Monthly Archives: November 2012

Book Review: Shelby Foote’s Shiloh

Shelby Foote was famous to my generation as one of the historians interviewed in Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War, and he wrote a three thousand page book with the same title. (A great book to have if you are ever in bed for a week, like I was, recuperating from Lyme’s Disease). But Foote […]

Book Review: In Cold Blood

  In 1965 novelist Truman Capote attempted to write a “True Crime” novel, and the result is the brilliant but deeply flawed In Cold Blood, which recounts the gruesome 1959 murder of a family of four. As a novelist he takes the material at hand, police reports, interviews, and psychological analyses, and weaves them together into a compelling narrative. He knows […]

The History of People (Part II)

Last time we saw that there are two ways of speaking about people, legal and real (or metaphysical), each term with a convoluted history. And since we have the notion that a real person is the highest form of existence, we think this inherent value should be reflected in law, which confuses the issue a […]

The history of people: corporate, real, and otherwise.

Over the last few months there has been allot of talk of “personhood” in politics. On the political left there was a recent push to abolish the legal concept of “corporate personhood”, on the right there is recurring talk of a “personhood” amendment to the constitution designed to include fetuses. Behind these discussions there is […]

George Carlin and Theology

Though I have a BA in theology, I have avoided posting on purely theological or religious themes on this blog. I might touch on religion, but not in a direct way. First, because it is not my main interest; second, because even very open-minded people get uncomfortable around straight-up discussions of religion or politics since […]