December 13, 2004

UCR Grad Conference Seeks a Cartridge of Theory

by Nick Montfort · , 5:33 pm

Mark Marino (Barthes’ Bachelorettes, Grand Thieves Audio) has stopped fiddling with his radio dial long enough to blow the horn of summoning. There’s a graduate conference coming up at UCR, and he’s pointed out six special session CFPs – a full cylinder of ‘em? – that will be of interest to Grand Text Auto-readin’ grad students:

(dis)junctions: theory reloaded (april 8-9, 2005)

The University of California Riverside’s 12th Annual Humanities Graduate Conference
CFP: (dis)junctions: Multiple-Media Panels (grad) (1/7/05; 4/8/05-4/9/05)

  1. Media Crossings: Intersections of Film, Television, and Digital Culture
  2. Online Gaming and Society
  3. Original Hypermedia, Net.Art, Mods, Flash
  4. Eliterature and Cybertext Theory
  5. Chatbots, IF, and Textual Exchange
  6. Cybersexualities: Sex, Dating, and Desire in Virtual Spaces

See the overall (dis)junctions CFP for details on these and for their context. From looking at the call, it seems that interactive fiction may be poised to overtake whiteness studies and become the next big thing.

28 Responses to “UCR Grad Conference Seeks a Cartridge of Theory”


  1. mark Says:

    Ah, pulls in two directions. On the one hand, I’m a grad student, and have read a decent amount about all this sort of stuff and am interested in it. On the other hand, my analytic philosophy background causes me to run in the other direction when I hear the word “Theory” uttered. I thought the post-post-whateverism was on its way out as an academic fad anyway? Didn’t the whole Sokal affair damage its credibility sufficiently?

    (No chance of dropping De Man and getting this all recast in a rigorous analytic mold, eh?)

  2. Mark Marino Says:

    mark,

    The (dis)junction conference tries above all to bring in different and distinct voices, points of view, and preferences. Please, bring your analytic approach and help us recast.

  3. ErikC Says:

    um analytic philosophers can change their minds too, Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein to name a few. All Sokal did was prove it is easy to get published talking well you know.
    >On the other hand, my analytic philosophy background causes me to run in the other direction when I hear the word “Theory” uttered.
    Hmm I have been to analytical philosophy conferences and I have heard theory mentioned but I have never seen running. :P

  4. mark Says:

    Well, *some* theory gets in now and then, yeah, but I’d say there’s a pretty large distrust of the entire mode of working in the “critical theory” arena, and to a larger extent continental philosophy itself.

    I’d suppose Noam Chomsky sums up my viewpoints on it pretty well, which I think are widely held among (US/UK) philosophers and scientists:

    I have spent a lot of my life working on questions such as these, using the only methods I know of–those condemned here as “science,” “rationality,” “logic,” and so on. I therefore read the papers with some hope that they would help me “transcend” these limitations, or perhaps suggest an entirely different course. I’m afraid I was disappointed. Admittedly, that may be my own limitation. Quite regularly, “my eyes glaze over” when I read polysyllabic discourse on the themes of poststructuralism and postmodernism; what I understand is largely truism or error, but that is only a fraction of the total word count. True, there are lots of other things I don’t understand: the articles in the current issues of math and physics journals, for example. But there is a difference. In the latter case, I know how to get to understand them, and have done so, in cases of particular interest to me; and I also know that people in these fields can explain the contents to me at my level, so that I can gain what (partial) understanding I may want. In contrast, no one seems to be able to explain to me why the latest post-this-and-that is (for the most part) other than truism, error, or gibberish, and I do not know how to proceed.

    (Full article here: http://zena.secureforum.com/Znet/chomsky/articles/95-science.html)

    Not to say there isn’t *any* good work in it, but my eyes definitely glaze over at a lot of it. To pick the single example that stands out in my mind, Luce Irigaray’s attack on E=mc2 as a “sexed equation” because it “privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally important to us” is the most confusing statement I have ever read in academic literature. It’s not even really something I can argue with; it’s simply too absurd to respond to. Sadly, I don’t think Irigaray is the only nutcase out there.

