Saturday, 24 November 2007

Anscombe, Blackburn, Teichman (Part 2)

Here, in the guise of a review of one of Simon Blackburn’s books, is Jenny Teichman’s defense of her beloved teacher, G. E. M. Anscombe. See here for Part 1 of this three-part post. Part 3 will appear tomorrow.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “In U.S. Name Count, Garcias Are Catching Up With Joneses” (front page, Nov. 17):

Surnames do indeed link us to our heritage. So it continues to baffle me that the 20-something married women I know have taken their husband’s surname. My generation, not that long ago, saw name change as an unreciprocated sacrifice of our heritage.

A college I taught at a few years back, with many Hispanic students, began the term with the faculty members introducing themselves. Mrs. Melendez had to explain that she did not speak Spanish; she was actually French but married to a man from Spain. Mrs. Ballard chimed in that she did speak Spanish despite the French surname (again, from her husband).

While it is wonderful for Hispanic groups to see themselves validated in the latest surname count, I feel sad for the women who lose themselves by the outdated practice of shedding their “maiden names.”

Susan J. Behrens
Brooklyn, Nov. 17, 2007

Note from KBJ: I feel sad for the women who believe that they lose themselves by the practice of shedding their “maiden names.” Isn’t feminism about choice?

Science and Religion

Paul Davies argues that science, no less than religion, rests on faith. He’s equivocating on the word “faith.” The job of the scientist is to discover (and describe) the laws of nature. It is not to “explain” these laws, except in the sense of discovering even more fundamental laws that explain them. The scientist views the universe as a closed system, governed by law. Scientists, as such, make no claims about what’s outside the box. Thinking outside the box is the realm of religion.

A Year Ago