!?

Zwichenzug

an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.

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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.

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Zwischenzug
[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

n.
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
Adams-Kasparov
(Linares 2002, 1-0)

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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.

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some folks I know

Mark Dilley
a daily dose of architecture
dailysoy
Hannah
funferal
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eripsa
January Girl
mimi jingcha
bleen
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Washburn
Hop, Skip, Jump
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ambivalent imbroglio
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some blogs I read

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

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some philosoblogs

E.G.
Philosoraptor
Left2Right
Fake Barn Country
Freiheit und Wissen

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some labor blogs

Confined Space
Unions-Firms-Markets
Working Life
CGEU
Dispatches From the Trenches
Labor Blog
LaborProf
Eric Lee

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some A-list blogs

This Modern World
Discourse.net
Matthew Yglesias
pandagon
Andrew Sullivan
Political Animal
Majikthise
DeLong
The Volokh Conspiracy

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some other links

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

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some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
Aspirin
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
Whorf
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
Factoid
Abortion and coercion
Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
Even more Deliberation Day
more Deliberation Day
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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, May 24, 2005

 

Aspirin

I overdid it a bit at the gym yesterday and woke up at about 3:30a.m. with wrenching back pain. Four aspirin got me to sleep and I woke up this morning spry and fit.

I'm not sure why, but I have a strong preference for aspirin over other low strength pain medications.

Maybe it's because aspirin is what we had around the house when I was a kid -- this was before Ibuprofin and the only time you saw Tylenol was when you went to the doctor or watched the news. Or it could be that my preference for aspirin tracks a preference for well established natural remedies. I do have such a preference, but it's so inconsistent with my more general technological optimism that I wonder whether it's driven by the preference for aspirin rather than the other way around. Another possibility, and this is my favorite, is that aspirin works well for my pain and that my preference is a more or less unconscious outgrowth of my body's recognition of this fact.

Let me take a second to tie this all in to one of my favorite philosophical subjects, the role of reasons in human action. Note that each of the hypotheses in the previous paragraph is an attempt to explain the cause of my aspirin preference, but none of them amounts to a reason that I might give for choosing aspirin over some other painkiller. That's not to say that reasons can't be extracted from the explanations -- my reason might be that aspirin works well for my pain or that well established natural remedies are better than industrial alternatives -- but that doesn't change the fact that in presenting those explanations I was looking for a causal rather than rational account of my behavior. Moreover, this way of thinking, thinking about ourselves as beings enmeshed in complex causal processes, seems to be both common and helpful.

This admission might seem to be in tension with one of my hobby horses in this area, since I regularly argue that when talking about human action we ought to privilege rational explanations over causal ones. The first thing to say here is that it would be a mistake to say that causal explanations are never relevant to understanding human behavior, and that insofar as I've made that claim I've overstated the case for privileging rational explanations.

I haven't worked out precisely what I want to say about this sort of case, but here's a first stab. Human behavior can be roughly divided into action and mere behavior. The distinctive feature of action is that it can be explained by appeal to reasons which the agent herself would acknowledge and endorse. When we reflect on our own behavior in terms of external causes, we are thinking of ourselves as merely behaving. However, in doing so we are looking for reasons that we can acknowledge and endorse. Insofar as such a project succeeds, our behavior will become grounded in the space of reasons and will, as such, be transformed into action.

Hope that didn't give anybody a headache. If it did, I recommend aspirin.



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