No Life Is Good

In The Philosopher's Magazine, David Benetar argues that "No Life is Good." A cynical (and, I hope, playful) argument against the mechanical life. His conclusion isn't to kill yourself, just to stop having babies (and thus bringing more people destined to suffer into the world). But doesn't misery love company?

From the comments:

If I take this article at its meaning, it’s not merely that human lives are simply devoid of the quantities of mere pleasure that would make them more worth living; I also take it that most human lives are devoid of real meaning, period. Consider how so few people really contribute anything in the way of a lasting legacy, a benefit to others that keeps on giving decades, centuries after they’ve passed on. On the contrary, most people accomplish nothing, and by the reckoning of others who perhaps have not known or befriended them, may as well have never lived at all, for they have made such waste of their lives! Note how most of us–too many of us–grind through a cyclic process of self-sustenance, eating, sleeping, waking, going to work, contributing nothing at work that will affect people’s lives in any meaningful way for any duration of time. The cycle continues unabated, through generations.

We're reading Nussbaum's Not For Profit in my summer class; the previous chapter dealt with learning to accept human frailty and oppose myths of perfection and grandeur. I think this short piece compliments Nussbaum nicely.


Insane Job Add

Blogora has a link to The Philosophy Smoker's discussion of a crazy philosophy job add. Two things:

  1. I can't wait until we all bow down before work with corporate sponsors.
  2. Are visiting associate positions even real?


Burke, Sophistry, and Ecological Rhetoric

I wrote this in response to a graduate students' project on Kenneth Burke. I didn't want to lose it, so I'll stick it here:

Burke shares quite a bit with the Sophists because they both believe that rhetoric is metaphysical, rather than representational. That is to say, language doesn’t simply report on an already existing reality; rather, language participates in bringing reality into being. This does not mean that all reality--for Burke or the Sophists-- is merely language (a critique often thrust upon poststructuralists); there is a material world out there. But we do not have direct access to that material world, we always engage it through our consciousness, through our culture, through words, ideas, preconceptions, expectations, moods, ideologies, identities, technologies, locales, dispositions, injuries, etc.


Its Crap

Today I learned that a friend from grad school--a dedicated high school teacher--lost his job yesterday, along with about 80 other teachers, when his town voted against a tax increase.

To echo David Harvey's conclusion to his RSAnimate talk, "its crap."

We cannot sit by and accept an economy and government that increasingly stratifies wealth. As I have written before, no one earns a billion dollars (or even a million dollars) in isolation. Please endorse the sharing of wealth as a fundamental human value. Every human being on this planet should deserve a chance at food, healthcare, and education more than particular individuals deserve the right to earn billions of dollars.