Tråcklar medelst citat

Jag vet inte riktigt vad jag ska göra av de här artiklarna jag har läst på sistone om vetenskap/forskning och universitetens historiska, nuvarande och framtida roll, men kanske finns det en röd tråd. Det blir en radda citat bara tills vidare:

This influential conception of the relations between science and society helped underwrite what has become known as the “knowledge deficit model” of science communication. The model posits an asymmetric relation between scientists and the public: non-scientists are seen as passive recipients of scientific knowledge, which they should accept more or less uncritically according to the dispensations of scientific experts. […]

In the end, the knowledge deficit model fails because it views public trust and acceptance of science primarily as an epistemic problem—a matter of too little knowledge. What we need instead are approaches that respect equally important moral and political factors in shaping the relationship between science and society. Social trust in science must be earned and cultivated, and this process depends as much on power as on knowledge. Even in an ideal case, no amount of consensus about scientific facts or the mechanisms of knowledge production will eliminate disagreement about the policies we should pursue as a democratic society—a political and moral question that inevitably impinges on values.

Catarina Dutilh Novaes & Silvia Ivani,The Inflated Promise of Science Education“, Boston Review (6 september 2022)

Om historiska och eventuellt framtida omvandlingar:

The next phase of the evolution of science will necessarily involve the reconciliation of its exploratory and authoritative elements. This will require changes both at the level of scientific practice and public understanding. […]

At the level of scientific practice, we should expect vast changes in institutions. Some scientific fields and subfields should continue to claim authority. Others, however, should disclaim it partly or completely. […] In some cases, the best solution might be to break a field into multiple separate and rarely interacting components, thereby preventing premature consensus. In other cases, it may be necessary to introduce many different gradations of acceptance and authority.

Geoff Anders, “The Transformations of Science“, Palladium (10 oktober 2022)

Om man inte orkar läsa Michela Massimis uppenbart upplysande bok Perspectival Realism (öppen tillgång) så duger Philip Kitchers recension gott och väl:

Appreciating the cogency of what past decades have taught, she affirms that all knowledge is situated; scientists cannot find any Archimedean point or achieve the “view from nowhere.” Their research is undertaken from perspectives. But she sees the plurality of perspectives as crucial to the production of reliable knowledge. Her task is to understand how this works, how some kinds of cognitive achievement—knowledge, understanding, an ability to steer intervention—are possible across perspectives. […]

Does Perspectival Realism provide the antidote to Antivax? Like science itself, it is no magic bullet, but it certainly provides immediate relief for the simplest arguments—those that see scientific success as an all-or-nothing affair. Science isn’t infallible, Massimi shows, but it isn’t incorrigible, either. The best it can offer are hard-won, if incomplete and tentative, successes. Science grows through the interaction of diverse perspectives.

Philip Kitcher, “Windows on Reality“, Boston Review (12 september 2022)

Om boken Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else) av Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, även om citaten handlar om annat:

The undercommons is located in the university—more generally, in the swarm of relations and systems we could call “academia” or “intellectual life”—but is not a physical place; rather, it is a “downlow lowdown maroon community of the university … where the work gets done, where the work gets subverted, where the revolution is still black, still strong.” […]

Moten and Harney [i boken The Undercommons från 2013] insist that this is radical work: work that aims at, and helps achieve, the abolition of the structures of evil that organize the university, and the modern world more generally. The undercommons aspires both to their abolition and the construction of new and more loving forms of life.

Nicholas Whittaker, “Elite Capture“, The Point Magazine (18 oktober 2022)

Och så en platshållare för att jag borde läsa Michael Nielsen och Kanjun Qius “A Vision of Metascience”, som kanske kan knytas till den röda tråden, men kanske blir den här delen mer ljusrosa:

In this essay we sketch a vision of how the social processes of science may be rapidly improved. In this vision, metascience plays a key role: it deepens our understanding of which social processes best support discovery; that understanding can then help drive change.

Michael Nielsen och Kanjun Qiu, “A Vision of Metascience: An Engine of Improvement for the Social Processes of Science“, The Science++ Project (18 oktober 2022)

Strukturalistiska sammanträffanden

När den franske antropologen Claude Levi-Strauss (med begränsad erfarenhet av studier i fält, men desto fler timmar på New York Public Library (och under namnet Claude L. Strauss, för att inte förväxlas med jeansmärket)) bodde i New York så artade det sig så att han bodde i en lägenhet i samma hus som en annan Claude. Shannon. Den förra funderade ut strukturalismen och den senare informationsteorin. De verkar inte ha haft så mycket varandra att göra, kanske hejade på varandra i trappuppgången.

Någon som däremot influerade Levi-Strauss var Roman Jakobson, vars lingvistiska teorier om språkliga strukturer låg till grund för hans idéer om släktskapskapssystem. Båda var på flykt undan nazisterna och fann ett intellektuellt hem vid New School for Social Research.

