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May 29th, 2003

She was One in a Million


I managed to miss the bus I was meant to catch home tonight from South Station. Things didn’t turn out too badly. There was a still later bus I could, and did, catch, so I just got home a little later than expected. I had hoped to write some philosophy for the blog when I got home, but given the time I think I’ll have little time to write much more than the story of my trip home.


I don’t really know how I managed to miss the bus in question. It was, or I guess it must have been, just a few metres from where I was sitting. I was reading a newspaper and listening to a CD, but I thought that I would have noticed an interstate bus arriving just near where I was. Apparently not, it turns out.


For a while after it was perfectly clear that I’d missed the said bus, I managed by sheer force of will to believe that (a) the bus was somehow running late and (b) all the people who seemed to have been waiting for that bus had caught some other bus, or walked off to get Dunkin’ Donuts ‘coffee’ or had been vaporised by a passing spaceship or something so© I hadn’t really missed the bus. Obviously that wasn’t a state of mind that a reasonable person could maintain forever, so after a few minutes, by which stage it was abundantly perfectly clear I’d missed the said bus, I stopped believing the bus would still arise. But my willpower was still strong enough for me to keep holding it as a live possibility that (a) the bus was somehow running late and (b) all the people who seemed to have been waiting for that bus had caught some other bus, or walked off to get Dunkin’ Donuts ‘coffee’ or had been vaporised by a passing spaceship or something so© I hadn’t really missed the bus. It was remarkable, if I do say so myself, just how long I was able to maintain this state of mind. Of course at the time I thought it was the most natural thing in the world.


From now on I’m not going to bother seriously arguing for doxastic voluntarism. I’m just going to ostend my period of not believing I’d missed the 1am Providence local, and the even more remarkable period of believing I had not missed it, and point out that if those events existed then doxastic voluntarism is true. And since I was there I’m pretty sure the events did exist. Though, I did manage to miss the nearby presence of an interstate bus, so maybe I’m not the most reliable source about who really was there. So I’d understand if you, dear reader, doubted my account of the events. You’d be wrong, but I’d understand.


It isn’t surprising in general that I’d miss a bus from South Station to Providence, especially after midnight. It’s not uncommon for me to be catching that bus after a drink or two, and sometimes after a couple of drinks I’m not the most alert person in the world. What is surprising was that tonight was when I missed the bus. It wasn’t that I hadn’t touched a drop all day, not by any means, but for a temporal part of Brian located in South Station after midnight I was positively sober, as judicious as (a) Hooker. (That joke is awful on so many levels I don’t know where to start – ed. In that case you’re probably going to dislike the next fifty jokes, because this post is about to turn positively catachlyseimic.)


Why did Brian’s situation at the bus station remind him of Bloom?


Both of them had missed an intermodal transfer late at night. In both cases this led to minor inconvenience, but not to any catastrophe.


What were the differences between Bloom’s situation and Brian’s?


Brian missed an embarkation, Bloom missed disembarking. Bloom was on a train, Brian was meant to be on a bus. Bloom was going to an area of ill-repute, Brian was leaving South Station for Providence. Bloom had been drinking heavily.


Why was Brian pleased to see a comparison between himself and Bloom?


Because Bloom is Everyman, the übermensch for non-English English speakers. Bloom is curious, thoughtful, loyal, principled, industrious. And at the end of the day, he gets the girl.


In what respects was the comparison between Brian and Bloom flawed?


It is essential to Bloom’s character that he not see himself as a character in a novel. Such self-comparisons are better suited for one like Bloom’s friend Stephen.


What is the relationship between Brian’s age and that of Bloom and Stephen?


It is equidistant between Bloom’s age and Stephen’s. If all three were twice as old as they actually are, Brian’s age would be equidistant between Bloom’s age and Stephen’s. If all three were nine years older than they actually are, Brian’s age would be equidistant between Bloom’s age and Stephen’s.


Before Brian missed the bus, what story was suggested as being suitable for TAR?


A prominent garden statist lover of wisdom self-ascribed authorship of a semanal nominal modal book.


Was the self-ascription correct?


