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My Hall of Shame

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Two days ago I got a couple of emails from a distant relative, so distant i had never heard of her, let alone met her. She wrote to tell me the good news of her genealogical discoveries of my father’s lineage, the McAfee clan.

My generational Grandfather, Alfred Burton III was the individual who kept our family history in tact, within my line,  and I, as a young child adored him, his preservation of our history, and the many old stories which he shared.   I have tried to carry on our historical family history all or my adult years.  Today, it is through a feeling of obligation and duty that I further the family history and share with our family member researchers at-large, some of whom have no idea of their wonderful history.

In another email she wrote to me and many other distant relatives the following:

It with pleasure that I send to you the legal inventory of the earliest known Grandfather James McAfee Sr. of whom we know to date.  Some have this old inventory in hand already, but there may be some individuals who have not been able to locate the site for downloading the inventory for their needs.  As most of you know, the will is no longer available and has been missing from the NC Archives for years.  But…we have a glimpse of this gentleman, of the long, via the inventory of his personal property.  Note:  Do know that the inventory is likely not all of what he owned, as some of the later day grandfathers gifted their children with properties, such as land, prior to their demise.

The attachment to this message is the inventory of personal effects belonging to NC James McAfee Sr whose demise was~1769.  However there is no logical legal explanation (at the moment) for his legal inventory of personal property being dated so much later…..1778.  This is an interesting issue to ponder.

The inventory may be downloaded onto a nice heavy paper and framed as Christmas gifts for other family members.  I often get Office Depot to make copies of old legal instruments as their equipment is so much better than my printer.  In addition, you may wish to have a rather large copy made.  The knowledge of the copy department at Office Depot has been a huge help to my efforts in attempting to obtain the best copy available of any instrument or old record.

Each year, at Christmas time, I try to purchase some small item to remember my generational McAfee parents of 1769….I have several pewter candlesticks which I deem to be designs from that era.  This year, I found six china teacups which are just perfect!

I looked with dread to the document of my Southern ancestor’s belongings that I was being encouraged to print out, frame, and gift to my loved ones.  Sure enough, below 30 hogs, were “two negroes.” I am in mortal shame that my ancestor did this, but more that a contemporary relative, however distant, would think this a nice Christmas gift.  Hall of Shame.mcafeeprop

So I wrote back,

A “gentleman”?  Among his list of possessions, right below thirty hogs, were “two negroes.”  This is not a heritage I am proud of.  To the contrary, I am quite ashamed

In the scheme of things, my shame means little.

Categories: Uncategorized

More on how the PGR is toast

November 2, 2014 Leave a comment

I would genuinely like to know how the Philosophical Gourmet Report evaluators were selected, how many were asked, what percentage they are of the entire philosophy faculty, how representative they are of the faculty overall, and how many have declined to participate this time given all the negative publicity. But I don’t expect much information.  And many others are seeing this too. Another reason to think that the PGR is toast.

Lots more info here.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

So just how much do you want to study philosophy?

October 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Hannah Arendt to Mary McCarthy, August 20, 1954

At the moment, translating the old book [The Origins of Totalitarianism] into German, I am unhappy and impatient to get back to what I really want to do [likely her reflections on labor, work, and action]—if I can do it. But that is minor, I mean whether or not I am capable of doing what I want to do. Heinrich [Blücher] has a wonderful advice to give to his students when they talk about studying philosophy: he tells them you can do it only if you know that the most important thing in your life would be to succeed in this and the second most important thing, almost as important, to fail in precisely this.

Infograph on the History of Philosophy

October 2, 2014 Leave a comment

This cool infographic was created by Merrill Cook and posted on superscholar.org. But, umm, couldn’t we get some of the women in the picture? Read more…

Documenting the meltdown on Leiter and bad tactics in rankings

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

If you are a philosopher in the English speaking world, you no doubt know that the old self-appointed emperor has lost his clothes. As of this writing, more than 520 philosophers (including the original signatories at the top) have signed a statement that they will decline to support his Philosophical Gourmet Report so long as he’s running it.  Twenty-four members of his board have asked him to relinquish management. Since I’ve been one of the characters in this tale, I’ve been keeping up with all the talk in the philosophy blogosphere.  For those interested in what’s going on, Leigh M Johnson has been keeping track here.  Also Richard Heck is starting to collect accounts and analyses of what is wrong with the methodology of rankings in general and the Philosophical Gourmet Report in particular on his blog here.

Sign on to the September Statement

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

The list of philosophers unwilling to take part in the Philosophical Gourmet Report so long as Brian Leiter is editing it keeps growing: https://sites.google.com/site/septemberstatement/ .  Any philosophy professor with an academic appointment is invited to join the list.  You need not be someone who would have been likely to be an evaluator.

If you wish to add your name to those declining for these reasons to volunteer their services to the PGR while under the control of Brian Leiter, please email septemberstatement@gmail.com with your name and affiliation.

Please use your verifiable university email account to avoid confusion.

A Search Engine for Philosophy

September 26, 2014 9 comments
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