Monday, April 28, 2008

Chaos over a school

The Times has a longish piece about an ongoing controversy in Brooklyn, about a new public school, that offers Arabic as its second-language. Worth a read.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The status of "theory"

Stanley Fish has a nice long post up in the NY Times about "French Theory" -- and it's a good summing up of what Theory is. Essentially its a different kind of epistemology, which stresses that fact and interpretation are inextricably bound up in each other.

The key point, in my opinion is this:
That’s a loss, but it’s not a loss of anything in particular. It doesn’t take anything away from us. We can still do all the things we have always done; we can still say that some things are true and others false, and believe it; we can still use words like better and worse and offer justifications for doing so. All we lose (if we have been persuaded by the deconstructive critique, that is) is a certain rationalist faith that there will someday be a final word, a last description that takes the accurate measure of everything. All that will have happened is that one account of what we know and how we know it — one epistemology — has been replaced by another, which means only that in the unlikely event you are asked “What’s your epistemology?” you’ll give a different answer than you would have given before. The world, and you, will go on pretty much in the same old way.
Which is why I find the bilious comments that follow the post so strange. What do people feel so threatened by?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sentence of the day

Man, I wish I could come up with a sentence like this one from Daniel Larison [via here]:
The only thing more annoying than Joe Lieberman himself is his conceit, which many people indulge out of habit, that he is some kind of “centrist.” Perhaps if we think of the political spectrum as a series of rings surrounding a cavernous abyss (or perhaps a pit like the Sarlaac), then Lieberman and McCain can fairly be called “centrists.”