When history trumps philosophy. -- There are few things I like about long haul flights. Top among the "few" is the opportunity to read big fat history books. (I find it hard to digest philosophy above 30,000 ft.) Westman's *The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order* (2011) has long been on my "academic bucket list" and with 704 pages it has just the right length for a return flight to Seoul.
"Age restriction: For ages 8 and above." -- It looks like my visit to Seoul will feature a 45-minute classical-music concert at 11am on a Thursday morning (local time) in the "Seoul Arts Centre": Beethoven, Schumann, Saint-Saëns ... The pianist Park Jin-woo and the violinist Yoon Dong Hwan will be accompanied by the Korean Symphony Orchestra. -- How good to know that I (just about) pass the age restriction!
"From Völkerpsychologie to the Sociology of Knowledge." -- My paper with this title is now forthcoming in the journal HOPOS. You can find the penultimate version ...
For what it's worth, I think it is one of the three best (single-authored) papers I have ever written. (Which is not saying much!)
Dying to know the other two? I guess not ... but anyway, here they are:
"Recluse, Interlocutor, Interrogator: Natural and Social Order in Turn-of-the-Century Psychological Research Schools", Isis 86 (1995): 419-39.
"Disagreement and Picture in Wittgenstein's 'Lectures on Religious Belief'", in Richard Heinrich, Elisabeth Nemeth, Wolfram Pichler, David Wagner (eds.), Image and Imaging in Philosophy, Science and the Arts, Volume 1, (Publications of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein-Society. New Series, Vol. 16), Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, 2011, pp. 35-58.
Help! -- The independence of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is under threat. A crucial decision will be made on Tuesday. While a collective or institutional letter of support would no doubt be best, time is of the essence: so please consider writing in your own name. I have.
You can find relevant information here ...
Bruckner's Symphony no. 5. -- Some time ago I made some disparaging remarks about Bruckner (which greatly upset some of my musical friends). Well, no-one should say I am not willing to test my opinions: we are going to hear Bruckner again this Saturday. I have listened to his 5th all week, and it is growing on me ... but very slowly.
Believe it or not ... -- I am still struggling with the "Aria" of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" (I started working on it well before Christmas). I can play the notes in the right order, and am quite good with the rhythm(s) in my left hand. But I still to learn how best to co-ordinate the left-hand rhythms with the right-hand rhythms. And to bring out that the piece consists of four "voices". Sounds horrible? Not at all ... It gives me great pleasure!
In praise of Andras Schiff. -- In most cases I find it impossible to say who is my "favourite interpreter" of a given piece of classical music. But when it comes to the "Goldberg Variations" Schiff is in his own league: he is the only one who combines absolute precision with perfect meditative pace and natural feeling.
"Climate Change." -- I am trying to persuade my department to organize a "Ringvorlesung" (a series of lectures) on the topic. Watch this space ...
Book tip. (H/t Herlinde Pauer-Studer). -- I am really, REALLY impressed with Benjamin Kiesewetter's *The Normativity of Rationality* (OUP 2017). At last a book that disentangles the rationality-debates around Broome, Kolodny, Raz et al. in a way that even I can understand.
Leverkusen beat Bayern Munich 3-1 tonight. -- Just saying ... (And explaining why I have that special spring in my step today.)
Wikipedia detail about the pianist Daniil Trifonov. -- "When Trifonov was eight years old, he gave his first performance with an orchestra in a Mozart concerto, losing one of his baby teeth during the performance." -- I wonder whether the tooth fairy was sitting on his shoulder ...
From The Guardian website. --
"Libération, France’s leftwing daily, detects a familiar British strategy behind Tuesday evening’s 'utterly absurd' scenes in the Commons. 'From now till mid-February, aided by the Eurosceptic press, she (=May) can deploy the classic British rhetoric: those intransigent, arrogant Europeans are refusing to give us what we want.'"
-- And it won't be long until the blame is firmly put on the Germans, and the Murdoch press puts Merkel on their front-pages, wearing a Prussian army helmet. All so predictable, ya gotta laugh!!!
Wish me luck! -- We have now officially opened the family negotiations concerning our two-week summer holidays. We can't quite decide between (a) Lublijana-Zagreb-Belgrad; (b) Prague-Cracow; (c) Prague-Dresden-Berlin; and (d) Munich-Innsbruck-Villach. These will be tough talks ... everyone knows everyone else's weak spots and preferences. I'll need all my negotiating skills (including bribes) to get anywhere close my preference (once I have arrived at one).
Travel bug. -- I am feeling increasingly excited about my upcoming eight-day visit to South Korea. I have never been to the Far East. Too bad though that I can't fit in a day-trip to Pyongyang ...
Great weekend sport-wise. -- Leverkusen won 3-0 at Wolfsburg, and Carlsen won Tata Steel. The whole family is excited!
Thank you! -- For all the well-wishes regarding my temporary relapse into strong chronic pain. It's all under control now, and back to the "normal" (i.e. bearable) level. -- I celebrated in style: my son and I went to see Yuja Wang and Martin Grubinger perform in the Konzerthaus. Here is a clip of one of the pieces ...
That amazing lightness of being. -- When after a week of intense chronic pain (with the opiates already on my bedside table) … I suddenly catch the first signs of improvement.
Pilates. -- My physiotherapist got me hooked. And I got my wife and children hooked. Saturday mornings we do a family session on the living-room floor. As my kids like to say: "Weird wie wir ..."
Quote of the Day. -- "The number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis and their fortunes grow by $2.5bn a day, yet the super-rich and corporations are paying lower rates of tax than they have in decades. The human costs – children without teachers, clinics without medicines – are huge. Piecemeal private services punish poor people and privilege elites. Women suffer the most, and are left to fill the gaps in public services with many hours of unpaid care."
Iannis Xenakis, "Okho." -- Can't stop listening ... We'll be hearing this piece next Saturday, in a new version involving Yuja Wang on the piano! Can't wait ...
Gary Gutting. -- I am saddened by his death. His books on French thought influenced me greatly in the 1990s. And in recent years we occasionally corresponded in the context of the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Always fair and frank in his comments, and always encouraging. I'll miss him.
Today in the Musikverein. -- The Vienna Symphony Orchestra directed by Francois-Xavier Roth performed Beethoven's Third, and Berlioz's "Herold in Italy." The Beethoven was of course an old friend, but the Berlioz was a real discovery! Good to know that there are sill so many musical continents left to explore ...