August 4th, 2004

mepublicenemy

False To Any Man / Kant and Aristotle

False To Any Man is a book I'm reading by Leslie Ford. It's an out-of-print mystery. I've got a big collection of her mysteries, and so far I've only read one. I liked the one I read, which was Old Lover's Ghost. The one I'm reading is holding my interest, but I'm not wild about it.

Ayn Rand once recommended her mysteries, but if I recall correctly, she said something like: her mysteries are either great or godawful with nothing in between. I hope this is one of the great ones. With mysteries, it is often hard to tell until the end.

The title, "False to Any Man," is a Hamlet allusion. "...to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

I came across this sentence in the book: "If your children were threatened, Mrs. Latham, you wouldn't stop and ponder any Critique of Pure Reason, any Ethic of Aristotle."

I thought, what a strange pairing, Kant and Aristotle. Yet, they are paired often enough. They are both historical giants in terms of their impact on the history of philosophy. They both had big complicated systems. But their ethics were opposite in key respects.

Another similarity has to do with writing style. Both are described as having 2 writing styles, one elegant and easy to read, and another dense and difficult. Aristotle's easy pieces are mostly lost. It's the difficult stuff that survived, oddly enough. Perhaps the difficult stuff was the deep and important stuff.

I do want to say that Aristotle and Kant present different KINDS of difficulty. Aristotle I can read... without being driven to drink.

Rhyme of the day:

Reading Kant,
Not Aristotle,
Makes me want
To hit the bottle.

Here's somebody on ebay selling 7 of Ford's novels:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6916736706

Here's a list of her books:
http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/Leslie-Ford.html

Page about Aristotle that mentions his early writing:
http://www.lcc.gatech.edu/gallery/rhetoric/figures/aristotle.html

Page about Kant that mentions his obtuse writing:
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/practicalreason/context.html

A funny page about why Kant would have trouble getting a tenured position today:
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~erich/misc/kant_funny
mepublicenemy

Don Parrish's pics

Don Parrish is a good friend of mine with an amazing website. If you go to it, and click next to the pic of Nathaniel Branden where it says "TOC Summer Seminar," you can see Don's pics from the fun-filled week, including a pic of me in my tuxedo, which I wore for my emcee duties. He also plugs my novel, Unholy Quest. What a friend!

He also has some good pics of Millenium Park, which I blogged about previously.

Start here:
http://www.donparrish.com/

And my novel, in case I haven't plugged it lately, has its own web-page:
http://www.unholyquest.com/
mepublicenemy

Madbard

As long as I'm talking about the TOC summer seminar again, I want to mention LiveJournal's own MadBard. You can find him in my friends list. I missed his presentation this year due to some unholy conflict with something else I wanted to see. But everyone I talked to raved about his presentation on the music of Star Wars. And the year before I did hear his talk, which was a more general one on movie music, and I was raving about that one to everyone I knew. He's got a great command of the topic, being 1) a professional in the area and 2) literate, articulate, and witty to boot.

I kept my emceeing mercifully short, but I did mention the fact that the current TOC schedule seems designed to create deep psychological conflict as you agonizingly try to decide which (untaped) lecture you want to hear.

It's a bit like that scene at the end of the last Indiana Jones movie, where Indiana must choose between fake chalices and the true holy grail. You look at the list of lectures and try to Choose Wisely. You can never go wrong choosing MadBard, aka Michael G. Shapiro.

He seemed concerned, in a recent comment, that he never got mentioned in emcee speeches and didn't show up in photo spreads about the summer seminar. I'm not sure why he's not getting photographed. I'll tell you who does get photographed a lot, a lot more than me, and that's my daughter, Felicia. Well, she is better looking that me, that may have something to do with it.

But, Michael, never fear that people view you as a non-entity. It just ain't so! I, for one, think you're a great guy, and particularly admire you for making some real money in your chosen art form.

Limerick of the day:

Musical Michael Shapiro,
Could never be seen as a zero.
He's sharp and he's funny
And even makes money
Composing - so now he's my hero.

You can find a brief summary of his Star Wars Music talk here:
http://www.objectivistcenter.com/events/sem2004/seminars-monday.asp

(I chose to go to a discussion about whether Objectivism and Libertarianism were still sympatico. It was quite lively, but there was absolutely NO music in it.)