Showing posts from November, 2011

Technological Devices and Focal Practices

LLD is happy to present a guest post from friend Zach VanderVeen, author of The Garden of Forking Paths blog on database design and philosophy. Zach has written a couple of posts before. Hope you enjoy!

The unity of achievement and enjoyment, of competence and consummation, is just one aspect of a central wholeness to which running restores us. Good running engages mind and body. Here the mind is more than an intelligence that happens to be housed in a body. Rather the mind is the sensitivity and the endurance of the body. --Albert Borgmann I recently wrote a post, in which I suggested that the problem with technology is that it can drown out important kinds of reflection. We often focus on how to get things done faster and more efficiently, not why we should do so. We separate the journey from the destination, or the means from the ends. But it's easy to complain about technology without showing how we can free ourselves from the tyranny of efficiency. Even if we were all able t…

A Runner's Take on Occupy Wall Street

"Let us then place belief midway between certitude and nihilism. Let us see it characterized by trust, by affection, by a sense of novelty and by hope. Those traditions, especially religious, which have told us through the centuries that we know, for sure, the objects of our belief, have violated not only the character of genuine belief but also the mysterious openness of genuine religious experience. It is a deep tragedy that so much of our energy is expended in explicating and defending caricatures of our once viable traditions. ... [S]elf righteous interpretations of what is fundamentally inexplicable have divided us one from the other and cut us off from the human quest. In sociological terms, belief must cease its relationship to finality; it must turn to the future instead of the past." --John McDermott, The Community of Experience

I do not often write directly about politics on this blog, primarily because philosophy and running are escapes for me from an overwrought …

Richland Creek Loop

I run the same five miles pretty much every morning.

The beginning of the loop takes me through my neighborhood in West Nashville. Our part of town is half-industrial, half residential. Colonial-style houses from the 1920s mix with warehouses and rebuilt ranches from the late 70s. I start south on the road just west of the busiest street, 52nd Ave. It is straight, and though there are a few stop signs the traffic is light enough for me to keep my rhythm through the intersections.

A half mile ahead, 52nd Ave is cross cut somewhat violently by the mad and throbbing whirl of concrete overpasses that is I-40. I duck left one block, then head under a pigeon shit encrusted overpass. Usually I can cross the next couple of streets without breaking stride, and a quarter mile later I am at the intersection with Charlotte Ave. Here, I stop and wait for the cross lights. By this point the creakiness of early morning has worn off, and I've adjusted to the early morning chill.

When the light cha…

On Art, Intelligence, and Training

"In art as experience, actuality and possibility or ideality, the new and the old, objective material and personal response, the individual and the universal, surface and depth, sense and meaning, are integrated in an experience in which they are all transfigured from the significance that belongs to them when isolated in reflection. 'Nature,' said Goethe, 'has neither kernel nor shell.' Only in esthetic experience is it also true that nature has neither subjective nor objective being; is neither individual nor universal, sensuous nor rational. The significance of art as experience is, therefore, incomparable for the adventure of philosophic thought."
 --John Dewey, Art as Experience

For Dewey and the pragmatists, analytic reflection, however necessary, is insufficient for intelligence because analytic reflection is always dissociative. Analysis always selects from experience, cutting it open by attending to this and not that. It makes progress by fixing cert…