Non-Philosophy Papers

The Philosophical Basis of Midrashic Interpretation


Much of traditional rabbinic hermeneutics, what I call “midrashic interpretation,” appears to be of such a bizarre nature as to require some sort of explanation, or even justification. This essay attempts to provide a philosophical foundation for midrashic interpretation by placing it in the context of the idea (vaguely neo-platonic) that God is only fully realized as the result of a certain process, a process of which midrashic interpretation is an essential part. In the final section I attempt to spell out some connections between the specifically Jewish question of rabbinic hermeneutics and some more general ideas in philosophy and psychoanalysis.

Interest in the Crotch: A Reply


A reply to Sean Liam Kelly’s analysis of Martial 7.35 in the Fall 1993 issue of Nexus. Although I am in substantial agreement with many parts of Kelly’s analysis, one detail of the text which he did not pick up on leads me to offer a different route to Kelly’s conclusion that, according to the narrator of the poem, Laecania insults his and his slave’s virility, and that in response to this perceived unmanning, he replies with the charge of lesbianism. However, the route I propose introduces into the itinerary not only issues of gender and violence, but also those of race.

How is UM Implicated in the Janitors’ Strike?


This, and the following two pieces, were published in The Miami Hurricane, the student newspaper at the University of Miami. They concern the strike by custodial workers at UM between February and May 2006. The first argues that although these workers were employed by a sub-contractor of the university, UNICCO, the university was nonetheless morally implicated in the strike.

The Striking Janitors and the Free Market


This piece argues that the market does not have to be the determining factor in setting people’s wages.

Not ‘Let ’em vote’ but ‘Let ’em Choose’


One of the main points of contention during the strike was the workers’ demand to be allowed to unionize via a majority card check recognition process, rather than an NLRB-run election. UNICCO, their employer, and the university were insisting on an election, demonizing the workers’ (and union’s) insistence on card check as anti-democratic. I explain the short-comings of NLRB elections and why they do not promote genuine choice on the part of the workers.

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