Praxis – The Rarest of the Three

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Aristotle divided human activities into three broad categories: thinking (theoria), making (poiesis), and doing (praxis). Put another way, I suppose, they are the why, the what, and the how. In very coarse terms, and trying to link it to rhetoric,  I wonder how it matches the various posts I read on Twitter and blogs. The categories match well but I’m struggling … Read More

Reasonable Doubt

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I like this story to explain reasonable doubt. (From Sam Leith’s wonderful “You talkin to me?“) “A man is in the dock, accused of murdering his wife. Although the body was never recovered, all the evidence points to the defendant: his car boot was filled with baling twine, bloodstained hammers, torn items of his wife’s clothing and suchlike. He had … Read More

Toffler, The Trivium & The Holy Trinity

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I’ve been having an interesting conversation on Twitter with Martin Robinson and Carl Gombrich (a big thank you to both). Two things had been bouncing around recently: Toffler’s ubiquitous “Learn, unlearn, relearn” and the Trivium, in no small part thanks to Martin’s excellent Trivium 21C. I wondered, slightly loosely, whether they were connected, along the lines of this diagram. Carl … Read More

New literacies

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Interesting article @ Wired.  [Thanks Stephen for the pointer]. “Of course, good teaching is always going to be crucial, as is the mastering of formal academic prose. But it’s also becoming clear that online media are pushing literacy into cool directions. The brevity of texting and status updating teaches young people to deploy haiku-like concision. At the same time, the … Read More

Notes on Walter Ong’s Orality and Literacy #2

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(Following on a little tardily from May’s notes) Chapter 2: Modern discovery of Primary Oral Cultures Early Awareness of Oral Tradition Tradition of writing down sayings longlived: Ecclesiastes 12:9-10 “Besides being wise, Qoheleth taught the people knowledge, and weighed, scrutinized and arranged many proverbs. Qoheleth sought to find pleasing sayings, and write down true sayings with precision.” By the Middle … Read More

On Bullshit

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Slightly alarmingly, as part of Princeton’s 100 Years of ExcellenceH.G. Frankfurt is interviewed about his book “On Bullshit”. (There’s a video of it which is worth watching, though the interviewer seems to need the bathroom) “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. … Read More

Tone Matters

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Jonathan Dresner at Cliopatra hits the nail on the head. I don’t think any of us can be objective about our own claimed objectivity. — Daniel Okrent, NYTimes, 4/24/05 … There are three categories of common arguments in blogspace: * Principles * Facts * Tone I don’t mean to categorize posts, or bloggers, but disputes. Of these, I think the … Read More