kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The book

As my reader probably remembers, I have a book coming out in the Summer, from the good folks at Catholic University of America Press. All praise is due to Allah for this press; it was hard to find someone to publish it.

They asked me to write the back copy recently. It's difficult, because lots of people, I think, might actually buy a book on the basis of what is on its back. So I had to write something that was zippy and provocative, but it was a book about logic, Kant, and the Critique of Pure Reason. I have pretty minimal expectations that anyone is going to be able to pick this thing up in a bookstore to begin with, but just in case, I wanted something, well, zippy and provocative.

I've given below the one I wrote, and the one I considered. Let me know which one I should use.


Combining the effervescent prose of Ken Kesey, the incandescent ledgerdemain of Borges, and the depth of Aristotle, Kurt Mosser has produced a book that answers—correctly—all questions about the philosophy of Kant. It also provides, in an appendix, handy instructions for how best to insulate one's house, and an outstanding recipe for Crawfish Etoufée.

Kant's reputation for difficulty is shown to be overstated, and following Mosser's simple advice, the reader will, in no time, be an expert not just on Kant' s Transcendental Philosophy, the history of logic, postmodernism, and epistemology, but also on German Idealism, Delta Blues, Sudoku, linear algebra, and how to get chocolate stains out of wool. After reading this book, the reader can stride confidently into any English, German, French or Italian bar, confident of the expectation that before the night is over, he or she will have not bought a single drink after having amazed, astounded, and baffled the crowd with insights and bons mots hitherto unavailable to homo sapiens. There is also a two-for-one coupon for Applebee's.

An underground classic.


If logic provides rules for thought, can there be similar rules for human experience? Kurt Mosser argues that reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason as an argument for such a logic of experience makes more defensible many of Kant’s most controversial claims, and makes more accessible Kant’s notoriously difficult text. By pursuing this strategic hint, Kant’s philosophical claims about human experience are seen as extraordinarily strong—as universal and necessary—but only as providing the conditions for experience to be possible. Thus just as logic doesn’t determine what thoughts are about, such a logic of experience doesn’t determine the content of experience.

Drawing on Kant’s published and unpublished texts and a wide range of texts from the history of logic and philosophical inquiries into language, Mosser provides an interpretation of some of Kant’s most difficult arguments, such as the Metaphysical Deduction. He demonstrates that, in spite of appearances, Kant appeals to common sense to reveal both the scope and limits of human knowledge. Engaging a wide range of writers, including W.V. Quine, Donald Davidson, Richard Rorty, and Michel Foucault, Kant’s arguments are also shown to retain considerable relevance to contemporary issues in epistemology, the philosophy of language, and current debates over postmodernism.


Blogger Bazarov said...

Excellent! I'd definitely go with the first one, though I think it is "sudoku" as opposed to "suduko", but I'm not one to argue transliterations. It seems to me that any book about Kant would not suffer from added humor.
I heard Julia Sweeney say she had a copy of Dawkins', "The Selfish Gene", on her bookshelf for years before she actually got around to reading it. It seems many people buy books for decoration so as to appear smart for any guests they should happen to entertain and rarely, if ever, actually read the books. With the first back copy you'd envelop that market as well.
Best of luck! Heard anything more on your other literary ventures?

11:42 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Nothing on the novel; no time to work on sending it out, but hope to soon. One rejection, one ignore.

I fixed my Japanese. Thanks.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Bowlegged Lou said...

I'd also place my vote for the first one - but only if there is actually a two-for-one Applebees coupon.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to see you go for crass commercialism, so I'd go for the first one. I am surprised, however, that you could not relate Kant to baseball. For what is truth and logic if it is not trying to decipher the rotation on a baseball as it comes at you at 90 mph? Or the spin of the truth as it is hurtled at you by CNN, CNBC and all varieties of pundits. Logic to some is nothing more than being caught in between hops with a man on third, the score tied and trying to make a play.

8:35 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Thanks. I'm a Cardinals fan, so the only 90 mile-an-hour fastball I've been worried about are those thrown by opposing pitchers.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also go for the humor—and thus recommend the second one. To paraphrase the Simpsons, the humor lies between the lines, which I can read without buying the book.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man those dang catholics publish anything huh? I guess the better to keep an eye on the heathen intelligentsia and america haters. Oh yeah, your on their list, the top of the list. And you wonder why I continue to distance myself from my roots. DOH! Now I have to say 5 hail berrys and 10 your father's. Uprooting is a long process with many recidivists cycling around. This is my fifth reincarnation.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think "A" is the snappier version, and more likely to get someone to buy a book on logic in today's market.
While "B" may be a more accurate description, why not promise something more, like all political commercials. Logic need not be part of advertising.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous BMACKINTOSH said...

Definitely the first! I'd buy the book for the advice on chocolate stains and the recipe for Crawfish Etoufée. Also I am partial to Applebee's Buffalo cheeseburgers. The Kant would be a bonus.

12:12 PM  
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