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‘As if’: Fiction and reductionism

Belatedly reading Thomas Nagel’s review of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s book, As If: Idealization and Ideals, in The New York Review of Books (5 April 2018, vol LXV, no 6, pp 36-38) was a double take moment.

In that review I recognised some of my own philosophical thinking since the later 1990s.  Until I have time to absorb both the work of Appiah and Hans Vaihinger, from whom Appiah draws some foundation for his concept of ‘idealization’, this is a preliminary comment.

Hans Vaihinger.

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A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

SSince early December I have been reading my way through Jack Higgins’s novels.  He had first used the character Martin Fallon in 1960 (Cry of the Hunter), reprising him in 1973 for the novel A Prayer for the Dying.

It’s a mournful story of an IRA soldier, haunted by the innocents he’s killed, trying to get out, but finding it hard to quarantine his particular skills from the bargains he must strike to escape.

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Ray Donovan (2013-2017)

Christmas excesses usually require some recuperation, and binge-watching back-to-back television episodes is a reliable pastime for the waking hours, while digesting too much food and sweating out too much booze in the heat of the season.

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Milne and Guthrie: toxic for the ABC

After weeks of reading about the Michelle Guthrie-Justin Milne battle for the soul of the ABC, I finally watched the 12 November Four Corners programme featuring interviews with both former senior ‘knobs’ at the public broadcaster.

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Morrison: man without conscience or soul

When the coup against Malcolm Turnbull was inevitable, some in the Liberal party room thought Scott Morrison was a better choice than hardline reactionary Peter Dutton.  They may have been wrong.

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Poor literacy: career stumbling block

A curious set of facts I came across as part of my recent studies makes it certain that any Australian looking for career advancement needs to be able to demonstrate a high degree of literacy.

Most people I know, even those with post-graduate degrees, tend to be dismissive of grammar and spelling as important, even in professional communication. But only some professionals get away with cavalier attitudes like that, and only if they are exceptionally brilliant in other areas. Most of us aren’t that fortunate.

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Ethics, rules, ‘woke’ wankerism

‘Is you woke, bro,’ the twenty-something going on 14-year-old asked me.  ‘Is that English or some other language?’ was my not so friendly reply.

‘Harsh, dude.  I’m not up for dat.’

I walked away suppressing the urge to slap the kid. Such a bad impression of an accent he didn’t understand. Something he extrapolated from a music video.

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