April 19 2019

Imagining Money XXXV Thurs 4-18-19 maguffins and the management of longing

A kind of culmination of the material on maguffins, loss aversion, and the management of longing.  The sunk costs of antes.  The symbolic value of the last cigarette before you quit.  That last cigarette being a kind of maguffin which allows for making it satisfy both the desire to smoke and the desire to quit.

April 18 2019

Early Romantics XXIV Wednesday 4-17-19

A lot of stuff on rhyming, on emic and etic understanding, on phonemes, before we finally get back to Wordsworth, in particular Simplon Pass and what follows: the strange melancholy mansion they stay in; then the Winander Boy: all about estrangement from nature, and being at home in that estrangement, at home in homelessness.

April 17 2019

Imagining Money XXXIV Wed 4-17-19 Stories of gambling

Narrating gambling.  Getting the benefits of the breaks.  Kinds of gambling narratives: present tense as you're playing and presenting yourself to the other agonists, and past tense: stories of loss.

April 16 2019

Early Romantics XXIII Monday 4-15-19 Home and homelessness

Powerful anticlimaxes.  How being estranged from childhood, and then recognizing that childhood is already the beginning of estrangement, is to achieve the destiny of being at home in homelessness.  [Wild turkey flies into a window across the quad and freaks us all out, one way or another.]  Mention of Frankenstein.  Some of Book VI of The Prelude.

April 15 2019

Imagining Money XXXIII Mon 4-15-19 How endings shape desires

A class -- since no one is keeping up with the reading, to put it mildly -- on the effect that endings have on our desires for narrative.  The way endings turn all preferences into short term ones, whereas with the whole novel, movie, epic, series to go, long term preferences will tend to clash more with short term ones.  This is (though I don't mention him in the class) one of the ways that convergence works, e.g. in Dan Decker's Anatomy of the Screenplay.

April 12 2019

Imagining Money XXXII Loss aversion - Thaler

Money offer on the table when we came in!  Loss aversion -- it depends how you present things, as Thaler et al show.  Medical versions.  A brief introduction to Bayesianism and why MD's need to learn some Bayesean analysis.  Brandeis's plan to sell its art collection and the "endowment effect."  Wins above replacement.




April 11 2019

Early Romantics XXII Wednesday 4-10-19 Intimations Ode, Prelude, Nature

We finally get to the end of The Intimations Ode, after detours again through "Frost at Midnight" and the nature of nature in The Prelude and the relation of nature to death.  

April 10 2019

Imagining Money XXXI — poker, money, chips, macguffins, loss aversion

In which I try and fail to remember the form of a good paradox about loss aversion; some discussion about narratives and macguffins, and the two word summary of every exciting story with a happy ending: "loss, averted"

April 9 2019

Early Romantics XXI Monday 4-8-19 More Intimations Ode

Echoes of Milton in Wordsworth.  More of the Intimations Ode with a detour through Tintern Abbey.  The shockingness of "O joy!"

April 8 2019

Imagining Money XXX Mon 4-9-19 MacGuffins

MacGuffins in Hitchcock, as an intro to Ainslie.  Why we like suspense fiction.  Hitchcock on suspense.  Rereading.  Relation to the sublime vs. the beautiful as described by Smith and Kant.

April 5 2019

Imagining Money XXIX Hyperbolic Discounting

We start on Ainslie -- hyperbolic vs. exponential discounting and we broach the question of what Ainslie calls "the management of longing."

April 4 2019

Early Romantics XX Wed 4-3-19

More about the Prelude -- the skating scene, the boat-stealing scene, Wordsworth's later revisions for accuracy but against memory or wishful memory or the superpositions of memory.  Shades of the prison house in the Intimations Ode.  The child and its two worlds.

April 3 2019

Imagining Money XXVIII Wed 4-3-19 Hyperbolic Discounting and such

Money burning a hole in your pocket. Strategies of Commitment Lotteries as savings devices.  Hyperbolic discounting.

