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Pinker and Van Norden on Irrationalism and Relativism

Case A: Steven Pinker’s new book on rationality attempts to make a cogito-esque argument for the absolute necessity of believing what ‘reason’ commands. Arguments “against reason”, he believes, end up defeating themselves:

When it comes to arguing against reason, as soon as you show up, you lose. Let’s say you argue that rationality is unnecessary. Is that statement rational? If you concede it isn’t, then there’s no reason for me to believe it — you just said so yourself. But if you insist I must believe it because the statement is rationally compelling, you’ve conceded that rationality is the measure by which we should accept beliefs, in which case that particular one must be false.

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History Wars and Culture Wars: Some Thoughts on Henry Reynolds

Truth-Telling: History, sovereignty and the Uluru Statement: Amazon.co.uk: Henry  Reynolds (author): 9781742236940: Books

The Uluru Statement and History

I’ve just finished Henry Reynolds’ book: Truth-Telling. The book is a response by one of Australia’s greatest historians to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru Statement is a declaration of sovereignty by a constitutional convention, convened in 2017 by a broad coalition of First Nations groups – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples “from all points of the southern sky”. They declare native ownership and sovereignty over the land of the Australian continent, which “has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown”.

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A Follow-up on Spinoza and the Zhuangzi (with help from friends)

Sufism and Taoism by Toshihiko Izutsu

I love academic Twitter! After sharing my last post on Spinoza and the Zhuangzi, I received responses from much more learned people, speculating on the possible historical connections.

So far I have only been using the Zhuangzi, and Daoism more generally, as a tool for understanding Spinoza’s philosophy. Edwin Curley once wrote that he read Spinoza through lenses ground by Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein, just as Harold Joachim had read Spinoza through lenses ground by Hegel and Bradley. I guess I’m proposing to read Spinoza through lenses ground by Zhuangzi, although it’s hard to imagine Zhuangzi grinding lenses.

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