Philosophy Smell #1: “Drive-By Syllogism”—barraging people with rapid-fire logic on controversial topics, often demanding immediate “yes/no” answers; apparent victories often come, merely, from confusion. Common among Christian apologists, Anarchists. I suffer from the habit.
New term: “Philosophy Smell” — I believe I’m the first to use it. It’s “Code Smell” as in programming, but for philosophy. Code smells are not bugs/don’t break the program; rather, they show design weaknesses that may slow development or increase the risk of bugs in the future.
Dear Max, it was wonderful to meet you last week. It bears repeating that I felt as though talking for the first time to a hidden collaborator.
We need to settle our differences, but we need to settle them within a system of decency and good faith, one that prioritizes solutions over allegiance.
The other day, I caught myself about to say, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Putting aside how absurd it is to think that a just God, or Karma, would take Mozart at 35 and Stalin at 74, what could it possibly mean for a non-believer to say it?
Affectations, such as of speech, are mires for those trying to live well; this labelling takes a fraction of the work you need to do your own thinking, and of the time you need to move others. You can live a good life even if everyone else disagrees, or if no one knows or cares.
Game theoretically, the person that never interrupts will be hindered during a debate by someone who does. One solution: adopt a posture so magnanimous that an aggressive response falls flat. Another: threaten to disrupt the conversation totally unless both sides behave.
Most people are stunningly irrational; falsifiability is a test and a tool that helps us to hew away unfounded mental models and leave behind what works (for now).
If you disengage from other people, you get solipsism; if you don’t exercise your personal faculty of reason, you will fall prey to false gurus, cultists and demagogues. If you can face down a mob, and the mob of one in your head, you have at least a shot at freedom.
“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” ―Glenn Gould