Tempting fate. -- It's almost 3pm and I have not yet received a single email asking me to deal with some urgent administrative matter. My kind of working day.
Lèse majesté. -- Listening to Bach's cello suites makes me feel tired and emotional. (Fortunately there are always Beethoven's Bagatellen to pull me up again.)
Bar-hopping. -- I am spending a lot of time on it. Some might say "too much time". (There are 138 bars in Beethoven's Bagatelle op. 33 #2. I am pretty good until bar 60.)
"Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła ..." -- Duda has done the first step; I hope he'll have the courage to keep walking.
A model for us all. -- Animal-rights campaigners in China are increasingly successful in persuading their countrymen to stop eating dogs, and to keep the animals as pets instead. I would love to see an analogous move here. Let's go walkies with Miss Piggy and Buttercup.
"Fat-handed intervention." -- I learnt this term from reading around in the "philosophy of mechanism" literature. It refers to an intervention with multiple side-effects. We need that concept for everyday life, especially politics.
When brains grow. -- There is a delightful similarity between babies and teenagers (ours anyway): they sleep for most of the day. Amazing how much I get done when working from home!
Confession of a Jacobin. -- The current hype in Germany about the visit of the junior Mr. and Ms. Windsor makes me cringe.
Dreams. -- Putin made his "Doktorvater" a billionaire. What will my supervisees make of me later in life?
True Brits. -- It's been eight years since we left the U.K. But our favourite cheese still is Cheddar. What's wrong with us?
In two minds. -- Sometimes I curse the workload created by our systems of peer-review. This morning alone I did three referee reports. And I was over the moon when I was finally able to return to reading Simmel. Brilliant man. -- But wait: Wouldn't he be a million times more convincing if he had presented his arguments in a clear and accessible form, and with appropriate references to the relevant contemporaneous literature? Was it really a good practice for him to send his handwritten paper--without any quality-checks--straight to the printer?
Wake-up call. -- I have now done extensive research on how long teenagers should sleep. Result: no more than ten hours, and irregular sleeping patterns (i.e. sleeping until lunchtime) should be discouraged. -- All sounds good to me. Okay, my dearest daughter, it's 10am; here I come. (If only I had a suit of armor.)
"It takes all kinds ..." -- There are living philosophers with twitter accounts dedicated to posting short excerpts from one of their books.
Caught in the act. -- I admit it: I don't always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And yet, I feel deeply disappointed when I discover that one of my philosophical heroes told a straightforward lie. (As when Simmel claimed, in his correspondence, to be greatly admired by Sidgewick and Jodl. Not so, both were scathing when they reviewed Simmel's books.)
"Instanbul". -- And whenever my longing for Turkey gets too strong, I shall console myself with Fazıl Say's brilliant music.
Hoşçakal! -- I learnt today that anyone who has publicly criticized Erdogan (e.g. in an internet forum) should think twice before travelling to Turkey. These days such criticism has a good chance of being counted an "act of terrorism". So be it. I'll return to Ankara or Istanbul when Erdogan is gone. Can't wait!
"@MartinKusch, get more people talking about you." -- Twitter regularly sends me emails starting with that line. They have no idea how paranoid I am: Isn't everyone talking about me (badly and behind my back) already?
Heavenly. -- If I ever were to turn religious, you might want to "blame" Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's "Elijah" and "Paulus".
Will and world. -- I never understood what Schopenhauer is on about and why we should still read him. Then I came across Simmel's semi-popular book Schopenhauer and Nietzsche (1907): it all begins to make sense now.
Health warning: serious bragging to follow. -- I played three games of "blitz street chess" against International Master Gordan Markotic (Elo 2270) in Dubrovnik today. These were my first over-the-board games against an adult since 1993. And I haven't played in front of an audience (of more than a dozen kibitzers) since the 1970s. I lost one and drew two. (And he agreed that I should have won at least one of the drawn games. But with less than 20 seconds on the clock, and my hands shaking, I turned into the worst of patzers.) -- Now back to relativism, Simmel, and all that ...
"Jumalauta!" (Finnish for "For God's sake!") -- I sit next to a couple on a park-bench in Dubrovnik. They are talking. I think to myself: "Sounds beautiful this Croatian; lovely vowels, sometimes long, sometimes short." This goes on for a while. Suddenly it hits me: "They are talking Finnish, a language that you spoke during ten whole years of your adult life, day in, day out! And the stuff they are talking about is not meant for your young ears."
What philosophy teaches. -- Here is a start: to deny the obvious; defend the absurd; value the useless; and admire the incomprehensible.
From Hindenburg to Kennedy. -- Over the next eight weeks, I have to help my daughter prepare for a history exam covering the time period from the First World War to the 1960s. She struggles to understand how much I look forward to it!
Overselling philosophy. -- I have always doubted that philosophy (especially logic) teaches domain-general reasoning strategies. Indeed, I would be very surprised if philosophy did any better in this regard than chess or music.