Showing posts from 2012

An Atheist On A Date

I kissed a girl wearing a cross around her neck her lips didn't taste like church but her hips felt like God I wonder what her pastor would have thought I wonder if that cross around her neck meant more to me  than it does to her. Author - Unknown

Seeing Past the 'Digital Dualism'

"The logic of social media follows us long after we log out. There was and is no offline; it is a lusted-after fetish object that some claim special ability to attain, and it has always been a phantom.... We have come to understand more and more of our lives through the logic of digital connection. Social media is more than something we log into; it is something we carry within us. We can’t log off." The IRL Fetish by Nathan Jurgenson

Echo and Abyss

"By thought alone I made myself both echo and abyss." Fernando Pessoa , The Book Of Disquiet


Joshua writes at the Examined Life tumblr: "Ahistoricism is a necessary pre-condition for every form of ideological blindness. The more ahistorical, the more fanatical. ‘Ahistoricism’ does not mean merely one’s ignorance of dates, events, and names in history, but the interconnection of those things out of which all our ideas today have evolved.  Ideas never spring from an ahistorical vacuum.  One can know many historical facts and yet have an entirely ahistorical outlook.  One may not know many historical facts and yet may possess a keen sense of historical awareness." That is an excellent observation, and it is borne out by my own interaction with those leaning towards Islamic fundamentalism. There is a striking lack of appreciation (not necessary knowledge) of how Islamic Sharia originated and developed, and how the doctrines that seem eternal and rigid to current believers, as if handed down in this form by God, are products of scholarly disputes, interpreta


"Working in philosophy — like work in architecture in many respects — is really more a working on oneself.  On one’s own interpretation.  On one’s way of seeing things.  (And what one expects of them.)" Ludwig Wittgenstein , Culture and Value (via Examined Life )

Mountains in Love: A Review of Thinner Than Skin

My review of Uzma Aslam Khan ’s Thinner Than Skin for The Friday Times . Mountains in Love Awais Aftab The book begins with two intriguing and sub-textually pertinent quotes, providing hints as to what the story has to offer: “It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.” (Virginia Woolf) and “There are one or two murderers in any crowd. They do not suspect their destinies yet.” (Charles Simic) Indeed, Thinner Than Skin is a tale of characters who are grappling with tenacious phantoms and stumbling towards destinies they cannot foresee. The novel is set primarily in the background of Pakistani Northern areas, Kaghan Valley in particular, with its melting pot of communities of Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Russians, Chinese and Afghans. It is a place where old traditions and customs are laced into the fabric of geography, and the sense of enchantment is palpable and ever-present. The culture is being corroded by the presence of government officials and military convoys, and th

The Moral Challenge of Suffering

I do not presume that this solves the problem of suffering, nor does it imply that we should not seek to alleviate it wherever possible, but it does seem to me that there is an element of a moral challenge to the suffering we face in life. How we respond to pain and evil in our lives, and how it impacts our character is of moral significance. Confronted with suffering, we can transform ourselves for the better, with hope and courage, and by cultivating compassion, sensitivity and humility. To do so is to succeed in this moral challenge. The same adversity, however, can turn many into bitter, base, selfish and vengeful creatures. That is a moral failure.  Of course, we do not get to experience the same amount of pain in life. There is a huge disparity, and that is unfair. It is, however, an unfairness that lurks at the very heart of morality itself. Related post: Beautiful People

Guilt Before We Act

The following conversation from the film Liberal Arts may be considered a spoiler by some. "It doesn't bother me." "Well, it bothers me." "Well, it shouldn't. Age is a stupid thing to obsess over. What if reincarnation is real, huh? Think about that, What if I am like thousands of years older than you?" "Okay, that's not really a sound argument." "Why not?" "Because it's like saying what if reality is all an illusion, then there are no consequences to anything, we're completely off the hook... and I believe in consequences." "No, you believe in guilt." "Maybe, but guilt before we act is called morality."  Liberal Arts

A Testimony of Love

A testimony of love .— Somebody said: "About two persons I have never reflected very thoroughly: that is the testimony of my love for them." Friedrich Nietzsche , On the Genealogy of Morals

Hyperbolic Skepticism

Hyperbolic skepticism rests on a self-defeating criterion, as Maverick Philosopher points out: "Those who believe that it is wrong, always and everywhere, to believe anything on insufficient evidence believe that very proposition on insufficient evidence, indeed on no evidence at all."

