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Re: "Dinosaurs don't count"



>I know, spoken like an English major.

Trust me, if English majors could still write that well I'd be a happy 
man. Look, I refuse to get into a discussion of Meaning and Value-- 
that's my Day Job-- but it's hard to imagine an argument proposing that 
"dinosaurs don't count" which did not also disqualify Monet; or an 
argument against the study of prehistory which did not equally disqualify 
history, and in this case perhaps even medical research. As an earlier 
post put it, the proper attitude to the poor man is probably "pity." 

 The 18c utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham used to argue that 
pushpin (a simple game) gave pleasure equal to, and indistinguishable 
from, the pleasure art gave.  There's no way to argue with such fellows ( 
there's the problem of "other minds" for one thing). The more 
sophisticated utilitarian JS Mill finally shrugged and said, "He was a 
boy to the last."  A footnote: To show his contempt for airy fantasies, 
Bentham ordered that, after his death, his body should be stuffed. It 
was. You may see him in a case, in London to this day, his body now 
called "The Auto-icon." Poetic justice: Bentham ended up like Sue.
Best,
George


George J. Leonard, Ph.D. 
Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities
San Francisco State University
530 Humanities Hall
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, California, 94132
Ph: (415) 338-7428
FAX: (650) 366-5045
Website: http://www.georgeleonard.com