Category Archives: Language

Same Coin, Two Sides: Resurrecting the Liberal Arts Ideal

There are truths on this side of the Pyranees, which are falsehoods on the other.  ~Blaise Pascal ————- Have you noticed that the same behaviour can be described in diametrically opposed ways, depending on different people’s perspectives? For example, if you were taught, “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 5

Chp. 5 of Paul Veyne’s Foucault, entitled “Universalism, Universals, Epigenesis”, is another short chapter, and a partial detour away from his analysis of Foucault. The main purpose of the chapter is to demonstrate that Christianity, despite its universalist aspirations and pretensions, is a discursive formation riven with scattered intentionalities, unpredictable origins, and unintended alterations. This chapter […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 4

  Chp. 4 of Paul Veyne’s Foucault, entitled “Archaeology”, is a curious part of the book. This short section extends Veyne’s epistemological discussion of the previous chapter, but does not really examine “archaeology” as a method. Also, Foucault’s somewhat vague differentiation between “archaeology” and “genealogy” is mirrored by Veyne’s implicit conflation of the two concepts, […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 3

Foucault’s epistemological perspective is one of the more intriguing aspects of his oeuvre. Foucault never really examined his theory of knowledge in any consistent and thorough-going manner, but he offered many (sometimes cryptic) observations and remarks that have encouraged others to piece together his understanding of how we know and understand the world. Paul Veyne […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 2

One of the strongest objections to Foucault’s philosophy is that his theory of discourse appears to resemble an old sociological perspective: structural functionalism. Structural functionalism is a sort of biological approach to understanding society: all parts of society work together to allow that society to function. The emphasis is on equilibrium, harmony and interdependence (though […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 1

One of the most celebrated philosophers of the 20th century is Michel Foucault. At once both vilified and lauded, Foucault is a fascinating and demanding thinker. He certainly proved to be a challenge when his conception of the Self became the centerpiece of my Master’s thesis. Yet I’ve always maintained that his philosophy (or should […]

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More ruminations on 21st century learning and the concept of change

As usual in the distributed learning (DL) world, the month of June is absurdly hectic. Students who’ve enjoyed the right to create their own learning schedules realize, at the end, that no right exists without a corresponding responsibility. And now – as their asynchronous bliss meets the realities of graduation, post-secondary timetables and the rigours […]

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Sun Media Brings Fox News to Canada

This is almost hilarious. It must be the most absurd media promo I’ve ever seen – as if it’s a parody made by the people at The Colbert Report or The Onion. Unfortunately, these yahoos are serious.   Posted by Colin Welch at 8:21 PM Edited on: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 5:20 PM  

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Notes from Michael Oakeshott’s “Political Education”

One of the most thoughtful and engaging conservative philosophers of the 20th century is Michael Oakeshott. I’m re-reading some of the essays from his famous work Rationalism in Politics. Here are my quote notes on the first essay I’ve read: Oakeshott, Michael. “Political Education,” Rationalism in Politics and other essays, Expanded Edition (Liberty Press, Indianapolis), […]

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A Choice of Words

Here’s an interesting exercise. Replace one word in the Vancouver Sun headline below, and ask how the meaning of the headline has changed. Let’s replace “admits” with “argues”. Such a change makes the revealed “truth” more a matter of debate and interpretation. Yet I’d argue that this is a reasonable change in wording, given that […]

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