Tag Archives: Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

Imagination

When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out in the UK on June 26, 1997, their author was almost thirty-two. I had been that age since March. The seventh Harry Potter book came out ten years later. I don’t remember when I heard that the series had become a sensation, but I did wonder if one day I would try to see what made the books so popular.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, on a cluttered table

Now I have read the first two books in the series, in part because their author has become popular as a figure of hatred for people who adored her books as children.

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Words

This post is based on recent readings, often on or through Twitter, especially of

  • Lilith Saintcrow on “Domestic abusers, white supremacists, and religious bigots”;
  • C. S. Lewis on gulling the educated, and objectivity as a dubious value;
  • Marilynne Robinson on consensus as concealing the objectively true;
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson on objectivity as a good value;
  • Plato on seeming wise, without being so;
  • Mark Vernon on imagination in William Blake;
  • whoever wrote an “Open Letter Concerning Transphobia in Philosophy,” signed by many professional philosophers;
  • Kathleen Stock, the subject of the “Open Letter”;
  • Agnes Callard on how philosophers shouldn’t be signing petitions;
  • Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, on the incoherence of the notion of gender identity;
  • Aaden Friday, on what’s wrong with Reilly-Cooper and other such women;
  • Brian Earp, on declaring pronouns;
  • John Steinbeck, on being a man;
  • Christa Peterson, on what gender identity might be.

I have edited and augmented this essay since originally posting it on January 9, 2021; the current version is from January 19.


A lot of old PSA’s about drugs are on YouTube and the Web Archive, and sometimes they are linked to by articles that ridicule them. There is one that I have not been able to find, perhaps from around 1970, in which parents confront their teenager with the drug paraphernalia that they have found in his room. The boy storms out of the house, saying, “You don’t understand!”

There’s a lot that I don’t understand. I must not, since it seems childish, but is coming from adults. Some of these adults stormed the US Capitol the other day; others encourage them; still others are professors of philosophy.


“Human egg and sperm cells.”
Asimov’s New Guide to Science (1984), page 600

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What Mathematics Is

Mathematics “has no generally accepted definition,” according to Wikipedia today. Two references are given for the assertion. I suggest that what really has no generally accepted definition is the subject of mathematics: the object of study, what mathematics is about. Mathematics itself can be defined by its method. As Wikipedia currently says also,

it has become customary to view mathematical research as establishing truth by rigorous deduction from appropriately chosen axioms and definitions.

I would put it more simply. Mathematics is the science whose findings are proved by deduction.

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