  5. nick Says:

    The longest quotation from Irigaray about that I can find online about this is this one:

    Is E=mc2 a sexed equation?…Perhaps it is. Let us make the hypothesis that it is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us. What seems to me to indicate the possible sexed nature of the equation is not directly its uses by nuclear weapons, rather it is having privileged what goes the fastest…

    Almost everything referring to this matter is a review of a book slamming her writing. To try to figure out what she was saying using the Web and looking at such sources seems like trying to learn about heliocentrism by reading contemporary news accounts of church denunciations of Galileo. So I doubt I can make much progress on understanding this online, but a few comments anyway…

    Because I don’t know the context, I can’t really tell how to read the text that is there, even if I do restrict myself to that fragment. I could take a similar fragment from Wittgenstein discussing games, and, if I assumed he was doing game studies instead of philosophy, I’d misread it.

    Just based on this tiny snippet of text, though, I can see that Irigaray does not “attack” the equation as “a sexist equation,” but rather asks if it is such an equation and hypothesizes that it is – mocking the scientific method, or at least the popular misunderstanding of it as entailing neutrality in the generation of hypotheses, as she does this.

    Is she critiquing the fact that the equation was written to begin with, or the way it is used in culture? Write it on a chalkboard and it is the icon for “science is being done here.” Perhaps she’s discussing why that equation, and not some other, such as F=ma, is used this way all the time, as the emblem of science. That would be a rather different comment from the one that other casual critics assume she is making, I think.

    Anyway, I don’t know what this text from Irigaray means, but personally, I wouldn’t dismiss it as unintelligible or absurd until I had a better idea of what it means.

  6. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Please, hold your horses, young man! I’ve never heard of Irigaray and his “sexed equation” idea, but I’d rather hear the man out instead of having him presented as a “nutcase” by somebody who just happens to find this single idea implausible by his particular standard.

    I’ve been writing drama for a couple of decades now, and suddely, I get to meet some engineers who think that I’d be better off using a “drama manager”. Makes no sense to me at all, this idea. However, its bearers are not “nutcases” for me.

  7. mark Says:

    Yeah, I did originally get the Irigaray (who is a “she”, for what it’s worth) comment from Sokal and Bricmont’s book Intellectual Impostures: Postmodern Philosophers’ Abuse of Science, but he does provide a reference I used to track down the original at the time (the book came out in 1998), as well as quoting considerable context himself. As far as I can tell, Irigaray seems to be arguing that the entirety of science, even its basic assuptions and structure of its equations, is dominated by male bias, as male scientists have structured their supposed “natural laws” in a way that glorifies speed and power. She goes on to argue that this is also the reason rigid-body mechanics has received more attention than fluid mechanics, because fluidity is too feminine to be respected by male scientists (the fact that fluid mechanics is fundamentally nonlinear, and so only recently susceptible to any real progress, is not mentioned). The biggest problem, though, is that she does not really *argue* for any of this, but merely asserts it. She doesn’t even argue for why her ridiculously stereotyped notions of what is “male” and “female” make any sense.

    Basically, Chomsky sums up my problem: I can deal with arguments that I find bizarre, such as the Compatibilist argument that a fully deterministic world does not preclude free will. But they have to actually be arguments, not merely a string of assertions. When someone not only doesn’t od that, but actually explicitly attacks “logic” and “rationality” as inherently biased, I really don’t know how to proceed. How can I argue with someone who rejects the notion of argument? Am I to trade assertions and puns back and forth with them?

    I will grant that I have not studied the field at length, but I do believe Chomsky has done so (he even personally debated Michael Foucault), and has come to the same conclusions. He is even politically aligned with many of the people in the field, and confesses a predisposition to find it valuable, but simply cannot find a way to call it anything besides “truism, error, or gibberish” (and needlessly polysyllabic at that). Chomsky’s hardly the only one either, and I think Sokal’s stunt has emboldened scientists in general.

  8. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Look, mark, making unfounded assertions is partial to all of us, and that includes you. Your homepage refers to “search-based drama management” as your current project. A “drama manager” is a theoretical device of very recent invention, and you hope with your idea to woo us dramatic writers, who sport an arsenal of proven tools that that was built up over more than 2.300 years. The existence of our need for a “drama manager” to do our job is an assertion you clearly arrived at without asking a lot of dramatic writers. But that still doesn’t give me the right to call you a “nutcase”.

  9. mark Says:

    Well, in the first place, this isn’t a homepage published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. I’d expect anything I actually publish to be considerably more fleshed out than a homepage I took five minutes to write.

