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home again, home again

While it may or may not be the case that I've never been to Boston in the fall (bonus points if you get the reference), I have been there at the height of spring. A friend is presenting her dissertation tomorrow late afternoon. I offered to see the actual defense, but I know less than nothing about her topic and apparently space in the room was at a premium, so I decided to go up this weekend to "keep her sane" (her words, not mine).

We fed ducks in the park (no, not those ducks but we did see the statue and fed their kin nearby. We went to the cinema to try to see Hunger Games but the tickets were sold out, so we hit some thrift stores (I'm now the proud owner of a macrame keychain) and then we went out drinking. Well, she did; I have next to no tolerance for alcohol so had some virgin fruity things.

This morning we went to early mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which was an Experience with a capital E. A friend of hers came over and made us all what she called "California Italian" (think pasta, but with lighter sauces and more veggies), and then we got our cultural game on over at her university: an exhibit of inmate-created art depicting prison life, and then to a free concert by a classical trio (piano--violin--cello) before I had to hop a train back to New York.

It's funny how little things turn out to be the most amusing. Case in point: at the church where we went to mass, they had a notice about the Ethiopian style mass they were holding later that night. The traditional name? The Ge'ez mass. That had us snickering like loons all afternoon long.

I also re-read Anselm's reply to Gaunilo on the train-ride back. I think the logical points are well-taken (Gaunilo does mis-state Anselm's argument), but there's a bigger point where Gaunilo is spot on. Anselm defines God in a certain way, and he says that once you have God in your mind --which you have to, once you've heard and understood the word "God"-- then it's a contradiction to say this hing in your mind doesn't also exist on its own. Kant and others asked whether existence was a property so you could say, if God didn't exist that violated the definition. (Anselm thought yes; Kant, no.) I actually think Anselm can handle that point if we interpret him right. But Gaunilo's raising a bigger problem, and I don't think any clever atheist would grant him those assumptions. It's not quite begging the question, but neither is it the argument that's likely to convince anyone who doesn't already believe their idea is of God.

Enough philosophy. I need to sleep so I can read some more tomorrow, and get caught up on student emails. I mainly wanted to let people know the fun stuff I was up to this weekend.

(Alas, no pics. The phone's memory card died on the train ride up. I'm really and truly convinced there are gremlins at work...)

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
roh_wyn
Mar. 26th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
"The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" is one my kid's favorite videos on YouTube. :)
marta_bee
Mar. 27th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Every time I go up to Boston, I think of that song. Somehow it always makes me smile...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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