Philosophy Smell #7: “Denial as a Symptom of Guilt”—The lady doth protest too much, indeed. Nonetheless, anything in the form, “that which disagrees with X is evidence of X” is a mind-prison, internment in which can sometimes be broken only by a painful collision with reality.
Having taught computers humanity, perhaps they can teach us good faith.
Philosophy Smell #5: “Error Hiding”—the act of hiding sweeping logical mistakes under the carpet or, worse, justifying contradictions via added complexity.
Philosophy Smell #5: “Astrolophizing”—making claims, or especially critiques, that aren’t necessarily untrue but that are so generic that they can be applied more or less to anything; see astrology.
Philosophy Smell #4: “Book Barricade”—To refuse to engage with people until they read certain writings. Avoid, because: 1. Useful corrections come from people who read different books; 2. If it’s that good, it’s worth summarizing; 3. Truth is sharpened in collision with error.
Philosophy Smell #3: “Definition at a Distance”—Using or insisting upon the use of novel definitions for words in discussion. Theoretically, you can use any word for any thing, but definition at distance is slower and more open to slight of hand than using the common meaning.
Philosophy Smell #2: “Cargo Critique”—deploying a critique by going through the motions of a popular philosophy without a true feel for its workings. A key tell is fill-in-the-blank philosophizing which, like a “cargo cult” plane, looks the part from afar, but won’t fly.
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.