No. It was laughable, inadvertant, accidental, Freudian, forgiveable.


What was the highlight of the show at the Paradise Rock Club on May 28?


A quartet featuring a vibraphone and three players on a glockenspeil.


Could the instrument a trois have been instead a second vibraphone, a xylophone or a camel?


Visual evidence was insufficient to determine whether it was a glockenspeil, a second vibraphone or a xylophone. Auditory evidence would have been sufficient to determine this had circumstances for processing the evidence been ideal and the processor sufficiently knowledgable. Both visual and auditory evidence confirmed that the second instrument was not a camel.


Are temporal parts the right category of thing to be drunk or sober?


No. Only fusions of past and present temporal parts are of the right category to be drunk or sober. A temporal part may be the truthmake for the claim that a particular past-present fusion is drunk or sober. Fusions of past, present and future temporal parts are never drunk or sober, but are sometimes hungover.


What albums did Brian listen to in transit between Boston and Providence?


Sleeping with Ghosts by Placebo. Elephant by White Stripes. Rings Around the World by Super Furry Animals.


How good were these albums?


All were excellent albums, but none were better than earlier works by their respective artists, some critical opinion to the contrary.


What is the worst. blogpost. ever?


Charles Murtagh’s post that The Usual Suspects is the worst movie ever.


Is it really worse than Andrew Sullivan’s MoDo/Raines post?


There are several perfectly good transcendental arguments that that post could not, and hence does not, exist.


If Brian’s short-term journeys resembled Bloom’s, which other literary character did Brian’s longer-term journeys resemble?


Odysseus. Both keep trying to return home, even when Fate sends them to circumstances that many objective observers would decree better than a simple return to home. Brian has a comfortable, high-pay, low-work, low-stress position at a prestigous university. Odysseus twice lands on islands with beautiful nymphs with lovely braids, the second of whom offers to make him immortal.


What differences are there between Odysseus and Brian?


Odysseus is a war hero, a champion athelete, and crafty. Brian is a philosopher.


What differences between Odysseus’s voyage and Brian’s?


Providence, RI does not resemble Circe’s island, or Calypso’s. Australia does not resemble rocky Ithaca. Brian will not be killing any suitors when he returns home. Brian gets to visit home during the voyage.


What are the striking differences between Providence, RI and the islands on which Odysseus stays?


Those islands contain beautiful nymphs with lovely braids. Providence, RI reveals no distinctive sign of supernatural inhabitants.


What are the striking differences between rocky Ithaca and Australia?


Ithaca is largely barren, while Australia is, at least along the seaboard, incredibly fertile. It produces grapes, people and ideas in high quality. (Though some of the people who grow the ideas often have odd, even defective, ideas about personnel. It is unknown whether the people who grow the grapes have a similar shortcoming.)


What are the striking similarities between rocky Ithaca and Australia?


Both are islands. Both are far away from those travelling in distant lands.


Why will Brian not kill any suitors when he returns home?


The moral injunction against killing. The legal codification of that moral injunction. The absence of any suitors.


When will Brian next visit home?


Leaving Monday June 2, arriving Melbourne June 4, leaving Melbourne July 1, returning July 1.


Will the philosophy papers blog be updated in his absence?


Yes. Paul Neufeld, who runs ephilosopher, will run the papers blog while Brian is away.


Will TAR be updated while Brian is away?


Yes, but not as frequently as it is updated while Brian is in America. And there will be fewer links to other sites, since Brian spends less time internetted in Australia than he does in America.


What effect will this have on philosophical productivity around the world?


Several competing models have been advanced in this area. One school of thought is that long interrogative posts on TAR have effectively removed all the audience, so it will have no discernable impact. Another school is that the time freed up from TAR-related procrastination will lead to a huge productivity rise. A third school says that there will be a rise in output, but 120% of the new output will go on other blogs, leading to a net reduction in non-blog philosophising.

Posted by Brian Weatherson in Favourite

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2003 at 5:11 am and is filed under Favourite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “She was One in a Million”

  1. matthew says:

    Are you sure the Dept. of Homeland Security did not render the bus and the people waiting for it to an undisclosed third city?