/links

The blog is basically a collection of my bookmarks.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

John Sinclair

John Sinclair (born October 2, 1941 in Flint, Michigan) Detroit poet, ex-manager of the MC5, Chairman of the White Panther Party from November 1968-July 1969.; jailed during 1969 over the sale of two joints to undercover narcotics officers.

John and Leni Sinclair

more

The John and Leni Sinclair Papers, 1957-1999

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Ayn Rand and Objectivism

Ayn Rand (February 2, 1905 – March 6, 1982; first name pronounced (IPA) /aɪn/ (rhymes with 'mine')), born Alissa "Alice" Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was a popular and controversial American philosopher and novelist, best known for her philosophy of Objectivism and her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Her philosophy and her fiction both emphasize, above all, her concepts of individualism, egoism, "rational self-interest," and capitalism.

more


The Objectivist movement was a movement to popularize Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy that began with the founding of the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1960. With that event, Objectivism became an organized movement, with its own events, speakers, and publications. This movement has gone through a number of "excommunications" and "schisms" since that time, with various individuals being publicly denounced for their views.

more


Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. In summary, Objectivism holds that there is an independent reality that human beings are conscious of through their senses, that reason is the only way of gathering knowledge and only the individual rational mind can process this data, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is to pursue one's own rational self-interest, and that the only moral social system is full laissez-faire capitalism with a government strictly limited to courts, police, and a military, because it is the only system where humans are barred from initiating the use of physical force upon each other.

more


Laissez-faire is short for "laissez faire, laissez passer," a French phrase meaning to "let things alone, let them pass". First used by the eighteenth century Physiocrats as an injunction against government interference with trade, it is now used as a synonym for strict free market economics. Laissez-faire economic policy is in direct contrast to statist economic policy. Adam Smith played a large role in popularizing laissez-faire economic theories in English-speaking countries, though he was critical of a number of aspects of what is currently thought of as laissez-faire.

more

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The beatels & John Lennon

The Beatles were the most influential and successful popular music group of the rock era. Few artists of any sort, in any era, have achieved The Beatles' combination of popular success, critical acclaim and broad cultural influence.

more



John Winston Lennon, later John Ono Lennon, (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980), was best known as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist for The Beatles. His creative career also included the roles of solo musician, political activist, artist, actor, and author. As half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, he heavily influenced the development of rock music, leading it towards more serious and political messages. He is recognized as one of the musical icons of the century, and his songs (such as "Imagine" and "Strawberry Fields Forever") are frequently ranked among the best songs of the 20th century. In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to discover the 100 Greatest Britons of all time. The British public voted Lennon into 8th place.

more


The Assassination Of John Lennon

Even so, Bresler's book a little too often substitutes rhetorical questions ("What does that steady repetition of a voice saying 'Do it, do it, do it,' over and over again in Mark's head sound like to you?") for evidentiary argument. We can forgive him for that failing. Bresler tracked the case for eight years, conducted unprecedented interviews, and extracted a ream of previously unreleased government documents. But unlike researchers into the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, he did not have volumes of evidence gathered by any official investigation, even a flawed one, to fall back on. The New York police had their man, the case was closed the very night of the murder - and, anyway, what political reason could possibly exist for gunning down the composer of "I Am the Walrus"?

Richard Nixon, his administration and other right-wing politicians (including ultraconservative ancient Senator Strom Thurmond, who personally memoed Attorney Gerneral John Mitcell on the matter) were fixated on what they saw as the Lennon problem. To them, the politically outspoken singer-songwriter was an insidious subversive of the worst kind, the famous and beloved kind.

A final note to the mystery of Mark David Chapman: As he was ready to go to trial and his diligent public defender was winding up six months spent assembling Chapman's defense, the accused killer suddenly decided to change his plea to guilty. His lawyer was perplexed and more than a little perturbed. But Chapman was determined. He said he was acting on instructions from a "small male voice" that spoke to him in his cell.

