Due to the various Linked-In scams, my policy has been to ignore all invitations. I received one that appeared to be from a man I know, but when I contacted him, he said he hadn't sent it. The ways of the scammers are as multifarious as they are devious, so to save time I delete first and ask questions later.
What may appear to be rudeness is really just caution. It is in the nature of the consevative to be cautious, as it is in the nature of the leftist to be reckless and foolish and to make a mess of things. Example: Obamacare.
With respect to your post about how "you didn't build this blog" -- really bad example. You built the blog, but Big Government built the internet that allows you to transmit it it to potentially billions of people. So, it's exactly an illustration of what Obama was talking about -- you and businesses and everyone are dependent on public infrastructure for rich and fruitful lives.
It's an excellent example. You must be a liberal. Here is what Obama said:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
Let's go through this sentence by sentence.
1. It is true that we have all been helped by others and that no one's success is wholly a matter of his own effort. "No man is an island." No one pulls himself up by his own bootstraps. But of course no conservative denies this. Not even libertarians deny it. What Obama is doing is setting up a straw man that he can easily knock down. He imputes a ridiculous view to the conservative/libertarian and then makes the obvious point that the ridiculous view is ridiculous.
2. Not everyone is lucky enough to have great teachers, but most of us have had some good teachers along the way. Sure. But there is no necessary connection to Big Government. I went to private schools: elementary, high school, college, and graduate school. And my teaching jobs were all at private schools. Obama falsely assumes that only government can provide education. That is not only a false assumption but a mendacious one as well. Obama is certainly aware that there are alternatives to public education such as home-schooling and private schools. There is also autodidacticism: Eric Hoffer, the 'longshoreman philosopher,' didn't even go to elementary school. A relative taught him to read when he was very young but beyond that he is totally self-taught. Of course, he is a rare exception.
There is also the question whether the federal government has any legitimate role to play in education even if one grants (as I do) that state and local governments have a role to play. It is simply nonsense, though in keeping with his Big Government agenda, for Obama to suggest that we need the federal government to provide education. It is also important to point out that the federal Department of Education, first set up in the '60s, has presided over a dramatic decline in the quality of education in the U. S. But that is a huge separate topic.
3. With respect to roads and bridges and infrastructure generally, it is ridiculous to suggest that these products of collective effort are all due to the federal government or even to state and local government. Obama is confusing the products of collective effort wth the products of government effort. It is a silly non sequitur to think that because I cannot do something by myself that I need government to help me do it. One can work with others without the intrusion of government. He is also confusing infrastructure with public infrastructure. The first is a genus, the second a species thereof.
4. How did the Internet begin? This from a libertarian site: "The internet indeed began as a typical government program, the ARPANET, designed to share mainframe computing power and to establish a secure military communications network." So the role of the federal government in the genesis of the Internet cannot be denied.
But what do we mean by 'Internet'? Those huge interconnected mainframes? That is the main chunk of Internet infrastructure. But don't forget the peripherals. For the blogger to use that infrastructure he first of all needs a personal computer (PC). Did Big Government provides us with PCs? No. It was guys like Jobs and Wozniak tinkering in the garage. It was private companies like IBM. And let's not forget that it was in the USA and not in Red China or the Soviet Union or North Korea that PCs were developed. Would Jobs and Wozniak and Gates have been motivated to do their hard creative work in a state without a free economy? Did any commie state provide its citizens with PCs? No, but it did provide them with crappy cars like the Trabant and the Yugo. Germans are great engineers. But Communism so hobbled East Germany that the Trabant was the result.
How do you hook up the PC to the Internet? Via the phone line. (Telephony, by the way, was not developed by the government. Remember Alexander Graham Bell and his associates?) To convert digital information into analog information transmissible via phone lines and back again you need a modulator-demodulator, a modem. Who gave us the modem? Government functionaries? Al Gore? Was Obama the mama of the modem? Nope. Dennis C. Hayes invented the PC modem in 1977. In the private sector.
Back in the day we operated from the C prompt using DOS commands. That was before the GUI: graphical user interface. Who invented that? Credit goes to a number of people working for Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft. All in the private sector.
And then there is Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). Who invented that and with it the World Wide Web (WWW)? Tim Berners-Lee in the private sector. The WWW is not the same as the Internet. The WWW is a huge collection of interconnected hypertext documents accessible via the Internet. The government did not give us the WWW.
Returning now to the blog that I built. I built the blog, but I didn't build the Typepad platform that hosts the blog. Did Al Bore or any other government functionary give us Typepad or Blogger? No. That too is in the private sector.