The Disingenuous Believer

New Wine in Old Wineskins is an elegant and succinct post on how the author realized that his wholesale symbolic interpretation of Bible amounted to being disingenuous. An excerpt: "I’ve travelled along the Christian spectrum from one end to the other, from Church of Christ to Universal Unitarianism.  In the last few years that I called myself a Christian in the late 1990s, I kept edging further and further toward a broader interpretation of the Christian narrative until I had discovered I had fallen off that edge!  In those last few years, my understanding of what was symbolic or metaphorical encompassed the whole of the Bible.  It was finally the resurrection of Jesus understood as symbolic that I had to face up to the fact that calling myself a Christian was disingenuous.... There is no reason to have a sense of loyalty to a religious narrative just because it has been around for ages.  It seems to me a lazy way of doing a kind of pseudo-philosophy rather than engagi

Our Pervasive Madness

"In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal. A man who prefers to be dead rather than Red is normal. A man who says he has lost his soul is mad. A man who says that men are machines may be a great scientist. A man who says he is a machine is 'depersonalized' in psychiatric jargon. A man who says that Negroes are an inferior race may be widely respected. A man who says his whiteness is a form of cancer is certifiable. A little girl of seventeen in a mental hospital told me she was terrified because the Atom Bomb was inside her. That is a delusion. The statesmen of the world who boast and threaten that they have Doomsday weapons are far more dangerous, and far more estranged from 'reality' than many of the people on whom the label 'psychotic' is affixed.  Psychiatry could be, and some psychiatrists are, on the side of transcendence, of genuine f

The Imperfect Language

"In this article it is argued that evolutionary plausibility must be made an important constraining factor when building theories of language. Recent suggestions that presume that language is necessarily a perfect or optimal system are at odds with this position, evolutionary theory showing us that evolution is a meliorizing agent often producing imperfect solutions. Perfection of the linguistic system is something that must be demonstrated, rather than presumed. Empirically, examples of imperfection are found not only in nature and in human cognition, but also in language — in the form of ambiguity, redundancy, irregularity, movement, locality conditions, and extra-grammatical idioms. Here it is argued that language is neither perfect nor optimal, and shown how theories of language which place these properties at their core run into both conceptual and empirical problems." Anna R. Kinsella and Gary F. Marcus ,  Evolution, Perfection, and Theories of Language

Life of Pi's Case for God: Two Philosophical Interpretations

*Major Spoilers Ahead* "We believe what we see" "...what do you do when you're in the dark?" - Yann Martel , Life of Pi Life of Pi is a beautifully profound film, and leaves much to think about. I haven't read the novel, but friends tell me that it's over-all a pretty faithful adaptation. Yann Martel seems happy with the film as well, though he does note that the "ending is not as ambiguous as the book’s". The film is decently good and engaging for most part, but it is really the ending which takes it to a whole new level. The possibility of another version of how the events in the film happened hits you out of the blue and alters the whole perception of what had happened. I also like how the story is tied up with spirituality. To understand the film fully, one has to understand how the film makes a case for God. The film begins with a writer approaching Pi after hearing that he has a story to tell that would 'make one believe

Wine Barrel

"The only copy of Catullus’s poems to survive from antiquity was discovered in the Middle Ages, plugging a hole in a wine barrel. One of two morals can be drawn from this fact. Either pure chance determines what survives, from which it follows that eventually every work will lose its gamble and be forgotten; or else every worthy work is registered in the eye of God, the way books are registered for copyright, so that its material fate is irrelevant. The first conclusion, which is rationally inevitable, would in time lead anyone to stop writing; anyone who continues to write somehow believes a version of the second. But surely a God who was able to preserve all human works could also preserve all human intentions—indeed, He could deduce the work from its intention far more perfectly than the writer can produce it. Thus a writer with perfect trust would not have to do any work, but simply confide his intentions and aspirations to God. His effort, the pains he takes, are the precis


You can be stubborn as a poem Refusing to yield and budge To anyone but your clairvoyant admirer Who would look past the black ink And glean out meaning from the white of the page Like a poem, you'd wait an eternity Cradling the unsaid in your lap And I In my impatient seduction Will take of you what I can To transmute into a poem One as stubborn as you

Martyr's Death

How effortlessly emotions manipulate reason to serve their ends, and how laboriously reason rebels and dies a martyr's death!

