Philosophy geeks might have noticed Brian Leiter's claim that analytic philosophy "does not even exist," as well as some of the rejoinders to Leiter (here, for example).
It all puts me in mind of an episode from a philosophy course I took at an undisclosed location. The year was 1998. The course, a seminar on moral epistemology. The exchange, as follows:
PROFESSOR (rhetorically, after brief discussion on the low esteem in which continental philosophy is generally held in the academy): What is the opposite of continental philosophy? ME: Incontinental philosophy.
Benjamin Wittes draws this moral from former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's now-infamous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
The much-derided John Ashcroft...showed himself when it counted to be a man of courage and substance whom history will surely treat more kindly than did contemporary commentary. Few attorneys general get tested as Ashcroft did that night in 2004. One can disagree with him about a lot of things and still recognize the fact that ultimately, he passed the hardest test: From a hospital bed in intensive care, he stood up for the rule of law.
Well, either that or Comey just reallyspooked
Ashcroft with phantoms of lost liberty into aiding terrorists, eroding
our national unity, and diminishing our resolve. Who's to say?
The imperative not to speak ill of the dead is obviously a nonstarter.
Indeed, there is a whole class of dead persons of whom it would be ill
to speak otherwise: Jim Jones, Idi Amin, Stalin, Mother Theresa, Bob
Hope, and so forth. (How easy it is to skirt Godwin's Law.)
Whether Falwell belongs to this class is an open
question (well, not really), but the notion that the question is mooted
by concerns of etiquette is preposterous.
Well, I just told my bandmates that I'm out of the group. After more than six years, the time has come for other musical pursuits.
Given that we've seemed to be on the cusp of some grand success for the past four years, it wasn't an easy decision; as my dad joked, I could wind up being the Pete Best of [band name omitted to protect the innocent; and the guilty, for that matter]. And it certainly would suck (for me, anyway), for example, if six weeks from now the band ends up charting in a big way.
Still, as embittering as that kind of situation might seem, that I view it as possibly such only means I should have made this decision long ago; staying longer might well have driven me to even more intense bitterness (given the hefty opportunity costs involved). And in any case, success on the charts can't be as sweet as the freedom I feel at this moment.
At different points of the show, each member of the quartet would do an unaccompanied solo. When it came Julius' turn, he got the crowd clapping a simple beat, then started playing over the claps so that they came on beats two and four. And it swang.
But it apparently also confused the audience, and soon you could hear feet subdividing on one and three, with hands soon joining then supplanting the feet. Finally, the claps sounded all and only on beats one and three; the backbeat had been vanquished.
So, yeah, those Germans can be pretty square. Still, how cool is it that in a small town of 100,000 you could pack a house for the World Saxophone Quartet?
What's with all the horse feathers about Hillary Clinton's "reversion to a Southern accent in campaign speeches and appearances"? I mean, tarnation, I'm Yank born and bred, but I probably couldn't stifle the odd "y'all" when I'm with a group of southerners any more than they can seem to stifle a "dude" when they're out amongst the Valley Dudes.
Adjusting one's idiolect to fit the social situation like this is called "code shifting," and it need not be deliberate. In many (most) cases, it's a subconscious mechanism aimed toward adapting to a social milieu.
In the same way, for instance, certain political pundits and pundit wannabes will seamlessly revert to playing the fool when they take themselves to be addressing the rubes. It's not cynical; they really can't help it.