Det här leder mig till en artikel av Bengt Jangfeldt om Roman Jakobsons vistelse i Sverige året innan han flydde vidare till USA. I maj 1941 tog Jakobson och hans fru – Svatava Jakobson – en båt från Göteborg mot New York. Med på båten var Ernst Cassirer och hans fru – Toni Cassirer. Ernst hade varit professor i filosofi vid Göteborgs universitet i några år efter att ha flytt från Hamburg undan nazisterna. De såg sig nödgade att fly vidare, när kriget närmade sig Sverige.

Så här beskriver Toni Cassirer båtresan (citat i Jangfeldts artikel):

“The conversation lasted […] nearly the whole fortnight of the passage and was extremely exciting and rewarding for both scholars. Whether it was stormy or not, whether the mines were dancing before us or not, whether the war news were positive or not — the two scholars were discussing their linguistic problems with the greatest enthusiasm”


Mrs Cassirer also recalls that on the second day the ship was stopped by the Germans who wanted to check the identity of the passengers. Cassirer and his wife were Swedish citizens and passed the control without difficulties, but the Jakobsons were stateless. When the German officers realized that Jakobson was a Russian refugee, however, he and his wife were allowed to continue.

Jag vet inte vart jag vill kommer det här. Kanske bara ge en lite putt åt den där artikeln av Jangfeldt, om någon i framtiden skulle få för sig att söka efter mer information om detta. Det finns säkerligen beskrivet mer noggrant och med mer kontext någon annanstans.

(Kedjan av influenser och sammanträffanden orsakades av några korta meningar i Louis Menands bok The Free World).

Lots of copies keeps stuff safe

Peter Gainsford går igenom kvarhängande och under seklerna självförstärkande myter om det antika biblioteket i Alexandra. Huvudpoängen är att det som huserades i Alexandria knappast var unikt. Det var däremot det som fanns vid nationalmuseet i Rio de Janeiro, som brann 2018:

The fire at the National Museum of Brazil in 2018 destroyed mountains of unique recordings of indigenous languages, irreplaceable archives of extinct languages, and physical artefacts. When a copy of a book gets burned, it can always be replaced if people care. But much of what was lost that day was lost for good. The fire of Rio de Janeiro was far more destructive than the incidents at Baghdad or Alexandria.


Sasha Frere-Jones skriver om vad som verkar vara en udda bok – Above All Waves: Wisdom from Tominaga Nakamoto, the Philosopher Rumored to Have Inspired Bitcoin, sammanställd av en Paul Chan. Med utgångspunkt i texter av den japanska 1700-talsfilosofen Tominaga Nakamoto (aldrig hört talas om) dras en linje till den svårfångade bitcoin-skaparen Satoshi Nakamoto. Det fanns/finns teorier att namnet var inspirerat av Tominaga.

In 2008, someone named Satoshi took stock of the existing coding tools and figured out a way—without inventing anything new or leveraging any authority, but just by remixing old technological ideas in an unexpected fashion—to make a decentralized network that would be confirmed and reinforced by all the users, with no need of masters. Whether or not Bitcoin became a clown car does not change the egalitarian spirit of the technology, which will likely see its best deployment in some other variation of the blockchain. The ruling class and salesmen are the ones who usually put faith in ideas like “innovation,” a shady word in all instances. Tominaga was suspicious of exactly that kind of idea when he wrote that “we should aspire to be profoundly ordinary in all matters.” Within the seemingly ordinary is the actually divine.

Andras rekommendationer

Jag gillar årsbästalistor. Jag ögnade den som TLS sammanställt från en rad författare och kritiker och fastnade för dessa:

  • Clare Jackson, Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688
  • Richard Cohen, Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past
  • Phil Bake, City of the Beast: The London of Aleister Crowley
  • Jeremy Lee, Cooking
  • Charles Baudelaire, Lat Fragments
  • Jeffrey Veidlinger, In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918–1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust
  • Franz Kafka, The Drawings

Fjortonde november tjugetjutvå – Liten länkdump

Allt jobb och all kumulerad kunskap (YouTube) som ligger bakom den där mysiga merinotröjan jag sätter på mig!

Bomb Magazine om Gauss PDF:

There was no call for donations nor prices on the work of their authors, which gives the sense that Faylor intended it as an open archive, one that’s still accessible though decaying, as all things do—a missing file here or an OS incompatibility there. It’s a subtle subversion of the model holding the book commodity as the end to its means. Not beholden to the technology that defines so much of publishing, Gauss PDF not only revels in a broad definition of what poetry is but also indicates that contemporary poetics can be premonitory of the technologies that come to mediate what is otherwise ineffable.

