Welcome to Pam-mentations. Here you’ll find social & political commentary, philosophy, and satirical cartoons aka Saturday Morning Pam-toons. Each of these are designated an individual category, but all are subsumed under a broader interest of mine, political rhetoric.
Why political rhetoric? In On War Carl Von Clausewitz says war is a continuation of politics by other means. Some, such as Michel Foucault and Paul Viminitz (Canadian philosopher of war), suggest Von Clausewitz’s definition might be inverted to read politics is a continuation of war by other means. My interest is in the “other means”, which include political rhetoric.
If political rhetoric is a means of war consider the following. Thomas Hobbes observes that “force and fraud” are the two cardinal virtues of war. With these observations in mind, none should be appalled by tactics used by political rhetors to move the masses, nor should they too readily be impressed.
I do not intend to demonize rhetoric; rhetoric just is how leaders attempt persuade or dissuade a critical mass of constituents to one course of action or another. It’s also the means by which teenagers attempt to persuade their parents to surrender the family car on a Saturday night. Rather, since rhetoric works (or doesn’t) by hooking up with something going on in our black boxes (mental states), it’s worth not only learning something about rhetorical devices and strategies but also examining the kinds of things rattling around in our black boxes; i.e. Where do these things come from, why believe them, and how likely are they to be true or false? To these ends, analytic philosophy is helpful.
You’ll note that I have categories for both political rhetoric and philosophy.
Why care? Rhetoric is one means to avoid bloodshed, and another to bring it on. These aims are not mutually exclusive, as in Winston Churchill’s We Shall Meet Them on the Beaches.
My social and political commentaries are meta-analyses of social and political issues, not partisan tirades. I aim to get at the kinds of things constituting our mental states which are plucked from common pools of social and political discourse. I’ll often relate these commentaries to philosophy and political rhetoric. And, through my Saturday Morning Pam-toons, I satirize all.
As for my qualifications. I’ve completed all but defence of my thesis for a masters in philosophy. My disciplinary interest has been in the acquisition and maintenance of our beliefs. But I also have a background in the study of rhetoric, linguistics, and philosophy of language. I’m taking a hiatus from the student life, but am intellectually active. For example, I’m a research assistant for my husband, Paul, a social and political philosopher. Paul and I regularly discuss and vet each other’s work. So, while I don’t have a PhD, neither am I simply pulling things out of my derrière.
Other categories on my site include Arts & Leisure, a repository for my photography, travelogue, and humour, Catch-all, a collection of items I’m unsure how to categorize, and Thoughtlets, a repository for the things clinking around in my black box and are anywhere from one line to a few paragraphs in length. Hence, “thoughtlets”.