog lately; as you can see from the posts, I've been working on grants and paper proposals. But the row caused by the comics posted in a Danish paper and the subsequent riots is too much to ignore. In Damascus, the Danish embasy was stormed and set fire. The Danish government refuses to sanction the newspaper responsible, claiming that its society supports freedom of speech--even when it's offensive. Some European newspapers have republished the cartoons, thereby supporting the Danish government's position on free speech. I agree with the principle of free speech, but do not think that should be confused with endorsement. Indeed, one might pause to wonder what intent could there possibly have been for the cartoons. Political cartoons are supposed to encourage persons to pause and think, perhaps even to reconsider a charished prejudice. But in what way do cartoons of Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a bomb propel persons to think differently? I doubt that they do, and the current fallout seems to bolster my claim.



Italicize this

underline this

cross this out



Links and resources for a presentation on labor in higher education.






Below is a proposal I completed last night. It's for a philosophy conference and the finished product would be roughly 15 pages in length.


Transforming Necessity:

From transcendental logic and back again


Though of historical interest for the reception of Husserl’s phenomenology in post-World War II France, the work of Jean Cavaillès retains its philosophical importance by virtue of its theme, namely the development of logic and its impact on the theory of science. Beginning with Immanuel Kant, proceeding through logical positivism and culminating with Edmund Husserl, Cavaillès demonstrates that as the conception of logic changes the notion of necessity in the theory of science is transformed. Ultimately, Cavaillès claims that logic must be transformed into a philosophy of the concept because only the necessity of a dialectic can describe the scientific progress that a theory of science is to explain. By contrast, I argue that the demand for the necessity of a dialectic is fulfilled by following the dialectic of sense described within transcendental logic.



Cavaillès’s analysis begins with Kant’s transcendental logic. For Kant, the logic is reducible to the a priori structures of consciousness and as such lacks any reference to objects. However, such a theory cannot be a body of knowledge, which by Kant’s account only arises from experience and consequently cannot be a theory of science (Wissenschaftslehre). According to Cavaillès, a Kantian philosophy of science finds its first expression with Bernard Bolzano.


In many ways, Bolzano sets the stage for further considerations of the relation between logic and theories of science. Cavaillès spells out this by pointing to a dual focus in Bolzano’s efforts toward developing a theory of science. Bolzano identified in science’s emphasis on demonstration a twofold impetus: the importance of the paradigm and the impact of theory. The paradigm points to the empirical impulse; for science, explaining and predicting events is central, and so one must look to the exemplar rooted in experience. However, because science is an explicatory enterprise, the impact of theoretical interpretation cannot be avoided. Science does not only observe the world; it makes sense of experience. Herein lays the tension and mutual influence between logic and theory of science. On the one hand, science must explain the travails of experience, that is its contingency, and consequently follow an empirical agenda. On the other hand, the theory of science seeks to explain the necessity of knowledge, and consequently focuses on logic and its role in governing rational thought. Cavaillès argues that this tension structures the two subsequent influential efforts toward explaining the connection between a theory of science and logic, namely logical positivism and Husserl’s transcendental logic. Cavaillès claims both efforts fail to resolve the tension.


In one sense logical positivism is wedded to the empirical: only that which can be directly experienced has meaning. However, in another sense, logical positivism pursues the theoretical impulse too far. Through the guise of analyticity logical positivism seeks to secure the source of necessity, yet does not thereby alleviate the strain redolent in Bolzano’s project. Logical positivism always relies upon the typical, which arrests how a thing is in its development, and so logical positivism’s appeal to the analytic cannot explain the interplay between the progressive nature of science and the necessity adhering to theory. Rather than proceeding directly to the theoretical, Cavaillès asks that philosophers tarry with the object of their investigation and look to the ontological, to ask how things are while keeping firmly in view the desire for necessity. To this end, Husserl’s analysis of logic as a conjunction of formal apophantics and formal ontology appears especially promising.