And then there are the search engines. Did the government give us Google?
Obama is a mendacious no-nothing, a disaster for the country, and the emptiest of empty suits. Just read his awful speech. You liberals need to wise up. If you vote for him, you will seal your own doom and get what you deserve for being stupid.
A reader complains that my front page takes too long to load, on one of his machines, as long as five minutes. That must be one Jurassic machine running some superannuated browser. I am wondering if others are experiencing similar difficulties. A while back I made some additions, including a Facebook button, and I am wondering if these add-ons are slowing things down. The Facebook button, though, is a nifty utility: when conditions are right, the thing 'goes viral' and I get an avalanche of page views.
I am open for comments regarding technical aspects of this site. If, on the other hand, you have a beef about the content of these pages, then I invite you to fill out the following:
60 Minutes last night did a segment on the Khan Academy, an online source of short tutorials in mathematics, science, and other subjects. A wonderful resource for homeschoolers and anyone interested in filling in the gaps in his education. I viewed a couple of algebra and a couple of probability lectures last night and found them to be of high quality. Recommended by Bill Gates.
Mike Valle recommended that I add a Facebook 'Like' button to the footers of my posts. Done. I also added Google + and Pinterest buttons. Pinterest, I take it, is the newest kid on the social media block.
In daily language destiny and fate are synonymous, but with regards to 20th century philosophy the words gained inherently different meanings.
For Arthur Schopenhauer destiny was just a manifestation of the Will to Live. Will to Live is for him the main aspect of the living. The animal cannot be aware of the Will, but men can at least see life through its perspective, though it is the primary and basic desire. But this fact is a pure irrationality and then, for Schopenhauer, human desire is equally futile, illogical, directionless, and, by extension, so is all human action. Therefore, the Will to Live can be at the same time living fate and choice of overrunning the fate same, by means of the Art, of the Morality and of the Ascesis.
For Nietzsche destiny keeps the form of Amor fati (Love of Fate) through the important element of Nietzsche's philosophy, the "will to power" (der Wille zur Macht), the basis of human behavior, influenced by the Will to Live of Schopenhauer. But this concept may have even other senses, although he, in various places, saw the will to power as a strong element for adaptation or survival in a better way. In its later forms Nietzsche's concept of the will to power applies to all living things, suggesting that adaptation and the struggle to survive is a secondary drive in the evolution of animals, less important than the desire to expand one’s power. Nietzsche eventually took this concept further still, and transformed the idea of matter as centers of force into matter as centers of will to power as mankind’s destiny to face with amor fati.
The expression Amor fati is used repeatedly by Nietzsche as acceptation-choice of the fate, but in such way it becomes even another thing, precisely a “choice” destiny.
Ed tells me that the above strikes him as "gibberish." Well, if not pure gibberish, then very, very bad. First of all, the writing is awkward and inept and in places incoherent.
In the first sentence the author mentions 20th century philosophy and then immediately goes on to speak of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, both 19th century thinkers. Could the author be so clueless as not to know when these gentlemen lived and wrote?
"Will to Live is the main aspect of the living." Sentences like his are part of why I rejoice in no longer being a professor. First of all, Will cannot be described as an aspect of anything: 'aspect' suggests a view, an appearance, a representation (Vorstellung), a phenomenon. Schopenhauer's Will, however, plays in his system the role that the thing-in-itself (Ding an sich) plays in Kant's. Will is noumenal, not phenomenal, and so cannot be coherently described as an aspect. One ought to have gathered this just from the title of Schopenhauer's magnum opus, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. Second, Will is what everything is at bottom, not just living things.
I won't continue through the passage. It is bad throughout. What I hated about teaching was having to wade through garbage like this. How does one explain to an incompetent writer what competent writing is? It is like trying to explain to a nerd why his pocket protector is a sartorial outrage or why pulling your pants up too high is 'uncool' or why socks with sandals don't make it. Or how do you explain to a socially lame person why she is socially lame? What do you do? Give her rules to follow? But such rules come too late.
I do not take as harsh a view of Wikipedia as Ed does. There is much of value in its pages, and plenty of the material is arcana that cannot be found elsewhere. But one cannot really trust anything one finds there since there is no way of knowing who wrote what and what his credentials are.
Let Caveat lector! be your watch-phrase, then, when you make use of this online resource.
