Syllabi & Design


I've been trying to rethink my syllabi this term by focusing on their design (which, understandably enough, has clarified their content).So for my Junior and Senior level Art History class (which will cover complicated, interrelated issues each session), I tried to come up with a design that uses visual hierarchy…

Hubris & Hybris


“The common use of hubris in English to suggest pride, over-confidence, or any behaviour which may offend divine powers, rests, it is now generally held, on misunderstanding of ancient texts, and concomitant and over-simplified views of Greek attitudes to the gods have lent support to many doubtful, and often over-Christianizing,…

House Pessimism


Lately I’ve been thinking about Gramsci’s “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. “ Not Gramsci’s use, so much as how it functions in some circles as a kind of slogan or shorthand. Specifically, I’ve been asking when does this maxim cease to be a consolation and become an…

The Ad Bombinem Argument


An old grad school trick. Instead of bothering to read an unfamiliar thinker's work, find out a single, supposedly damning objection to it. Then if the person comes up in conversation, say "yes, but" and jump straight to dropping the objection/bomb. This fosters the illusion that you are not only familiar…

Cinema as a Sub-Genre of Painting


It's part of a careful argument, but here's the paragraph where Lev Manovich swings for the bleachers: "the manual construction of images in digital cinema represents a return to nineteenth-century pre-cinematic practices, when images were hand-painted and hand-animated. At the turn of the twentieth century, cinema was to delegate these…

Analytic Arrogance


Judging by the web sites of many philosophy graduate programs, where the preponderance of students are working in "Continental" or even non-Western philosophy, this is may be a moot point. But looking back on Analytic Philosophy's long hegemony in the English-speaking world, it's hard not to notice a parallel with…

Foster or Debunk?


"Why not hang up the academic hat of critical self-seriousness, set aside the intemperate arrogance of debunking--and enjoy? If you don't enjoy concepts and writing and don't feel that when you write you are adding something to the world, if only the enjoyment itself, and that by adding that ounce…