Plato’s weekend suggestions

readingsOur regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

Mo’ parsimony, mo’ problems: a philosophical analysis of the epistemic independence of paleontology.

One more on Sam Harris, no comment.

Are the constants of physics actually constant? So far, it appears so, but nobody knows why.

Perhaps Plato was right about the limits of democracy after all…

Most popular theories of consciousness are worse than wrong. Very likely including the one put forth by the author of this article.

Finally someone said it: there is absolutely nothing wrong with “appropriating” other cultures. Indeed, it’s the way human cultures evolve.

Google DeepMind: What is it, how does it work and should you be scared?

Turns out, Neil DeGrasse Tyson shouldn’t just not talk about philosophy, but also about biology

On the benefits of starting your day with a cold shower. Trust me, it works.

Leaving an academic post because it just isn’t worth it. Interesting article, though it doesn’t seem to me like the author actually has a plan B in mind.


Categories: Plato's Suggestions

118 replies

  1. Lila,

    “regarding Sam Harris, should I take your ‘no comment’ as support? As opening a dialogue? Let the article speak for itself? Well, if we do the last we are just on a smear campaign.”

    as Eric has just pointed out, you may have received a rather cold (though I don’t think hostile) reception here, while in fact this blog is precisely about engaging different opinions in a thoughtful manner. So you are welcome to stay and I guarantee you no harassment.

    That said, I keep having a problem taking Harris seriously. He is simply not even close to the caliber I would expect from someone with such a following. As Dan put it, his understanding of philosophy – as it comes across in his writings – is really poor, he has a tendency to stack the deck in his favor the few times he actually engages his critics, and moreover he displays at the least occasional leanings toward downright regressive ideas (see, for instance, his delight at the idea of “lie free zones” in The Moral Landscape, which will be made possible by neuroscans of people’s brains in public areas).

    I’m glad he made the full interview finally available, but I take it that was the result of mounting pressure from the outside, not his preference at all.

    “Like many philosophers, he likes to broaden the definition of science and reason in ways that might obscure important distinctions”

    Harris is neither a philosopher nor, as he likes to be portrayed, a neuroscientist. He only has an undergraduate degree in philosophy (a Minor, I think) and a PhD in neuroscience, but never actually practiced research in a lab after completing his doctoral thesis. Nothing wrong with that, but to me the word “scientist” conjures someone who is actually active in the field, or has been active and peer reviewed for years.

    In terms of philosophy, Harris has an open disdain for it, as clear, for instance, from the initial endnotes of The Moral Landscape (see my review of it here:

    So all I can say is that I will try to keep an open mind about this, as any decent person should do. But the evidence about Harris keeps lowering my Bayesian priors, so to speak.

    And thanks for commenting here, it is really appreciated.


    “The last time I looked, the idea that organisms or any parts of organisms are machines was a metaphor. When did that change into fact?”

    Right. And metaphors of that kind are, I think, not only unhelpful, but downright misleading in biology:


    “If not a machine or a compute, what? A spirit?”

    Do you think those are the only two alternatives? Human brains certainly do present computational *aspects*, and can, partially, be fruitfully described that way. But every metaphor has limits, and as Dan commented, there is a large literature arguing that those limits are pretty severe in this case.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Hi Massimo:

    “Do you think those are the only two alternatives?”

    I only know of two alternatives. That, of course, doesn’t mean there are not others, but it seems to me that anything physical is bound to be at bottom mechanical.

    I’m open to something beyond a Turing machine. None of our current computers are quite Turing machines. They lack the infinite tape at minimum. Can quantum computing be simulated on a Turing machine (some what faster than with a ‘Chinese room’)? Well in practice non-quantum computers can solve factorization problems and such too, but they take too long. Could there be problems that a conventional computer can’t solve (like NP-hard), but a QM computer could?


  3. That ‘Sophia’ interview looks interesting. I’ll watch it.

    The Turing test is not very convincing. The old Lisa program (not our Lisa I assume, that mimics a shrink with caned response to key words can pass the Turing test with a shocking large fraction of testers’

    I forget the number, but it made me wonder if people would pass at as high a rate!

