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Harshest Philosophic Burns

This is fun. It comes from 2014 but, heck, in the history of philosophy, what's four years?

Flavorwire compiled a list of the harshest philosopher-on-philosopher insults in history.

Here's the link:

Their number #1 was Schopenhauer on Hegel:

"Hegel, installed from above, by the powers that be, as the certified Great Philosopher, was a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense.”

My personal favorite on the list is another dig at Hegel, coming though from Bertrand Russell:

"Hegel’s philosophy is so odd that one would not have expected him to be able to get sane men to accept it, but he did. He set it out with so much obscurity that people thought it must be profound. It can quite easily be expounded lucidly in words of one syllable, but then its absurdity becomes …

The Flat Earth

I saw a video recently by a flat Earther. (Never mind for now how it came about that I was watching such a thing -- largely by accident.)

What was odd was the bit where the flat Earther earnestly tells us that he doesn't want to be a flat Earther. It is, after all, a pain in the ass being an 'out' flat earther. It involves expounding on a conspiracy involving NASA and the analogous agencies of several other governments, lots of other people and institutions, etc., and it involves trying to dislodge everybody else's prejudice in favor of stuff that they have been taught since first grade. He doesn't want to be entangled in all this, our video host assures us. Because he'd much rather be about his day job.

What's the day job? Warning people about chemtrails.

I kid you not.

Personally, I know how he feels. I'd much rather not blog about the faeries who threaten vengeance upon us as a species for the cancellation of Sabrina the Teen-Aged Witch.  I'd lo…

William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig seems to have become the go-to guy for a certain sort of public function.

He's the credentialed theistic philosopher who is up for a debate with the most prominent atheists of our day.

Credentialed? Yes -- he has two PhDs, one in philosophy, one in theology, respectively from the University of Birmingham (1977) and the University of Munich (1984).

Up for debating? Yes: as a high school student he was actually in the all-state (Iowa) debate team and he seems to have honed that craft since. [Is a debate team as an extracurricular activity a midwestern thing? I don't think it's big in the northeast.]

The go-to guy? Yes, he has debated the late Christopher Hitchens as well as the very much with us Sam Harris and Lawrence M. Krauss.

On an internet bulletin board to which I make occasional contributions, someone recently asked what Craig thinks of Immanuel Kant. I was happy to provide the answer. Not very highly.

After all: it was Kant's position that hum…

Copyright or Design

I recently had Cambridge University Press send me a reviewer's copy of THE COPYRIGHT/DESIGN INTERFACE, edited by Estelle Derclaye. 
Some background (I recently wrote an email to a friend outlining this, so I'm stealing from myself and saving some effort by re-using the material here): in the US the designer of an industrial product -- like a lamp -- does not create anything with copyright protection. It may be aesthetic (as in a certain Christmas movie, where the 'old man' wins a curvaceous lamp as a 'major award'), but insofar as the design feature is deemed inseparable from its utility as a lamp, it isn't a copyright matter. The designer (an Italian named Fragile?) would have to seek a design patent to have IP.
This is unfortunate for our Italian because a patent application, which brings with it the necessity of a prior work search, is a difficult labor-intensive process, and because copyright generally lasts a lot longer than patents. So one would general…

Let's not pretend this is the issue

No, Ambassador Haley, let us not pretend that "communication style" is the problem with your boss. 

The Hill  quotes Nikki Haley saying "First of all, he has his communication style," Haley told CBS’s “Sunday Morning.” "But you're not hearing me defend that."

Um, not the problem. Unless "communication style" is a seven syllable euphemism for "lying." In which case it is a part of the problem, but a small part.