In the titular essay of his 2015 book The Utopia of Rules, David Graeber argues for a distinction between play and games. Play, according to Graeber is free, creative, and open-ended, while games are rigid, repetitive, and closed-off. Play underlies art, science, conversation, and community, while games are the preferred method of bureaucracy. This idea … Continue reading Play, games, science and bureaucracy
Hi all, I've been working on a paper for a few months and it's finally reached the point where I need to show it to some people who can tell me whether or not I'm crazy. To that end, I posted it on LingBuzz. It's called "A workspace-based theory of adjuncts," and be forewarned it's … Continue reading Self-Promotion: I posted a manuscript to Lingbuzz.
In my last post, I argued that being required to pay rent to a private entity for housing is an injustice. However, as I was thinking about it, I couldn't help but think of examples were rent is justified, or perhaps just a bearable injustice. Consider, for instance, travel accommodations---hotels, hostels, B&Bs. A person travelling … Continue reading Why is temporary injustice bearable?
Rent strikes are occurring in many locations in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Many worker-renters have lost their income, and can no longer afford rent. The common response to a rent strike often to ask whether it is moral for tenants to withhold their rent. This, I think, is the wrong … Continue reading Is rent moral or just?
(This post is in response to a twitter argument I got into that was tipped off by an inane and glib tweet from a Bloomberg opinion writer. The gist of the tweet was that a Chomskyan analysis of the media coverage of a political campaign was useless. The results of an election merely reflects voter … Continue reading Media analysis and voter preference: A parable
Picking up on a unfollowed line of reasoning from my last post, I'd like to argue what might seem like a bold claim: The only practical way to make any discoveries or advances in any science, including syntax, is by starting with the theory. First let me head off a possible objection, namely the Kuhnian … Continue reading Theory first, then description
Recently, I found myself reading Edmund Husserl's Logical Investigations. I didn't make it that far into it---the language is rather abstruse---but included in the fragments of what I did read was a section in which Husserl clarified something that I've been thinking about recently, which is the place of theory in a science. In the … Continue reading What kind of a science is Generative Syntax?
Over on his blog, Colin Phillips has taken up the age-old theory vs experiment debate. The position he seems to take is that the contrast between theory and experiment is illusory and, therefore, the debate itself is wrong-headed. Here he is making what seems to be his main point: There’s a terminological point here that … Continue reading Colin Phillips on the Theory/Experiment divide.
It's the end of the year, which means it's Best Of the Year season. I don't think I saw enough movies, discovered enough new music, read enough books, or watched enough TV shows this year to make a Top 5 list for any of those mediums. What's more, some of culture that I most enjoyed … Continue reading My Top Culture Things of 2019
As I mentioned previously, I'm not very comfortable with the presence of US Customs and Border Protection agents in Canadian airports. I recently found out that the situation just got much worse. In a piece for the CBC, H.M. Jocelyn, a Rutgers PhD candidate, reports on recent amendments to the Canada-United States Preclearance Agreement, the … Continue reading Another bit of sovereignty surrendered at the US Border