    I think I could write a program to pass on a blog. Likely somebody has. Maybe it’s me …


  4. Eric: There are a number of very well rehearsed arguments against Functionalism and Computationalism, and I don’t see how one could be convinced — as you say you are — that a computational account of the mind is correct, unless one was both familiar with them and could at least sketch a way around them. Some of them include:

    The non-standard realization problem.
    The spectrum-inversion problem.
    The absent qualia problem.
    The syntax/semantics problem.
    The substrate problem.
    The subjectivity problem
    The liberalism/chauvinism problem.

    So difficult are a number of these problems that many of the formerly chief proponents of the functionalist/computationalist theory have since dropped it, the most significant being Hilary Putnam (RIP), who is considered one of the originators of Functionalism in the philosophy of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Daniel,

    is this the kind of thing you are referring to for ‘The non-standard realization problem’?


  6. Synred: No. Multiple realizability is one of the chief motivations *for* Functionalism and Computationalism. The non-standard realization problem is expressed in examples like Ned Block’s “Chinese Nation” example. Indeed, many of the problems I listed are discussed in Ned Block’s paper, “Troubles with Functionalism.”


  7. “The multiple realizability thesis about the mental is that a given psychological kind (like pain) can be realized by many distinct physical kinds: brain states in the case of earthly mammals, electronic states in the case of properly programmed digital computers, green slime states in the case of extraterrestrials, and so on. Correctly characterizing the realization relation remains a contentious matter in analytic metaphysics (Gillett 2003, Polger 2004). But whatever the correct account turns out to be, the multiple realizability thesis about the mental is that a given psychological kind (like pain) can stand in that relationship to many distinct physical kinds.”

    from the Stanford site piece.

    I don’t see why this is a problem for ‘functionalism’. Just because ‘pain’ might be produced by many ‘physical states’ I don’t see why it couldn’t be produced by the physical states corresponding to us or cows as well as computers much less LGMs.

    Are people confusing ‘software’ and ‘hardware’? No doubt perception of pain is about relationships, feedback, etc. and not just stuff, but how the stuff is organized, encodes ‘information’, processes information, etc..

    Can we call ‘software’ ‘spirit’ at least as a metaphor?

    Eric: You do need to get into this kind of detail, if your to get anywhere with your ‘model’

    PS. I think ‘functionalism’ is certainly more plausible than Max Tegmark’s absurd ‘state of matter’. That borders on vitalism, if it’s not just word salad with a spicy dressing..


  8. From the Stanford site apparently multi-realization is sometimes used against functionalism even though it’s tied up with it’s development. Maybe those anti-func arguments are not too strong.

    Anyway, previous post, is likely not relevant..


  9. Here’s how it winds up being a burden. One of Functionalism’s chief appeals is that it explains how multiple-realizability is possible. How it could be that creatures very different from us could think and “have minds.” It does so by casting the psychological at a level of description abstracted from the physical. The trouble is that increasingly, scientists are telling us that psychological states are inextricably bound up with particular physical substrates. (Massimo brings this up a number of times in our dialogue.) But if this is true, then multiple-realizability is false, and one of the chief advertisements for Functionalsim disappears.

    I appreciate your remark to Eric that you cannot have an intelligent and productive conversation on these matters, without being versed in the relevant, professional literature, but in my experience, he has never taken that idea on board, and has never had a moment’s hesitation in trading in ever more grandiose “theories.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been looking at the article you linked. It looks rather interesting if daunting. If I have to digest 40 pages for every problem, I’m not going to be able to do it.

    Well I don’t really need to do it, but if Eric is serious, he needs to. His ‘model’ whatever it is may well be already out there. I’ve found that with many of my ‘good ideas’ somebody has already thought of them

    Though one shouldn’t give up to easily. A friend of mine and I at University of Ill. came up with the idea of a holographic bubble chamber. We took to it to one of our Profs. He convinced us with a hand waving argument that turbulence in the liquid Hydrogen would kill the necessary coherence. We dropped the idea.

    Years later somebody at CERN built a holographic bubble chamber and ran it at Fermilab (it bumped my experiment at the time out of the beam-line).If we had done more work, we might have had something and early enough that it might have been useful. Bubble chambers were dying out by the time this one got built.

    So, Eric, I’m not saying you should give up, but cute ideas are a time-a-dozen. It takes real work to make ’em real.


  11. Lila,

    I want to echo Massimo’s welcome. I’m sure most every commentor feels the same. We have our lovers’ quarrels but really we are a pretty tolerant bunch.

