Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Read Colin McGinn's intellectual memoir The Making of a Philosopher. This is actually a nice non-technical introduction to some of the main areas in contemporary analytic phil of mind/language/epistemology, woven into the stirring tale of how a working-class secondary modern student from Blackpool became the Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy at Oxford (and a guest on Nightline, offering soundbites on the nature of consciousness). I felt that the notion of a proposition is insufficiently glossed at one key point, in a way that would confuse the uninitiated, but otherwise, I think I can recommend this to anyone curious about the shape of the field, despite the Horatio Alger aspects. (And a few self-serving moments -- he takes credit for being the first to extenss Putnam's "externalism" about meaning to mental content in print, which might well be true; but he should really acknowledge that Tyler Burge [my dissertation chair, as it happens, though I don't really work on his stuff], who is mentioned anecdotally, in an seemingly unrelated context, did the work on this that is more widely cited.) One other book (maybe I've mentioned it here) that seems an approachable way into some of this material, though it's not a memoir, and is definitely thicker and less breezy than McGinn's, is Benjamin Lee's Talking Heads (Duke, 1997).


Headed downstairs from my office yesterday, just after posting, to find that I'd just missed a noon reading by Christina Pugh, a couple buildings away. I don't remember now what I thought of an essay of hers from Poetry earlier this year; but I've enjoyed, in a lowkey way, the poems I've seen -- I certainly would have given her my lunch (actually, blogging) hour. Ah well: Susan Wheeler at Columbia College in the Loop Wed., possibly followed by Cass McCombs at The Hideout (which is preferable to having to see him open for The Decemberists); Destroyer/New Pornogs at Metro Thurs. Nothing on for the weekend: must work.


Finally found an mp3 of "I'm Not Havin' It," which has come to mind at regular intervals ever since its brief currency on Yo! MTV Raps; perhaps you recall the video, seemingly shot for $30 in a Ramada Inn lounge? The track seems to be currently unavailable commercially. I can't honestly say I have a clear sense of Positive K's achievements, but on the basis of this and the more widely-remembered "I Got a Man", one might imagine that his entire career revolved around being shot down by Lyte (at least I think that's her on both; confirm, deny, someone?)

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