an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.


Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.


[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|

image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
(Linares 2002, 1-0)


about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.



Blogger zwichenzug sells out, loses three punk poi...
He made a porch for the throne where he might judg...
Morbid, hell-bound empty woe*
Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words withou...
Zwichenzug Culture Watch, blogosphere edition
That'll be three Hail Marys
All the news that's fit to print
To execute judgement upon all
Total Information Awareness
Follow up


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$zwichenzug$ sell-out zone





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Union Label

Direct Action
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some folks I know

Mark Dilley
a daily dose of architecture
Safety Neal
January Girl
mimi jingcha
Hop, Skip, Jump
ambivalent imbroglio
Brooke & Lian


some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
It's Matt's World
School of Blog
Fall of the State
Dru Blood
Echidne of the Snakes
Colossal Waste of Bandwidth
Running from the Thought Police
Bionic Octopus


some philosoblogs

Fake Barn Country
Freiheit und Wissen


some labor blogs

Confined Space
Working Life
Dispatches From the Trenches
Labor Blog
Eric Lee


some A-list blogs

This Modern World
Matthew Yglesias
Andrew Sullivan
Political Animal
The Volokh Conspiracy


some other links

Rule 33
This Week in Chess
War Nerd
National Priorities Project
Bible Gateway
Internet Archive
A Weekly Dose of Architecture
Orsinal: Morning Sunshine
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Safety Sign Builder
Get Your War On


some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
On moral skepticism
A linguistic argument
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
Normativity and morality
Political intuitions
What it is, what it was, and what it shall be
Objectivity and morality
Thinking revolution
Abortion and coercion
Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
Even more Deliberation Day
more Deliberation Day
Deliberation Day run-down
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.

Deliberation Day sounds a little nutty, there's no getting around that. The idea, as you may recall from yesterday, is to establish a national holiday a week before important elections, and for citizens to spend that holiday deliberating collectively about the issues facing the nation. Those who participate in this exercise in mass deliberation, and who follow up by voting, are paid $150.

Ackerman and Fishkin, the guys proposing the adoption of Deliberation Day, aren't crazy.

The democratic ideal, as they see it, is for the policies and practices of the state to be guided by the considered opinions of the public. When the public is not well-informed about political matters this ideal will not be realized - either elites will manipulate public opinion to serve their own ends or the nation will be guided by unreflective public preferences. That is, an uninformed citizenry yields either bread and circuses as the whole of public policy or bread and circuses as a mask drawn over public policy by a decision-making elite.

Since these results seem to be a bad thing, you might expect that each citizen has good reason to become informed and to deliberate about public policy. But doing so has a cost. Time spent reading newspapers and debating the finer points of NAFTA could instead be spent on other projects and interests. Moreover, the influence any individual citizen has on the direction of policy is likely to be quite small. As a result, unless an individual happens to find politics intrinsically interesting, the utility of civic engagement is quite low.

If all this is right, then we face a serious dilemma. Our democratic ideal requires that the state be responsive to the considered preferences of citizens, but individual citizens have little reason to acquire such preferences. Deliberation Day is intended to dissolve this dilemma by providing incentives for citizens to become informed.

Now, this wouldn't be much of an improvement if what it led to were an informed choice between the Democratic and Republican platforms as currently constituted. But Ackerman and Fishkin argue that a public commitment to deliberative practices would have a transformative effect on political discourse with the result that the parties would become more responsive to the genuine concerns of citizens.

There seem to me to be three legitimate strategies for objecting to this proposal. First, you might argue that we really don't face any such dilemma. This line of objection would do best, I think, to focus on the ideal that Ackerman and Fishkin identify and to argue that their articulation of the democratic ideal doesn't identify what we ought to value about democratic institutions. A second line of objection would admit that the dilemma is real, but deny that Deliberation Day represents a workable solution. And, lastly, one might admit that the dilemma is real but deny that it is solvable.

That's all for now. Later, I'll go through a few of the objections that are floating around cyberspace* and develop my own critique of the proposal.

* does anybody even say 'cyberspace' anymore?

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