The Embedded Epistemologist

I was startled to read, in the 6th edition of a well-known textbook, McCormick on Evidence, that the “reasonable doubt” formula “points to what we are really concerned with, the state of the jury’s mind,” whereas “preponderance of the evidence” and “clear and convincing evidence” “divert attention to the evidence.” This has things exactly backwards: As the “reasonable” in “beyond a reasonable doubt” signals, the evidence, and whether it is strong enough, is precisely what the fact-finder should be attending to (and a juror who is absolutely certain the defendant is guilty—but not because of the admissible evidence presented at trial but because of something he learned outside the courtroom, or because of evidence that was presented at trial but that the court instructed the jury to disregard—has an obligation to vote to acquit nonetheless). Legal degrees of proof are not degrees of credence; they are degrees of rational credibility or warrant.

— article available in Ratio Juris


Meaning and Chaos

Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson take another run at a discussion and the result is far clearer and more satisfying than the first effort (I happen to think that the first podcast was not wasted time at all). Having heard Harris and Weinstein and now Harris and Peterson, I think we would be in for a treat listening to Weinstein and Peterson, two of the subtlest minds I’ve heard in a long while on religiosity.


Hall and Oats Speak

First, revisiting Daryl Hall in Salon on the incoherence and idiocy of “cultural appropriation” (nothing more than a species of crude rationalistic fundamentalism, a classic marker of the authoritarian mindset, arrogant enough to think that the mercurial nature of a healthy culture should/could be controlled); and second, John Oats has a memoir about to appear.

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Camille Paglia: interviews and reviews

A voice of sanity, real scholarship, wit and class plugging her latest book in Broadly along with other interviews and reviews in Tablet (Jews and feminism); NYMag (predicting 2017); and (politics, art, spirituality).

It is an absolute outrage how so many pampered, affluent, upper-middle-class professional women chronically spout snide anti-male feminist rhetoric, while they remain completely blind to the constant labor and sacrifices going on all around them as working-class men create and maintain the fabulous infrastructure that makes modern life possible in the Western world.


Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

Coming soon — check out the trailer and documentary’s website for details. Also Cosmos + Taxis has a special themed issue dedicated to Jane Jacobs’ work soon to be published, edited by Sanford Ikeda and featuring some of the leading theorists in the field.