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Old 05.05.2010, 04:25 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by pbradley
I can see how the latter is presumed in the former but then I can hardly see how the latter is interesting or significant in any attempt to understanding the cause of these cutbacks.

it is significant if your aim is not to simply "understand" the cutbacks (is it really that hard?), but to alter, prevent, or diminish the cutbacks.


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Originally Posted by pbradley
Your historical perspective undercuts all this re-invention talk.

how? explain. because i see the humanities reinventing themselves with the times. instead of declaring "undercuts!" do explain -- how?

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Originally Posted by pbradley
It would be so convenient yet pointless if the humanities were something other than the humanities.

everything changes, including the humanities, parmenides. i'm of the heraclitean persuasion-- stay still & perish like a dog.

speaking of which, this business office i need to visit closes at 5 so i gotta go but i will read your predictably cranky answer at a later time.
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Old 05.05.2010, 04:27 PM   #142
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jeezus man, your impression is WRONG. universities depend either on huge endowments or state funds to keep going. why do you think there's a rich person's name above the door every time a new pavillion/laboratory/auditorium/sports complex gets built? do you have any idea of the massive private wealth that supports institutions like harvard, yale (which owns like half of new haven), and other top schools? tuition schmision! hasn't your school hit you up for donations yet, recent graduate? by "i don't know who they may be" i mean, shit, state governments, federal grants, the pentagon, rich fuckers looking to leave a "legacy" (aka "philantropists"), megacorporations ("this is a pepsi campus"), armies of devoted alumni, etc-- the list is too fucking long for me to investigate and list each particular case, but there's a general outline for you. in europe and latin america it's been mostly a govenrment thing, i believe, hence depending on taxes, though there ARE private universities.
And these critical theorists have scorched the earth, in this regard? I'd like to remind you that Middlesex is a unique case of the discontinuation of a whole department, as far as I know. If it's naive to believe that the very existence of the departments depend upon private wealth alone, then I admit naivety. The "government thing" doesn't cut it for patronage.
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Old 05.05.2010, 04:29 PM   #143
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I'm trying to reconcile what seems like two contradictory points:


Remember, it goes: thesis - antithesis - synthesis. Get that down and you're on your way.
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Old 05.05.2010, 05:18 PM   #144
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how? explain.
Sure, sweetcakes. You see, when something proceeds from the presence of another thing, the lack of that second thing prevents the first from coming into being. This has nothing to do with change. It is gone.

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everything changes, including the humanities, parmenides. i'm of the heraclitean persuasion-- stay still & perish like a dog.
You've mistook me, I am Aristotle. When you change the essential form of a thing, you can no longer classify the result of that change as the same thing. Thus, that bit about the neuroticism of intellectualism.

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speaking of which, this business office i need to visit closes at 5 so i gotta go but i will read your predictably cranky answer at a later time.
I certainly wouldn't be if you weren't so condescending in your confusion but now I, too, must be off to assist the new GED teacher.
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Old 05.12.2010, 05:56 PM   #145
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When you change the essential form of a thing, you can no longer classify the result of that change as the same thing.

 


define "essential"

particularly, in what you think is the "unchangeable essence" of the humanities

i don't know of any, but perhaps you do-- "it deals with humans" or such trivial responses don't count.
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Old 05.13.2010, 02:05 PM   #146
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I nicked this off wikipedia:

"The humanities are academic disciplines which study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytic, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural and social sciences."
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Old 05.13.2010, 03:55 PM   #147
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define "essential"
A property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.

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particularly, in what you think is the "unchangeable essence" of the humanities
First, I wrote 'the essential form.' This really can't be reduced to any single quality or even a clear set of qualities but, rather, resemblance. In any case, you must show that the humanities could change but not to the extent to which it could no longer be called the humanities. Even the termination of all humanity departments all over the world is a change in that everyone involved is now flipping burgers and facilities are used for other purposes.

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i don't know of any
Then I don't see how change is possible. Within any change, there must be a constant element. If it cannot be trivial, perhaps it resides in the within the curriculum of the humanities. However, the have content of that is what you seek to change.
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Old 05.13.2010, 08:59 PM   #148
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I suppose in essence, the humanities is an enquiry into what it is to be human, while avoiding any kind of meta-position that might suggest we can understand ourselves from any purely objective standpoint - hence its emphasis on things like interpretation and human creativity and why people like Freud are studied far more in humanities departments than they are science ones. It's probably why Marx has endured so well in the humanities, where it's treated more a method of interpretation than as a way of emprically understanding human behaviour - much to the annoyance of those who consider Marxism a science, I'm sure.

In that sense, I imagine the moment the humanities tries to adopt such a meta-position will be the very moment it stops being the humanities.
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