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Notes for Seminar Discussions

SEP 27 - Hadot, Pinker, Dennett, Crawford

  • Hadot - "ethics of discussion" -
  • Pinker - note intersection of discussion of classical style and obscure styles. p. 29 Implications for style/method.
  • Chapter 2: up to 38, a discussion of classical style, then sections on "metadiscourse", signposting, hedging, spologetic language, excessive abstraction (nominalization and passives)
  • Crawford - Chapters 3, "Virtual Reality as a Moral Ideal"
  • child will vs. adult will. situated, freedom of modern self depends on being insulated from contingency by layers of representation.
  • Mouseke-doer -- "Oh Tootles!" The Handy Dandy machine. focused on adjustment, 72 q. to become an adult you need to be subject to the "heteronomy of things"
  • Keep the world from challenging the self is something narcissists do.
  • Kant: does this in his moral theory -- 73: quote -- context -- concern about the status of free will
  • To be rational, for Kant, is to NOT be situated in the world. Choice as expression of the unconditioned will.
  • 77: interesting connection to problem of the modern self -- kant's model of the self leads to a self that is fragile, can't tolerate contingency, seeks to be comfortable in a "me-world" of manufactured experience. (this might be the kind of self that demands insulation for it's views and identity. freedom from conflict.
  • thesis (he's heading toward): There is freedom and individuality in the world beyond your head, but only if you acquire the skills.
  • Crawford - Chapter 4, "Attention and Design"
  • Mercedes "brake assist" - fetish of automaticity -- product of capitalism. fake engine noise 85
  • "The World is its Own Best Model" - embodied representations vs. symbolic representations. importance of "cross modal binding" 83.
  • problem at the end - does a world of symbolic representations undermine real choice? Is capitalism designing things to foster disengagement (autism)? (counter argument - aren't we developing skills with virtual reality? symbolic reality?
  • Dennett, Chapter 3
  • Section 9. Three species of Goulding: Rathering, Piling On, and the Gould two-step.
  • "rathering" - really false dichotomy with a rhetorical flourish, "rather" - nice mix of informal fallacy and rhetoric.
  • "piling on" - example p. 50. exaggerating the alternative that he wants to dismiss (false dichotomy mixed with straw man"
  • "two step" - creating a straw man version of an opponents argument and then treating the author's actual position as a grudging acceptance that the author really sees the problem with the straw man version.