Husserl takes up the empiricist impulse by describing the import of modern logic’s progress which takes two paths, formal apophantics and pure mathematics. Whereas apophantics focuses on the meaning of propositions, pure mathematics corresponds to the task of traditional ontology. He argues that both must be considered in developing a theory of science that explains the necessity of meaning and the structure of things. Nonetheless, Husserl’s description does not cease at the empirical level, the sphere of the natural attitude, but proceeds to the transcendental. Husserl’s transcendental logic seeks to explain how Bolzano’s tension resides and is sustained in the activity of rational subjectivity. Unfortunately, according to Cavaillès, Husserl’s effort does not resolve the problem as much as it merely embodies it in another guise, for in the end transcendental logic cannot explain how description guarantees necessity. However, one might well wonder about Cavaillès conception of necessity.


For Cavaillès, the notion of necessity in logic stems from David Hilbert’s work in logic and mathematics. Since mathematics was taken to be the discipline most evidently governed by necessity, demonstrating its consistency (that is both its coherence and completeness) would provide an exemplar for a philosophy of science that seeks to explain how the contingency of human thought does not belie the necessity of progress. To address the issue and thus solve Bolzano’s tension, Hilbert’s program calls for an absolute proof. An absolute proof attempts to prove the consistency of a system without reliance upon another system. But, according to Cavaillès, despite Husserl’s laudable attempt to bring the empirical and necessary together within logic as a foundation for a theory of science, the transcendental effort leaves an indissoluble dilemma: either one looks to the subjective, which needs a further explanation of its necessity and hence is not absolute, or one cleaves strictly to logic as a self-justifying discipline that is absolute, but not transcendental. On the basis of this dilemma, Cavaillès calls for the philosophy of science to wed itself to a logic based on the necessity of dialectic. This raises two unanswered questions: what is meant by dialectic and what kind of necessity does it possess.


Dialectic, in one sense, is a term referring to the material progression of things and concepts, on how they propel themselves onward in ways that strain the abilities of analysis. Necessity here, then, refers to the unavoidability of such a transformation, and a logic based on the necessity of dialectic traces out the material transformation of concepts and presents the rules underlying those alterations. To forward a necessity of dialectic, then, is to demand that the logic supporting a theory of science matches the progress that governs empirical sciences. Transcendental logic, properly understood, fulfills such an aim.


For Husserlian phenomenology, the transcendental is an investigation of sense rooted in consciousness. As such transcendental logic in this paradigm does not reduce necessity to the a priori structures of consciousness as did Kant’s earlier effort. Instead, a Husserlian transcendental logic is governed by correlative structure of consciousness, by the necessary connections between thinking and that which is thought. Consequently transcendental logic has a dual focus that explains the necessity of Bolzano’s tension. A philosophy of science is governed by a doubly necessary move. On the one hand, it must attend to the progress of sense that science itself exhibits in a dialectical manner; on the other hand, a philosophy of science exhibits the necessity inherent in the a priori structures of consciousness. Explaining the conjunction between these two demands is the task of transcendental logic.




  • Cavaillès, Jean. Sur la logique et la théorie de la science. 2d ed. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1960.
  • Coffa, Albert J. The semantic tradition from Kant to Carnap. To the Vienna station. Ed. Linda Wessels. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • Husserl, Edmund. Formale and transzendentale Logik. Versuch einer Kritik der logischen Vernunft. Ed. Paul Janssen. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974.




New laptop. State of Union over. Why not be hardcore on liberty and priavcy? Why not do whatever is needed to defend those US values? Both parties would be upset; both would get some things they'd enjoy. And perhaps, we'd all be better off.



Laptop dead. Just trying out a new one at the PSU computer store.



Not all forms of terrorism are the same. The terrorism of anarchist groups differs from that of revolutionary groups, and, as is often stressed, terrorism stemming from fundamentalist religions differs yet again. Nonetheless, the perpetrators of each type aim to challenge the society which they target. In other words, a terrorist act is, among other things, a direct confrontation with a society and way of life. Because of this, terrorism can be seen as a philosophical challenge insofar as certain ways of thinking underlay both the terrorist activities and the societies which are attacked. Seen in this way, terrorism is not merely a physically violent activity, but also an intellectual activity that is part of an argument that forwards one way of life, one way of thinking, over another.


