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Is Your Job a Bunch of B.S.? - Los Angeles Review of Books
"Bullshit Jobs A Theory By David Graeber Published 05.15.2018 Simon & Schuster 368 Pages"
book  review  work  labor  jobs  bullshit  purpose  meaning  economics 
may 2018 by tsuomela
Someone Has to Fail — David F. Labaree | Harvard University Press
"What do we really want from schools? Only everything, in all its contradictions. Most of all, we want access and opportunity for all children—but all possible advantages for our own. So argues historian David Labaree in this provocative look at the way “this archetype of dysfunction works so well at what we want it to do even as it evades what we explicitly ask it to do.” Ever since the common school movement of the nineteenth century, mass schooling has been seen as an essential solution to great social problems. Yet as wave after wave of reform movements have shown, schools are extremely difficult to change. Labaree shows how the very organization of the locally controlled, administratively limited school system makes reform difficult. At the same time, he argues, the choices of educational consumers have always overwhelmed top-down efforts at school reform. Individual families seek to use schools for their own purposes—to pursue social opportunity, if they need it, and to preserve social advantage, if they have it. In principle, we want the best for all children. In practice, we want the best for our own. Provocative, unflinching, wry, Someone Has to Fail looks at the way that unintended consequences of consumer choices have created an extraordinarily resilient educational system, perpetually expanding, perpetually unequal, constantly being reformed, and never changing much."
book  publisher  school  education  purpose  policy  politics 
october 2015 by tsuomela
Senator's Criticism of Science Foundation Draws Fire - ScienceInsider
From 2011 "Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has long railed against wasteful government spending and urged his colleagues to shrink the federal budget. His latest salvo is a 73-page report released today that accuses the National Science Foundation (NSF) of mishandling nearly $3 billion. The document follows a well-trod path of asserting that a federal research agency is funding trivial and duplicative research in addition to exercising inadequate oversight of existing programs."
science  purpose  research  funding  government  basic-research  legitimacy  nsf 
april 2013 by tsuomela
Why Should You Think Like a Scientist? – Uncertain Principles
"In the end, the core justification for everything I do in terms of trying to bring science to a broader audience comes back to the idea that science isn’t a collection of facts, it’s an approach to the world. Stripped to its essentials, science is a four-step process: you look at something interesting in the world, you think about why it might work that way, you test your idea with further observations and experiments, and you tell everybody you know what you found"
science  communication  purpose  thinking  method 
april 2013 by tsuomela
Archives Don't Matter | AVPreserve
"Archival Environments matter because they help support the longevity of discovery and access, but if that access to playable content is not provided the nominal archive is remiss in its duties. Until such time as that duty is met we cannot rightfully distinguish between or value the role of the traditional archive over the lay archive of something like a YouTube merely on the tenets of description, storage, and best practices alone."
archives  philosophy  purpose  profession  laypeople  utility 
february 2013 by tsuomela
sp!ked review of books | The university: still dead
Andrew Delbanco’s insightful new book on the history and future of the American college exposes an institution that has no idea what it should be.
book  review  university  academic  academia  purpose  education  philosophy 
june 2012 by tsuomela
The Portal Problem, Part 2: The Plight of the Library Collection « The Scholarly Kitchen
"Today, I’d like to suggest that the traditional research library faces a similar challenge. The library collection is simply a bigger version of the encyclopedia: a seemingly exhaustive but actually (in the great majority of cases) very limited information portal that invites increasingly-skeptical customers to “start your research here.”"
libraries  future  access  research  purpose  information-science 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Overcoming Bias : What Is Econ Advice?
"Imagine that economists were surveyed and had to choose how they’d best like to describe economic policy recommendations, as:

Morals – Arguing for the morality of actions,
Deals – Helping groups find and make deals, or
Showing Off – Academics do hard things in order to be certified by other academics as impressive, so that students, patrons, and readers can gain status by affiliating with them. Economic policy analysis is such a hard thing.

