The good news is that the four, yes four, open crossword puzzles previously occupying my mind have all been completed. Threads closed. All done. I have the receipts.
The reason I mention this is because, in a parallel universe I’m known to frequent, it is in fact, and actually, the number of successfully completed word puzzles which determines the general health of the society creating and solving them. Not farm production. Not manufacturing dingus, or alloy commodities hedging, or some other nonsense. No, just word puzzles.
So it is good, even great news that so many people are contributing so much. It explains a lot, as far as fantasy parallel universe logic has any explanatory power.
Similarly, it’s language like the quote below, from no less than an assistant professor at a state university’s philosophy department, that purports to be about something but isn’t, that the puzzlers are working against, trying hard to keep meaning and words close together.
Ultimately, I claim that the environment of professional philosophy, particularly in the U.S., bears symptoms of a culture of justification, which creates a difficult working environment for many diverse practitioners.
What could be meant by this? How are we to understand ‘environments’ which exhibit ‘symptoms’? Environments are the where in which agents of some sort exhibit symptoms, signs of disease, indications of misalignment with the environment in which they find themselves. If the (an) environment has symptoms then it must itself be in some other environment, by which one could measure its misalignment, or level of disease. No-one, or at least no-one you should listen to, ever talks of a (the) thermometer’s hostility towards those who would take their temperatures, or how the act of measuring itself was somehow unfair.
But don’t worry about that – look, the disease is a culture, a justification culture. A mysterious back formulation to describe a reason for the discomfort of diverse practitioners, sure, but what could be meant by it? How is a culture a disease?
If by culture one means ‘how folks do what they do’ then justification culture is more of a medicine than a disease, more of a balm than an irritant. Having reasons for your reasons is what justification is about. A culture which prizes scientific reason insists on what it does not by proclamation but rather by an accumulation of evidence, and technological prowess based on the application of that evidence; it generates an un-ending series of proofs of concept that transform into net-wellness gains for individuals and their aggregations as families and communities and cities and so on.
Should we abandon that, then what sort of cultures are possible? Ones which central power derives from proclamation rather than application. I don’t like those. They are antithetical to self-rule. It’s like mistaking the crossword puzzle for a news story, mistaking words for things.
Anyway, four down, all the rest to go.