Chapman interpreted it as the voice of God.

more


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Epistemology

Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge.

more


René Descartes (IPA: [rəne.dekɑʁt], March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. He is equally notable for both his groundbreaking work in philosophy and mathematics. As the inventor of the Cartesian coordinate system, he formulated the basis of modern geometry (analytic geometry), which in turn influenced the development of modern calculus.

more


The Latin phrase cogito, ergo sum ("I think, therefore I am") is possibly the single best-known philosophical statement and is attributed to René Descartes. Cogito ergo sum is a translation of Descartes' original French statement, Je pense, donc, je suis.

more


Continental Rationalism is a school of philosophy based on the thesis that human reason is the source of knowledge. It originated with René Descartes and spread during the 17th and 18th centuries, primarily in continental Europe. In contrast, its contemporary rival, British Empiricism, held that all knowledge comes to us through experience or through our senses. At issue is the fundamental source of human knowledge, and what the proper techniques are for verifying what we think we know. (See Epistemology.)

more


Meditations on First Philosophy (subtitled In which the existence of God and the real distinction of mind and body, are demonstrated), written by René Descartes (1596 - 1650) and first published in 1641, expands upon Descartes' philosophical system, which he first introduced in his Discourse on Method (1637).

more


Philosophical skepticism
(UK spelling, scepticism) is the philosophical school of thought in which one critically examines whether the knowledge and perceptions one has are true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have true knowledge.

more


Rationalism, also known as the rationalist movement, is a philosophical doctrine that asserts that the truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma or religious teaching.

more


A priori is a Latin phrase meaning "from the former" or less literally "before experience". In much of the modern Western tradition, the term a priori is considered to mean propositional knowledge that can be had without, or "prior to", experience. It is usually contrasted with a posteriori knowledge meaning "after experience", which requires experience instead of propositions.

more


Empirical or a posteriori knowledge is propositional knowledge obtained by experience. It is contrasted with a priori knowledge, or knowledge that is gained through the apprehension of innate ideas, "intuition," "pure reason," or other non-experiential sources.

more


Empiricism (greek εμπειρισμός, from empirical, latin experientia - the experience) is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather than purely deductive logic.

more


Foundationalism is any theory in epistemology (typically, theories of justification, but also of knowledge) that holds that beliefs are justified (known, etc.) based on what are called basic beliefs (also commonly called foundational beliefs). Basic beliefs are beliefs that give justificatory support to other beliefs, and more derivative beliefs are based on those more basic beliefs. The basic beliefs are said to be self-justifying or self-evident, that is, they are justified, although not justified by other beliefs. Typically and historically, foundationalists have held that basic beliefs are justified by mental events or states, such as experiences, that do not constitute beliefs (these are called nondoxastic mental states).

more


Coherentism is belief in the coherence theory of justification — an epistemological theory opposing foundationalism and offering a solution to the regress argument. In this epistemological capacity, it is a theory about how belief can be justified. Coherentism also refers to the coherence theory of truth.

more


Reliabilism, a category of theories in the philosophical discipline of epistemology, has been advanced both as a theory of knowledge and of justified belief (as well as other varieties of so-called positive epistemic status).

more


The philosophy of perception concerns how mental processes and symbols depend on the world internal and external to the perceiver. Our perception of the external world begins with the senses, which lead us to generate empirical concepts representing the world around us, within a mental framework relating new concepts to preexisting ones. Because perception leads to an individual's impression of the world, its study may be important for those interested in better understanding communication, self, id, ego —even reality.

more


In philosophy naive realism is used to describe the belief that physical objects continue to exist when they are no longer perceived. It can be contrasted with solipsism.

more


Solipsism (from the Latin ipse = "self" and solus = "alone") is the metaphysical belief that only oneself exists, and that "existence" just means being a part of one's own mental states — all objects, people, etc, that one experiences are merely parts of one's own mind.

more


Representationalism, or the representational theory of perception, is a philosophical doctrine that in any act of perception, the immediate (direct) object of perception is a sense-datum that represents an external object, which is the mediate (indirect) object of perception.

more


Representative Realism is a philosophical concept, largely developed by Bertrand Russell. It does, unlike naïve realism, take into account sense data (the way in which the object is interpreted, not simply the objective, mathematical object) - this induces the veil of perception wherein we are unsure the table we look at exists due to there being no objective proof of its existence.

more


In philosophy, idealism is any theory positing the primacy of spirit, mind, or language over matter. It includes claiming that thought has some crucial role in making the world the way it is--that thought and the world are made for one another, or that they make one another.

more


Transcendental idealism, also called formalistic idealism, is a doctrine founded by 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant and influential in much subsequent German Philosophy.

