August 14, 2018

The profundity of language.— You can gain great insight into the human condition, into the nature of the mind, by studying the evolution of words. For example, what’s the significance of the fact that words like illusion, elude, allude, and delude are variations on the Latin word for ‘play’? Johan Huizinga discusses this in Homo Ludens....


August 7, 2018

[Excerpts from this book. See also this blog post, "Excerpts on happiness."]

The meaning of life?— Life is not totally “meaningless.” People’s commitment to their work, to relationships, and to life itself proves that. However, it is hard to deny that life is not as meaningful as we’d like. It is the evolutionary product of “meaningless” random variation and natural selection, no...

August 6, 2018

Here are old notes of mine on a very good book by the historian Roger Horowitz, “Negro and White, Unite and Fight!”: A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-1990 (1997).



Unlike most CIO unions after 1950, the UPWA (United Packinghouse Workers of America) “retained the insurgent spirit of the 1930s’ labor...

August 6, 2018

In The Populist Vision, Charles Postel argues persuasively that Populism, the greatest popular movement in American history, should not be called (as it sometimes is) anti-modern, ‘traditional,’ anti-industrial, anti-progress, even anti-capitalist in a strict sense. What it opposed was not ‘modernity’ or industrial progress or technological efficiency or the market but a particul...

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