Quran, Homosexuality and Morality

In Queering the Quran , Michael Muhammad Knight discusses some attempts at reconciliation between Islam and homosexuality. With regards to Quranic interpretation he writes: "As with anti-queer readers of the Bible, anti-queer readers of the Qur’an mention the fate of Lot’s people as proof that God hates same-sex desire. However, there are also readers of the Qur’an who attempt to produce new meanings from the episode. Among progressive Muslims, an argument exists that the story of Lot does not discuss men who want consensual sex with other men, but rather men who intend to commit rape. I have to confess that this argument strikes me as a bit of a reach, but I do appreciate the effort, if only so that I can say that alternative readings do exist. Unfortunately, when I read the Qur’an, I find it mocking men who want to have sex with men. This is not what I want to see, and I hope to someday find an interpretation that will change this for me. I appreciate the need for qu

Derrida’s Argument

"Derrida’s argument was that Western thought from Plato to Rousseau to Lévi-Strauss had been hopelessly entangled in the illusion that language might provide us with access to a reality beyond language, beyond metaphor: an unmediated experience of truth and being which he called ‘presence’. Even Heidegger, a radical critic of metaphysics, had failed to escape its snares. This illusion, according to Derrida, was the corollary of a long history of ‘logocentrism’: a privileging of the spoken word as the repository of ‘presence’, at the expense of writing, which had been denigrated as a ‘dangerous supplement’, alienated from the voice, secondary, parasitic, even deceitful. Derrida wanted not only to liberate writing from the ‘repression’ of speech, but to demonstrate that speech itself was a form of writing, a way of referring to things that aren’t there. If logocentrism was a ‘metaphysics of presence’, what he proposed was a poetics of absence – a philosophical echo of Mallarm

Concealment and Promise

Clothing can be a concealment offering the promise of nudity. It utilizes the aesthetic appeal for the sexual appeal, such that the sartorial decoration becomes an extension of the physical beauty. It calls the imagination for aid by denying the direct vision of bare actuality. Conceal enough, however, and the promise is suffocated.  This play of concealment and possibility is a function of the context. To see a possibility where it is not offered is to risk being guilty of sexual objectification.

Do Blame The Taliban

K. K. Shahid's Don't Blame The Taliban series of articles/blogs make for a pretty interesting reading. I criticized one particular aspect of the Part I recently. Part II and III are relatively more sophisticated in the arguments, and I think some of them are quite valid, especially the ones directed at the apologists of Islam who continue to maintain that Islam is 'inherently peaceful' and dismiss any criticism on the basis of context. I believe K. K. Shahid is quite justified in being irked by such apologists and their tactics, and his articles are a desperate attempt of sorts to deflate this balloon of apologism. It is a balloon that I wish to deflate as well. I will present my own criticism of Islamic apologists separately, because it is a topic that needs addressing.  What bothers me about K. K. Shahid's articles is his 'defence' of Taliban as the true followers of Islam. This is how he describes them in Part III : "The Taliban understan


Conor Gearty talks about how real scholarship is not gained from twitter and blogs, but from old fashioned hard work. He speaks with reference to public law, but I think the point is applicable generally: "Every working day brings some excitement in public law. The Twitter/Blog mind embraces the daily frenzy, scans the raw material to hand and produces an instant judgment – as though its owner were some kind of perpetually available law specialist on Radio 5 Live. The old fashioned hard work – quiet; library-based; thoughtful – that made the writer/speaker an expert in the first place gradually drifts off the daily agenda. At first because of time constraints and then – well – because it’s boring, like returning to decaff coffee after an espresso. Twitter/Blog erodes our confidence in the deeper stuff without which we would never have become experts in the first place."

Philosophy as a Profession

Herman Cappelen: I had Jonathan Barnes as tutor for most of my courses. Barnes was an important influence – though I remember asking him whether it was worth going on with philosophy professionally and he said, ‘Only if there’s absolutely nothing else you can see yourself doing and you think you can do it better than anyone else’. I worked hard to ignore that advice or put severe restrictions on the domain of ‘anyone.’ That said, I think he was right. However much one loves doing philosophy, entering into the profession is for most lovers of philosophy probably a bad choice (which is just an instance of a more general point: making a profession out of something one loves because one loves it, is probably a bad choice). Interview with 3 AM Magazine

