[hist-analytic] Small Talk: Castaneda, Indiana, and the Gov.

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Mon Oct 5 14:22:10 EDT 2009

I am composing a response to the first chapter of Bruce's An Empiricist Theory of Knowledge which is now available on Amazon. I'm going to finishe all my comments before submitting them for discussion. It has been a busy week, but I'll now have time to get back to some serious work. 

The other day, when no one was looking, I took a glance at some stuff by Hector-Neri Castaneda, _Thinking, Language, and Experience_, in particular. It is very difficult to read, but its intensity and well-thought-outedness makes it an impressive document, even if few, if any, can understand all of it. I put the book down and went about my "vacation." I had met Castaneda twice; the second time I was smart enough to be in awe of his superior skill and knowledge of philosophy. I, lately, thought about how unfortunate it is that the difficulty in understanding his work would, likely, submerge his influence on young philosophers. 

I have long believed that Prof. Castaneda would be a great role model for young Hispanic and Latino philosophers. While I lived in the Somerville/Cambridge area of Boston for 16 years, I got very close to the Brazilian, Columbian, etc. community, mainly through my being on the Board of Directors of the Somerville Boxing Club, where for a time I enjoyed a sport that possessed within these communities a different dimensioin of respect than that with which I was accustomed. I once asked a Latino kid, good fighter but inconsistent, why the "biz" was controlled by the Irish and Italian trainors. I knew Johnny Ruiz's (the first Hispanic Heavyweight Champ) father, a bit, and knew he could train anybody as well as anybody else. So I asked this, exceptionally, bright kid this question, and he replied that the main problem was that in his community people felt lucky to have what they could earn working for others. "They don't take the initiative." I thought about this a lot. It occurred to me that for incoming students of S. American origins Hector-Neri Castaneda was a model of taking the initiative and was a colorful interesting guy with the power to inspire. So I thought that maybe he should be honored in a public way. 

I didn't think much about it for a while and, then, while on my "vacation" I had a chance (this last week) to have a brief chat with the Governor of Indiana, Mtich Daniels, something I've never done before or probably ever will, again. I mentioned to the Gov. that U of Indiana was an exeptional school and that they had been lucky to have a guy like Castanada. I suggested that, perhaps, a chair or something could be named after him and that giving him a higher profile would benefit incoming Latino and minority students who I KNOW are, often, intimidated by the "culture of academia." I am too! 

At first, I thought he was annoyed, suspecting, maybe, that I was a "plant" from U of Indiana. So I said something like: "Ok, Ok, can we talk a bit about credit and insurance in the farm sector and its relation to TALP?" Somewhat to my surprise what I thought was annoyance was his trying to reach for his little black book. I think I saw him writing down Hector's name. He seemed more annoyed by my second question, it being a priori that I annoy about everybody whenever I open my mouth. 

In conclusion, some recognition of Castaneda should extend beyond U of Indiana, but it should start there. I've seen a very nice picture of the guy at Indiana (Bloomington) and I don't foresee any resistance. Just a thought. 

Please reply to this offlist, as I don't want to get into politics in the bad sense of the word, etc. 


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