    In the second place, I don’t think I’ve claimed anywhere that it’s necessary, or even better than alternative approaches, merely that we’re investigating what benefits it may have, if any (from the authoring side), as well as what interesting practical and algorithmic issues may arise during its attempted implementation, if any (from the AI side).

    If I were to make an assertion that all of drama to date has been crap and drama management is the enlightening tool with which humanity will be freed from its artistic chains, I think “nutcase” might be an appropriate label. Instead, I hope to argue that drama management has some advantages, which I also hope to demonstrate with some practical examples, and will gladly listen to counter-arguments. Proposing a new tool, which may or may not be useful, is not the same as rejecting the very notion of argument and rational inquiry.

  10. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Ok. You hope to argue that drama management has some advantages, and hope to demonstrate it with some practical examples will finally convince us, but until you have done so, it all remains a bunch of assertive statements.

    She hopes to argue that looking at science as sexually biased has some advantages, and maybe hopes to demonstrate it with some practical examples of her own – which are likely to be categorised as “works of art -, but until she has done so, we might take her’s as just another bunch of assertions.

    The truth is only ever what you and me agree about. That’s no excuse for blatant impoliteness, though.

  11. mark Says:

    I think there’s a difference in the level of interest in proof, and willingness to make sweeping statements. A lot of undemonstrated statements are taken as assumptions in postmodern philosophy. Irigaray in particular follows (to a certain extent) a neo-Freudian view, vaguely in the mold of Jacques Lacan, that she uses to justify a lot of her assertions, usually with mumbling about male “phallocentrism”. It just doesn’t have the same method and flavor as actual philosophical investigations into bias in the sciences, which are more careful about what they hope to prove; what they think they’ve proven so far; what evidence they have to support their assertions; what underlying assumptions they have made; etc. The critical theory arguments just seem to be entirely wrong in the way they go about it.

    For a striking example, compare the rigor of arguments about abortion from feminist philosophers, published in journals like the Journal of Applied Philosophy, to those from women’s studies practitioners, published in journals like the Journal of Feminist Theory. Both argue essentially the same points, but the latter tend not to try to make logical arguments from premises to establish conclusions, or even to agree that it’s necessary to do so.

    In any case, I’m not really a standard-bearer for the anti-theory movement, nor particular involved in it. The vast majority of scientists take Sokal’s side in that debate, and there are rumblings from philosophers as well. If you want to read something from that side from people who have researched the issue (and care about it) more than I, there are a number of good articles in the journal Philosophy and Literature (a journal attempting to “reclaim” literary theory from the critical theorists).

  12. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    There might be a difference, but you might be miskaken in your belief that this difference puts you in a position favoured by evolution.

  13. Jill Says:

    Oh for goodness sakes. Not another person who’s read that book by Sokal and Bricmont and is regurgitating their agression at critical theory without actually having read much critical theory. We’re having a very entertaining “debate” about the merits of Julia Kristeva in the local newspaper at the moment. Impressive, don’t you think, discussing Kristeva in the local rag? Well, no. She won a prestigious Bergen award and is therefore now being attacked by a professor of ECONOMY (not literature or philosophy or psychology) who has also read Sokal and Bricmont’s book and is using that to say that Kristeva is nonsense. He’s not actually read Kristeva, of course. Only Sokal’s rendition of her.

    Certainly Irigaray has more than a few lines that are very easy to ridicule, especially if you take them literally instead of as part of a particular kind of rhetoric and in a particular context. Doing so without actually attempting to understand seems rather pointless.

    Why do people who’ve read Sokal and Bricmont find it so important to bash criticial theorists? I don’t understand how it helps them?

  14. mark Says:

    Sokal’s only the easiest and arguably most amusing example; neither the first, nor the last, nor the most interesting. There are plenty of people who have studied critical theory in depth who come to the same conclusions. Chomsky is one I cited a few times, who has spent nearly forty years attempting to engage with various critical theorists, and still has come away without much in the way of intellectual respect for it.

    It’s odd that you mention Kristeva, because she’s been the subject of a bit of recent criticism elsewhere than your local newspaper as well [1].

    As for why criticizing the crits is important, there are two main motivations that I can see.