Outrage and Reality

My op-ed published in The News on 7 November 2012: Outrage and Reality Awais Aftab Dr Peter Sandman is a risk communication specialist and a prominent international consultant with regards to outrage and crisis management. He is well known for his conceptual formula ‘Risk = Hazard + Outrage’ and he is always trying to educate the public on the relationship between hazard and outrage. Hazard refers to how much harm a risk actually does and outrage denotes how much upset people get about it. The most striking feature about the relationship is their abysmally low correlation, which in a numerical figure amounts to about 0.2. In simpler words, the risks that actually harm people and the risks that upset people are unrelated to each other. If you know what harms people, you cannot say if people are upset about it. If people are upset about something, you know nothing about how dangerous it really is. This low correlation applies to all sorts of harms, be they medical, ec

The Romanticised History of Science

"What all this boils down to is that science has never given up on the Whiggish view of history that historians have long since abandoned: a triumphant voyage out of the dark ages of ignorance and superstition into the light of reason. In this view, all we really care about in historical scientists is which of their ideas survived, not how they thought and why. All the stuff that was of its time — Kepler’s cosmic harmonies, Newton’s alchemy and eschatology, Faraday’s religiosity — must then become a curious aberration: ‘Isn’t it strange that such great minds held such weird ideas?’ It isn’t strange at all if you truly care about history." excerpt from the article Science fictions by Philip Ball .

The Global Petri Dish

In the November/December 2012 issue of Orion magazine, there is a wonderfully informative and delightfully engaging article by Charles C. Mann ,  State of the Species , in which he discusses the history and fate of  Homo sapiens as a biological species. Please do read the entire article. Below I am going to present an outline of the salient features, frequently relying on the words of the author. Consider them as abridged excerpts. Homo sapiens emerged on Earth around 200,000 years ago. Those humans were anatomically modern, but not behaviorally modern: they possessed no language, no clothing, no art, no religion and had the simplest of tools. Those early humans had so little capacity for innovation that for the first 100,000 years of their existence, we find no evidence of any significant cultural and social change. Furthermore, humans were confined geographically to a small area in East Africa (and possibly another area in South Africa). Then, mysteriously, 50,000 year


Religion sets out to reform brutes and ends up becoming a tool in their hands.

Emotions, Thoughts and Language

Reading a post on the blog Zunn left me thinking about the relationship between language, thoughts and emotions. With beautiful description she states: "It is a Faustian bargain that humanity has to make - without words, there would be a chaos of thoughts and feelings where everything might appear to be in a flux. But with words, we reduce the vastness of experience into manageable cubby holes for ourselves and others to fit oh-so-snugly into." I have tried to gather my own thoughts on the cognitive relationship between them in this post. Since I am not well-versed in linguistics and cognitive science, what is presented below are my own speculations and impressions, building on my limited knowledge, and it may or may not be valid from a scientific point of view. Can emotions be experienced without them being translated into thoughts? Yes, I believe so. While it seems obvious enough to me from introspection, it is also supported by the fact that different regions of

The Cloud Atlas Experience: A Plagiarised Review

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” Cloud Atlas The fictional setting of Cloud Atlas allows you to suspend skepticism just long enough for your mind to drink in ' a tapestry sewn from universality of human feeling ', and your emotions to be swept by mystical tidings: ' we’re not just bodies, but also souls; the choices we make in one life affect who we become in another; we’re all connected to each other and to something bigger than ourselves. ' The end result is an inspired state of mind that leaves you yearning for “the great Perhaps”. ' Belief in the great Perhaps suffuses Cloud Atlas the novel; the misstep of Cloud Atlas the film is to try to turn Perhaps into Certainty. ' It's an artistic vision of a world where we do not know the possible far-reaching consequences of our actions, which may transcend our individual lives and ripple

'The Thinker'

Aati:  In your own quiet, understated way, you're brilliant not just in philosophy and science, which is the niche where people like to conveniently stash you, maybe because there are so few others they can stick with those labels, but also as an observer, as a humorist, as a poet. People like to reduce you to a mind, if you understand what I'm saying, because your mind baffles them the most and because your mind they can easily distance themselves from fully understanding. But you're not just a thinker, and your feelings are brilliant and lucid, and so people like to pretend they haven't seen them perhaps, and underplay them because they have feelings too and because feelings make them your equal and you theirs and feelings bring you too close for them to pass off their lack of understanding as merely natural. And sometimes I get the feeling you go right along with them too, like a boat carried by the tide. 'The Thinker' is your stereotype, it is your nic

