Friday, March 30, 2007

Bassoon!

Sweet!

Not only is the cutest and most talented bassoonist I know playing Mozart's Bassoon Concerto (K191) up in the Big Apple in a week, but I've got front row seats. And I'm told by the soloist herself that I'm permitted to quietly follow along with the score.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Erotique

My French vocabulary being about ten words, I have to enjoy Honegger's Joan of Arc mainly on a musical level. Nonetheless, just now I realized that the word I constantly hear hurled at the protagonist is probably not--as I had to now thought--"erotique" (which may or may not be a real word, but certainly is unexpected), but rather the more appropriate "hérétique."

So that's something.

UPDATE: It should go without saying that I don't mean to imply that heresy is not erotic. Such a claim would take me to the heights of absurdity.

In other news, swimming was just a bit easier today. And I think my goggle face went away quicker.

[23:39] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: i was doing this case today, and for all kids younger than 17-18, we put them totally out for the procedure, unlike adults for whom we merely give "conscious sedation"

[23:39] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: this was a 7 year old kid who needed his gastric tube changed out

[23:39] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: the little guy kept waking up during the case

[23:40] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: i'd have to struggle to hold him onto the table while trying to maintain the wire that kept access into his stomach while he was kicking me

[23:42] Remy Boncouer: Yikes. Was he all right?

[23:43] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: yeah, just bad anesthesia

[23:43] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: they didn't do their jobs right

[23:44] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: but i think the kid was somehow resistant to a lot of the drugs they were giving him, i.e., he didn't respond to anesthesia like normal kids would

[23:45] Remy Boncouer: He is the chosen one!!

Works Cited

May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.


Robert Frost, Birches

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sweet

JAY: Stop calling me "Sweety."

SCOTT: Stop being so sweet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Free Will

So y’all are probably wondering about my view on free will. I’m an unrepentant compatibilist. That’s right: not only does free will exist, it exists in a deterministic universe. And we can ignore quantum indeterminacy because 1. the significance of quantum effects on traditional, volitional mechanisms is nil or near enough, and 2. even assuming the contrary, there’s no reason to prefer indeterminate causes of our choices over determinate ones.

I admit I used to find the idea of determinism terrifying, but nowadays not only do I like it, but I find the opposite idea incoherent. Deterministic free will I comprehend easily—simply realize that even though any particular neural state is entirely predetermined by a previous configuration of the universe, it is nonetheless the routing of those causal processes through sentient beings that gives them their moral significance and autonomy. Free will is defined as those actions a deterministic universe results in you doing. Non-deterministic free will, however, just doesn’t congeal into anything.

And this isn’t a dictionary dodge. If there was a definition of free will different from the one I’m giving, and it was clear I was simply hammering that one into a new shape for the ends of my argument, then I’d be breaking the rules. But it’s not clear what that alternate definition is, so there's no fault in crafting a definition where one has yet to be proferred.

To be clear then, I believe 1. all my actions are predetermined—an omniscient demon could, given a particular layout of the universe, calculate precisely what I’d be thinking in a decade—and 2. I am responsible for my actions (save those prompted by coercion)—I remain unabashedly free to make the choices I make. And while the conjunction of these beliefs is quite counterintuitive, ultimately they mesh without problem.

So as deep philosophical problems go, spill your energy elsewhere. Save your concern for our need of a decent theory of knowledge, the moral realist vs. skeptic debates, how to define liberty if there is a sensible means of doing so.

Make no mistake—as materialists go, I'd be a lousy one. I am indeed disappointingly mystic, what with my beliefs in Platonic ideals, moral facts, and the validity of intuition. But so long as the mystically identified thing is objective, then it determines, and so long as it determines, compatibilism’s a cakewalk.

Hours slept last night: 5

Listening: Ozawa, Honegger—Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher. I'm a sucker for the ondes martenot--really martenots of any kind.

Number of Supreme Court Justices Met: 2 of 9

SCOTT: When I see her, I just want to kill a sabre-toothed tiger.

Pop Culture, Briefly

The good news is Rome went out on top.

[12:01:34 AM] Scott says: I even cried.
[12:01:44 AM] Scott says: And if you tell anyone that...

The bad news is the writers of 24 have given up on original material and are now simply running season 2's plot over again. Based on these data points, it is obvious that the new ideal form for television dramas is the massively expensive, uncensored, premium channel, commercial-free jewel that costs such an ungodly amount of money it lasts three seasons at the most.

Professor Yale has a way of dropping strange and interesting turns of phrase while lecturing. Today I recorded his figurative language and, to his delight, gave him the paper with the accounting on it after class.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mercury

Ha, regarding previous post. "Objectified" was obviously what I was reaching for, but too much Ayn Rand (there's no other kind) in the memory granted me "objectivized."

[00:28] Remy Boncouer: Stephenson is fantastic. Even his crappy books aren't crappy.