I’d bet that at least 25% would choose option #2, and even more among those whose style leans sci/tech. And #2 seems to me a better public face for economists to present to the world – economists will prosper more overall if they say this is what they are doing."
economics  argument  purpose  genre  academic  communication  style 
february 2012 by tsuomela
ARCADE: Literature, the Humanities, and the World
"And yet, it's often as somebodies that we reveal ourselves as scholars and teachers. One of the bees recently in my proverbial bonnet is the notion that students have been misguided into thinking that academic thought is neither applicable to nor motivated by "the real world." It's in blogging that I've found this notion most profoundly refuted, as trivial posts on the minutiae of everyday life eventually link up with larger theoretical concerns, casually strung together by the idiosyncratic tagging taxonomy in my head. The humanities in particular are aimed at developing theoretically supple ways to answer questions that we seriously want answered. I'm not going to lie: when I heard I was going to be an aunt, I went and read Eve Sedgwick's essay "Tales of the Avunculate." (Recommended, by the way.) To me, revealing those connections is part of the point of thinking in public."
weblog-analysis  purpose  public  intellectual  academia  humanities 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Why some social network services work and others don’t — Or: the case for object-centered sociality :: Zengestrom
" the term ‘social networking’ makes little sense if we leave out the objects that mediate the ties between people. Think about the object as the reason why people affiliate with each specific other and not just anyone. For instance, if the object is a job, it will connect me to one set of people whereas a date will link me to a radically different group. This is common sense but unfortunately it’s not included in the image of the network diagram that most people imagine when they hear the term ‘social network.’ The fallacy is to think that social networks are just made up of people. They’re not
social-media  social-networks  theory  objects  purpose  analysis  community  network 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Are Visionaries Born or Created? - James Fallows - Business - The Atlantic
"And the origins of passion, I've concluded, are directly linked to this idea of "vision." For passion to take hold, we first have to have a vision of an alternate future that ignites a fire within us: a vision of a wrong righted, a community developed, a great new product made and sold, a goal achieved, or just a new relationship full of happiness and bliss. Not every vision leads to a passionate pursuit of it, of course. But in all cases where people do pursue something with passion, it's because there was a vision, first, that sparked an unquenchable flame and desire to make that vision real. " Annotated link
vision  passion  work  purpose  business  JobsSteve 
march 2011 by tsuomela
The Mission of Research Libraries - Academic Librarian
"Instead, I would choose to challenge the original assumption, that the guiding mission of research libraries (and I'm assuming research libraries only, which UCLA has) is to buy appropriate materials for local (and presumably currently existing) patrons. That's not now, nor has it ever been, the guiding mission of research libraries, or in the interest of the research institutions they support. The guiding mission of research libraries is to collect the human record in its totality and make it accessible for study by all scholars. We have not yet achieved a "collective openness," but we've achieved a remarkable amount of collective organization."
libraries  purpose  mission  research 
january 2011 by tsuomela
Everyday Sociology Blog: Hard Work Has Its Limits
"It’s disturbing to think that the American Dream isn’t available to everyone all of the time. It’s frustrating to consider that hard work gets some people nowhere. I’m not suggesting that we start reading books with titles like “Failure is Inevitable” and “Laziness is a Virtue.” And I don’t expect to see an author on Oprah Winfrey’s show promoting a book called “Stop Trying.” Hard work and achievement will probably always be core American values. I just want to acknowledge what I think is a cold economic fact: hard work has its limits."
work  purpose  meritocracy  success  america  american-dream 
december 2010 by tsuomela
LRB · David Bromwich · The Fastidious President
His eloquence finds its natural key not in explanations but in statements of purpose. Obama wants credit for the highest intentions even when conceding that he lacks the will to fulfil them. The trouble is that a politician who says what he would like to do and then fails to do it leaves himself open to attack on both counts. You disappoint your supporters and at the same time give notice to your enemies that the thing they stopped you from doing was the thing you would have liked to do.
politics  obama  rhetoric  speech  speaking  action  eloquence  explanation  purpose  intention  policies  fastidious  power 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Notional Slurry » some thoughts on how “genetic programming” actually happens
I’m saying that the point of scientific endeavor (and to push things, every endeavor) is not “increasing disclosure of the real nature of the real world”, but instead immediate, pragmatic, purposive gain obtained by exercising the tools of language.
pragmatism  science  philosophy  purpose  logic  inquiry  language 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Stumbling and Mumbling: Fallible preferences & universities
20-year-olds cannot predict the specific skills they’ll need in the labour market in 10-20 years time. This is not just because they don‘t know what jobs they‘ll have then, but because they don‘t know how occupations will change. For this reason, there’s a huge danger that purely vocational skills will quickly date. Instead, the key is to teach them more general skills: how to interpret evidence; how to write, and so on. One good way to do this is to give them a rigorous education in anything; how else do you explain the economic success of Oxford classics graduates?
education  purpose  business  utility  career  prediction  preference  university 
october 2010 by tsuomela
The Purpose of Criticism – Towards an Aesthetics of Ideas « Ruthless Culture
This combination of subjective personal opinion anchored in objective fact (the body of a text) but heading out of the plane of the textual ecliptic at a high rate of burn strikes me as a good analogy for the nature of criticism. As a critic I am not in the business of providing purchasing advice, but neither am I in the business of attempting to read the author’s mind by establishing the facts about a text.

