Confession. -- I must admit that -- even against my better judgement -- Brexit had triggered some general anti-UK feelings in me. (I even hoped that Croatia would kick England out of the World Cup!) But seeing the news of all these wonderful anti-Trump protests everywhere in Britain, my old fond feelings for the place where I met my wife, and where my three children were born, are back in spades.
The next step in my Simmel-studies. -- This may well be the biggest challenge of the whole project: to understand Simmel’s aesthetics, and especially his views about Stefan George’s poetry. -- Even if I were to get anywhere with this topic, chances are slim that I’ll ever get to give a talk on this material. Philosophers of science or epistemologists are not lying awake at night wondering what Simmel owed to George! -- Anyway, it’ll be an uphill struggle: truth be told, so far I find it easier to understand the Azande than the George-Circle. (And despite having read the brilliant biography *Stefan George: Die Entdeckung des Charisma* (2007) by Thomas Karlauf.)
Dubrovnik. -- For the last three years my “ERC team” -- together with academic friends from Croatia and Germany -- has organized summer-schools (on relativism) in early July at the IUC. I have learnt more during these events than during many a conference. And I will miss these occasions when my ERC project ends (and I’ll be taking over the organizing of the Institute-Vienna-Circle summer schools from 2019). -- But back to the present: I am very much looking forward to this year’s talks and discussions (and helpful responses to my own work-in-progress on relativism in Feyerabend and van Fraassen). And of course to the football on Sunday: Go Croatia!
"Polishing a turd." -- I had never heard that lovely expression before. At last Boris Johnson proved useful.
HOPOS 2018. -- My second summer-conference will be the meeting of the society for "History of Philosophy of Science" in Groningen. I have never attended one of their events, which is strange, given that I seem to know 90% of the speakers. -- Anyway, I'll get to give my plenary talk in a Baptist church! Which reminds me: when I was five years old, I was planning to train as a priest. I loved the fact that you could give long and boring sermons in front of large audiences. Wait ...
It takes all kinds to make German politics. -- In recent days, some of my non-German friends have asked me about Horst Seehofer. What is he on? Well, this about sums it up: he has built a gigantic model railway in his cellar and it is meant to capture the main events in his life. You think I am joking? Watch this:
It takes all kinds to make a world. -- Some of my students are CONFORMISTS: they follow German grammar by capitalizing all and only nouns (and the first word in a sentence). Others are EGALITARIANS: they refuse to capitalize any word. Today I came across my first REVOLUTIONARY: They capitalized all and only verbs. (I am still missing a few permutations ... but then again, I still have a few years of marking exam scripts ahead of me.)
Surprise. -- There are advantages to being a chronic-pain patient. My ("sledgehammer") sleeping pills make it very easy to adjust to changes of time-zone. No waking up in the middle of the night, and hence no falling asleep in the middle of the day. (Looking forward to my trips to Brazil, South Korea and the U.S. already!)
Wish. -- If only I could write like Feyerabend.
My classics. -- There are a small number of books I return to over and over again, and each time I come away with new ideas. In alphabetic order: Barnes, Bloor and Henry, SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE; Collins, CHANGING ORDER; Feyerabend, AGAINST METHOD; Haslanger, RESISTING REALITY; Hesse, MODELS AND ANALOGIES IN SCIENCE; Shapin and Schaffer's LEVIATHAN AND THE AIR-PUMP; van Fraassen's THE EMPIRICAL STANCE; and Wittgenstein's ON CERTAINTY.
Conceptual engineering. -- I know it is the fashion of the day, so I'd better have a line on it. Here it is: on my reading of the rule-following considerations, conceptual engineering is ubiquitous, though often only half-conscious. This reading is sometime called "finitism" (by authors in the sociology of knowledge).
"Without 'chaos', no knowledge." (Paul Feyerabend) -- You should see the mess on my desk and bookshelves: there is hope yet for my inquiries.
Mantra for the day. -- I do not care that Germany was eliminated from the World Cup! I do not care that Germany was eliminated from the World Cup! I do not care that Germany was eliminated from the World Cup!
Costly marking. -- It's terrible: whenever I read a (good) MA-thesis, I end up ordering half of the books the student is referring to.
In our series "Things I wish I knew how to do more successfully." -- To get students and colleagues to enjoy digging into piles of dusty old books.
Torn. -- I wish ZVAB.com did not exist! -- What would I do if ZVAB.com did not exist?
Our Stockholm Syndrome. -- Today we behaved like good Austrians: while Germany was battling it out with Sweden (in the Football World Cup), we went to the opera. By the time we got home, only three minutes of the game remained. But that was more than enough.
On the road again. -- For various (ERC-project-, and family-related) reasons, I haven't been able to travel much during this academic year. But this summer will make up for it. -- First stop: Canada (which has a special place in my heart: it was in Toronto where I had my first-ever (one-year) job in the Anglophone world). -- And this event promises to be fun!
Warning. -- There seems to be a spam-outfit using my email address. (I don't think they are hackers; there are no such traces in my email account.) If you get an email from "Martin Kusch", asking you for thousands of dollars or euros, don't send the money. (It really pains me to say that ...)
The Viennese (classical-) music season 2017-18 has ended. -- The tree most memorable pieces? Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh", Ifukube's "Sinfonia Tapkaara", and Mozart's "Rondo" (K310).
Harsh Judgement (for a Change). -- The literature on epistemic virtues (in epistemology) is unbelievably ahistorical and ignores the philosophy of science at its peril.
"The Eternal Return." -- The Austro-German "Empörungskultur" (culture of indignation) always makes me think of Nietzsche's brilliant analysis of "ressentiment." -- There must be a genealogical connection.
I need a certain mindset for revising my papers. -- Just thinking of the phrase "going for my jugular" usually does the trick.