Indian Premier League

If the Indian Premier League comes to England then we will all need to attach ourselves to teams on a more or less  arbitrary basis. Stoa-readers! Whom will you support? Your choices are between the Mumbai Indians, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Hyderabad Deccan Chargers, the Chennai Super Kings, the Delhi Daredevils, the Kings XI Punjab, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals. (Some relevant links over here.)

UPDATE [2pm, 24/3]: Boo, hiss, it’s going to South Africa.

Pancake Day May Have Been British Values Day, But This Coming Tuesday Is Republic Day!

This just in. No idea who or what is behind it. Sounds fun, though.

Reminder: Republic Day – 17 March 2009

On 17 March 1649, Parliament voted to abolish the office of king, and England became a republic until 1660. We will be marking the 360th anniversary of that historic occasion, and reaffirming the current relevance of the issues raised then – the monarchy and House of Lords, democratic rights and civil liberties – with a rally in Oxford town centre.

Professor David Norbrook to speak

We are delighted to confirm that amongst the speakers will be Professor David Norbrook, Merton Professor of Renaissance English literature at Oxford University, and author of such works as Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance and Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627-1660.

Also speaking will be city councillors John Tanner (Labour) and David Williams (Green Party), as well as Bill MacKeith on behalf of Oxford and District Trades Union Council, and representatives from a variety of left and progressive organisations from the city. We will also read out a message of support we have received, from the Society for Robespierrist Studies, an association of French scholars who specialize in revolutionary history.

Event: Republic Day outdoor rally
Date: Tuesday 17 March
Time: 6pm to 7pm (approx.)
Location: Carfax

Brian Barry, RIP

I learn from here and here that Brian Barry has died. Glancing at the various Barry books I’ve got scattered around the place, I see that he he was one to pay tribute to his cat Gertie in the Prefaces of his later works.

Justice as Impartiality (1995 – I only have the Spanish version to hand, oddly enough, since I don’t really read Spanish): “… y puedo decir sin faltar a la verdad que apenas hay una página de manuscrito que no muestre signos de haber sido completamente hollada por una pata felina.”

Culture and Equality (2001)  “Like the cat on Shackleton’s Endurance, Gertie oversaw the entire operation, and made much the same kind of contribution as Mrs. Chippy, her speciality being to hide the scissors and stapler (essential tools of the trade if you write the way I do) by settling down on top of them and yielding them up only under protest.”

Why Social Justice Matters (Polity, 2005): “Those who have persevered through my previous books (or at least their prefaces [a pre-emptive reference to the Virtual Stoa – ed.]) will not be surprised by my acknowledging the role played in writing this one by Gertie. Cats have been shown to lower blood pressure, and I am sure that she succeeded in doing this every time – and there were a lot of them – that I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew. Perhaps I had, but at least I finished the book, with Gertie keeping me company almost to the last iteration of the optimistically titled ‘final draft’. However, she died at the age of 18 just before that, and this showed that I had if anything underestimated the difference she had made.”

His early books, by contrast, are free of references to cats. Political Argument (1965) thanks his two D.Phil examiners, for example (Strawson and Plamenatz), and chaps like Hart and Rawls, but no cats, and my copy of the Midway Reprint edition of Sociologists, Economists and Democracy doesn’t seem to thank anyone for anything at all (quadruped or otherwise).

(On reflection, if there is a Stoa-reader out there who would like a copy of the Spanish editions of Theories of Justice and Justice as Impartiality, do get in touch, and we can work out how to get them to you.)

“Comrade life, / let us / march faster, / March / faster through what’s left / of the five-year plan”

This is fun:

Hugo Radice, “Life after death? The Soviet system in British higher education”, International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, vol.3, no 2 (2008), pp.99-120.

Abstract: Recent studies of British higher education (HE) have focused on the application of the principles of the ‘new managerialism’ in the public sector, ostensibly aimed at improving the effectiveness of research and teaching, and also on the increasing commercialisation of HE. This article examines HE management in the light of the historical experience of the Soviet system of economic planning. Analogies with the dysfunctional effects of the Soviet system are elaborated with regard to financial planning and the systems of quality control in academic research and teaching. It is argued that Soviet-style management systems have paradoxically accompanied the growing market orientation of HE, undermining traditional professional values and alternative models of engagement between HE institutions and the wider society.

And it’s discussed over here, at Mark Harrison’s blog.

And While I’m Busy Stealing Things From Other Blogs…

… I liked this comment, from Tom Hurka, in a CT comments thread:

At the Edinburgh Festival in 1977 I saw a wonderful play called “Ludwig and Bertie”. It was about Wittenstein and Russell – and Bertie Wooster. You see, Russell and Wittgenstein have agreed to meet, for the first time, in the Trinity College, Cambridge library, which happens to be where Bertie Wooster is going to meet this new man he’s hired, called Jeeves. (He’s going to the library to find an ethics book and read about this “categorical aperitif”.) Well, various misidentifications follow, with Russell thinking Bertie is Wittgenstein (and utterly unsuited to philosophy) while Wittgensein thinks Bertie is Russell (and the stupidest man he’s ever met). It all reaches its climax when Russell encounters Jeeves, who’s of course been the Wittgenstein family butler in Vienna and taught Ludwig everything he knows. How, Russell asks him, can the sentence “The present king of France is bald” be meaningful if there’s no present king of France? “May I venture to suggest, sir”, Jeeves replies, “that we can analyze this sentence as saying that there is one and only one x such that x is the present king of France and x is bald?”