The critical sequence

At first there are the propositions and arguments for them.  Then there is a critique of the propositions and arguments.  After that, there is a critique of the critique…and so on.

Death is certainly the halting point of one’s critical activity.  One also halts when boredom with the whole matter sets in.  When confusion will not yield to clarity, frustration might halt the investigation and critical activity.

What seems for sure is that critique is an infinite sequence.  Once you’ve reached one million in the critical sequence, you still have not done very many critiques because there are still infinitely many to do.

And that might make one envious of those who are not very critical.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Modality and desire

Of the many ways to split humans into two camps, we can split them into those who believe in the standard logic and those who add possibility and necessity to their logic.  Both logic share common features yet differ in ways outside the boundaries of logic.

The standard logic austerely admits of only truths and falsehoods.  The other has possibility layered through it.  And possibility arises from desire, and despair for that matter.  Believing possible worlds exist somehow leaves room for desire, which on the surface, seems antithetical to logic, yet snuggles, for some odd reason, into it like two lovers entwined.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 1:40 am  Comments (2)  

One more demon joins the party

I shouldn’t have done it.  Started reading philosophy of mathematics stuff again, that is.  Now, an old obsession has returned to join ranks with all the other unproductive obsessions demonizing me.

Damn it, Larry.  It’s your fault.

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  


We have personae. Each persona has multiple narratives. I wonder how the brain copes with all that.

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

A bit about rain

Isn’t it nice that rain falls in small drops relatve to our size? What if it fell in 100 gallon packets? You’d have to have a steel umbrella and shit like that. And can you imagine what small insects must feel like when our normal sized raindrops hit them squarely?

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

The bare fact

I’ll admit it. I’m so fucking lonely it is starting to make me miserable.

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

In the same bare place

What would winter be without State Street’s favorite poem–an annual event.

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow,

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers crusted with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January Sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which in the sound of the land
Full of the same wind,
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens

That might be my all-time favorite sentence.

Published in: on December 27, 2009 at 8:54 am  Comments (2)  

Tarski and clarity

I’ve been reading some of Tarski’s logic papers again.  They are remarkable for their clarity.  It is as if the clarity of his writing alone makes his results significant even though I know that is not the case.

It seems there is an emotional side to understanding results.  When someone shortens the journey along the road to learning and understanding from an expected journey of days to one of a few hours, one sees and even feels a result differently.

Published in: on December 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Down the road

On this solitary afternoon, in a fit of madness or stupidity, I thought about taking one more run at mathematical logic and mathematical philosophy just to meditate on it in general one more time before I die–just to get a little bit farther down the road.

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Still ticking

While browsing the mathematics section at Border’s the other day, I noticed they had a copy of Russell’s Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy on the shelf.  The book apparently still has some legs.

Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Typewriter refund

Cormac McCarthy’s old Olivetti Lettera typewriter sold for $254,500 at auction.  It looks a lot like my Olivetti Lettera, but I can’t seem to make a single good sentence with mine.  I’m going to ask for a refund.

Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Resigned to the BCS system

I’m biased because of my love for Iowa Hawkeye football, but I thought the BCS Bowl pairings came out about as good as you can get under current circumstances.  I know the whole thing is not a “real” championship, but given the way money sloshes around the current Bowl setup, a “real” national championship playoff will never happen because “real” fairness requires a sixteen team tournament, which would marginalize the current bowl system, a system dependent on holiday travel and spending.

However, there is still plenty of good football to be played over the holidays because of the BCS system.  It’s just a matter of who is going to play it.

Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

POV: caring?

I still wonder about those two points of view in Bleak House.  Is it merely a technical solution to problems such as plot and character (or so many characters), or an expedient arrived at under time pressure to keep the narrative flowing?

And why should I care?

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

POV: Bleak House

Point of view: let’s take Bleak House for instance.  You have this grand satirical omniscient point of view set beside the seemingly humble narrative of Esther Summerson.  Most novelists don’t attempt mixing points of view like that.

I suppose many learned papers have been written about the points of view in Bleak House and how they work.  But I will not read those learned papers and leave it for a puzzle to piece together on my own or–failing that–remain a mystery.

Published in: on December 2, 2009 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Blue Moon

How would the days go if I didn’t care about writing?  For one, they would not have as much meaning, at least for me.  But that is not what I want to talk about.

December 2009 is a blue moon month.  The blue moon rises on December 31.  I wonder how many blue moons have occurred on New Year’s Eve?  It must be a finite number since the moon and earth have not existed in their current forms forever.  I guess one could take a stab at the age of the earth and moon, as the scientists have, and come up with a rough approximation to how many blue moons have graced us.

I’ll work on it and report back.

As I understand it, blue in Old English meant betrayer which seems to fit with why a blue moon is called such.  But don’t get me started on betrayal.  That theme is one of my life’s fascinations.

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 11:30 am  Comments (1)