Thursday, October 1, 2009


This particular blogger account exists primarily for one purpose - to allow me to comment on blogs on Blogger. This blog is associated with something called "The Ravine" which started out on Ma.gnolia as something akin to a blog, constructed out of a personal group and my bookmark page, then moving over to Diigo after Ma.gnolia self-destructed, only to find itself in need of a new home, again, after Diigo's staff managed to sabotage its webring navigability.

Sigh. Oh, well. More about that, later - somewhere else. My little place, still in its infancy and already uprooted twice, has tentatively found a third home on Vox. I've started assembling it in what seems to be becoming my usual way of assembling such things - just sort of freewrite for a while until the place develops a personality of its own, and then weed out that which doesn't fit. The original location, on Ma.gnolia, was an all text environment, so in the long run, I planned to try to limit the subject matter of this sort-of blog to that which needed no pictures: literature and philosophy came to mind. The primary focus will be on the theoretical discussion of ethics, with little, if any, venturing into the political applications that I find some would take for granted. Politics in America has degenerated into an ongoing screaming match between two factions - if they can, indeed, rightly be viewed as being two distinct factions - each of which seems determined to outdo the other in sheer psychosis - and I'm tired of it. I'd like a vacation from that garbage.

You're on Blogger, not Vox, so this obviously will not be that blog. This is a side blog, on which I'll sometimes - perhaps infrequently - talk a little about the blogs on which I've recently commented, maybe sharing the comments I've submitted. There will always be a direct tie in to the semi-meandering subject matter of the Ravine: Philosophy, especially ethics; Scientific Skepticism; canyons and caves ... all things that involve the setting of limits, as I comment on what I hope will be reasonably well written blogs. Note that I don't define "well written" in the Politically Correct sense - "that which affirms my assumptions" - but in the more traditional academic sense: that which is a challenge to respond to. At times - not always - I disagree with Ayn Rand and her followers considerably, but they are a formidable opposition - when they are an opposition - and well worth my time, as I write.

This will be one of the scrapbooks I use as I assemble the Ravine, so you might find links from here back to that page (and maybe vice versa), this blog and the Ravine belonging to the same rings, because they function together as a unit. I hope you'll find this interesting. If, as I visit your blog, you get the feeling that I'm beating you up as you argue in favor of basic decency, don't take that personally, and don't get the wrong idea. I'm all in favor of basic decency; the fact that I argue with your arguments does not always mean that I disagree with your values or conclusions. I'm approaching this subject on a theoretical level, not a polemic one. Please remember that, no matter what the job market might have done to me, I still am an academic at heart and always will be.

My purpose in responding to your arguments is to get you to craft them as well, as rationally, as possible, and that means shooting down weak arguments, even when they lead to conclusions I like, or at least agree with. Reason, when honestly and skillfully pursued, will lead us to the truth, and so, if at times I seem to be splitting hairs without concern for the greater issues, remember that there is always a greater issue, still.