    But I can’t pull punches when it comes to Harris. You took some of our reactions to be dismissive. I’m sure this is not the case for Massimo who has written at great length about Harris in his various guises. Try searching it at Scientia Salon or Rationally speaking if you like. I haven’t done anything near that thorough but I’m certain I have given him more than a fair hearing. It’s worth remembering that sometimes dismissal is warranted. I haven’t done research on or read Rush Limbaugh, Deepak Chopra or Ann Coulter but I am comfortable dismissing them based on the absurd and unserious things they maintain. I find Harris maintains things that are that disqualifying and honestly I have a hard time seeing why others don’t. This is the man who said it might be ethical to kill people for having sufficiently dangerous beliefs, the man who said that if possible we should use lie detecting fields in public, the man who said muslims are “deranged” by their religion, the man (most egregiously) who said that if a country was so ridden with disease that it regularly started outbreaks which spread to other countries (we can call this fictional country Laos or Vietnam) we would eventually be justified to go and wipe them out. In this scenario the analogue of disease is Islam. If he were not popular I would not have been concerned with him. But he was popular so I decided not to dismiss him and dragged myself through The End of Faith, a number of blog posts and several public debates. I am not a philosopher but I have spent a number of years in sustained study of philosophy and have taught it to undergrads. I feel qualified to tell you that he makes mistakes that are elemental and obvious. His views are unserious.

    Harris is not making contributions to debates. I do not say this because he is an “outsider”, I am saying it because it is true. People outside academia make contributions to major debates. Leon Weiseltier is one of my favorites. Orwell, Sontag and others have played that role in the past. Harris is not. I really want to emphasize this because there is a lot of confusion. Harris has appeared with a lot of very serious public intellectuals. They include Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Patricia Churchland and Peter Singer. I’m not really a fan of many of this crew, but they are all serious people. They appear with him because they want his audience (understandably) to promote their own work and aims. Please don’t infer from the fact that he appears with famous psychologists and philosophers that he is having a serious impact on the psychology or philosophy literature. He is not.

    The fact that you take Harris seriously and dismiss Kant frankly depresses me. Kant is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. His views on ethics animate some of the most respected work in ethics thanks in part to Christina Korsgaard, in philosophy of art thanks in part to Allen Wood and to metaphysics and epistemology and debates on freedom of the will through countless people. His work continues to offer new insights all the time. His corpus is one of the most oceanic contributions in the history of philosophy. I really hoped two hundred years of universal acclaim would weigh more with people. But if you won’t take their word for it please consider going to read it yourself (maybe with a little help from the Routledge Guidebooks in the History of Philosophy or the Stanford Encylcopedia of Philosophy). I promise, promise, promise you will get more out of it than out of Harris.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Eric,

    Thanks for remembering my post but I think we have generally been successful in that aim (obviously the lion’s share of the credit goes to our host). Compare what we have here to the nauseating echo chamber of the Free Thought Blogs or the brood of vipers that are most subreddits.


  13. Synred: Of course one doesn’t have to read articles like this, in order just to have a casual conversation. I have had many casual conversations with physicists, astronomers, biologists, etc., areas in which my knowledge is high school level at best. But the nature of those conversations is by necessity lopsided — I am, in essence, learning something from them. The discussions are, by necessity, deferential to their expertise.

    But if one wants to be an active, productive part of the conversation; if one wants to go out and say that the social and psychological sciences are hopeless and desperately in need of major work; if one wants to present theories that are to be taken seriously by people who actually matter; then you need to know your stuff. And that *does* mean being knowledgable of the relevant literature. I have no such ambitions in the sciences, which is why I am happy to mostly listen to those who are expert in them.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The ‘Chinese Nation’ argument is unnecessarily messy and involves all sorts of timing and co ordination problems.

    You don’t need the Chinese Nation. You just need a single person at a time, with a pencil and paper, working away at a calculation at his own pace. So at night he goes to bed and the night shift person comes along and continues the calculation.

    When they both grow old and retire, two new people come along and they continue this calculation and so on, throughout trillions of years, working out a calculation on paper and pencil.

    If computationalism is true then this process should be able to produce a conscious experience identical to the one you are having right now. (Because if our mind is a computation then there could be an equivalent computation that could be worked out in that way).

    If you hold to functionalism and computationalism you must also hold that the conscious experience you are having right now could, in principle, be being caused by this process described above.

