Monthly Archives: December 2004

particularism and coherence

I?m a moral particularist. I believe that some words and concepts have moral significance, but we can only tell whether they are good, bad, or neutral in particular cases. Abstracted from any specific context, they have indeterminate significance. Examples include … Continue reading

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the Dutch evade the “resource trap”

Last week, I participated in a conference on the “ethical aspects of ultrafast communication.” It was funded by the Netherlands government as part of a massive technological program. Apparently, most of the Internet is now carried on fiber-optic cables that … Continue reading

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aesthetics and history

Last week in Bruges, Belgium, at the medieval Hospital of St. John, we saw an altarpiece by Hans Memling that’s sometimes entitled the “Mystic Marriage of St. Catharine.” (The picture to the right is just a detail; click here for … Continue reading

Posted in fine arts, philosophy | 1 Comment

stones of London

I’m reading Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography, a 750-page book with one dominant theme. Fire, riot, real-estate speculation, bombs, and state planning have caused constant and brutal change throughout London’s 2000 years. But despite all this disruption, many streets and … Continue reading

Posted in memoir | 3 Comments

to Belgium and Georgia

My family and I are going to Belgium today. We’ll stay in Bruges and I’ll commute to a conference at the University of Tillburg on “The Ethical Implications of Ultrafast Communications.” From Belgium, we’ll go directly to Macon, GA for … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

is Google a “commons”?

This was a topic of heated debate at the American Library Association meeting that I attended in October. It’s all the more interesting now that Google has promised to help digitize the entire contents of several major research libraries. The … Continue reading

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against “cultural preservationism”

Near the end (p. 227) of Anne Fadiman?s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (which I discussed on Monday), there?s a dialogue between a doctor and psychotherapist. They have been talking about Lia Lee, the Hmong girl whose … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy | 2 Comments

micro-local news

Free advice … Today I met with the Washington Center for Internships to discuss possible ways to evaluate their program, and then went to Streetlaw, Inc. for their winter Board meeting. (Streetlaw provides a textbook, training, institutes, and other support … Continue reading

Posted in Internet and public issues, press criticism | 3 Comments

the centrality of trust

I’m reading Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, the story of an epileptic Hmong girl and the cultural misunderstandings and outright tragedies that result when she is treated by American doctors. The book is rich, complex, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

civics legislation

Senator Lamar Alexander’s bill S. 504 has now passed both houses of Congress and is on its way to the President. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe … Continue reading

Posted in advocating civic education | Leave a comment