Peirce and signs

Menand offers a useful summary of Peirce’s views on signs, in a way that highlights both similarities and differences with Derrida. Peirce taught a notion of differance : “The meaning of a representation,” he wrote, “can be nothing but a representation. In fact, it is . . . . Continue Reading »


In his very readable The Metaphysical Club (2001), Louis Menand gives a number of pithy summaries of pragmatism, its sources, its varieties, and its fundamental beliefs. The common attitude or idea among pragmatists has been “an idea about ideas.” Whatever their differences, pragmatists . . . . Continue Reading »

Between, and child actors

Everyone lives between times, and is the intersection of past and future. Everyone is always already taught, and always anticipating or actually teaching and ruling. Rosenstock-Huessy writes, “‘He’ never exists, but is always between two times, two ages, as son and father, layman . . . . Continue Reading »

Double Procession

No generation ought to be determined by the spirit of the sons. As a matter of simple fact, the world is never occupied by a single generation. For a generation to be healthy, the spirit of the sons must mingle with the spirit of the fathers. The Spirit must proceed from both the Father and the . . . . Continue Reading »

Thy Word is Truth

Near the end of his prayer in 2 Samuel 7, David confesses his confidence in Yahweh’s promises concerning David’s house, saying “Thy words are truth” (v. 28). Jesus echoes this words in John 17:17. The connection seems to be a fruitful one, and perhaps there are more verbal . . . . Continue Reading »


I and many of my friends have been criticized for our supposed lack theological rigor. It’s meant as an insult. I take it as a compliment. Rigor has its place. But it’s not the be and end all of theology. A Turretin is necessary for consolidating a Reformation. He could never have . . . . Continue Reading »

Proverbs 16:20-24

INTRODUCTION 16:20 starts a new section of the chapter, as Solomon returns again to the issue of speech. Waltke sees two sections here, verses 20-24 and 25-30. The first section focuses on the benefits of wise and winning speech, while the second section focuses negatively on destructive speech. . . . . Continue Reading »

Genius critics

Artists never accepted the attribution of genius as readily as theorists and bourgeois admirers applied it. Artists knew too much about the recalcitrantly physical qualities of words, paint, stone, ink, and sounds for that. Artists are as interested in technique as in inspirations. But for Kant . . . . Continue Reading »

History of purity

Gadamer says, “One day someone should write the history of ‘purity.’” He cites one H. Sedlmayr, who “refers to Calvinistic purism and the deism of the Enlightenment.” Kant would play a key role: He “linked himself directly with the classical Pythagorean and . . . . Continue Reading »

Seeing as

Contrary to empiricism, perception is never pure, never merely a response to stimulus. That it is is merely a kind of “epistmological dogmatism” (Gadamer), which can only be defended if all instinct and fantasy is removed. In actual life, we never perceive without instinct or fantasy, . . . . Continue Reading »