    But for that conscious experience to even seem to be somewhat unified (as ours seems to be somewhat unified), there would have to a super process over all those individual actions. And since all of the symbols written down on the paper, or manipulated in people;s minds, have no general meaning in nature, but a particular meaning to the people who invented them and those who have learned them, then that super process would have to have an intelligent mind.

    We know of such a process in nature and the existence of such a super process seems to be, in any case, explicitly rejected by the same people who advocate computationalism and computationalism.

    You could also repeat this argument with a mechanical instantiation of a Turing Machine with a very long tape and a handle that gets cranked from time to time, over the period of trillions of years. If computationalism is true then your conscious experence could, in principle, be produced by that.


  15. Hello Daniel:

    Well, I will try to read at least some of that article. I find in a lot more accessible than Wittgenstein!

    Also, I’ll try to get round to listening to your interview with Massimo. I found the one with Broad rather useful.


  16. Hi LIla,

    Well, if we do the last we are just on a smear campaign.

    I am not sure I understand that. Are you saying that the article linked is part of a smear campaign?

    That does not seem to jell with the facts. The author has a agreed to a debate requested by Sam Harris and agreed to the terms dictated by Sam Harris and then has asked for the unedited recording to be released.

    That does not describe a smear campaign to me.

    Criticism of someone, even strong criticism is not the same as smearing someone.

    So I would be interested in why you thought that allowing this article to speak for itself constitutes being on a smear campaign.


  17. So there’s some issue of speed? Some need to interact with a reasonably coherent environment on the appropriate time scale.

    One might dare predict that a disconnected brain in vat or on a petri dish could not ‘feel’ ( avoid the word ‘conspicuousness’ to avoid the need for beer).
    If need for interaction violates the functionalism that’s a serious problem for them. But I don’t see how it requires anything beyond the physical or indeed how anything beyond the physical helps solve the problem. The spirit world lacks explanatory power. Is that what ‘Chinese rooms, usw. are aimed at supporting?

    I’m not sure slowness of the computation is really an issue either, if the environment they interact with is similarly slow. But I don’t know.

    [a] Brains in vat’s are becoming real. See. e.g.,

    There’s a lady growing little ones from stem cells too. The idea being to test effects of drugs on a small clone of your brain. I’ve lost the reference.

    Can hooking ’em up to a chip and see how they respond be far behind?


  18. Just what alternatives to computation and machinery do people offer?


  19. Traruh,

    Well, a biological organism is not a machine and it only presents assets of its behavior that are computational. So the way to think of it is its own kind of thing. Not a machine, only partly computational.


  20. Some of the commentary here is really problematic, not to mention patronizing, in terms of apparent differing views on what audience Massimo’s blog is meant to address. In addition, in some cases, such as the responses to Lila Maus’s two comments, I don’t think the reactions reflect a careful, or even the so-called “charitable,” reading. Ms Maus’s opening comment is very much on target, regardless of whether one suspects that she is a Harris homer. Massimo’s link and his “No comment” remark is basically–yes, here’s that word again– a disingenuous call for what amounts to a food fight. Perhaps, it was unintended, and I was pleased to see Massimo subsequently attempt to undo the subsequent editorializing by some commentators.

    I don’t particularly find the implied argument that the readership here is tolerant by referencing other blogs that might be considered the lowest common denominator by some to be especially cogent.

    It is rather a puzzle to me that calling another commentator a “crackpot” (after he tries to explain the deficiencies of the crackpot’s viewpoints over the course of several posts and is arguably being baited by said crackpot) is qualitatively different than in essence telling another reader to “do his homework or shut up.”

    There is something very unpleasant to me about the nature of some of these remarks. I would remind some that there is no requirement to comment on another’s comment even when addressed. If someone’s remarks do not meet your personal standards go for a walk, or dust the furniture, or wash your face.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Still trying to post. Google+ keeps crashing post when I post from
    Chrome. I hope this isn’t a triplicate.

    Hi Massimo,

    Dang WordPress just ate my response again! Better type it out in word to be safe. And it’ll fix some of my typos too.

    So how does a ‘biological organism’ differ from a machine?

    I take it as a skeptic that you’re not advocating anything beyond the physical, right? No spirits or élan vital?

    So to me as a physicist if it’s physical it’s machinery.

    Are we only referring to the difference between ‘designed and built’ and ‘grown”?

    I don’t think that is the issue being discussed, but I’m not that sure what the issue is.

    The argument against functionalism does not seem to propound an alternative (but I haven’t got around to watching you and Daniel on Sophia yet either, and only have a limited grasp of what functionalism is).



