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Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 | 0 comments

Deserts, Interstices, and New Life

Deserts, Interstices, and New Life

“Dryness promotes the formation of flower buds . . . [f]lowering is, after all, not an aesthetic contribution, but a survival mechanism.” – Ann Haymond Zwinger, The Mysterious Lands (New York: Dutton, 1989), 127. “‘You can’t repeat the past.’ ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!'” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), 110.  This, my friends, is what we call an autobiographical post. Philosophy-cum-introspection: theoria-via-experience. Ordinarily I prefer intertexuality, engaging a recently-read chapter or article, to the daunting expanse of the tabula rasa on which one ‘free styles’ their way into writing. Ordinarily, however, I am not getting married, moving to a new (old) country, and driving up and down the coast for family events before the start of a doctoral program. (Ordinarily, I am just plain undisciplined). We have moved—literally and figuratively—to the desert. Our beachside locale reaches temperatures unthinkable to the PacNoWest mind this time of year, and the sunshine is unceasing. It is fantastic, but the contrarian...

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Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 | 10 comments

The Poet and the Philosopher: Enemies or Allies?

The Poet and the Philosopher: Enemies or Allies?

As The Sound of Music’s Maria Rainer once advised, “let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start”. In the tradition of Western philosophy, to which this blog pays obeisance, that beginning place is occupied by none other than the infamous, the illustrious, the (probably) sexist Plato. This Platonic primacy is true for sundry philosophical issues, not least the question of the nature and function of human language—a topic I have deigned to muse upon for approximately enough paragraphs to keep your rapt attention. While the case can (and likely has) been made that questions of the nature of language appear in all of Plato’s writings[1], his dialogues Cratylus and Gorgias address those themes explicitly which, had he had the opportunity to hashtag them, would’ve appeared with items like #howdowordsmeanthings, #onomatopoeiarules and #sophistryismynemesis. It is my contention that the arguments of these two dialogues, while they appear to be in direct opposition to each other, are actually consistent. In Cratylus, Socrates (Plato’s mouthpiece) argues that words...

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