Archive for December, 2009

Mathematics as Sign, Brian Rotman, pp112-113:

What would top-down over bottom-up—as an intellectual method, organizing metaphor, or cognitive style—mean? One might gloss it as the ranking of the global, panoptic, abstractly analytic over the concrete, limited, and locally synthetic; of posterior description, morphology, and structure over history, evolution, and genesis; of plans over objectives and goals; of general laws over incidents and cases; of context-free reason over situated knowledge; of realist truth over constructive emergence. But the figure is also reflexive and applies at once to descriptions of itself; the summary I have just given (which is perhaps less than helpful as an explication) is very much a top-down take on the top-down / bottom-up difference.

Michael Oakenshot—an introduction, Paul Franco, p12:

Nevertheless, despite many similarities between Hayek’s critique of central social planning and his own, Oakeshott criticized The Road to Serfdom for ultimately being too ideological. The main significance of Hayek’s book, he wrote, is “not the cogency of the doctrine, but the fact that it is a doctrine. A plan to resist all planning may be better than it’s opposite, but it belongs to the same style of politics.”

Michael Oakenshot—an introduction, Paul Franco, pp177-178:

The dominant idea of Berlin’s philosophy is, of course, value pluralism. Almost everthing he wrote, from The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953) to The Pursuit of the Ideal (1988), involves an attack on monism … and a defense of pluralism … So prevalent is this master dichotomy in Berlin’s thought that is can become rather monotonous. And as many commentators have noted, though Berlin identifies with the fox who knows many things, he himself turns out to be something of a hedgehog who knows one big thing: that values are plural, and that rationalistic monism is a mistake.

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