    One is the one that drives Chomsky, and some others like Katha Pollitt: A feeling that by spouting a lot of nonsense and denouncing rational inquiry while espousing “leftist” causes, the critical theory people are making leftist causes look bad, and hampering real progress that ought to be made. People end up reading bizarre anti-rationalist feminist, anti-capitalist, or other such writings and coming to the conclusion that feminists, anti-capitalists, and so on are nuts, when what is needed are clear, coherent, and forceful arguments for those positions, which academics have (explicitly, it seems) decided to stop providing. In essence, by making crappy arguments for legitimate goals, they work against those goals. Chomsky argues this particular point further in the article I linked to above.

    The second one is irritation that we’re paying for people to essentially spout pretentious polysyllabic nonsense, attack people as “racist” and “sexist” with no justification, and so on. There’s a backlash along the lines of, “well, you can do what you want, but not on my dime”. Of course, the critical theorists respond in predictably ad hominem fashion by calling their opponents “conservatives” [2].

    [1] William Irwin. Against Intertextuality. Philosophy and Literature 28, no. 2, October 2004. [Abstract]

    [2] As seen quite frequently in, e.g.: Just Being Difficult? Academic Writing in the Public Arena, eds. Jonathan Culler and Kevin Lamb. Stanford University Press, 2003.

  15. mark Says:

    Something I was going to add is that you can see Chomsky’s criticism in practice with feminism in particular—the vast majority of people, both men and women, agree in principle with a lot of the ideas of feminist thought. However, if you ask people outside academia what they think of feminist theory as it is currently being practiced, even most women, at least in my experience, will claim that it’s nonsense and doesn’t represent them. This includes a significant sample of women I know who went to a feminist-oriented all-women’s college and took women’s studies courses as part of their core curriculum. When even left-of-center and self-described feminist women think feminist theory has gone off the deep end, something is not quite right.

    (I don’t think the typical arrogant response—to blame “anti-intellectualism”, usually through some sort of cribbing from Derrida’s “Resistance to Theory”—hits near the mark either.)

  16. ErikC Says:

    Actually Sokal et al were attacked in turn for their knowledge or lack of it, on philosophy of science. You can even read about it in reader comments on amazon.com
    I too was disappointed by the book.It is easy to attack the subjects for misuse of science and verbal diarrhoea–heck I even agree with a great deal of it. Deleuze and Guattari have a word called rhizome. Wow, now I understand routers. Sigh. But from Sokal I did not learn about the actual science or how we can actually talk about science etc.
    Jill, people attack ‘critical theorists’ because they can be misinterpreted by their own fans, they can be overtly rhetoroical, their theory non-falsifiable let alone verifiable but mostly because some talk utter well you know.
    Some people think quoting philosophers or agnostic supplement forbid, theorists, and their densest opaque prose, is to ‘do’ theory.
    Issues be damned. Names with status only please.
    I suspect Mark belongs to the additive knowledge type, who only want knowledge that is falsifiable and can be added to a framework. He may not like the term Hegelian though.
    In the other camp, some ask us to critically examine our reasons for thinking in certain ways, like Irigaray. She asks us to consider if scientific progress is not itself based on pure rationalist ideals but on deeper darker emotions. In this context you may note that USC just got 100 million from the US Army. A fine research university extending our knowledge, but who is funding them and why are they doing it, she might ask? (There was an interesting ANALYTICAL paper on this ethical issue called Forbidden Knowledge),
    The first example I can think of offhand to support Irigaray is John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, are women in Renaissance paintings..etc.
    I would not use Chomsky as the poster boy for analytical philosphy either, notwithstanding his crusades. And if you want to read something funny, old Bertrand Russell’s book on happiness is not so much analytical as downright hilariously Continental.
    As to theory, it is from the Greek for ways of seeing. Socrates was one (theorist), Plato his pupil, Aristotle his pupil. Granted Aristotle attacked much of Platonic ideas, but to follow Whitehead, more recent philosophy is but footnotes to Plato. And Platonic ideas are very theoretical.
    And um, “Of course, the critical theorists respond in predictably ad hominem fashion” seems to forget “Sadly, I don’t think Irigaray is the only nutcase out there” is also an ad hominem.
    I do like this idea of scientific proof: “This includes a significant sample of women I know”. Aha! The head of MIT Media once gave a lecture saying something like the plural of anecdote was data. I do hope he was joking,just as Mark hopefully is.

