Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quotes of the Day

"For historians looking back, the sign of a dark age is the lack of comprehensive, consistent and canonical records. The actual history that unfolds may be marked by progress or decline. The European Middle Ages, once known as the Dark Ages, are now widely regarded as a period of widespread cultural development. It just wasn’t of the Greco-Roman variety that preceded it, or the Renaissance variety that followed."
-- Venkat, "Our Diurnal Civilization" (ribbonfarm, 12/9/13)

"The barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time."
-- Alasdair MacIntyre (quoted in Paul D.Miller, "Book Hunters in the New Dark Ages (The City, Fall 2013))

As late as 1900 Ernst Mach still thought of atoms as a convenient fiction without any physical basis in nature.
-- Alan Wall, "Lux, Lumen and the Lights of Science." (The Fortnightly Review)

People often question the utility of philosophy. One use of philosophy is to protect us from bad philosophy, pseudo-philosophy, the 'philosophy' of those who denigrate philosophy yet cannot resist philosophizing themselves and as a result philosophize poorly.
-- Bill Vallicella "Nonsense about Descartes from the Science Page of the New York Times" (The Maverick Philosopher, June 10, 2012)

"Globalization can also have the paradoxical effect of fostering intense localism and nativism, frightening people into taking refuge in the comfort of small, like-minded groups. One of the unexpected results of the Internet, for example, is how it can narrow horizons so that users seek out only those whose views echo their own and avoid websites that might challenge their assumptions."
-- Margaret MacMillan, "The Rhyme of History" (Brookings Essay, 12/14/13)

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