  22. TJ: Who called another commentator a “crackpot”?

    Some of us really think not only that Sam Harris is a hack, but that he is causing significant harm to public discourse. I don’t see anything wrong with saying so, even in strong terms. It’s not as if he’s Lila’s husband or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dan K, Coel.


  24. Hi Kaufman, I’ve lost your comments so sorry if you get misrepresented a bit..
    –We could bypass the Davidson tangent, but I’ll say that I haven’t tried to offer any novel interpretations; there is quite a bit of 2ndary lit. criticizing/describing the limits of, for instance, his principle of charity when ascribing rational beliefs, etc.. and so he has been criticized for, despite his efforts, proffering a sort of ethnocentric theory of interpretation. Harris and Davidson (and some of their readers) disagree with this reading of their work, and so the debate marches on
    — re Real Scholars: There have already been thoughtful comments on this, so I’ll just add.. A P-R publication process helps establish expertise, but when the citations are low and readers few the value of this process diminishes. I am happy to treat venues like this one and independent scholars who manage to get published, seriously. So what about the Moral Landscape can we take seriously? A fine place to start is the title. In a review, I’d be sure to mention how powerful and informative the moral landscape metaphor is; if you think it’s a trivial point, send your reasons to Plato’s Cave. (I’m being a little facetious here, if that’s unclear….)
    — I agree that in philosophy—and, worse in health and psychology—folk seem to think (pseudo-) common sense is all they need!

    Socratic: — I missed your first comment and can’t find it again, but I hear yah that you think SH isn’t worth taking seriously, so I will not be your gadfly

    Hi Eric, — have I not endorsed Sam Harris yet?!

    –ty for the hospitality. But don’t worry, I’m not about to demand a #safespace ! : )

    — Some brief replies: Harris can be ‘like many…’, yet not, a philosopher. I’m not sure which discipline he most belongs to, but I would give him the honorific title, ‘independent scholar’. Browsing his citations shows how many people find his work relevant to theirs (for better or worse).

    –you link to your case for his Anti-philosophy stance. I notice how we move from “Direct” engagement (Harris’s words) down to “dismissal” down to “disdain” (your words)—all from a footnote! I don’t think it’s fair to compare Harris to someone like Krauss who loudly and proudly dismisses, as he likes to call it, “philosophy and religion”. I also put a yellow flag on that footnote, but on it’s own it was not a deal breaker. That said, you point out times where SH puts his foot in his mouth, not unlike most all early neuroscience books that offered social or political messages.

    –I understand that people’s (yours included) priors are moving in the opposite direction of ‘credible independent scholar’. My worry: articles like the one you linked to are doing too much of the pulling! But our differences are maybe analogous to that old Piglucci vs. Blackburn drama from the interwebs archives in that I end up closer to Blackburn’s subtle enthusiasm towards SH’s work, despite disagreeing with him (no need to rehash the whole thing); that bias of mine, I think, pulls us further from consensus. So I s’pose I’ll have to match your efforts next time I read SH, without my rosy-spectacles; you could borrow them, if you like.


  25. Okay Daniel, after taking a look at computationalism and functionalism, it would seem that I am neither of them in a standard sense, and also didn’t notice any appropriate bastardizations. Though there may be existing “bastards” who conform with my position, no one has yet guided me to them — and I have been talking with various educated people about this for the last couple of years. I will of course continue discussing my ideas in this search. I believe that the outlook for my project would improve if I could find various conforming theorists, but ultimately consider the general progression that I propose to be a matter of “when” rather than “if.” Science is just a few centuries old, after all, and so should be expected to have some laggards bringing up the rear.

    The thing to understand about my position is that it truly must begin with the establishment of a non-moral (and non-theological) form of ethics which references the specific good/bad of any given subject. Without such a premise from which to work, these standard computational models simply shouldn’t yield the sort of consciousness model that I’ve developed. Who else states that our mental and behavioral sciences shall continue to fail, without the establishment of a discipline from which to explore amoral subjective good/bad?

    One thing that I hope you appreciate about my project, is that my goal is actually to improve science rather than philosophy (except, that is, for two auxiliary ideas in epistemology). Philosophy’s moral ethics needn’t be disturbed in order for there to be a separate science regarding amoral subjective approaches to good/bad existence. This science should not only help inform us about various aspects of our nature (like consciousness), but should also teach us how to better lead our lives and structure our societies. And we obviously do need such help!