The Country of the Blind

'One of the most famous stories of H. G. Wells, “The Country of the Blind” (1904), depicts a society, enclosed in an isolated valley amid forbidding mountains, in which a strange and persistent epidemic has rendered its members blind from birth. Their whole culture is reshaped around this difference: their notion of beauty depends on the feel rather than the look of a face; no windows adorn their houses; they work at night, when it is cool, and sleep during the day, when it is hot. A mountain climber named Nunez stumbles upon this community and hopes that he will rule over it: “In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King,” he repeats to himself. Yet he comes to find that his ability to see is not an asset but a burden. The houses are pitch-black inside, and he loses fights to local warriors who possess extraordinary senses of touch and hearing. The blind live with no knowledge of the sense of sight, and no need for it. They consider Nunez’s eyes to be diseased, and mock

Dostoevsky and Rebellion

Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov contains perhaps the most vivid and intense description of the philosophical problem of suffering in literature. The relevant passages are in the chapters titled Rebellion and The Grand Inquisitor. (They have been published separately from the novel as well.) While the whole novel is worth reading in entirety, below I am presenting an excerpt-summary of the problem of suffering in the words of Ivan Karamazov. This exercise is intended mostly for personal convenience of revisiting the text while philosophizing about this problem in future, but I hope it will also benefit those who wish to get a taste of it before (or without) reading the whole novel. The excerpt is from Rebellion. --- Excerpt Start --- "It’s not that I don’t accept God, you must understand, it’s the world created by Him I don’t and cannot accept.... I meant to speak of the suffering of mankind generally, but we had better confine ourselves to the sufferings of t

Wiping out Islam's archaeological history

Saudi Arabia's eagerness to destroy Islam's archaeological history is quite telling: Wahhabism seeks to return to a past that doesn't exist. The Guardian reports: 'the house of the prophet's wife, Khadijah, was razed to make way for public lavatories; the house of his companion, Abu Bakr, is now the site of a Hilton hotel; and his grandson's house was flattened by the King's palace. "They are turning the holy sanctuary into a machine, a city which has no identity, no heritage, no culture and no natural environment. They've even taken away the mountains,"...  [There are] proposals to develop Jabal Khandama, on the hills to the east, which will likely see the erasure of the site where the prophet Muhammad was born. Alawi says his wilful destruction of Islamic heritage is no accident: it is driven by state-endorsed wahhabism, the hardline interpretation of Islam that perceives historical sites as encouraging sinful idolatry. So anything

Fire in the Soul

"There may be a great fire in our soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself by it, all that passers-by can see is a little smoke coming out of the chimney, and they walk on." Vincent Van Gogh , Letter to Theo

Psychotropic Drugs and Veridicality

Maverick Philosopher answers a question I had asked him regarding two of his posts dealing with the issue of psychotropic drugs and veridicality.

Uzma Aslam Khan's Interview

Uzma Aslam Khan's interview , conducted by me, published in The Friday Times . Two excerpts from it: * 'As with just about every aspect of Pakistani life, in matters of love, we overdo ourselves at the same time that we don't do enough. For instance, we lavish love on our guests, or our friends' children. And at the risk of generalizing, I'd say Pakistani children lavish more love on each other than children in the West; they're more affectionate and generous. I encountered dozens of such examples while teaching in Lahore, ways in which the young look out for each other. Yet, we teach those same children to withhold love from the poor, from religious minorities, from sexual "outcasts". We teach them to be ashamed of thinking of wives as lovers and friends. These aspects of love we don't nurture; the flower, if it blooms, blooms in a closed, guilty place, where it can't live for long.' * 'When in the book Nana is falsely ac

Meaning of Life: Creation vs Actualization

Maverick Philosopher argues that we cannot be the source of our own existential meaning. He explains it with great clarity. His argument is that if my life has no meaning apart from the meaning that I create for myself, then before I create meaning for myself, I and my acts exist meaninglessly. This further implies that my very act of meaning-bestowal exists meaninglessly. If the very act of meaning-bestowal is meaningless, how can it give my life a meaning? As far as I can see, it's a pretty devastating argument. My own view on the matter is that meaning exists as a set of open-ended possibilities determined by the facticity of an individual; the personal, social, political, historical and material circumstances, and the inherent capabilities, which all limit and shape the spectrum of possibilities. One of these possibilities is actualized over the lifetime by the interaction of the individual will and the facticity. We are not the source of our existential meaning. We are

