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.



Dollars to donuts
Numerous small changes...
On Moral Skepticism
Impending massacre
A linguistic argument
A stupid idea
As formulated by Stuart Chase, the two main theses...


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$zwichenzug$ sell-out zone





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some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
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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
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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

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Advertising to children

I suppose this is a picayune observation, but it seems to me that if anyone needed evidence that our society has lost the ability to effectively constrain the activities of corporations, they would need to look no further than the routine practice of targeting children with brazenly manipulative advertisements.

I've been trying to figure out what might be said in defense of the practice.

Someone might give an argument from inconsequent effects. The idea here is that since children don't have significant buying power, the manipulative creation of wants is no real harm. Besides the obvious fact that manipulative commercials wouldn't continue to be broadcast if those commercials didn't move products, this defense fails to engage the fact that it is the manipulation itself which prompts objections.

Another argument might categorize these commercials as a necessary evil. This defense admits that the advertisements are distasteful, but holds that unfettered corporate power has such good effects in general that this practice is worth tolerating. One problem here is that it's difficult to believe that small restrictions on corporate power would seriously undermine whatever benefits the corporate system brings. From the point of view of the argument, however, the more serious problem is that this line of thought doesn't really amount to a defense of the practice.

The strongest argument, I think, would appeal to the fact that ours is a consumer culture and would emphasize the need for children to begin developing the skills necessary for operating in such a culture. One aspect of this acculturation would be the lesson that products don't always deliver the emotional satisfactions that their advertisements promise. On this view, subjecting children to small manipulations is ultimately beneficial to them, since it serves to instill a healthy skepticism with regard to mercantile promises. You might call this the sea monkey principle.

For such an argument to work, it should be noted, you'd have to have in hand a defense of consumerism as a way of life -- or, at any rate, as a significant part of a life. Only then could the notion of developing into a virtuous consumer have the sort of ethical grip that might overcome worries about manipulation.

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