Monday, March 27, 2023
HERE IS THE LINK
As soon as I get the link, I will put it up. Needless to say, my lecture will follow pretty closely what I have written in my book on the same subject. This is mathematics, so I cannot, in the interest of novelty, say that this time around the square on the hypotenuse is equal to twice the sum of the squares on the adjacent sides, as it were. However, I have managed to make certain things clearer or more precise in ways that they were not in the book so I am rather pleased with the lecture.
Saturday, March 25, 2023
CALLING ALL NERDS
I have spent the past several days preparing my next lecture on The Use and Abuse of Formal Methods in Political Philosophy. Monday, from 2 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern Time US, I shall be giving the first of several lectures on Game Theory.The lectures will be on zoom and the zoom program we are using can handle up to 100 participants. Since I expect only about 10 people to participate from the UNC philosophy department, there is room for others should they wish to attend. Only the UNC students will be able to ask questions, but all the others are welcome to attend as listeners. Tomorrow or Monday morning I will post a link. After I have finished expounding the elements of Game Theory, which may take me two 1 1/2 hour lectures, I will follow that by a formal analysis of the central argument in John Rawls's famous book, A Theory of Justice.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
THAT WAS FUN
Well, that was fun. I must say you folks have a very rich and varied range of knowledge. Let me say just a word about what led me to raise the question. As you probably know if you have been reading this blog, there was a time in my life when I worked very hard to learn to play the viola. For eight years, I took a 90 minute lesson every week and practiced an hour a day. As a result of all this work, I became a pretty amateur fair violist. That is to say, I was nowhere near as good as a professional violist sitting in the last chair of the viola section of a small regional professional orchestra. The sheer amount of work day after day, month after month, year after year that is required to achieve the sort of command of the piano or the violin or the viola that professional musicians exhibit is something that non-musicians I suspect do not quite understand. When I watch Yo-Yo Ma leaning back and playing the cello as though he were listening to it rather than actually playing it, I have some sense of what it took for him to reach that point and I am in awe.
By comparison, it is my impression that it takes relatively little work to become a good film actor, although obviously some people are much better at it than others. Hence, it does not surprise me that the children of quite successful film actors sometimes themselves become successful film actors. I should imagine it takes a good deal more work than that to become a first-class plumber although I have never done any plumbing so I do not really know.
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
A GAME TO PASS THE TIME
Jamie Lee Curtis won an Oscar. She is, of course, the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. There are lots of successful actors and actresses who are the sons or daughters of other successful actors and actresses. So I got to thinking, are there first-grade classical musicians who were the sons or daughters of other first-grade classical musicians? Well, immediately I thought of David Oistrakh, the great violinist, and his son Igor, also a first-grade violinist. But I could not think of any other examples. There are no great philosophers who are the sons or daughters of other great philosophers, so far as I could think of. Nor could I come up with great poets or novelists or classical composers who are sons or daughters of other great poets or novelists of classical composers.
After a while, it occurred to me that this might be an interesting question to put to the readers of this blog. Can any of you come up with interesting examples of father – son or father – daughter or mother – son or mother – daughter great artists of any sort?
Saturday, March 18, 2023
AND SO IT BEGINS
Well, Trump says he will be arrested on Tuesday and for once I hope he is correct. I suspect he will be indicted in Georgia within the next several weeks and perhaps by the end of May for the Mar-a-Lago matter as well. Meanwhile, France is awash in garbage, England is in bad shape, Italy is in crisis, and Israel is close to what is being described as a civil war.
Perhaps there is something to be said for being very old.
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
I LOVE IT
John Pillette, Google tells me that there have over the years been 44,569 comments on this blog. I think yours is one of my all-time favorites. Thank you for making my day.
I have heard from several people the comment that "punishing" Prof. Wax by banning her from teaching courses in the department will simply have the effect of encouraging others to take this way of freeloading. I must confess I was stunned and totally blindsided by this observation. The notion that someone would brand himself or herself as a homophobic racist, gain the contempt and detestation of his or her entire cadre of professional associates, make himself or herself a laughingstock in the world, all in order to get out of teaching some courses suggests to me that I am more out of touch with the present generation's attitude toward work than I realized.
Let me say, by the way, that the concern with Prof. Wax at the University of Pennsylvania does not arise out of faculty uneasiness being around someone espousing such views, but rather as a response to the extreme distress experienced by students at the law school, primarily but by no means exclusively students of color.
But I think I shall stop blogging about the subject, because quite clearly I am totally out of touch.