Neuroscience in Dostoevsky's Words

"What do you mean by ‘sorry to lose God’?" "Imagine: inside, in the nerves, in the head — that is, these nerves are there in the brain... (damn them!) there are sort of little tails, the little tails of those nerves, and as soon as they begin quivering... that is, you see, I look at something with my eyes and then they begin quivering, those little tails... and when they quiver, then an image appears... it doesn’t appear at once, but an instant, a second, passes... and then something like a moment appears; that is, not a moment — devil take the moment! — but an image; that is, an object, or an action, damn it! That’s why I see and then think, because of those tails, not at all because I’ve got a soul, and that I am some sort of image and likeness. All that is nonsense! Rakitin explained it all to me yesterday, brother, and it simply bowled me over. It’s magnificent, Alyosha, this science! A new man’s arising — that I understand.... And yet I am sorry to lose God!&qu

A Popular Argument on Free Will and Moral Responsibility

I encounter this argument very commonly from people amidst conversations: "If free will does not exist, it implies that we cannot hold criminals morally responsible for their crimes." However, despite the appeal, the argument is self-defeating. The argument supposes that we have some sort of a choice in holding criminals morally responsible; that we could choose not to hold them responsible if we so decided, and yet it denies this same agency to the criminals. A criminal could not have done otherwise in committing a crime, but we can do otherwise by not judging them? As obvious, the relationship between free will and moral responsibility is of more philosophical subtlety than this popular argument can capture.

Clarifying Nagel's Project

As Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos has not yet arrived in Pakistan to my knowledge, I can only console myself with online reviews. Maverick Philosopher is doing a better job in this regard than most other published reviews that have come out. In his latest post he clarifies Nagel's project in the face of some objections raised by Elliot Sober :  'According to Sober, Nagel " . . .  argues that evolutionary biology is fundamentally flawed and that physics also needs to be rethought—that we need a new way to do science." This seems to me to misrepresent Nagel's project.  His project is not to "end science as we know it" but to indicate the limits of scientific explanation.  A legitimate philosophical task is to investigate  the limits of even the most successful sciences. (4) Now, to investigate and point out the limits of evolutionary biology and physics is not to argue that they are "fundamentally flawed."  They do what they are suppo


#TS298 Prompts: Axis, Deixis, Catalexis. He aligned his focus so much towards context that he ignored the rhythm of his life. The poet within him was buried without a funeral #TS298 #TS300 Prompts: Guns & Roses, Brigadier, Happy endings. She whispered as he caressed, "You soldier on in love, but you cannot reign. It's hard to hold a candle, in the cold November rain." #TS300 #TS302 Prompts: any three words beginning with "dis-" He dissected his disquietude in the hope of dispelling it, but his discomposure only deepened and disarmed his sanity. #TS302 #TS303  Prompts : Man, Manhattan, Manet. The impressionistic sketch of Manhattan skyline struck him as symbolic of modern human condition & he broke into uncontrollable sobs #TS303 #TS304  Prompts : Story, Storey, Storyteller. He climbed a storey for every novel he had written and looked down. 'One day I'll reach the roof and jump,' he thought and smiled. #T

Nietzsche's God

'Nietzsche war kein Atheist, aber sein Gott war tot' ['Nietzsche was no atheist, but his God was dead'] Carl Jung  [as quoted in  The Dionysian Self: C.G. Jung's Reception of Friedrich Nietzsche  by Paul Bishop] (discovery owed to my dear friend Qasim Aziz )

Provocative Attire and Sexual Harassment

Following is an excerpt from a very informative paper ' Sexy Dressing Revisited: Does Target Dress Play A Part In Sexual Harassment Cases ' by Theresa M. Beiner . The excerpt deals with popular perceptions about provocative clothing and sexual harassment/rape, discusses how actual evidence reveals that harassment is driven by perceptions of passiveness and submissiveness, and contrary to popular opinion, revealing attire is viewed as a sign of dominance and assertiveness, and therefore those wearing provocative dress are less likely to be victims of harassment. It then discusses the reasons for why this misconception exists in public: "Underlying rape shield laws is the belief that people, and in particular jurors, mistakenly believe that a women’s dress has an impact on whether she will be victimized. This belief is borne out by research on perceptions of women’s dress. [...] [H]ighly-educated and learned adults believe that how a woman dresses has an impact on whet