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Reviews of Agamben [Apr. 12th, 2005|01:16 pm]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

[Current Music |Bob Dylan - I and I]

@ Radical Philosophy The exemplary exception - Philosophical and political decisions in Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer by Andrew Norris

@ borrderlands ejournal a REVIEW ESSAY An Ethics of Bare Life: Agamben on Witnessing Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, Zone Books:New York, 1999. by Catherine Mills

Giorgio Agamben is an Italian philosopher who teaches at the University of Verona.

The above is at Labor Law Talk.com

precisely why I find Agamben problematic

Giorgio Agamben Bibliography

Giorgio Agamben Bio

Giorgio Agamben Web Resources

Giorgio Agamben Links

Giorgio Agamben Won't come to U.S.

Giorgio Agamben German Law Journal Interview

Security & Terror by Giorgio Agamben

A Book: Politics, Metaphysics, and Death Essays on Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer

Giorgio Agamben
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i s i t a b o o k ? [Apr. 8th, 2005|03:35 pm]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

[Current Music |Temptation Waits]

Is it a book? In which you will find a number of Discussions on the Nonlinearity of certain parts of Ancient and Modern Literature, and Arts, together with illustrations and descriptions of same, brought together here with the idea of enhancing a greater understanding and appreciation of these Arts, especially with a view to how they may enhance the Life of the Mind.
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Philosophy of Science Resources [Apr. 5th, 2005|10:58 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

The Galilean Library

PhilSci Archive

Philosophy of Science Resources @ Pegasus

The History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine - A Selection of Web and other sources

The Scientific Revolution Homepage by Robert Hatch

History of Science Index of Links by Dr. Hatch

Geocities Link List in Math, Science & Philosophy

History of Science Society

Philosphy of Science @ U of C

The Bristish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
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Evolution of Language and Reduction of Gene Components [Apr. 4th, 2005|08:46 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

Evolution of Language and Reduction of Gene Components: The sound of one hand waving @ Language Log

On April Fool's Day, Terrence Deacon, Professor of Biological Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, gave a talk here at the University of Michigan on the evolution of language. If the talk was meant to be self-contained (as in, you needn't have read all his writings in order to follow the argument), it was remarkable for the complete lack of support offered for the main thesis.

Early in the talk, Deacon presented a handsome Power-Point slide with pictures of various plants that display Fibonacci spirals -- daisy petals, a pine-cone, things like that. He said that, although there's a genetic component underlying these structures, the spirals themselves come about through self-organization: they are not directly encoded in the plant genomes, but arise in each plant because they're useful (for instance for ensuring that the maximum amount of sunlight will hit each leaf) and because their shape is mathematically determined. I haven't studied botany since I was an undergraduate, eons ago, so I will assume that his story about the Fibonacci spirals is right. In most of the rest of the talk he discussed other non-humans, especially finches, and the complex relationships between genes and behavioral patterns (like finch songs).

Finally he returned to people and argued that, although human language has a stage-setting genetic component [I can't guarantee that that's a precisely accurate paraphrase, but it's not too far off], innate universal grammar is nowhere near as rich as it's often claimed to be. Instead, like the plants with their self-organizing Fibonacci spirals, many or most of the universals in human language are to be attributed to -- and here I quote -- "social-semiotic self-organization". In one short sentence he mentioned a couple of examples that, he said, support this claim, but in the talk itself he gave no shred of evidence to justify the analogy to the mathematically elegant Fibonacci spirals. It wasn't even hand-waving -- at most one hand waving, or maybe just one appropriate finger. I wanted to ask what could possibly constitute non-circular evidence for such a claim, but I couldn't, because he announced at the beginning of the question period that he would recognize only in-group members in the discussion period. Well, O.K., he didn't put it that way: he said he'd call on "you guys at the back because I know you have to leave soon". So did the rest of us, unfortunately (or anyway I did; possibly others stayed and even got to ask questions after the favored few were finished with theirs).

A not totally unrelated thought: I'm beginning to wonder about biological anthropologists who talk about language. A year or two ago the local set invited a speaker who proposed that the Ur-human language probably had clicks because (a) humans originated in Africa, and (b) clicks occur in a few African languages, and (c) there's a lot of genetic distance between some groups who speak click languages, and (d) clicks can't arise spontaneously, and (e) the chances for borrowing are vanishingly small because the groups aren't all that close geographically. (The huge problem here is with premises d and especially e.) Most linguists would hesitate to make pronouncements about biological anthropology; too bad the reverse doesn't also hold.

A final thought: maybe the late-19th-century members of the Société linguistique de Paris got it right when they banned research and publication on the evolution of language: the ban was meant to suppress wild unfounded speculation about language origins. Now that the topic is popular again, there still seems to be a lot more chaff than wheat.

Evolution of Language and Reduction of Gene Components: The sound of one hand waving @ Language Log
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Mall Semantics, Folk Categoization at Language Log [Apr. 4th, 2005|08:34 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

April 03, 2005
Mall semantics

Caught on the "international male" page (about shopping opportunities for gay men, all over the world) in the March 2005 issue of Instinct, p. 38:

Another recent addition to L.A. is the Grove, an outdoor mall, which has your basics (Banana Republic) as well as department stores and more boutiquey shops.

Surely "outdoor (shopping) mall" has come past my eyes thousands of times, but this was the first time I reflected on it.  Its meaning is (almost) transparent, so it's unlikely to find a place in dictionaries (and, indeed, it's not in the OED Online).  Still, it's not without some interest semantically.

This will be a little adventure in folk categorization.