  17. mark Says:

    I would agree with the additive knowledge characterization. I don’t understand how that contrasts with the “questioning” view though—rigorous philosophy can include questioning anything at all. Asserting that gender biases have led to rigid-body mechanics being studied at the expense of fluid dynamics is a coherent claim that I have no problem with. What I have a problem with is failing to backing it up with any sort of evidence that this is actually the case. Asserting “fluidity is too effeminate for scientists” is just an ad-hominem attack, not an argument. If Irigaray had provided evidence to support her claim that this is the reason for the relative amount of work done in the two fields, ideally including an argument for why competing theories (such as “fluid dynamics is much more nonlinear, and therefore much harder to do”) are less likely to be the actual cause, it would have been an interesting investigation. However, she did not do any of that. She just asserted something, which is something anyone can do, and isn’t particularly interesting or enlightening. I’m quite interested in arguments that challenge common sense, and open to the idea that much of what’s encoded in “common sense” is the result of cultural biases. This doesn’t mean, though, that just asserting any random opinion that challenges common sense is automatically deep and insightful. An assertion with an argument—if not a proof, at least an argument for why this assertion is more plausible than the alternative explanations—is much better.

    Commenting briefly on the last part, I of course did not give that anecdotal evidence as scientific proof of anything. I don’t think it’s really disputed though that academic humanities study, and especially postmodernist theory, is widely seen among the general public as an “ivory tower” that churns out a lot of nonsense. At one time, feminism was a large movement; now, what movement remains in the general public is largely disconnected from academia, and doesn’t read any of its writings. (If people disagree, I can try to dig up actual surveys on the matter.)

    The upshot of all this is that I find all the investigations valuable and interesting, just not the way they’re going about. That’s why I cite Chomsky: He may not be the epitome of philosophy, but he is a good example of an intellectual who both theorizes and keeps himself relevant to at least some significant segment of people outside academia (he even appears pretty regularly with spoken-word tracks on punk records).

  18. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Mark, it seems to be very important to you that one backs up ones claims with evidence. You work in the field of AI. AI has, for nearly 50 years now, claimed that the von Neumann computer is a very good model of the human mind. And has failed to give evidence of this, i.e. failed in programming a von Neumann computer so that, given a problem, it returns the same – or comparable – solution as a human brain would return.

    Still, claiming that you and your ilk are nuts, and should go unfunded ever after, would be just foolish.

  19. mark Says:

    I actually agree with criticism of people who would make a strong claim like that. Whether the mind is in essence a “biological computer” is not established. Many people in AI think this is likely to be the case, but not all do, and many (including some of this site’s bloggers, I believe) take no position on the matter, considering it unproven either way. Some AI research is attempting to prove that it is by construction, but most AI research isn’t. Some attempts to build something that can be properly called intelligent, not necessarily a replica of the human brain; some attempts to build a “perfectly rational” agent, as defined by rational decision theory; and much of it is focused on smaller practical problems.

    I’d say the main reason AI continues to be funded is that it *doesn’t* require you to accept that assumption for it to be useful, since there are many useful results that can be (and have been) obtained even if that assumption turns out to be false. If it was an all-or-nothing sort of thing, comprised of a bunch of guys trying to build a computerized brain and doing nothing useful in the meantime, I’m pretty sure the funding would be quite slim.

    And people like Ray Kurzweil *are* quite often referred to as “nuts”. =]

  20. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    So in your mind, science seems to be characterized be a certain spectrum into which claims fall, where a scientist can choose to adopt some claims and not adopt others, and the important thing is not whether all the claims are true – as they must be if it is an “objective” science -, but whether the field is useful as a whole. That’s a very pragmatical position, and one I can sympathize with.

    Such is the case, also, with Critical Theory: not everything that the critical theorists claim is necessarily true, but the field as a whole provides valuable new tools, and instead of doing like Chomsky and dissing what you don’t know, you might as well look what you might learn. There are reasons for the persistent existence of “The Continental”.

  21. mark Says:

    My claim is that these claims aren’t necessary for AI—if it were necessary for the mind to be a “biological computer” for AI to be useful, I would consider AI a very suspicious endeavor. In various strains of critical theory, ridiculous claims are necessary for the field to be useful. For example, for any of Irigaray’s work to make any sense, we have to accept, on assumption, that “logic”, “definitions”, and “rationality” are fundamentally “masculine”, and hence inappropriate for discussing femininity. If we don’t accept this, then that entire line of reasoning is completely useless, because it builds on that as a fundamental assumption, even though there is no particular reason to assume it is true, or even plausible.

    Similar sorts of arguments apply to the neo-Freudians. I might grant that all this would make for decent theology, but that is another matter entirely.

