This has been an exhausting week. Not only have I put in over 20 hours...but, I've done manual labor. Just let that sink in.
I spent about 8 years, off and on, as a house painter. Started right after I got out of the Army and while I was an undergraduate...between jobs after graduate school, and whenever I needed some folding money.
If my old boss was to come by and see the work...he'd probably try to retroactively fire me. We got color though and that's the main thing. Color and pictures.
This was taken just off the Natchez Trace between French Camp and Kosciusko. The phone decided we were in McCool, Mississippi but, of course, any place I go in Mississippi is made McCool by my presence.
McComb was an especially taxing trip. I was so worn out by dinner that it took four bowls of banana pudding at The Dinner Bell just to get my energy back up for a few more hours of work.
Six or seven hours in the car isn't a lot in my line of work but, it is long enough to have your patience and sanity tested by idiot philosophers (as opposed to non-idiot philosophers who have the grace to spend most of their time driving a tractor rather than being a smart-ass). I found a series of podcast called Philosophy Bites put on by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton. Each podcast features a philosopher being questioned by Edmonds or Warburton on a specific topic.
One particularly irritating example...Ronald Dworkin on the Unity of Value. He takes two values that are commonly, and to my view rightly, believed to be contradictory...Liberty and equality. Then he shows how they are actually compatible. How? By altering the definitions until they are reasonable. How do you know they are reasonable? They no longer contradict each other. Ronald Dworkin has discovered the color green and mistaken it for the elimination of the colors Yellow and Blue.
As an aside, Spliff and I have argued about this on various occasions...all I can say about Dworkin is that he is no Spliff.
Then there are those who have interesting insights about the findings of neuroscience but don't really seem to be doing philosophy...hallucinations, personality disorders, etc. There are some delights like Emma Borg on Context Sensitivity and Language or Nick Bostrom on the insanity of Simulation Theory (you, me and Tom's house-cat are almost certainly computer generated simulations...it's not that easy to dispute).
It was Galen Strawson on Pansychism that took the prize. Strawson is a self proclaimed Physicalist. In this view everything is physical through and through...merely physical. Everything has a material explanation. He then addresses the big screaming, purple experiencing, problem with this view...Consciousness. You can't deny the existence of experience but to accept experience as real is to accept the existence of non-physical things...nevermind that, how do you explain the emergence of Consciousness from non conscious material. Science can't do it. It can explain the complex process that seems to accompany consciousness but we don't have access to the data of consciousness...it dosen't exist in any accessible way.
My favorite exchange was when the interviewer, I can't remember which one it was says..."it could be the result of some magic interjection but that's implausible." As if there were anything plausible about consciousness in the first place.
Sam Harris provides an answer in The Mystery of Consciousness ...it's "incomprehensible - a miracle, in other words." Something, non-physical has arisen from the purely physical, something has emerged from the absence of some thing. No problem for me the Theist...and, obviously Sam, the non-theist, has learned to live with it...not so Strawson. Strawson's answer is that because everything is physical and experience exists...everything must be experiential. Consciousness must be integral to all material...it didn't emerge it was always there. A cardboard box, a wad of gum stuck under a desk are conscious on some level...dear God, that means there must be something it's like to be a urinal at a bus station or Adamparsons' toothbrush.
I actually enjoyed his interview...it's a clever way of trying to deal with his problem. After all, it can't be tested.
The biggest bore of the week came, not from Philosophy Bites, but from an interview at The Whitney with Lawrence Wiener. What a silly ass. At one point, he states "good people can make bad art and bad people make good art...that's why I don't want to know anything about the people I'm showing with."
Yeah man, he doesn't place any importance on personal morality...that's so f****ing bougie. Unless..."they're racist, or sexist...or you know fascists."
That is the kind of shit that causes me to have acute visions, hallucinations almost, of beating a blazing, 50 gallon drum with a baseball bat over and over until I collapse from exhaustion.