I saw an advertisement for this voice-recognition software. I was intrigued and was thinking of asking Mike V., a relatively young whippersnapper who is en rapport with the latest gadgetry. (When he visits my house he makes fun of my Jurassic electronics.) But then I wondered how useful such a speech recognition application could be to someone who writes about arcane topics and uses high-falutin words. Would the spoken 'animadversion' display as 'animal diversion'? Would 'transcendental deduction of the categories' appears as 'transcontinental deportation of catnip'? Would 'inverted qualia objection' show as 'involuted quails of Omaha'?
This morning I was pleased to hear from our old friend Vlastimil Vohanka who is also wondering about the utility to philosophers of DNS. He conveys a remark by Baylor philosopher Jon Kvanvig on the latter's Facebook page:
"newest writing venture: I'm now composing using Dragon Naturally Speaking. It is amazingly accurate, beginning by trolling through everything on my hard drive to find appropriate vocabulary. So it recognizes 'Chisholm', 'Fregean', 'Chisholmian', as well as all the standard vocabulary in epistemology. And writing is so much faster: 5000 words in about 2 hours."
This is amazing. It implies that, were I to speak my neologism 'paleologism,' it would recognize and reproduce it and not spit out something like 'pal of loggers.'
Vlastimil wanted my opinion of the DNS software, but I haven't used it so cannot comment. If any reader has used it and wants to comment the ComBox is open. Comments are moderated and won't appear until I have approved them. Any that are off-topic will be summarily nixed.
I received one of these e-mails this morning. Of course, I did not click on the link. It's a malware scam and is explained here.
Being a conservative, I am a firm believer in 'blaming the victim' (within limits of course!) If you allow yourself to be victimized, then you share some of the responsibility for the crime. So I say you have a moral responsibility to not allow yourself to become a victim, to the extent that this is possible. You have a moral responsibility to yourself and to others.
Anyone whose website has a black background should be shot. Perhaps I should qualify my complaint: Anyone whose website is both content-rich and worth reading should be shot (figuratively speaking) if his background is black and/or there is anything in the reader's visual field that moves on its own. Content is king. Avoid clutter and newbie add-on crap. If you must advertise, do so unobtrusively. Why drive readers away?
It happened around 5 PM local time, yesterday, January 3rd. It was supposed to happen on the last day of November. One final bit of incompetence from the Powerblogs team: it took them over a month to shut down their server. But I used the time to capture more old posts the easy way. Yes, of course, I have backed up the entire site, comments and all. (Keith Burgess-Jackson kindly gave me unsolicited advice on how to do this.) I have also backed up the hundreds of partially completed draft posts. Trouble is, it is a royal pain in the culo to transfer the backed-up material to the archive site. I have done a little, as you can see here. But it is an awful chore working with a monstrously large blob of unstructured text, cutting it at the joints. It's work not fit for man nor beast. My life of creative leisure under the guiding star of otium liberale has spoiled me for mechanical and secretarial tasks. Being a vox clamantis in deserto doesn't help either.
I have begun using PhilPapers. "PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophy articles and books by academic philosophers." It is proving to be quite useful. I see that they have scrounged up a few of my papers all the way back to 1976. Ah, the wonders of the Web!
If only the proliferation of research tools, the multiplication of lines of inquiry, the ever-increasing specialization and technicality were sufficient to put philosophy on what Kant called den sicheren Gang einer Wissenschaft, "the secure path of science."
I sometimes have trouble getting the TypePad ComBox to accept my comments. Others have had this problem. I get the error message: "Sorry, this data cannot be accepted.' By fiddling around, I have discovered that doing one or more of the following will trigger the system to accept data. (1) Make a minor alteration in the text. (2) Resubmit your name and e-mail address. (3) Copy your comment, open the blog in a new window and input the data via the new window. It seems that problems arise if you leave the ComBox open too long in a given window or take too long composing your comment.
What I have yet to figure out is how to make full HTML functionality available in the ComBox.
Using the Google search engine this morning, I noticed that every search I did brought up sites flagged with the 'This site may harm your computer' warning. I even Googled 'Google' and got the same result! Could Google be flagging every site brought up by its engine? That would be such an obvious piece of fear-mongering and traffic-reducing stupidity that I hesitate to impute it to them. Any thoughts from the computer cognoscenti?
Despite my catchy title, it is your responsibility take precautions whenever you connect with anything in any way. I am responsible for the content of this site, including in some measure the content of the comments, which is why I delete stupid and otherwise offensive comments and block those who send them. But I take no responsibility for what goes on at the server end.
UPDATE: 9:30 AM. Alexander Pruss informs me that the problem has been fixed.
UPDATE: 1:30 PM. Google explains the origin of the error.