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Re: Vic Mate

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  • jimstuart46
    Knott, You write: You keep dragging an idea back to a personality (or personalities) associated with it (Barthes, Derrida, etc.). I don t see the point of
    Message 1 of 69 , May 2, 2007

      You write:

      "You keep dragging an idea back to a personality (or personalities)
      associated with it (Barthes, Derrida, etc.). I don't see the point of
      that at all. Perhaps you can explain."

      I don't think Trinidad has responded directly to your thought –
      unless I've missed his response. As you raise a significant question,
      let me give my personal response.

      Existentialism is supposed to be a practical philosophy. An
      existentialist is supposed to be an individual who lives his
      philosophy; his philosophy is supposed to penetrate his very being.

      Any author – existentialist or otherwise – who writes on ethics,
      politics or human activity in general seems to incur an obligation to
      stand by his views by living in accordance with them. To fail to do
      so suggests either hypocrisy or incompetence.

      The incompetence would apply if his philosophy was either incoherent
      or just not the sort of thinking which can be actualized by a human

      The hypocrisy would apply if his philosophy is coherent and has the
      potential to be lived out in the world, but the author, through
      either moral cowardice or indifference fails to actualize his own

      Take Derrida. Wil has presented evidence that Derrida failed a
      crucial moral test in the 1980's. (I'm assuming Wil's evidence stands
      up.) For whatever reason, his philosophy, his deconstructionism,
      failed to inspire him to act decently. Derrida's failure of character
      does raise a great question mark over the worth of his philosophy. If
      deconstructionism cannot inspire its author to act decently then I
      think the idea is very suspect.

      I have the same attitude to Heidegger and his version of

    • Exist List Moderator
      A few years ago there was a man we called President. He knew the power of words. He declared he would be the Real Environmental President and vowed to
      Message 69 of 69 , May 29, 2007
        A few years ago there was a man we called President. He knew the
        power of words. He declared he would be the "Real" Environmental
        President and vowed to protect "wetlands." (We won't dwell on his
        vice-president, since that might contradict his current persona.)

        Anticipating a change, the Department of Agriculture, the Department
        of the Interior, and (separately) the Bureau of Land (mis-)Management
        set forth to define "wetland" since this term lacked an official
        definition. As a result, scientists and activists attended policy
        forums and started to get a definition of "wetland" codified. This
        upset farmers and developers, who then demanded more hearing and
        public forums. These hearings were during the presidential campaign,
        so there were sob stories from farmers who had lost their land to
        lizards and shrimp.

        In academic circles, the definition of "wetland" had been set in
        works by Tripp (1991, p. 203) and Golet (1991, 635) as "areas
        sufficiently saturated by water that only specially adapted plants
        can grow there. Saturation with water prevents oxygen from working
        its way into the soil and therefore creates conditions of no
        oxygen" (Tripp's definition).

        In 1989, under a different President (who must not have been an
        environmentalist since he was marked with the Red R), the Interagency
        Committee for Wetland Delineation published a precise manual on how
        to map wetlands and protect them from human activity. This was deemed
        good by many, but not trusted because of his Red R.

        Ah, but the "Real" Environmental President promised no net loss of
        wetlands during his administration. The scientists were happy. They
        trusted him. Unfortunately, to win an election in the United States,
        you must promise farmers in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Minnesota,
        Illinois, Kansas, and so on, more land and more subsidies.

        Let us cut all of the boring dates and federal papers... you already
        know what happened. "Wetland" was redefined and there were hearings.
        The definition began to change. A "Revised Manual" was developed and
        "wetlands" as defined by Congress (1992) according to Francis Golet
        "disregards more than 15 years of scientific research."

        By the time the New Improved Environmental President took office,
        legislation was ready to be passed and there are now two definitions
        of wetlands: the one in academic texts and the one maintained by the
        federal government.

        Politicians don't care about science unless they can control the
        terms. Scientists are not very good at public relations, it seems --
        until there is an emergency and people have to listen to them.

        Science and politics -- without a discussion of stem cells or
        anything controversial.

        - CSW
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