Z

About Z

Z is a 50-something cosmopolitan anarcho-philosopher, and previously was a tenured full professor of philosophy at a public university somewhere in North America, but still managed to escape with his life.

The Elective Affinity Between Analytic Philosophy and the Political Status Quo. Some Apocalyptic Follow-Up Thoughts on “On the Emergence of American Analytic Philosophy"

In a very cool recent article in British Journal for the History of Philosophy, “On the Emergence of American Analytic Philosophy,”  Joel Katzav and Krist Vaesen argue, compellingly, that the mid-20th century emergence of Analytic philosophy in the USA consisted in an institutional take-over of leading philosophy departments and leading journals by Analytic philosophers, in … [continue reading]

Il Faut Cultiver Notre Jardin.

The history of [Candide’s] world-famous phrase, which serves as the book’s conclusion – il faut cultiver notre jardin – is … peculiar. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it didn’t come into written use in English until the early 1930s – in America through Oliver Wendell Holmes and in Britain thanks to Lytton Strachey. But … [continue reading]

An Object of Contempt: Rorty Against the Unpatriotic Academy, and the Coming Double Oppression of Loyalty Oaths.

1. Rorty, Professional Academic Philosophy, and the Ash-Heap of History Richard Rorty was a brilliant, critically devastating, historically wide-ranging and open-minded, highly prescient, exciting, and yet at the same time, oddly narrow-minded and misguided, philosopher. What I mean is that Rorty’s positive views—anti-metaphysical, naturalistic, pragmatic, conceptualist, relativist, post-modernist, bourgeois, liberal, and in a word, Enlightenment … [continue reading]

Real-World Spirituality and the Poverty of Professional Philosophy.

Christmas 2016 came and went. Did you think much about spirituality, traditional organized religion, and/or God? According to Wikipedia, Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, abbreviated to Gen Y) are the demographic cohort between Generation X and Generation Z. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends. … [continue reading]

Murder-By-Neglect: From Danto’s Optimism to Z’s Pessimism.

A long, long time ago, in a far-away land, I read Arthur Danto’s Transfiguration of the Commonplace, because I was thinking about philosophical aesthetics and philosophy of art on the one hand and critical social and political theory on the other, and was intrigued by Danto’s thesis that differences in collective intentionality determine the difference … [continue reading]

Professional Philosophy Inside the Ivory Bunker.

Recently I’ve been re-reading Hannah Arendt’s brilliant Eichmann in Jerusalem and Paulo Freire’s equally brilliant Pedagogy of the Oppressed, alongside some work I’ve been doing in political philosophy. One important idea is that Nazi-style banal evil can inhere in action-guiding institutional structures that we’re not reflectively aware of, guiding us towards terrible human oppression (Arendt’s … [continue reading]