Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Philosophers channel Sarah Palin...

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, there is a disturbing article on a growing number of modern philosophers who have their heads so deep in the theoretical clouds they can't even imagine empiricism. Less pun-y, the article is about such philosophers' misreading of Darwin and their falling into the shallow trap of creationist/intelligent design dogma.

And here is what is now becoming a more famous article from the Boston Review, which reviewed a new book by two such philosophers (one of whom is a normally brilliant guy, Jerry Fodor, from my alma mater, Rutgers University).

Still, I can't help but think this is another consequence of the separation of art and science so lamented by CP Snow over 50 years ago. One book I've had my eye on for some time, but haven't bought...yet...is "The Age of Wonder" by Richard Holmes, which is about how the Romantic poets in early 19th Century England were significantly influenced by scientists of the late 18th Century and early 19th Century. This is less surprising to one who has read EP Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class", as the effect of poets like Byron and Shelley being called "Romantic" tended to delegitimize such artists who were correctly outraged by the loss of the commons and rise of the unfeeling, vindictive and violent leaders of the Industrial Revolution (both political and economic leaders).

Oh well. Time for bed...It's only Tuesday evening and the week has a ways to go...

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