    I also think it is rather rich to suggest that Chomsky is “dissing what [he doesn't] know”, as he’s engaged with critical theorists on hundreds of occasions, debated them in person, read their books and articles, and so on. I daresay I find it unlikely you are more familiar with the field than he.

    I also have read a bit of Irigaray in my more wayward years, and I still am at a loss to explain what I might possibly gain from it. If you reject her bald assertion of an anti-rationality worldview, then there is really not much left at all. Basically, an “If X, then Y” is useless to me if the X is ridiculous, and doubly so if the Y spans thousands of pages.

    I do like some bits and pieces of continental philosophy, but it differs significantly from critical theory, IMO. And most of it I like as literature and opinion (e.g. Nietzsche) rather than rigorous philosophy.

  22. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    If it were necessary for the E=mc^2 to be a “sexist” for CC to be useful, I would consider CC a very suspicious endeavor.

  23. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    CT. I should have written CT.

  24. ErikC Says:

    >, “logic”, “definitions”, and “rationality” are fundamentally “masculine”, and hence inappropriate for discussing femininity.

    Actually we are _invited_ to ask if our understanding of these terms have been biased by certain biological/social factors. That is, we are asked to ask ourself if these terms are not intrinsically correct, pure, or without bias. We just may use them as if they are self-explanatory [oh dear old logocentrism again] but “logic” may not actually be logic without some social form of self-interest.

    Hmm maybe I should clarify, she may be attacking our idea of these concepts or even that there can be self standing concepts, rather than the concepts themselves. Many freethinkers made similar stands against the church.

    For example, what does progress mean, and how do we know when we have it, and how do we know when we don’t have it and is this idea shared by the public the scientists and the politicians.

    Another example – I have not seen a definition of what ‘rigorous’ means. With rigour perhaps. Still not very useful. Yet this word has been used as some form of ulitmate criterion. It may lack rigour to you, but I don’t know if what you mean by the term, I mean by the term. So I have to reject this as an ultimate judge of the usefulness of Critical Theory until I believe we share the meaning of the term and its correct application at the very least. And you being a postgraduate who has studied analytical philosophy doesn’t mean I understand what you mean by rigour- the notion of a separate body of analytical philosopheres itself is controversial.

    Also ‘instead of doing like Chomsky and dissing what you don’t know, you might as well look what you might learn’ could actually mean you and Chomsky ‘diss’ OR you are dissing these ‘critical theorists’ in order to follow Chomsky. Either Chomsky achieved guru philosopher status (to my mind he is a linguist first and foremost) or he should be followed because he apparently does not understand Critical Theorists en masse. Hmm neither apparently did Groo.

    I actually liked what I understand to be the subtext of your first point-how can there be non-critical theorists in academic circles? Hmm actually..

    Dirk: ‘There are reasons for the persistent existence of “The Continental”.”
    Sounds like a very cool overcoat!

    As a side point: are people familiar with http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/index.htm
    Could be an interesting body count here ;)

  25. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Dirk: ‘There are reasons for the persistent existence of “The Continental”.”
    Sounds like a very cool overcoat!

    That’s one of them.

  26. mark Says:

    I suppose I just don’t see what usefulness “inviting” us to ask these questions does when there is no argument presented. Sure, I can hypothesize: Let’s consider the possibility that physics receives more funding than literature because it sounds like the word “physical”. Or hypothesize again: I’d like to invite you to consider the possibility that scientists have held up the sun as the center of the solar system because it is very large and very hot.

    What good are these hypotheses if I provide no reasons to believe that they are actually the case? I can generate infinite numbers of such hypotheses, but I fail to see how doing so is useful or even interesting.

    Or if the idea is not to do philosophy, but merely to be thought-provoking, I’d prefer to read literature or poetry.

  27. ErikC Says:

    thank you for this argument, I see it as a reducto ad absurdum but did not post rebuttal as we have veered away from the conference topic a tad.
    I would say I am intrigued by #6 Cybersexualities: Sex, Dating, and Desire in Virtual Spaces

    How can the desire itself be in a virtual space?

  28. Mark Marino Says:

    Two Notes:

    1) The deadline for submissions has been extended to Feb. 12
    2) We will accept creative submissions for our electronic gallery (Though we would very much like to see you in Riverside, you do not have to attend to if your work is featured in the gallery).

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