  26. BTW, I have no problem with your thinking that Harris is a hack . But it seems apparent that Massimo’s “No comment” after the link was prejudicial in itself. The article he linked is just another in a line of complaints about Harris’s self-serving manipulation of public discourse. His tete-a-tete with Chomsky pretty much did him in for me. All this, of course, begs the question why another complaint–in Salon of all places–merits airing, especially if you think his discourse is “harmful” and that Harris doesn’t meet one’s standard as a “serious hack.”


  27. Hi David,
    —I think ‘dismissive’ is fairly accurate, but I take your point that it may have started off quite neutral. . —I don’t think a bucket list of SH’s alleged moral failings brings much; I’ll feel like a pedant taking each on. —-But, and I know intentions are positive, it is funny to have twice been told by Qualified People that they can tell me (some of) my objections are Wrong. Let me tell you (both), and I’m qualified to say this because I’m me, I’m not great at submission 😀
    —-You make a substantive claim: that Harris’s appearance with other serious intellectuals is merely a matter of publicity. So is Pinker just using SH for his audience? Ironically, my hardcover copy of the Moral Landscape (I feel obligated to give it a second appraisal, so it sits at my desk now) has a quote from Steven Pinker on the jacket praising the book lol! The dialogues between SH and, most fresh in my memory, Haidt and Bloom sounded to me like a dialogue between scholars. I didn’t get the sense that they were just paying lip service to him. —-Re Kant: I’ll try again to clarify here. I don’t have anything against Kant. I once liked Kant, but I haven’t read him for pleasures sake in a while. Korsgaard is great.
    Hi Robin, trying to be brief. –Yes, I think the article is a smear piece, the author gives me 4 quick reasons to treat it as such when with his 4-point attack.
    “1. [Harris] is a hypocrite who lectures others about the principle of free speech while violating this same principle when it suits his needs… 2. He dehumanizes Muslims to such an extreme degree that it verges upon bloodlust… 3. He supports aggressively (perhaps regressively) militaristic policies towards the Middle East and Muslim world at-large that put him in the fringe of the Republican Party. 4. He has passed himself off as a learned thinker despite being both ignorant of and incurious about the very issues on which he opines.” (and this isn’t the worst in there!)
    I’m not sure if you’ve listened to the dialogue. But if you have, I wonder, which of these do you think is true?! By my measure, 0, maybe 1/2. Maybe a new perspective can shift me a little more! But since no one expressed knowledge that the dialogue was actually released, or of any other relevant information, it seemed like a ‘smear’ to leave readers with the impression that SH is verging with bloodlust towards Muslims. But really I don’t want to make much of this; maybe ‘smear’ is too strong a word? TBH, I don’t think I’m really up for parsing that long interview or Aziz’s long…diatribe(?) against Sam Harris, but if it is insisted upon I just might.

    Closing: I’ll endorse this dialogue and this one


  28. TJ: Where in this thread did I call anyone a crackpot? Also, Coel isn’t here.


  29. Hi All,

    Re: the first amendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    It’s about what the Government can’t do not about Sam Harris, Donald Trump or Massimo posting a link to an article that ‘smears’ Sam Harris.

    Everybody gets to say whatever they want accept to ‘shout fire in a crowded theater’. The Donald comes perilously close to that line these days.

    Stanford can let right wing or left wing speakers that students object to (or not) use their auditorium or not. They are a private institution. They are not violating free speech by not let their property be used. This is a perennial argument at Stanford with the agree some groups complaining ablout allowing X to speak and others arguing they are abridging X’s free speech rights if the don’t..

    Stanford does not have to let David Duke or anybody else speak, if they don’t want to.

    Mario Savio [a] had a better case at UCB as it is a Government institution and despite only congress being literally mentioned the supreme court has widely cognized I as applying to the executive, the courts and the states. I think even Judge Scalia accepted this not quite literal interpretation.[b]. After all he extended it to such persons as Monsanto and GM and we wouldn’t want to have California interfering with their rights!

    It’s bad enough they’re all over the news and nobody complains. I should hate to see it infect PF..

    Whatever Harris as said or whatever is said about in him, it is all free speech, even trying to drowned others out or complaining that somebody is violating somebodies free speech is free speech. Only the Government stopping you violates the first amendment,

    Sorry about the rant. Margaret and my pet peeve.



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