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Entries from March 2010

Measuring Piracy on PS3

March 31st, 2010 · 10 Comments

Mike Masnick at Techdirt is fuming over Sony’s decision to remove the ability to install third-party operating systems on the Playstation 3 with their next big firmware upgrade. I don’t think I was even aware of the feature, so it’s of little practical import to me, but apparently there are quite a few coders and […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics

Nozick on Intellectual Humility

March 30th, 2010 · 16 Comments

All this discussion of morality and epistemology—and especially Freddie’s latest post—reminds me of one of my favorite passages from Robert Nozick, in the introduction to Anarchy State and Utopia. I think it captures my sense of human intellectual inquiry as (what I’ve elsewhere called) The Great Wiki: [T]he usual manner of presenting philosophical work puzzles […]

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Tags: General Philosophy

Grasping Reality With Our Gelatinous Meatsacks

March 29th, 2010 · 68 Comments

Will Wilkinson is a little snarky about it, but basically right: Freddie DeBoer’s post on naturalism and the skeptical conclusions that follow from it is fuzzy philosophy. (The Sam Harris TED talk he’s riffing on is worse, but that’s another story.)  Regular readers will recognize this as one of my minor obsessions, an instance of […]

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Tags: General Philosophy

Judoflipping Fred Phelps

March 27th, 2010 · 6 Comments

A pretty brilliant response to the merry bilious little band from Westboro Baptist:

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Tags: Art & Culture · Journalism & the Media · Markets

Frum, Cocktail Parties, and the Threat of Doubt

March 26th, 2010 · 247 Comments

Amid the buzz over David Frum’s recent ouster from the American Enterprise Institute, some folks have linked back to this old post on the now-hoary trope that heterodox conservatives are simply angling for invitations to the fabled Georgetown Cocktail Parties. There’s a certain irony here in that Frum himself is no stranger to attacking the […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media

A Meta-Thought About “Influence”

March 24th, 2010 · 10 Comments

As I was coming up with my own list of “influential” books and scanning some of the ones others picked, I got to thinking a bit about just what we mean when we say a book “influenced” us. People used the term in a variety of ways, but it seemed as though most of the […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Language and Literature

Ten Books

March 23rd, 2010 · 5 Comments

It’s been a while since we had a good blogmeme, but this past week a slew of my favorite writers have been playing the “name ten books that influenced you” game.  Scanning my shelf, the ones that jump out: Code — Lawrence Lessig I can trace my interest in most of the core issues I’ve […]

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Tags: General Philosophy · Language and Literature

Speech, Not Speakers

March 16th, 2010 · 8 Comments

I wrote a few posts in the aftermath of Citizens United arguing that the backlash to it had a misplaced focus on whether the court had decided that “corporations are persons” with constitutional rights.   I did think that, in practice, there are many constitutional purposes for which it would be necessary to treat them as […]

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Tags: Law

Dumb Opinions are Criminalized! Let’s Party!

March 16th, 2010 · 5 Comments

A few years back, during his candidacy for the presidency of South Africa, Jacob Zuma was accused of rape by a longstanding family friend. I don’t know enough about the case to say anything about the legitimacy of the verdict—contemporary reporting depicts disgusting vilification of the accuser and support of the politically powerful accused—but Zuma […]

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Tags: Law · Sexual Politics

Oversight Theater and Secret Law

March 15th, 2010 · Comments Off on Oversight Theater and Secret Law

It’s always hard to predict the effects of new legislation: Congress can call it a “job creation” bill, but at the end of the day, they’ve got to hope the world cooperates with their good intentions. But for the democratic process to function, legislators at least need to feel reasonably confident that they understand the […]

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Tags: Law · Privacy and Surveillance