Fruitful.FM was a temporary radio station housed inside a greenhouse. Flipping the traditional ‘dead’ and hidden (terra incognita) space of a radio studio on its head.

Ett fint reportage om några barnboksillustratörer (New York Times).

The Collation (Folger Shakespeare Library) – “The habitability of our planet—is it only a contemporary issue?“:

But questions about habitability are not new. Habitability is a notion that has been present throughout the centuries, and that has its own history. Studying that history can shed light on our own interactions with it and can be vital to understanding the different ways of perceiving life, its limits, the imaginaries that shape the search for knowledge, and our visions of the future.

Ett par artiklar om Andrea Wulfs Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self:

Också, om Percy Bysshe Shelley hos Aeon – “The invention of free love“.

Freud i Göteborg. Roligt att läsa eftersom jag gillar att lyssna på Per Magnus Johansson i Arche-podden från Freudianska föreningen.

TLS om tre nya böcker om Freud (betalvägg).

Venkatesh Rao:

In brief, an irresistible force has met an immovable object. An entrepreneur who has never met a venture he couldn’t master has met a platform that has never met a leader who could tame it. A legendary emperor has marched into a fabled graveyard of empires.

The Roding is London’s largest forgotten river.

Humtank – ”‘Hur människor i allmänhet har det’, eller: humaniora och A-traktorn“:

I Umeå forskar etnologen Jenny Ingridsdotter om hur lokalsamhällen som drabbades av skogsbränderna 2018 mobiliserade sina lokala resurser och använde sin etablerade relation till skogen. I Örebro har språkforskaren Anna Heuman nyligen disputerat på en avhandling om språkpoliser på sociala medier. I Göteborg forskar historikern Sari Nauman om flyktingmottagandets inverkan på lokalsamhällen genom att jämföra nuet med liknande situation på 1700-talet. Vid Stockholms universitet disputerade Susanna Areschoug tidigare i år med en studie om lantliga ungdomar som visar på och undergräver de fördomar som stadskulturen har om ”EPA-traktorungdomar”. Vid Malmö universitet forskar litteraturvetaren Ann-Sofi Ljung Svensson om idylliska skildringar av svensk landsbygd i både Astrid Lindgren och nutida inredningsbloggar.

Georges PerecTentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien (engelska Wikipedia).

Om Wolfgang Kieling (engelska Wikipedia; hört om i en föreläsning av Slavoj Žižek):

In March 1968 he moved from West Germany to East Germany because of West German support for the United States, which he became disillusioned with after witnessing the Watts riots firsthand during the filming of Torn Curtain. After defecting he called the United States “the most dangerous enemy of humanity in the world today” with its “crimes against the Negro and the people of Vietnam.”

The epistemological foundations of data science: a critical review“.

Kommande bok av Tamson PietschThe Floating University: Experience, Empire, and the Politics of Knowledge:

In her new book, Tamson Pietsch excavates a rich and meaningful picture of Lough’s grand ambition, its origins, and how it reveals an early-twentieth-century America increasingly defined both by its imperialism and the professionalization of its higher education system. As Pietsch argues, this voyage—powered by an internationalist worldview—traced the expanding tentacles of US power, even as it tried to model a new kind of experiential education. She shows that this apparent educational failure actually exposes a much larger contest over what kind of knowledge should underpin university authority, one in which direct personal experience came into conflict with academic expertise.

En charmerande idé om medvetandet“.

Sasha Frere-Jones: “Audiophilia and its discontents“.

Utan penselspår

Anne Truitt, Morning Choice (1968)

Jag upptäckte konstnären/skulptören Anne Truitt med anledning av att en ny volym av hennes dagböcker har publicerats postumt. Från Wikipedia fastnade jag för det här om hennes metod:

The structures are weighed to the ground and are often hollow, allowing the wood to breathe in changing temperatures. She applies gesso to prime the wood and then up to 40 coats of acrylic paint, alternating brushstrokes between horizontal and vertical directions and sanding between layers. The artist sought to remove any trace of her brush, sanding down each layer of paint between applications and creating perfectly finished planes of colour. The layers of paint build up a surface with tangible depth.

Filtrerat för: djup

Venkatesh Rao frågar sig…

Are adjectives like deep and long merely about adding some poetry to a one-dimensional experience of time, or do they point to, and reify, meaningful aspects of the phenomenology of that experience?

…och kommer fram till att det kan vara värdefullt om man tolkar det som skärpedjup (“depth of field”). Det här var ett bra sätt att tänka på det som:

To peek ahead, think of the temporal depth of field as the distance between the slowest and fastest processes of change that you can attend to simultaneously.

If you could simultaneously attend to the flapping of a hummingbird’s wings and the drift of the tectonic plate under your feet (assuming there isn’t an earthquake going on right now), you’d have an extraordinarily high temporal depth of field.