The challenge, then, posed by terrorism is multiple; it is political, philosophical and communicative. Politically, terrorism demands a response commensurate with the violence enacted against the state and its subjects, philosophically, terrorism must be identified and distinguished from other violent activities, and communicatively, specific types of terrorism must be interrogated to discern their distinctive message. Typically, the political response takes precedence, for a continued threat to life cannot go unanswered by a society that wishes to maintain its existence. However, unless one asks about the other modes of challenge, the philosophical and communicative, political responses risk being misplaced and overreaching. Without a proper definition, the label ‘terrorism’ devolves into a dangerous rhetorical device for sanctioning questionable, repressive political practices since the word terrorism is freighted with negative moral and political connotations: to be a terrorist is to be placed within the province of legitimate punishment and restraining practices. Having arrived at a definition of terrorism, though, is not a sufficient response because particular acts of terrorism bear distinct communicative force stemming from the situations in which they arise. Overlooking the communicative challenge encourages political respondents to act indiscriminately, to misunderstand their opponents, and to encourage further terrorist acts since the message borne by such acts remains unrecognized.






Comments on FDR later today!







Is everything an argument?


Neural Marketing - In this article, you can read about how marketing logos can affect your brain. Indeed, all of us, as rhetors seek to alter the consciousness of audiences, as individuals in common. Branding is one way to use rhetorical forms to alter consciousness, and branding repetitiously uses language and images to brand itself upon our attention. The case of Pepsi and the Yin Yang symbol shows that these branding strategies very likely draw on common forms humans have long used to attract and re-direct attention. For example:





The psychologist Carl Jung described Archetypes as the core components of the myths by which human beings make sense of themselves and the world. Often we think of "myth" in negative terms, as when you say that \"that's a myth that Pepsi forgot to put the word \"God\" on their new patriotic cans!\", but for Jung and many other analysts, myths are powerful "softwares" affecting our consciousness. Tropes and archetypes are very useful to you as a writer, because they help you find common ground with your audiences. If you choose to frame an argument around the "guns don't kill people, people do" trope, for example, you can be pretty sure a contemporary american audience will have an inkling of what you are talking about. But note that in order to avoid boring your audience, you need to both address them where they are and offer them something different, even surprising. So using common forms such as tropes and archetypes involves a continual dance between meeting audience expectations and jamming them.


Tropes are also incredibly slippery in an argument, as one turn of phrase can enable another in response. Tropes may be used intentionally in order to draw on multiple meanings, yet those multiple meanings often elude the control of the author. A  trope is both a standard way to state something - a cliche, a commonplace, even a stereotype - and a particular twist or turn of phrase given to the common place. Archetypes and tropes are both ways of orienting our attention, and in this class you will be focusing your attention on the form in which you write as well as the content, and both tropes and archetypes are formal features of composition: they shape the ways we understand, and don't understand, each other, no matter how much information we share.



(Retrieved from http://pbl.ist.psu.edu/cgi-bin/analog.pl?SeptemberNinth on 19 September 2006.)




State of the Union Address

It turns out that the State of the Union Address is not always on 20 January (though it is often delivered in January); indeed, the last State of the Union Address occurred on 2 February 2005. I'm having more difficulty than I'd thought finding the actual date this year. Wikipedia gives 31 January 2006. That's far enough away that it's not yet on the TV schedules. Anyone able to verify the date?


All information I found, including this site and this site, report that the State of the Union Address will indeed be held on January 31, 2006. SudokuLegend



Yesteray I merely gave a quotation from "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Though great progress has been made since 1963, the opposition between negative peace and positive peace remains compelling, and indeed is goad to action today. Dr. King is not so worried about the KKK member, whose p


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.