Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Time to Invade Burma?

Gosh. Time magazine, of all people, has an article all but calling for the U.S. to invade Burma in order to rescue the suffering millions from the wicked delinquencies of their leaders. Can this be the same Time magazine that has been reliably opposed to our efforts to do pretty much the same thing in Iraq where we have far more in the way of national interest at stake than we do in Burma?

Is the difference between the two cases merely that Iraq was George Bush's idea and therefore misguided, but invading Burma would be a liberal idea and therefore noble? I don't know, and I don't necessarily oppose military action to rescue those poor wretched peasants in principle. I just wonder why Time would think military force in Burma more justifiable than military force in Iraq.

See also here, and National Review Online starting here.


Philosophers' Version of Fight Club

Two prominent philosophers whose specialty is the study of mind have been at each other's throats, as it were, for twenty five years, all because of an impolitic remark one made about the other's girl-friend. No one holds grudges with the tenacity and bitterness of intellectuals.

One of them has written a book which has been reviewed by the other. This article in The Guardian describes the review:

It is probably the most negative book review ever written. Or if there is a worse one, do let me know. "This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad," begins Colin McGinn's review of On Consciousness by Ted Honderich. "It is painful to read, poorly thought out, and uninformed. It is also radically inconsistent."

The ending isn't much better: "Is there anything of merit in On Consciousness? Honderich does occasionally show glimmers of understanding that the problem of consciousness is difficult and that most of our ideas about it fall short of the mark. His instincts, at least, are not always wrong. It is a pity that his own efforts here are so shoddy, inept, and disastrous (to use a term he is fond of applying to the views of others)."

Ouch. There's more at the link including some amplification by both combatants.

HT: Mindful Hack