Process and Reality
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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2d ago
 I have recently purchased a copy of Alfred North Whitehead's notorious volume, PROCESS AND REALITY.  I have long promised myself I would read this book some day.  It has long played a part in my own view of the history of philosophy through the 20th century, and I have had sporadic pangs of guilt over not having tackled it myself. I gather from the secondary literature that Whitehead tried to bring a philosophy akin to Henri Bergson's into the world of Anglophonic analytical philosophy.  Whitehead of course knew the latter tradition from the inside. The title page of a c ..read more
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Democrats win a Congressional seat in Gatsby country
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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2d ago
  In a special election Tuesday, February 13, called because of the expulsion of former Congresscritter George Santos (R), the seat in the US House of Representatives for the 3d district from New York went to a Democrat, Tom Suozzi.  This drew a lot of attention: because the Republican margin of control of the House is already very thin, and this makes it thinner. There are possible worlds in which the Democrats end up taking control of the House before this session is over, and Hakeem Jeffries becomes Speaker. This election brings the actual timeline at least a little closer to on ..read more
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Super Bowl ads
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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4d ago
  This year, the Super Bowl featured a match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco Forty-Niners.  I'll discuss that tomorrow.  Today, I'd like to say a few words about the ads, which have long been a hallmark of the Super Bowl as entertainment and pop cultural event. The Super Bowl is guaranteed a massive audience, and the ads are expensively created with that audience in mind, at a cost of about $7 million per second of air time. That isn't what the ads cost to produce, ut is only the cost of airing them. Production costs of course vary wildly but there i ..read more
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The Republicans in the state senate of Oregon
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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1w ago
  In 2022, voters in Oregon approved measure 113, which bars from reelection any member of the state legislature with ten or more unexcused absences.  The measure was pressed by public sector labor unions in the state unhappy about the tactic of blocking legislation by avoiding a quorum.  This year, the mousetrap snapped shut and the mice were caught. Ten of Oregon's state senators, each Republicans, have been disqualified from the ballot. Ten out of a total of twelve in the GOP caucus in that body.  What strikes me is something in the NATIONAL REVIEW story on this:  ..read more
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Watershed money raised
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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1w ago
On Feb. 1, Watershed, a climate software company, raised $100 million from venture capitalists.  This was an all-equity round, i.e. none of the $100 million consists of lent money. Climate software, as you have probably already figured out by now. is software useful for such matters as tracking carbon emissions. An investor will put money into it only on the presumption that people and institutions are going to want to track emissions -- that THIS is a growth industry. It is, I think, good news for the planet that heavy-hitting VC investors like Sequioa and Kleiner Perkins do think ..read more
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A dimension of happiness
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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1w ago
  One of the dimensions of happiness is the relationship of obligation to power. Then word "obligation" here you can take as you like: it may be entirely voluntary. If a weightlifter has the ability, (which I like to think of as the power) to press X pounds, then pressing x - 50 may soon get boring, and trying to press X + 50 may soon get frustrating. Pressing at or trying to press just above your power is happiness.   If an office worker has overly difficult tasks and tight deadlines, he will typically feel frazzled, frustrated, burnt-out.  Give him overly easy work and ..read more
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Stray thoughts about earth and space
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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2w ago
   Helium has a bad habit -- unique among the elements -- of escaping our atmosphere.  It exists in individual atoms, (as a "noble" element) and those atoms have a very low mass so they can escape from the gravitic pull of our planet altogether.  As distinct from hydrogen, the only lower-mass atom. Hydrogen atoms naturally combine with oxygen, and fortunately for us all they fall to the ground as beautiful water! But helium, very useful stuff, (not quite so useful as water, but ...) literally floats away from us. We may soon need a new supply.  And mining the moon cou ..read more
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Robert Telles' trial scheduled for March
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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2w ago
  Interesting twist. Who dunnit?  "Telles has claimed that a local real estate company, Compass Realty & Management, framed him for German’s killing. The firm has denied the accusation and has said it is looking into potential legal action against Telles." I'm afraid Compass Realty is out of luck there. There is an absolute immunity from defamation liability for statements made in a judicial proceeding. It is one of the little protections lawyers build into the law for themselves.  Of course he had to come up with something. Authorities say that Robert Telles, fo ..read more
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Is there a neocon base?
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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2w ago
Now is a good time to wonder: do neoconservatives have any support in the broad voting population?  Or has the whole 'neocon" thing of the last 60 years or so been an elaborate game within the elites, intellectual policy-wonkish, and politically connected? This is a big question.  After all, the Cheney family is regularly classified as neocon. Dick and Lynne and Liz. Other prominent example of Trump-resisting Republicans fit the label pretty nicely: Bolton, Haley, the latest Podhoretz to be running COMMENTARY....  If we are headed for a rematch one would expect neocon senti ..read more
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On burying the lede: or not
Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed
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3w ago
  There are fully-formed galaxies very very far away -- more of them than there 'ought' to be according to the Big Bang theory of cosmology as it has developed over the last century or so. When we look at far distances we are of course looking backward in time given the fixed nature of the speed of light. At the very great distances that the JWST can reach we ought to be looking at the early universe, before there had been time for a lot of galaxy formation. It appears that something about the theory will have to be re-worked.  Below there is a link to a story about new developme ..read more
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