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Daily Archives: January 22, 2008

On assimilation

Jim Belshaw has just posted on the changeability of words over time:  History and the changing meaning of words.

… To illustrate this point, let me take three words – assimilation, time and distance.

Today in Australia, assimilation has taken on a very specific and negative meaning. When we apply these meanings to the use of the word in the past, we assume that those using the word actually mean the same thing that we think of we when we use the word. And that need not be true. This is in fact one element of my continuing dialogue with Neil Whitfield…

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More archives found on the web archive

neil01a.jpg A different, earlier set, complete except for quite a few pics, of the Angelfire diaries from 2000-2001, with that rather unrecognisable person on the right presiding. I wonder who he is/was?

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I was rather attracted to shiny things that moved too, perhaps a bit like a bower bird. The thing above lived at the top of quite a few of my diaries back at the beginning of the decade.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2008 in blogging, memory, nostalgia, personal

 

Cheer yourself up…

… do a browse through the WordPress tag RECESSION.


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Posted by on January 22, 2008 in current affairs

 

Conservative but informative and very entertaining: James Franklin on "Corrupting the Youth"

I do not share by any means all James Franklin’s views and attitudes, though I respect them and share some. I borrowed this University of NSW mathematician’s history of philosophy in Australia from Surry Hills Library the other day and am finding it as entertaining as any novel, indeed more entertaining than quite a few I have read. It is also reviving many memories as well as filling in more than a few blanks in my knowledge. Of course it is partisan; I find it hard to imagine a history of the subject that would not be, unless it was a telephone-book compendium of philosophers with all evaluation excluded. Franklin does not hide his preferences; nor should he. Some will therefore feel dudded, I guess, and envisage quite a different narrative. However, that doesn’t concern me too much as I am simply enjoying the narrative Franklin does give, while sometimes also thinking “Well, you would think that, wouldn’t you?” He does have a sense of humour, an eye for the ridiculous, and sufficient human interest to keep the narrative grounded. See James Franklin, Corrupting the Youth: a history of philosophy in Australia (Sydney, Macleay Press 2004). Reviewed by C.A.J. Coady, University of Melbourne from a Catholic perspective, also complains of its Sydney bias.

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Posted by on January 22, 2008 in Australia, Best read of 2008, Christianity, education, faith and philosophy, memory, personal, reading

 

A plug for WordPress

Having just sent a post to Blogspot via Live Writer, I guess I can fairly make comparisons. Yes, Blogspot is better than it was, but there are some issues which still annoy me there. For example, here on WordPress you can go in and edit comments — your own or those of others — to fix errors or typos. I do wish Blogspot allowed that. WordPress also has a really excellent built-in stats system.

But the big reason to trumpet WP today is this: Free space to three gigabytes. Now that is great news.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2008 in blogging

 

Is Australia a Christian country? Revisited…

My previous posts on this are, inevitably, schematic — and so is this one. I still hold that Australia is by no means a Christian country in the sense that there is any established religion, and it remains true that from its foundation in 1901 and its previous histories as separate colonies Australia has as much been a product of the Enlightenment and thus to a degree of secularism as it has been a product of Christianity. But its histories have given it a very different tenor to either Europe (France, for example) or the United States. No Pilgrim Fathers here, nor any French Revolution tradition — at least not directly, in the latter case.

There is much of relevance to this theme in James Franklin’s extremely entertaining history of philosophy in Australia (especially in Sydney, as some reviewers have complained) — Corrupting the Youth: a history of philosophy in Australia (Macleay Press 2004). More from that source later, but take as an example the wording of the 1850 University of Sydney Act.

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Click to enlarge.

Mind you, that the reference to religion is very broad indeed has been borne out by subsequent history, some of it well told by James Franklin.

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Posted by on January 22, 2008 in Australia, faith, interfaith, Islam, multiculturalism, pluralism, religion