As a critic, I am engaged in the construction of conceptual edifices. I bring to bear theories and asserted truths ripped from the world and my own imagination and crash them into the text of a book or a film like a runaway train into an orphanage. On a good day, I may make people marvel at the explosion or weep at the humanity of the dead children pulled from the wreckage. Criticism is narcissistic, self-regarding and utterly pointless. But then… so is most art.
criticism  purpose  literature  art  essay  aesthetics 
july 2010 by tsuomela
America First? | The New York Review of Books
Best European Fiction 2010
edited and with an introduction by Aleksandar Hemon, with a preface by Zadie Smith

Why Translation Matters
by Edith Grossman

The Novel: An Alternative History, Beginnings to 1600
by Steven Moore

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
by David Shields

..aside from superficial markers like names and places, or the fact that it is fairly easy to distinguish translated texts from those in their original tongue..It seems to me rather that as we tackle intriguing stories from Latvia and Lithuania, Bosnia and Macedonia, we are struck by how familiar these voices are, how reassuringly similar in outlook to one another and ourselves.
books  review  translation  foreign-language  novel  literature  purpose  form  modernism  international  style 
july 2010 by tsuomela
What Business is Wall Street In ? « blog maverick
The only people who know what business Wall Street is in are the traders. They know what business Wall Street is in better than everyone else. To traders, whether day traders or high frequency or somewhere in between, Wall Street has nothing to do with creating capital for businesses, its original goal. Wall Street is a platform. It’s a platform to be exploited by every technological and intellectual means possible.

The best analogy for traders. They are hackers.
wall-street  finance  financial-services  capitalism  purpose  business-model  traders 
may 2010 by tsuomela
Purpose-Driven Life: an article by Brian Boyd about how evolution creates meaning and creativity | The American Scholar
Evolution does not rob life of meaning, but creates meaning. It also makes possible our own capacity for creativity.
evolution  meaning  purpose  religion  creativity  philosophy  science  darwin  charles 
october 2009 by tsuomela
Open Left:: Education vs. Indoctrination--Beyond False Balance
The whole aim of liberal education-in the liberal vs. servile sense-is to fit one for a life of intellectual independence, and moral autonomy. Critical thinking is central to this. One cannot freely choose anything if one is ignorant of, and therefore slave to, unexamined prejudices and assumptions. That is why students are challenged to defend what they believe, it is why they are "forced" to learn views that they don't agree with, too. It's not enough to say, "I hate liberalism." You actually have to learn something about it, and then give some reasons for your hatred-at the very least