more


Subjective idealism is a theory in the philosophy of perception. It describes a relationship between human experience of the external world, and that world itself, in which objects are nothing more than collections (or bundles) of sense data in those who perceive them.

more


In the philosophy of perception, phenomenalism is the view that physical objects, properties, events (whatever is physical) are reducible to mental objects, properties, events. Ultimately, only mental objects, properties, events, exist. In particular, we may reduce talk of physical bodies to talk of bundles of sense-data.

more


The philosophical concept of causality or causation refers to the set of all particular "causal" or "cause-and-effect" relations.

more


The Gettier problem is a fundamental problem in contemporary epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge), issuing from counterexamples to the definition of knowledge as justified true belief.

more

Friday, May 13, 2005

When Christ was Gay

more

Thursday, May 12, 2005

No Treason

No Treason

By Lysander Spooner

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Kinsey

It is ironic that Kinsey's critics insist to this day that he brought about this behavior by his report, when in fact all he did was discover that the behavior was already a reality. There's controversy about his sample, his methods and his statistics, but ongoing studies have confirmed his basic findings. The decriminalization of homosexuality was a direct result of Kinsey's work, although there are still nine states where oral sex is against the law, even within a heterosexual marriage.


The movie shows Kinsey arriving at sex research more or less by accident, after a young couple come to him for advice. Kinsey and his wife Clara McMillen (Laura Linney) were both virgins on their wedding night (he was 26, she 23) and awkwardly unsure about what to do, but they worked things out, as couples had to do in those days. Current sexual thinking was summarized in a book called Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique, by Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde, a volume whose title I did not need to double-check because I remember so vividly finding it hidden in the basement rafters of my childhood home. Van de Velde was so cautious in his advice that many of those using the book must have succeeded in reproducing only by skipping a few pages.

The strength of "Kinsey" is finally in the clarity it brings to its title character. It is fascinating to meet a complete original, a person of intelligence and extremes. I was reminded of Russell Crowe's work in "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), also the story of a man whose brilliance was contained within narrow channels. "Kinsey" also captures its times, and a political and moral climate of fear and repression; it is instructive to remember that as recently as 1959, the University of Illinois fired a professor for daring to suggest, in a letter to the student paper, that students consider sleeping with each other before deciding to get married. Now universities routinely dispense advice on safe sex and contraception. Of course there is opposition, now as then, but the difference is that Kinsey redefined what has to be considered normal sexual behavior.

more

Everybody's Sin is Nobody's Sin

What Kinsey found was that American men and -- worse, much worse -- American women, were more sexually active, more sexually adventurous, more diverse in their sexual desires and activities, more sexually exploratory, more likely to step outside the box of socially approved sexual behavior, than anyone would ever have imagined. Much more.

more

Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey

Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey (June 23, 1894 - August 25, 1956) was a professor of entomology and zoology who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University – Bloomington, now called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. His research on human sexuality profoundly influenced social and cultural values in the United States especially in the 1960s and was an important cause of the sexual revolution.

more


Some Kinsey Quotes:

  • Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheeps and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.
  • The inherent physiologic capacity of an animal to respond to any sufficient stimulus seems, then, the basic explanation of the fact that some individuals respond to stimuli originating in other individuals of their own sex-and it appears to indicate that every individual could so respond if the opportunity offered and one were not conditioned against making such responses. There is no need of hypothesizing peculiar hormonal factors that make certain individuals especially liable to engage in homosexual activity, and we know of no data which prove the existence of hormonal factors (p. 758). There are no sufficient data to show that specific hereditary factors are involved. Theories of childhood attachments to one or the other parent, theories of fixation at some infantile level of sexual development, interpretations of homosexuality as neurotic or psychopathic behavior or moral degeneracy, and other philosophic interpretations are not supported by scientific research, and are contrary to the specific data on our series of female and male histories...
  • Exclusive preferences and patterns of behavior, heterosexual or homosexual, come only with experience, or as a result of social pressures which tend to force an individual into an exclusive pattern of one or the other sort. Psychologists and psychiatrists, reflecting the mores of the culture in which they have been raised, have spent a good deal of time trying explain the origins of homosexual activity; but considering the physiology of sexual response and the mammalian backgrounds of human behavior, it is not so difficult to explain why a human animal does a particular thing sexually. It is more difficult to explain why each and every individual is not involved in every type of sexual activity.
  • The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform.
more