peteg's blog

Errol Morris: The Ashtray (or the man who denied reality).

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Kindle. The book-length version of a story Morris started telling back in 2011 about his relationship with his onetime supervisor, the incommensurable paradigm-shifting Kuhn, and the non-relative "truth". Moving past the colourful stories of the day, some fun interviews with Kripke, Putnam, Weinberg and others, some great quotes from Bertrand Russell, the text acts mostly as a sourcebook. Morris points at the following amongst many others:

Morris sometimes seems confused: he mostly wants to be able to refer to a truth that is out there in an absolutist, realist sense, but sometimes writes as if it were a mutable thing, somehow forgetting the roles of belief and epistemology. He makes Kuhn sound like a Supreme Court originalist.

Originally a pointer from Tim Maudlin, who rails as hard against Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation as Morris does against Kuhn. Laura Miller and commentary at Hacker News. David Kordahl observes that Morris is often constructing the Kuhn he is dismantling. Philip Kitcher. These reviewers and the many others should thank Morris for allowing them to parade their esoteric knowledge at mainstream venues.

Peterloo

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The latest Mike Leigh. Part of the British Film Festival now playing at Palace Cinemas; specifically the dear old Verona, 12:30pm, $17.50 + $1.30 booking fee = $18.80, booked 2018-10-27. It was financed by a long list of companies, most prominently Amazon.

This is a long, even overly long, and very dialogue-heavy account of the route to the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in 1819, soon after the Battle of Waterloo that brought Napoleon to a conclusion. Leigh and Dick Pope achieve a similar aesthetic to Mr Turner: some brilliantly composed almost-painterly almost-stills, especially of the worker's homes. The class consciousness weighs heavily: the ruling class spouts implausibly crass and unsophisticated motivations that make for an almost-American moral clarity. Some threads dangle, such as what happened to the spies and local constabulary afterwards. In a cackhanded way it could be taken as an argument that the British Raj's behaviour in India wasn't as entirely transparently racist as it seemed to be. Perhaps timely what with BREXIT and all. The cast is uniformly excellent.