What I'm Reading


  • - Reason is not disembodied, as the tradition has largely held, but arises from the nature of our brains, bodies and bodily experience. This is not just the innocuous and obvious claim that we need a body to reason; rather, it is the striking claim that the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment. The same neural and cognitive mechanisms that allow us to perceive and move around also create our conceptual systems and modes of reason. Thus, to understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system and the general mechanisms of neural binding. In summary, reason is not, in any way, a transcendent feature of the universe of of disembodied mind. Instead it is shaped crucially by the peculiarities of our human bodies, by the remarkable details of the neural structure of our brains, and by the specifics of our everyday functioning in the world. - Reason is not completely conscious, but mostly unconscious. - Reason is not purely literal, but largely metaphorical and imaginative. - Reason is not dispassionate, but emotionally engaged.

    Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind & its Challenge to Western Thought , Lakoff and Johnson
  • 'The male ideal of chivalry had one cardinal stipulation: to defend the weak with courage and loyalty. The weakness of women was thus contained in a cultural system in which it was acknowledged and glorified because it transfigured male power and female frailty into lovable qualities… Women’s social inferiority could thus be traded for men’s absolute devotion in love, which in turn served as the very site of display and exercise of their masculinity, prowess, and honor. More: women’s dispossession of economic and political rights was accompanied (and presumably compensated) by the reassurance that in love they were not only protected by men but also superior to them. It is therefore unsurprising that love has been historically so powerfully seductive to women; it promised them the moral status and dignity they were otherwise denied in society and it glorified their social fate: taking care of and loving others, as mothers, wives, and lovers. Thus, historically, love was highly seductive precisely because it concealed as it beautified the deep inequalities at the heart of gender relationships.' https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/03/22/why-love-hurts-eva-illouz/

    Eva Illouz in 'Why Love Hurts'
  • Teaching and learning at its best is one of the most ancient and elemental of all human exchanges. It has been going on ever since our primordial progenitors tried to pass the good news about fire. Tips, tricks, and techniques are not the heart of education - fire is. I mean finding light in the darkness, staying warm in a cold world, avoiding being burned if you can, and knowing what brings healing if you cannot. That is the knowledge that our students really want, and that is the knowledge we owe them. Not merely the facts, not merely the theories, but a deep knowing of what it means to kindle the gift of life in ourselves, in others, and in the world.

    Parker Palmer in 'Radical Presence' by Mary Rose O'Reilley
  • Laura Kipnis - cultural critic and feminist thinker on her book

    "Women have become habituated (and I include myself in this) to playing the role of scold and moral corrective and standing on the mountaintop while at the same time, at least for heterosexual women, desiring men as partner, lovers, fathers... It's just very conflicting because we very much disapprove of men and want men to be different than they are and also want a man to be with."