Plenty of students fiercely resist this. They don't want to think. This isn't limited to any one political view. Our entire popular culture is orientated away from thinking. Thinking gets in the way of non-stop consumption.
education  purpose  learning  critical-thinking  pedagogy  learning-theory  model  psychology 
september 2009 by tsuomela
Of Cranks and Olives « Larval Subjects .
The true measure of a successful philosophy, I think, is whether or not it becomes a difference engine. As I understand it, a difference engine is an entity that is perpetually adept at producing differences. This is not an egalitarian, happy go lucky free for all. There will be antagonisms, conflicts, wars, and so on.
philosophy  purpose  trolls  criticism  opposition  disagreement  argument 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Overcoming Bias : Academia’s Function
Yes one might save the idealistic theory via various ad hoc assumptions, such as that people are ignorant in various specific ways and use prestige only as a heuristic to achieve their altruistic ends. But it seems far simpler to me to just postulate that people care primarily about affiliating with others who have been certified as prestigious.
academia  purpose  credential  signals  utility  academic 
july 2009 by tsuomela
OnFiction: Romantic Theory of Art
Collingwood’s theory is that emotions are fundamental to our being, but that they are often difficult to understand, and that art is the expression of them in a language (of words, music, painting, etc.) in order to explore them and understand them better.
art  emotion  aesthetics  philosophy  psychology  purpose  learning 
july 2009 by tsuomela
TPM: The Philosophers’ Magazine | Philosophy as complementary science
Let me now express my position more clearly and systemically: philosophy of science can seek to generate scientific knowledge in places where science itself fails to do so; I call this the complementary function of philosophy of science, as opposed to its descriptive and prescriptive functions. I propose taking the philosophy of science as a field which investigates scientific questions that are not addressed in current specialist science — questions that could be addressed by scientists, but are excluded due to the necessities of specialization.
science  philosophy  methods  paradigm  complementary  purpose  history  sts  research 
july 2009 by tsuomela
Understanding Through Empathy | Ian Welsh
Empathy isn’t a fuzzy virtue. It isn’t even a virtue at all, it is an ability. It can be used for good, or for evil. Once you understand someone you can use that understanding to help them, to heal them, to hurt them or to destroy them. Reject empathy and you reject understanding your fellow humans as well as you otherwise could. In war, that can lead to defeat
empathy  politics  virtue  purpose 
may 2009 by tsuomela
Shift Online - Home
he SHiFT network supports people in mid-life who seek greater meaning in life and work.
work  meaning  purpose  labor  age 
april 2009 by tsuomela
Maverick Philosopher: Adorno on Wittgenstein's Indescribable Vulgarity
Adorno is right: to philosophize is to attempt to articulate something that is not articulated, or poorly articulated, something that may even in the end be inarticulable. The project is to say -- not the strictly Unsayable: here Adorno's formulation is needlessly paradoxical -- but the Unsaid. The project is to bring into the light the dimly discerned. One cannot do this without moving away from the particulars of ordinary usage.
philosophy  purpose  language  about(TheodoreAdorno)  about(LudwigWittgenstein) 
march 2009 by tsuomela
Art - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Good section on the "purpose of art" - non-motivated and motivated reasons.
art  aesthetics  philosophy  purpose 
february 2009 by tsuomela
digital digs: redrawing the college classroom
But that's not what higher education is about for students, at least not primarily. Students want to be vetted and certified. Faculty, administrators, accrediting bodies determine the definition of a particular degree. Students who earn the degree attain a particular identity. Are we going to allow students to determine their own curriculum and then at some self-determined end state that they are now certified to be public school teachers or lawyers or doctors? I suppose we could, and then we would leave it up to the employers (school districts for example) to determine if students were qualified. But I don't really see anyone wanting universities to abdicate that responsibility.
future  university  education  academia  credential  purpose 
december 2008 by tsuomela
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