Taking Stock

I just want to add my support to Kathleen Stock, not because of her specific views (though they strike me as plausible), but as a rebuke to those in the “philosophy profession” who have been persecuting her, as well as the moral cowards who let it happen. She is quite right about projection, immaturity, social bubbles, and sheer malice. Here I make common cause with her (and others I won’t mention here).


12 responses to “Taking Stock”

  1. jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    An odd number of variables in the determination of self-described “gender identity”. Blurred are the distinctions—kind of like those between culture and biology. Germaine Greer (if I’ve got the spelling right) is a good read on this. In any case, I know what I am: I’m so fucking queer I’m a lesbian (as the old joke goes).

  2. jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Just came across this interview with Steven Pinker at, “the reader.mitpress.mit.edu”. It’s inappropriate to this thread, wildly so, but so what? We’re a free-wheeling lot. In reference to one of his first books, “Learnability and Cognition”, Pinker claims that, “A dissection of the meaning of verbs reveals the conceptual components of thought.” This hardly comports with traditional philosophical analyses. One wonders at its pretension. Any thoughts?

  3. jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    The NYRB review is behind a pay-wall, but they did offer to interested paupers, wonderfully liberal-minded as they are, a few tantalizing opening paragraphs. I gather your’e not completely in line with Pinker’s approach to limning the depth, structure, scope or exercise of our conceptual competence. Pinker (and for that matter, Ray Jackendoff), seem somewhat oblivious to the role of communicative intent in determining the semantico- syntactic “choices” one makes in the execution of his speech-acts. The mystery, as Chomsky himself asseverates, is how exactly communicative intent galvanizes and particularizes in natural language output the niceties of those intents. There are theories about the nature and structure of concepts. There are theories about the nature and structure of thoughts. There are theories about the nature and structure of thinking. But where are the theories about how communicative intents, more often so it seems than in the efforts of private ratiocination, tease out latent flexibility or creativity in the use of concepts themselves?

    • Of course, there is Grice on communicative intention and Anscombe on intention in general–as well as the work on these topics they spawned. But I don’t really understand what you mean by your final question.

  4. jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Our conceptual competence is indefinitely plastic. I say that the plasticity of that competence is best galvanized or exploited (or even optimized) by the indefinite plurality, the subtlties, of communicative intents, rather than by the more limited purposes of theoretical inquiry. Science has the more noted successes in conceptual expansion. But the pragmatics of human communication offer far more opportunities for the metaphorical or analogical or even logical elaboration of concepts (e.g. the arts—communicative by nature). Pinker and Ray Jackendoff have something to say about this, as did Grice, Austin, Strawson and so on .But not nearly enough, or so it seems to me. I’m not entirely sure of what I’m driving at here, but something has bugged me about this issue for a long time—the difference between the public and private galvanizing or exercise of one’s conceptual competence.

  5. jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    That you disagree with my last Comment is enlightening. I dare say I now disagree with it myself— having been duly dissuaded. Jests aside, and ever onward to more serious matters: the match tomorrow between Federer and Nadal. Nadal in four sets. If I’m right in my prediction, you must elaborate more particularly on our disagreement. If I’m wrong… I shall elaborate more on our disagreement.

  6. jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Risk-taking in speculative argument, a kind of betting, is at the heart of philosophy; though, it’s true, nothing there really follows in consequence. Sports-betting, on the other hand, now that’s where the ‘elan is.

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