Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sad news

I just learnt that the great philosopher Richard Rorty died on Friday (see here and here). Rorty is, as some of you may well know, famous (or infamous, depending on which side of the divide you fall on) as an anti-foundationalist or a pragmatist (again, depending on what kind of pragmatist you are). See here.

Strangely enough, I spend yesterday afternoon reading a couple of Rorty's essays in "Philosophy and Social Hope" at the B&N near Lincoln Center. I also spent some time debating whether I should buy Rorty's most famous work "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" (I didn't but that was because I could find it cheaper online).

As my sort of RIP, I"ll link to this autobiographical Rorty essay (from "Philosophy and Social Hope") called "Trotsky and the Wild Orchids" (available here) where Rorty recounts his intellectual odyssey: from being a foundationalist analytic philosopher to his rediscovery of John Dewey's pragmatism and his eventual rejection of Platonism. The essay won't help anyone understand the intricacies of pragmatism (see here for that) but it definitely brings Rorty into focus. Read it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Email of the day

Some kid mails Richard Chappel, after using one of his papers for a college homework assignmentl:
I made the mistake of copying your "Rousseau and Freedom," paper from your blog [link]. I am sorry. My university is going to charge me with cheating. Can you please do me a big favor and temporarily take down "Rousseau and Freedom,"??? I will owe you forever. Please let me know if you can help! Thank you!

[Name redacted]
Fun, eh?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

David Thomson on Lars Von Trier

This kicker of a sentence from David Thomson's magisterial A Biographical Dictionary of Film, on the maverick gadfly Lars Von Trier is perfect:
Von Trier is like a seven-year old serial killer whose bombs and weapons have all gone into his eye.