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I am now writing on Medium, so I think something on the order of an introduction is called for.

I have never been crazy about talking about myself. I always thought that the world at large is a lot more interesting than I am. But I am part of this larger world, and when I talk about it I am in fact also talking a bit about myself and how that world shows itself to me. …


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(By Diliff — Uploaded by Diliff, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=517895)

On the night of the attack on the United States Capitol building, my local public radio station scheduled a program with the theme “Time to Come Together?” It was hard to stay on topic given the day’s events, but they tried.

No, it’s not time to come together. Eventually, yes. But not anytime soon.

There is a lot of blame to go around concerning how we got here. The Republican “southern strategy” which has now borne its strange and rotten fruit. The assumption on the part of right-wing media and internet platforms that the devotion to freedom of expression does…


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(Wikimedia Commons)

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Richard Rorty’s autobiographical essay “Trotsky and the Wild Orchids”, published in 1992, begins with the following observation:

If there is anything to the idea that the best intellectual position is one which is attacked with equal vigour from the political right and the political left, then I am in good shape. I am often cited by conservative culture warriors as one of the relativistic, irrationalist, deconstructing, sneering, smirking intellectuals whose writings are weakening the moral fibre of the young. . . Yet Sheldon Wolin, speaking from the left, sees a lot of similarity between me and [conservative] Allan Bloom…


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(Lena Balk, Upsplash)

1: Two Spaldeens

I was about five years old, give or take a year. It was a typical New York summer day: sunny, hazy, humid but not insufferably so. I was not much of an outdoor kid, being bookish and precociously (i.e., annoyingly) talkative, but that day I was playing outside vigorously, bouncing pink rubber Spaldeen balls against the garage door and trying to catch them as they came back. I returned to my room, physically spent but still mentally wired.

My mother came upstairs to check up on me to tell me about some new books that she bought…


On Wittgenstein’s Later Metaphilosophy

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(Wikimedia Commons)

“Now that my ladder’s gone / I must lie down where all the ladders start / In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.”, — William Butler Yeats, “The Circus Animals’ Desertion”

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It is unfortunate that when those trained in non-analytic contexts confront the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, they tend to be far more attentive to propositions 5.6 (“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”) through 7.0 (“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”) than those that precede them. The closing propositions of the Tractatus include those of the…


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(Hypatia, By Charles William Mitchell — Laling Art Gallery, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49847708)

Review of Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting, eds., The Philosopher Queens: The Lives and Legacies of Philosophy’s Unsung Women (Unbound, 2020), pp. 288.

Anyone who hangs out in the corridors of academic philosophy will quickly realize that it is a male stronghold. While the proportion of female to male faculty and graduate students is better balanced now than it had been in the past, the ratio remains lopsided. And women’s stories about the antics of philosophy-world still testify to patterns of condescension and patronizing attitudes on the part of male philosophers. Despite progress, the discipline remains an ocean of mansplaining.


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(Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

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Well, it ain’t over. And even when it is over, it won’t be over.

As I write, it seems as if Biden will win the Electoral College by a hair. But at the moment Biden not only has close to 4 million more popular votes than Trump: he has beaten Obama’s popular vote count in 2008 and thus has set a record for the total number of votes cast for any presidential candidate in US history. And still, Biden hasn’t yet won the office.

This is, frankly, madness. Even more insane than the fact that the Trump regime is…


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(Wikimedia Commons: Les Claypool 10/17/05 Photo by Thomas Ceddia tceddia@aol.com)

Just as The Doors and David Bowie were my constant companions-in-solitude during the earlier phases of the pandemic and the presidential campaign from hell, I find myself listening nonstop to Vivaldi and Primus now that we — hopefully — are on a downward slope. They are an odd couple to say the least. That Vivaldi appeals at the moment is, I think, pretty transparent: he is the baroque harbinger of seasonal change and tranquil renewal. It is hard to listen to Vivaldi without experiencing calmness and serenity.

You can’t say that of Primus. You might say it is hard to…


(On Pope Francis I and Same-sex Civil Unions)

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(Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash)

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While the recent endorsement by Pope Francis I of civil unions for same sex couples is welcome, it is not what it seems. It is not exactly breaking news. While it is his first public commendation of political protection for lesbian and gay couples and families as pope, as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had previously gone on record supporting civil unions. In this sense, while Francis’s pronouncement was newsworthy, it was not without precedent.

Here’s the quote: in a documentary film about Pope Francis, he contends that


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(Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

Nassau County, New York, where I currently live, is a purple place: while it has trended Democratic-blue in recent years, it had long been a Republican-red stronghold — the kind of suburbia that the President has warned will disappear if Joe Biden is elected and “those” people get a foothold. If anything historically defines Nassau County, it is that its agricultural past of small-scale potato farming was supplanted in the mid-20th century by a real-estate boon defined by “redlining”, or making sure that “those” people — blacks, latinx, immigrants, the poor — stay within their geographic corrals.

Things have changed…

Laura Nelson

Writer, philosopher, information technologist,guitarist, neurotic, polite radical, avid and indiscriminate reader, Episcopalian, trans woman.

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