Sunday, September 29, 2013

A contingent philosophy professor

In the New York Times Book Review today, Sept. 29, 2013, a letter-writer observes "that the ambiguity and multilayered meanings reflected in Continental philosophy are themselves the metaphysical point." The author of the letter, Margaret Betz, is identified by the Book Review as "a contingent philosophy professor at Rutgers University-Camden." Does that mean she is a professor of contingent philosophy -- as her letter might reflect? Or does it mean that her status as a philosophy professor is contingent? If the latter, is the contingency that her job might end at any moment? Or is this an expression of the contingency of everything, including but not limited to philosophy teaching? Just wondering.

The World Trade Center lights, September 9, 2011

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Robben Island

Nelson Mandela's cell at Robben Island, as it appeared when I saw it last month. No toilet, no heat. And while the prisoners labored in a lime pit (which contributed to Mandela's tuberculosis, the after-effects of which he is suffering from still), it must have been quite easy for them to catch a glimpse, across the bay, of Cape Town's Table Mountain rising dramatically over the city just a couple of miles inland. The inmates were imprisoned within sight of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, while the residents of that city went about their lives paying little attention to the prison across the water.