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A Book on the Philosophy of Time I

Last summer, Valdi Ingthorsson, of Lund University in Sweden, released a book on the philosophy of time, with the title McTaggart's Paradox.

https://rdingthorsson.wordpress.com/summary-of-mctaggarts-paradox/

I will provide some background material on the subject he is discussing, in Part I of this two-part discussion. In the second,which I hope to have ready by this coming Thursday, I'll speak to what Ingthorsson brings to this table.

But let's start, as Ingthorsson does, with John M. E. McTaggart, a philosopher who flourished a century ago and who in 1908 published a landmark essay on the subject of time.

http://www.ditext.com/mctaggart/time.html

"McTaggart's paradox" is a key argument of his for the unreality of time.  If I understand it the gist is this: in order for time to be real, the past and future have to exist in parity with each other (and with the present). Yet that can only be the case if time is not real, that is, if events of the past, of the p…
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Bruce Ackerman

Thank to a friend, I am in receipt of

















Thanks to a friend, I am in receipt of Bruce Ackerman's book, THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC (2010).

As the first decade of the new millennium was ending Ackerman predicted seven imminent developments based on his life's work, his understanding of the evolution of the US constitutional structure:

1) That we would see "an increasing number of charismatic outsider types who gain office by mobilizing activist support for extremist programs...."
2) Presidents, whether elected on such a platform or not, will become ever more reliant on media consultants, which will in turn generate a "politics of unreason."
3) They will govern around or in conflict with the executive departmental structure, cabinet officers and their subordinates, relying instead on "their White House staff of superloyalists."
4) They will increasingly politicize the military;
5) ... increasingly invoke emergencies and emergency p…

Revisionism about EX PARTE MERRYMAN

Chief Justice Taney's showdown with the new President in the opening stages of the civil war, over Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, is a much-discussed incident in US constitutional history (and in our military history, too).

An article last year in Military Law Review offered an important revisionist account of the MERRYMAN case. For a link, click here. 

It is a defense of Lincoln's behavior in this matter, an effort to undermine the common idea that Lincoln was running roughshod over the rule of law by ignoring a duly issued order.

Seth Barrett Tillman argues in essence that Taney never ordered Merryman released, although he did issue an opinion that seems to advise the President to do so. Further, Taney was acting out of line there, because judicial advisory opinions are not contemplated in the US constitution, and are inconsistent with "separation of powers norms."

"In short, Lincoln had every reason to believe that there was no obliga…

Moral Intuitionism versus Traditional Theism

Back in 2010, the fellow portrayed here, Ken Pulliam, made a fascinating point.

Pulliam was the proprietor of a blog with the autobiographical title, "Why I De-Converted from Evangelical Christianity." Presumably he stopped adding new posts when he came to believe that he had said all he needed to say about that de-conversion.

One of the posts of this blog in particular intrigues me. It is dated June 18th of that year. I'll provide a summary in a second but if you'd like to read the whole thing, here's a link:

http://formerfundy.blogspot.com/2010/06/defense-of-ethical-intuitionism-part.html

Summary:

Pulliam ceased to believe in the existence of the God of evangelical Christianity because he came to believe that the God depicted by that tradition would be a highly unethical being, if He existed. And that inference takes most of the point out of postulating His existence.

In order to reach such a conclusion, one needs an Archimedean "place to stand," a …

Holocaust Denying Asshats II

Both Sean Spicer and Marine Le Pen have in recent days uttered claims that might well fit under the capacious tent of "Holocaust revisionism." Spicer has walked it back, and one can generously attribute his comments to gross maladroitness in the performance of ... well ... his job.

Still: such events do give us the opportunity to observe that much of the crap that passes itself off these days as "Holocaust revisionism" traces itself back to Harry Elmer Barnes, a paid apologist and propagandist for Nazi Germany in real time.

Barnes may have been atoning for his own war guilt. During the "Great War," 1914-18, Barnes was an enthusiast for the crusade against the Huns.

When peace came, Barnes (like many at the time) wondered what it all had been about. He concluded not just that he had been overly enthusiastic, not just that he had been wrong in seeing the war as a matter of white hats versus black hats, but that in fact he had had the 'hats' the wr…