Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Getting back into writing

So it's only been about 3 years... I'm writing this on my phone, which is not ideal, but I'm going to make an effort to do more writing. First I have to get my laptop fixed. Anyway thought I'd announce this renewed effort to write again so that I can look back on this in a other three years and reflect on my lack of self-discipline.

posted from Bloggeroid



posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Stuff I've been into for a while but haven't written about

First- I think minimalist shoes are a revolution waiting to happen. I've been wearing Vibram Fivefingers (probably Chinese forgeries, but they work well), and Softstar RunAmocs. I'm pretty sure the arch of my foot has become much stronger and more pronounced since wearing these (about a year), and my posture has improved. I won't even wear conventional shoes any more. Highly recommended. Search "minimalist shoes" on Google to find more- this is a growing trend, and a very positive one, I think.

Next- I'm very interested in the free school movement. The most famous such school is the Sudbury Valley School. I'm less interested in the democratic aspect than in the freedom accorded to students. I am persuaded by Peter Gray's argument that our current paradigm of education is deeply coercive, and unnecessarily so. This especially true in China. The liberation of children, and with it, of the human imagination, will be a huge step toward a more just society.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food and tea pairings

Suggested to me by a Taiwanese tea merchant:
Aged, roasted oolong and pork belly braised in soy sauce (红烧肉)

My own discoveries:
Fenghuang Dancong (凤凰单从)and fresh grapefruit, preferably on a cool, rainy spring morning.
Aged raw Puer (普洱)and slowly boiled bamboo shoots and pork ribs, dabbed in soy sauce (I should say tamari- gluten is death!)



Thinking about the ethics of carnivory makes me think ontological ethics is doomed

I need to think more about this, and I guess I'd need an argument that specifically addresses the weaknesses of ontology. But I think the issue of whether eating meat is ethical or not hinges on 1) deciding animals are worth considering as morally relevant and if we do 2) what actually will bring about the best result for all moral agents- human and animal alike. I don't think 1)can be answered through anything but a decision to do it- to decide that the suffering of animals matters. No argument will decide it.

To answer 2) will need a lot of knowledge of how the actions of billions over time impact many enormously complex systems. I don't think there's going to be one blanket proscription that is going to work for everyone everywhere. But I'm not totally sure about that.

All of this suggest to me that ethics for the real world is going to have to be much more bottom-up. It really always has been- professional philosophers just were mostly not paying attention.

Scattered thoughts again, but I don't want to stop myself from putting stuff out there. I can always go back and correct myself.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bleg: The development of the modern parent-child relationship

Here in China, parents still hold position of unquestioned authority for most people. This is true even for adults. I had one student, a man well into his fourties, still unmarried, who wanted to marry a woman who had adopted a child. His parents forbade it, threatening to disown him if he went through with it. He acquiesced and last I heard had married a woman more to his parents liking.

This seems completely inconceivable to most westerners, yet I believe this kind of practice was not always unique to China, India, or other cultures with which we associate filial piety; I'm pretty sure this was once the standard in the west as well. But we've moved away from it, just as we've moved away from other nasty things of the old days.

Gary Becker told a story of how the transition to industrialization created a more dynamic environment that made the knowledge of older generations much less useful. This seems very plausible to me, but I guess I'm looking for more of a history of ideas on this subject. What were people writing about the authority of parents during, say, the Enlightenment?

I'd be grateful for any knowledge any of you have on this topic.