requiem for certainty

Archive for January 2009

Online Collaboration for Philosophers

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We philosophers need to get ourselves online, not only for purposes of increased visibility, but also for purposes of the kinds of collaborative work facilitated by internetworking.

One excellent forum recently set up by David Chalmers and others is PhilPapers. It’s still in beta but it should be incredibly useful when it’s up and running. It could in time become a one-stop shop for philosophy publication and pre-publication. One nice thing is that it is loaded up with capabilities to discuss papers online right on the site.

Please familiarize yourselves:


Written by Colin Koopman

January 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm

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Pragmatism in Obama’s Inaugural

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We saw more pragmatism this week in Obama’s inaugural address (following up on earlier posts).  It was not quite the masterful literary piece that one might have expected given all that we have been hearing about how Obama wishes to position himself as the next Lincoln.  Lincoln was not only a president but also a poet: recall his “mystic chords of memory”.  Obama is not quite a poet, at least not yet.  But then again, I find the comparisons to Lincoln somewhat overstrained.  Obama is a pragmatist.  Lincoln was not (but perhaps the persident could not have been a pragmatist in those tumultuous years.)

In Obama’s inaugural address this Tuesday we heard his pragmatism once again.  It was forceful and proud, yet also humble and friendly.  This is as pragmatism should be: at once confident and inviting.

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Written by Colin Koopman

January 24, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Ars Synthetica Conference

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Ars Synthetica: The Anthropology of the Contemporary took place this past Friday at UC Santa Cruz.  I organized this event to bring Paul Rabinow, some of his students in UC Berkeley Anthropology, and other colleagues working in collaboration in recent years, down to UCSC to present their work.  At the center of the event as we envisioned it was Rabinow’s newest offerings under the auspices of the Ars Synthetica web forum.  My thanks to all participants (both presenters and audience) for making this such an engaging, inspiring, and generative event.  It is exactly what I needed as I prepare to dive into a solid two weeks of revision and polishing before I send my Foucault manuscript off to the publisher for review.  Following is a short summary of the day’s three sessions.

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