Insule Fortunate

brezill berzil barcil brazi (l)

Brazil was located and discovered before it was physically found. I like to use it to ask questions I need to throw at the wild man. Brazil gives me a concentrated form I am not so attached to, which is useful.

Saves time and as so much importance is attached to 19th century scientific explanation of this subject it also reduces anxiety.

Prepares you for the shock of the ‘real.’



I randomly picked up the nearest book in front of me, in this case Isolated Islands in Medieval Nature Culture and Mind.

I have had this book for a couple of years, read the papers multiple times. Sense I  note, was immediately altered the second I started reading a paper on geographical knowledge and the search for earthly paradise.

What altered my reading was my sketch introduction recently to debates in physics on theory and knowing.

Unlike physics this is a subject I know and can understand, I suspect I can run the arguments here, may help get a better sense of contemporary arguments surrounding knowing.

If I get more than a surface hit, then Paul Feyerabend is going to be an interesting read, if the pattern is messy should still be interesting.

I note at the outset that I appear to have the perspective that in terms of knowing string theory and the search for earthly paradise may share a range of common features. See how far that belief will run.

No. 27: The Air Pump

Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.


C.S. Peirce, How To Make Our Ideas Clear


Pragmatisms logical maxim. As a creature of low tricks and little meaning it seems to me a somewhat rhetorical maxim.

To The Boring

Being Scottish I of course have a stereotypical propensity to meanness, and unwillingness to part with hard cash and if much of English literary tradition is to be believed the celtic poetic spirit is embedded in its melancholia.

Melancholia the result of a cold damp climate, the celtic poetic genius  formed from dwelling on misty mountain tops. An entanglement of ancient medical perspective on the humours and the notion that dry humours from which genius gushes forth require the dry climatic conditions of say Greece.

The cold frozen North a home for the fickle barbarian, temperament and humour of its inhabitants shaped by this environment. Northern Europe needed to alter this tradition in line with it’s own self image, the melancholic poetic genius an example of this renegotiation.

Anyway, my second book is now winging its way to my home, Greg Woolf, Tales of the Barbarians: Ethnography and Empire in the Roman West.

Prof Woolf has a subtle touch he is also an admirer of Hodder. So I have an escape plan if my first reading choice goes wrong. It may help me understand this book in a wider perspective. Satisfying my stereotypical Scottish desire to obtain value for money rather than mourning it’s loss from the top of a mist filled mountain.

‘Interplay of inquirer and inhabitant’ a core theme of the book. I can easily buy into this idea and if it takes a few unfamiliar twists and turns I can plot to some extent where to look further.

The Mundane

Last post an example of me making minor financial commitments using poetry as a guide. In this case blowing a large chunk of my festive book buying budget.

I was disinclined to use the Burns poem in performance until I asked the question, why do I care about it?

Ian Hodder’s book, Entangled: An Archeology of the Relationship Between Humans and Things. Reluctant to pick up as I am not sure what I will make of Hodder’s own entanglement in language and philosophy.

It does partly ask questions about how we care for objects. This does seem to play a role in how we make sense of objects or can arrive at a sense and understanding of them.

As with the poem, subject is enough to get over initial distaste or unease with the speaking subject.

So I took the plunge.