April 2 2019

Early Romantics XIX Monday 4-1-19 Bouncing around the Prelude

We go back briefly to the intimations ode and to Montaigne's that philosophy is learning how to die -- intimations of mortality.   All philosophy is.  Then we knock around The Prelude -- recumbent o'er the surface of past time, the two consciousnesses, and some of the boat-stealing scene, with a digression on metaphor: sex as a vehicle in that scene about vehicles.

April 1 2019

Imagining Money XXVII Mon 4-1-19 Common Knowledge and poker

Poker. Common knowledge, where everyone's knowledge of what everyone else knows converges.  The psychological components of games of skill. Turing tests and reverse Turing tests.

March 30 2019

Imagining Money XXVI Thursday 3-27-19 Mainly on cultural capital

The difference between new money and old money.  The value of old money, or of high culture -- its relation to value.  The idea that that kind of value is related to the potlatch as a marker of status which precisely refuses monetization.  Cultural capital in subcultures.  (Essentially Bourdieu's ideas, though I don't explicitly cite him.)

March 29 2019

Early Romantics XVIII Wednesday 3-27-19 Henry Crabb Robinson on Blake on Wordsworth

Blake's view of Wordsworth, as reported by Henry Crabb Robinson in a letter to Dorothy Wordsworth and in his reminiscences.  Robinson on Wordsworth's technical death in 1814: his indifference to tyranny after the fall of Napoleon.  Return to the Intimations Ode and the subtle new start manifested in stanza 5.

March 28 2019

Imagining Money XXV Wed 3-27-19 Common knowledge and such

This ended up being a class on common knowledge -- that is on games (and puzzles) with complete information.

March 26 2019

Early Romantics XVII Mon 3-25-19 — Intimations Ode 1-4 and opening of Prelude

We start with the Intimations Ode, which means we really start with "My Heart Leaps Up" -- and after the fourth stanza, which is where Wordsworth broke it off, we go to the glad preamble of The Prelude.  Some attention to echoes between Coleridge and Wordsworth.

March 25 2019

Imagining Money XXIV Monday 3-25-19 How heterogeneous values are like gifts

Since no one had read The Gambler, this class was a kind of summing up of thinking from Mandeville to Kant under the rubric of Mauss -- how credit, gratitude, obligation bring in other minds and differentiate our credit with them from the way money is a bookkeeping measure.

March 23 2019

Early Romantics XVI Wed 3-20-19 Mainly Lucy, mainly “A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal”

Basically a class where we rush through "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal," with a little reference to a couple of Shakespeare sonnets Wordsworth was probably thinking of -- 73 and 104.

March 22 2019

Imagining Money XXIII Thursday 3-21-19

In which we go over the answers to the midterm -- you don't need to read it, since I read the questions out.  A little discussion Merchant of Venice: paying with all my heart, and of Ulysses: Leopold Bloom's joke advertising jingle, "Tell me where is fancy bread? At Burke's the Baker's, it is said."

March 21 2019

Imagining Money XXII Wed 3-20-19 Prisoner’s Dilemma

Using the game show Golden Balls, we look at some Prisoner's Dilemma situations, and discuss Golden Balls as a more classic PD than it might seem at first (it's certainly at the least a modified PD).  Episodes for watching are available here (an anthology) and here ("Weirdest split or steal every").  Different ways of valuing, different ways of strategizing.

March 20 2019

Early Romantics XV Monday 3-18-19 How Wordsworth is like Milton is like Blake

Wordsworth on Gray in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads.  Like Blake he channels Milton's view that poetry is something other than artifice, and like Blake he corrects the Miltonic example.  Home at Grasmere vs. Paradise Lost.

March 15 2019

Imagining Money XXI Wed 3-13-19 Adam Smith on Beauty and Utility

Adam Smith on utility and beauty -- revealed preference as a tautology -- utilitarianism -- Smith on how preference isn't a tautology -- different from Mandeville.  Smith on utility here.  This will lead to Smith on self-command.

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