Why Not Viewpoint Diversity?

Social psychologist Clay Routledge guest blogging in Scientific American. The tendency that Routledge points to is tone deaf to perfectly legitimate epistemic possibilities (meaningful viewpoint diversity) but we have long since pathologized ideology in a sad grab for power and influence (I have a chapter on this topic coming shortly). Surely the Overton window must be wide open affording the best opportunity to approach truth — but then again, many academics are typically in the business of activism, not inquiry.

Guardians of the Groove

The best little community radio station around for top-notch music (gig listings, recipes and more) and of course these days you don’t have to be in New Orleans to listen or indeed to watch their regular live video streams — a conduit to the deepest and widest musical tradition, constantly being infused with new talent. Please consider supporting WWOZ during this week’s fundraising drive. A prime mover behind WWOZ was also the founder of the wonderful Louisiana Music Factory — meet Jerry Brock here and here.


Economics in the Era of Natural Computationalism and Big Data

Duke Forest conference detailed programme now available. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of John von Neumann’s “Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata”. The C+T sponsored panel below:



Farts and philosophy

Christina Pazsitzky, comedian and philosophy major, talks about her approach. These days it seems that a significant number of philosophers have long-since traded in TRUTH for self-aggrandizing activism posing as inquiry and so now, more than ever, the health of liberal culture depends on the Shakespearean fool pricking the elites, the common clay, and everything in-between — some of my favorites include Groucho Marx, Peter Cook, George Carlin, Andy Kaufman, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Graham Chapman, Gilbert Gottfried,  Rob Brydon, Adam Carolla, Joe Rogan, Steven Crowder, John Valby and a few others. Kaufman, to my mind, was the original and most masterful troll of them all.

Pazsitzky loves comics who are truth-tellers — their act is their life rather than a studied, affected performance.


Gottlieb on Toole after Fifty Years

In Robert Gottlieb’s recently published memoir Avid Reader he briefly talks about the fraught relationship he had with Ken Toole.



So in barely two pages devoted to Toole and in light of the critical and commercial status that Dunces has achieved worldwide, Gottlieb still dismisses Toole as sophomoric! Even with the benefit of the interim 50 years, Gottlieb never offers a more detailed substantive rationale beyond reiterating some intellectually lazy and vague self-justificatory post hoc thoughts. Gottlieb’s virtue-signaling is palpable in his deciding not to sue Thelma — gee, that was so morally superior of him. Reading Gottlieb’s memoir, I too haven’t changed my mind about him:

Gottlieb’s dilly dallying was a function of his calcified urbane smugness. Despite his ostensible sophistication, he was philosophically ill-suited to be arbiter of both literary merit and marketability — therein lies the rub. Had he definitively chosen one or other as the imperative rather than make each of these domains somehow conversable or “reconcilable,” then Gottlieb would pretty much be absolved of professional ineptitude.

Here are my extended thoughts on Gottlieb from my review of Cory MacLauchlin‘s superb bio Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of Dunces.