Author Archives: Ed Phillips

About Ed Phillips

Rigor in whimsy

A Little Something on Nothing

‘Nothing’ is a very familiar and common word. It is also a word prone to a type of confusion and mistaken use. It has, as a word and a concept, a tendency to become ‘something’. And when ‘nothing’ becomes something … Continue reading

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This Strange Case of Nerves: On Anxiety and Meaning

“Nerves are a mystery. Some people seem to have none. We admire these people for their pluck, but, really, they are just born lucky.” — Louis Menand “When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of … Continue reading

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Goodbye to the Apparatus

Deterministic frames are the bane of much of social science. Marshall Sahlins has done a worthy and readable job of lampooning and trying to understand the lure of such social science. I do want to try to make time for … Continue reading

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Conversations with Peers: Birth in Dialogue

So much of my communication takes place in dialogue. I find it quite difficult to even think outside of dialogue. In fact, dialogue seems to me to be the very soul of thought. Much of my professional life is spent … Continue reading

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Hominem Quaero

Quaero Homines. A man in search of a man. A man in daylight holding up a lamp in parody, in pantomime. Diogenes of Sinope searched and did not find.  He wandered about in full daylight with his lamp; when asked … Continue reading

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Crisis Interminable

A crisis is usually thought of as acute and punctuated. In the usual sense, a crisis is an event and an event is discrete. But what of an extended crisis, one without enough acuteness to merit the more common uses … Continue reading

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The Strain of Being Evil

On my wall hangs a Japanese carving The mask of an evil demon, smeared with opulent gold In sympathy I see — Bulging veins on the forehead, expressing the strain it is to be evil. -Bertolt Brecht Sympathy strains to … Continue reading

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