Berfrois

Real Folksy Like

Real Folksy Like

by Justin E. H. Smith There is a well-known division between two camps of academic philosophy, often called ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’, with each side more or less convinced that what the other side is doing is not really philosophy at all. This is a provincial and mandarin dispute, and...

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Obviously, the existence of Adam and Eve is entirely negated by modern paleoanthropology…

Obviously, the existence of Adam and Eve is entirely negated by modern paleoanthropology…

The Monkey Painter, Alexandre Gabriel Ducamps, 1833 by Michael Ruse I understand that a contributor to the New Republic has deemed Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions, the worst book of 2011. This reaction is understandable. There is an irritating jauntiness about the work,...

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Utopianism is what the landlords have time for…

Utopianism is what the landlords have time for…

The Land of Cockaigne, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1567 From New Left Review: The diagnosis first: To put it briefly . . . What will never again be built any more, cannot be built any more, is—a society, in the old sense of that word; to build such, everything...

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“Reading”

“Reading”

The Reading Girl, Theodore Roussel, 1886 by Bill Benzon This post includes major sections from two posts I wrote in 2005 when I first began writing for The Valve: Learning to Read & the Need for Theory and Beyond Reading. The first generated extensive discussion that’s worth reading if...

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Dan Arnold: Apt to Believe

Dan Arnold: Apt to Believe

In the fraught and often vacuous discourse on religion vis-à-vis science, cognitive-scientific research has recently come to have especially high profile significance. In academic religious studies, such research has perhaps most often been enlisted to support reductionist accounts of human religiousness, with books like Pascal Boyer’s Religion Explained typically...

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Le Moulin Joly

Le Moulin Joly

Photograph by Lordspudz by Benjamin Franklin To Madame Brillon, of Passy You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spend that happy day in the delightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopped a little in one of our walks, and stayed some time...

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Beer and Skittles

Beer and Skittles

The Office: An American Workplace, NBC by Peter Fleming Power At Play: The Relationships Between Play, Work and Governance, by Niels Åkerstrom Andersen, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 192. Neo-liberalism seems to persist through a double life. For sure, it believes in itself like all forms of fundamentalist thought, but...

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Jeremy Fernando: Dear Father Lives

Jeremy Fernando: Dear Father Lives

For, we’ve always known that Kim Jong Il is a media event. Not just in death, but right from the very start. Unless you were in his inner circle, no one even knew him other than through the media. He might well have never even been born—or been born...

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Dead White Male Philosophers Society

Dead White Male Philosophers Society

There has been some interesting discussion at the NewAPPS blog, about the idea of 'academic passing', initiated by a thoughtful guest post from Kristie Dotson. It has been unclear to me throughout this discussion, since Dotson's initial post, whether what is being proposed is an expansion of approaches in...

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‘Perhaps there is an ethical school by which standards God comes across as the good guy’

‘Perhaps there is an ethical school by which standards God comes across as the good guy’

The other night I was with friends, enjoying a relaxing evening of Chinese takeout and a wine that was far too expensive to go with it, while we started watching favorite YouTube videos. One of them is Ricky Gervais’ take on Noah’s Ark

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Metaphysics, History

Metaphysics, History

Marilynne Robinson From Bookforum: In her novels and in her nonfiction essays, Marilynne Robinson‘s questions are always roughly the same: Who are we, and where did we come from? The first is a matter of metaphysics, the second of history. At least since the publication of her first collection...

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120% Work

120% Work

Theories of workplace control typically have little to say about freedom. The workplace is often understood as a totalizing environment, saturated with obvious and subtle forms of coercion, so the struggle for freedom is best confined to realm of leisure, or more typically, left off the agenda entirely.

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“Noʔ’alf!”

“Noʔ’alf!”

Jaques Derrida From Notre Dame Philosophical Review: Geoffrey Bennington’s Not Half No End, a volume of essays all written, with the exception of one, after Jacques Derrida‘s death in October 2004, is “profoundly marked” by this death and attempts “to go on thinking in its wake” (xi). Despite the difficulty,...

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Cain Todd demands your attention

Cain Todd demands your attention

Shirin, Abbas Kiarostami, 2008 by Cain Todd Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays, by C. Mole, D. Smithies, W. Wu (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 Are you paying attention to this? William James, the oft-called father of modern psychology, famously said that everyone knows what attention is, so if...

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We Who Draw

We Who Draw

by Susan James In which it is claimed that the practice of drawing can lead two thinkers centuries apart into a new symbiosis opening the way to political transformation. But what kind of transformation? Bento’s Sketchbook, by John Berger, Verso, 2011. 167pp. From A to X. A Story in...

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Theodicy from a Kierkegaardian Perspective by Tamar Aylat-Yaguri

Theodicy from a Kierkegaardian Perspective by Tamar Aylat-Yaguri

Satan Inflicting Boils on Job, William Blake by Tamar Aylat-Yaguri A philosophical theodicy aims at establishing the responsibility for evil in the world: if evil is inevitable for human beings, then God, the absolute and only creator of the world, is held responsible for it, and theodicy is doomed...

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Philip Kitcher gets ethical

Philip Kitcher gets ethical

Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law, Domenico Beccafumi, 1537 by Philip Kitcher Many people believe, like Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, that if ethical precepts were not grounded in God’s commands, then anything would be permitted. From Plato onwards however, the philosophical tradition has frequently questioned the idea of a...

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Thingking about Stuff

Thingking about Stuff

by Justin E. H. Smith I will certainly not be the first to find it interesting that some languages do not allow for a distinction between things and stuff. In Latin for example there is only res, a word that abounds with ambiguities, though some more easily soluble than...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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