First, "outdoor mall" has the form of a marked, special case: your classic (shopping) mall -- the Galleria, the Mall of America -- is indoors, under a roof.  Outdoor malls are, well, outdoors and open to the sky.

But an outdoor mall isn't just a place to shop that happens to be open to the elements.  it shares one crucial element with indoor malls: easy pedestrian access from one store to another, without interference from traffic.

So your ordinary "shopping street", like Fifth Avenue, doesn't count as a mall, because of the traffic on the avenue and the side streets.  More generally, city "shopping districts" don't count as malls.  If, however, the shopping street or district is closed to traffic, then we have a species of outdoor mall, sometimes described as an "outdoor pedestrian mall".  (I draw here from some of the 46,900 sites that Google provides for "outdoor mall".)

And your ordinary "shopping center", with clusters of stores sprinkled around a gigantic parking lot, doesn't count as a mall, because pedestrian access from one store to another is not, in general, easy.  At the San Antonio Center, a few miles south of me, it borders on the harrowing, in fact, and I don't recall anyone ever referring to the place as a "mall".  If, however, you clump all the stores together in a central core, with the parking all around it, then you have an outdoor mall.  So the Stanford Shopping Center,

Mall Semantics, Folk Categoization at Language Log Posted by Arnold Zwicky at April 3, 2005 08:42 PM
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Weblog links [Apr. 2nd, 2005|10:16 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

Tecnorati's top 100 Web logs

TalkLeft the politics of crime
Welcome to TalkLeft, the on-line source for liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news. TalkLeft was created by Denver-based criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt in 2000 as a companion site to CrimeLynx®, the criminal defense practitioner's Guide to the Internet. In June, 2002, TalkLeft was converted into a weblog. Since then, it has received more than 5 million visitors.

TalkLeft is not a neutral site. Our mission is to intelligently and thoroughly examine issues, candidates and legislative initiatives as they pertain to constitutional rights, particularly those of persons accused of crime.

Talkleft is intended for the public, journalists covering crime-based news and politics, policy makers and of course, the criminal defense community.

TalkLeft was a unique voice in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections, as it will be in 2006, concentrating on exposing injustices in the criminal justice system and, in particular, those of the current administration.

TalkLeft is written by Jeralyn Merritt, with frequent contributions by T. Christopher Kelly of Madison, WI.

Lawrence Lessig's Blog

Technorati - About Blogs
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Einstein Resources [Mar. 31st, 2005|08:09 pm]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

Einstein Web sources

Einstein Website featuring essays etc.
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The Evolution of the Human Eye by Carl Zimmer [Mar. 12th, 2005|10:22 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

One of my favorite web logs is Carl Zimmer's The Loom: A Blog About Life, Past and Future

Here is an excerpt from his essay on the evolution of the eye.

Eyes can found in insects, squid, and many other animals. Did they evolve independently?

The answer is yes and no. In the 1990s, Walter Gehring of the University of Basel and his colleagues discovered an essential eye-building gene called Pax-6 that was shared by insects and humans. If he inserted the human version of the gene into a fly larva, he got fly eyes popping up all over the fly's body. Gehring has proposed that Pax-6 is a master control gene, switching on an entire circuit of eye-building genes. In insects and in humans (and in all of the animals that share a common ancestor), this circuit builds eyes. But in each lineage, a different set of genes have been incorporated into this circuit, so that they can build eyes as different as the compound eye of an insect and the camera eye of a human.

The simplest explanation for so many animals sharing this same circuit is that they all inherited it from their common ancestor--a small worm-like creature known as a bilaterian that might have lived 570 million years ago. Exactly what sort of eye these genes produced in the Precambrian mists of time isn't clear, though. And until last fall, another feature of the eye didn't seem to fit this hypothesis: its photoreceptors. Invertebrate eyes and vertebrate eyes use different photoreceptors to sense light. But researchers have found that both kinds of photoreceptors grow on a humble animal known as a ragworm, which is believed to have branched off very early in the evolution of bilaterians. It's possible that the ancestor of living bilaterians produced both kinds of photoreceptors. One kind was lost in the vertebrate lineage, and the other was lost in the lineage that led to insects and other invertebrates with full-blown eyes.

Eyes, Part One: Opening Up the Russian Doll #1

All of you who are interested in the best popular writing on evolution should check out Carl Zimmer's blog. There is also a very good collection of his articles on line.

Jerry Monaco
New York
March 2005
Shandean Postscripts to Politics, Philosophy & Culture
Hopeful Monsters: Poetry, Fiction, Memories by Jerry Monaco
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Math and Formal Logic Websites [Mar. 5th, 2005|09:20 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

Mathematical Logic around the world

Interactive Real Analysis
Infinite Ink: The Continuum Hypothesis by Nancy McGough
Godel's Incompleteness Theorem by Dale Myers

Jerry Monaco
Shandean Postscripts to Politics, Philosophy, & Culture
Hopeful Monsters: Poetry, Fiction, Memories by Jerry Monaco
New York City
5 March 2005
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Evolution Websites and Weblogs to Review [Feb. 16th, 2005|11:37 am]
Webreviews- Philosophy, Science, Literature...

Evolution Websites, Weblogs, Web Journals to Review

The Loom - A Blog About Life, Past and Future
The Panda's Thumb
De Rum Natura- The Nature of Things
Evolving Thoughts - Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! One man's continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence
Evolutionblog - Commentary on developments in the endless dispute between evolution and creationism.
Stranger Fruit

The Evolution Journal only available through JSTOR

Journal Links@Yahoo
e-journal.org liinks

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