31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Insights on Being Well-Read

What is the true point of a bookish life? Note I write “point,” not “goal.” The bookish life can have no goal: It is all means and no end. The point, I should say, is not to become immensely knowledgeable or clever, and certainly not to become learned. Montaigne, who more than five centuries ago established the modern essay, grasped the point when he wrote, “I may be a man of fairly wide reading, but I retain nothing.” Retention of everything one reads, along with being mentally i...
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01 FEB 2012 by ideonexus

 The Origin and Evolution of Scientific Terms

It is interesting to note how many fundamental terms which the social sciences are trying to adopt from physics have as a matter of historical fact originated in the social field. Take, for instance, the notion of cause. The Greek aitia or the Latin causa was originally a purely legal term. It was taken over into physics, developed there, and in the 18th century brought back as a foreign-born kind for the adoration of the social sciences. The same is true of the concept of law of nature. Orig...
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How terms migrate from science to science, changing their meaning as they go.

03 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 Barbarism Complements Miracles

In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue.
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Where learning and science have won, miracles have vanished.

29 JUN 2011 by ideonexus

 The Invention of "Insufficient Milk Syndrom"

Even when women do decide to breast-feed, they sometimes feel they are thwarted by their own bodies. "Insufficient milk" is cited as a major reason women in the West terminate breast-feeding after a few days or weeks. The syndrome is fascinating because it is a clear example of a disease being "invented," defined, and then perpetuated by culture at large. In only about 5 percent of the cases is there something making it physically impossible for a woman to breast-feed. Before bottle-feeding c...
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A problem that did not exist before the introduction of bottle-feeding.