Stone Mountain



Or maybe it's the quote of the week. Or the month. Or the year.

It seems that 44 San Francisco schools are looking to change their evil names in order to lose their association with potential connections to slavery, genocide, and colonization. The name changes would include changing away from Washington and Lincoln.

About which one concerned parent commented,

We're not actually helping disadvantaged children by changing the name of the school they can't attend.

Eric Hines

Hegel in Kyoto

 A post by an American philosopher currently living in  Hong Kong.

Why is there something rather than nothing? The fact of existence cannot be explained by an appeal to any beings, since this would assume what it wants to prove. Nishida Kitarō, the Japanese philosopher and founder of the Kyoto School, therefore proclaimed that only nothingness can be the ultimate source of existence.
An important thing going on here is a lack of univocal terminology. The Japanese don't mean the same thing by "nothing" that Western thinkers do, since they are informed by the Buddhist (and hidden behind it, Hindu) tradition that nothingness is a kind of field of possibility. 

Of course, Western thinkers run into univocal/equivocal problems here too. We don't appeal to "any being" in resolving the question with the One/God/"The Father," because that is not a being in the same sense that any of the things we encounter are. All beings that are beings like us come to be and perish; the kind of being who could be the source of existence is not like that. Avicenna (and after him Aquinas, etc) argues that such a being must exist essentially; and since that being's essence is existence, such a being must exist in a different, transcendent, and permanent way. 

Both of these answers end up saying that the ultimate ground of our existence can't be anything like us. Either we are grounded in a kind of everlasting field of potency, or the world was brought into being by a process set up from outside of it.  

Yet the first answer, the Japanese one, doesn't really find a solid ground. Why should the potential exist, rather than no potential? After all, potentiality is already a kind of existence (per Aristotle, etc). A potential house is already something: bricks or stones or something else that could be made into a house (as opposed to, say, fire). The potential already has an actuality that allows it to serve as the potential for something else. So too a potential world, however much the Japanese philosopher insists that he means absolutely nothing.

What Avicenna called the Necessary Existant really is necessary. His proof isn't a proof that God exists as anything like our conception of Him, but it is a proof all the same. 

A Contract with Black America

 Ice Cube, the famous hip hop artist from the 1990s, has gotten into a lot of trouble for meeting with Donald Trump to talk over Cube's "Contract with Black America." Apparently he offered it to the Democrats, and they told him to try them after the elections. When he offered it to Trump, Trump set a meeting and then adjusted at least some of his platform to account for the demands he thought most reasonable. 

You can read the whole thing here, if you're interested. Some of it is easy common ground to which many of us could readily agree; other parts are not. If you're interested to know what kind of deal he thinks would set things right between white and black America, though, here you go.

Courage to Speak the Hard Truths

 Police Captain Frank Umbrino of Rochester, New York got up in front of the press after the recent shooting at a house party that killed two, and injured fourteen others, and spoke about the hard truths our society has been dodging for too long.  I have no idea if he is a Republican or Democrat, but either way, I think he should run for local or state office.  The citizens of Rochester deserve better than the politicians, and he seems the right man for the job.  If you can spare a little under nine minutes, it's a good listen-

Must Be Important

Both Facebook and Twitter decided to censor this story.  

Guess you’d better read it so you can decide for yourself. 

Keeping the law in its place

Amy Coney Barrett was speaking my language when she described her philosophy for not making courts so important that everything they do becomes a matter of life and death, so that all rules must be thrown out:
[Justice Scalia’s] judicial philosophy was straightforward. A judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were. Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like, but as he put it in one of his best known opinions, that is what it means to say that we have a government of laws and not of men....
I worked hard as a lawyer and as a professor, I owed that to my clients, to my students and to myself, but I never let the law define my identity or crowd out the rest of my life. A similar principle applies to the role of courts. Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of law, which is critical to a free society, but courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.
The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches, elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so and courts should not try....
When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I ask myself how I would view the decision if one of my children was the party that I was ruling against. Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in law.
Ann Althouse adds: "That is, she uses her rich, personal life as a foundation for a spare judicial life. This is the opposite of what liberals tend to say, which is that a judge with a rich life brings dimension and empathy to the task of judging."

Giving urban voters a choice

 Just yesterday, I was typing about how residents of the most unsafe cities generally tend NOT to support gun control, but also have been raised on the (unofficial) mantra of "Blue No Matter Who".  And I posited that it will take a new wave of Republicans to appeal to those voters, not on abstract issues, but on the very real and undeniable facts that they've been voting for Democrats for decades and it's gotten them nowhere.  It will take these candidates pointing this out, pointing out that their chosen "leaders" are not helping and, in fact, oppose the rights that those citizens need to protect themselves.  And I pointed to Kim Klacik as an example of this new Republican candidate.  Well, I'm pleased to say I've now seen another who knocks it out of the park in his most recent ad.  Check it (and him) out.

Lee Keltner Apparently Made Fine Hats

 I'm sure you've all heard about the murder of a Trump supporter by a leftist in Denver Saturday.  The victim was Lee Keltner, and apparently he made hats for a living, and seems like the sort of fellow who'd have been right at home here in the Hall.  This video is of him in his shop making hats and talking about it a little.  God rest his soul.

Update: For some reason, in their infinite 'wisdom', YouTube has made that video unavailable.  Here is a working link to the same footage:

And when I went looking for that, I found this one, which only reinforces the idea that Lee would have been more than welcome here.

Cassie Jaye Discusses Lessons Learned Making The Red Pill

 Best TEDx talk I've seen in quite a while.

Here's the Wikipedia article on The Red Pill, if you aren't familiar with it.

Ballade #4 in F minor, Op. 52

I think that's an 11-foot Steinway. This is a favorite piece of mine, performed by someone recommended by a YouTube stranger. It turns out her Chopin interpretations agree with me, so it's lucky that three of her Chopin recital albums are on iTunes. It's bread-baking day again, using some better yeast I ordered from King Arthur Baking Co. What could be nicer than listening to Chopin and doing Project Gutenberg biblical exegesis pages with lots of Greek while waiting for dough to rise? The weather's beautiful, too, finally cooling off a bit. There are storks in the pond, rare visitors.