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Multiculturalism in play?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — multiculturalism in play — or, what’s the name of the game? ]
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It is getting to be quite a theme: When games collide.

SPEC DQ MacIntyre xkcd

I’ve used the MacIntyre quote before [1, 2, 3], but the wonderful xkcd visual presentation is new to me — many thanks to Tanner Greer for turning me onto it.

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What’s the name of the game?

Nomic?

Not everything that counts can be counted

Monday, July 20th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — not Einstein but a fellow Cameron gave me my title ]
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I’ll admit I was uneasy when I read about the “effective altruism” movement in Peter Singer‘s Boston Review piece, The Logic of Effective Altruism, but I didn’t quite see how to phrase my unease. Here’s Singer’s explanation of the concept:

Effective altruism is based on a very simple idea: we should do the most good we can. Obeying the usual rules about not stealing, cheating, hurting, and killing is not enough, or at least not enough for those of us who have the good fortune to live in material comfort, who can feed, house, and clothe ourselves and our families and still have money or time to spare. Living a minimally acceptable ethical life involves using a substantial part of our spare resources to make the world a better place. Living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good we can.

That’s the gist, but there’s a lot of what I can only term “moral cost-effectiveness” in there, as though goodness were a problem in engineering.

Today I read Michael J. Lewis‘s Commentary piece, How Art Became Irrelevant, and think I found the “why” of my unease, in the writer’s description of the German idea (“ideal”) of an architectural Existenzminimum:

This was the notion that in the design of housing, one must first precisely calculate the absolute minimum of necessary space (the acceptable clearance between sink and stove, between bed and dresser, etc.), derive a floor plan from those calculations, and then build as many units as possible. One could not add a single inch of grace room, for once that inch was multiplied through a thousand apartments, a family would be deprived of a decent dwelling. So went the moral logic.

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  • Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
  • The heart has reasons Reason knows not of.
  • Terrorism, a ‘Pataphysical “definition”

    Thursday, June 25th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — Escher, Mallarmé, Jarry, Macdonald, and Alex Schmid ]
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    SPEC DQ terrorism the 'pataphysical proof

    Sources:

  • Stuart Macdonald, entry in “Defining terrorism: an impossible puzzle” contest
  • Stéphane Mallarmé, Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard

  • The DoubleQuote format is mine own
  • Further refs:

  • Alex Schmid, The Revised Academic Consensus Definition of Terrorism
  • Alfred Jarry, Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll Pataphysician
  • The Tao Te Ching in contemporary western contexts

    Friday, May 29th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — two reasonably diferent ways of contextualizing the Tao Te Ching for the west ]
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    DQ Tao Te Ching 43 in Modern Contexts

    Strange, eh?

    I somewhat like Witter Bynner‘s non-literal take on the line in question: “to yield with life solves the insoluble”.

    My own carefully ambiguous version: “Chinese meanings can slip through / into obstinate English translators”.

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    Sources:

  • Taoistic Taoism Explained
  • Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi), Chapter 43
  • Physicists solve quantum tunneling mystery
  • Groundhog Day in Nietzsche and Hadith

    Friday, May 22nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — food for thought, not an endorsement of film, philosopher or hadith ]
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    This pair of quotes came together in my recent reading:

    SPEC DQ format

    DoubleQuote!!

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    Sources:

  • Ferdinando Buscema, Use playing cards to remind yourself that you are going to die
  • Sahih Bukhari, Jihad in the Hadith

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