Category Archives: Philosophy

Universal gentrification

“As soon as a religion comes to dominate it has as its opponents all those who would have been its first disciples.” — Friedrich Nietzsche My older daughter has joined a reading group studying gentrification, and we’ve been having sporadic … Continue reading

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Judgment and liberalism

Our humanity is bound up with freedom of interpretation. The capacity to interpret and respond effectively is what is meant by the word judgment. To the degree an individual’s capacity to interpret is denied and interpretations suppressed, that person’s individuality … Continue reading

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Game of games

Every afternoon Father Nicanor would sit by the chestnut tree preaching in Latin, but Jose Arcadio Buendia insisted on rejecting rhetorical tricks and the transmutation of chocolate, and he demanded the daguerreotype of God as the only proof. Father Nicanor … Continue reading

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Polite contempt

Respect for someone — or even something — is maintaining an attitude that this person, or thing — this being — has something to teach us. Normally respect consists in a general mood of regard, maintained by various formal (etiquette) … Continue reading

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Why reclaim “liberalism”?

Friends ask me why I want to reclaim the hopeless word “liberal”. I will list a few answers. Liberalism is descriptive. Liberalism prioritizes individual freedom above all other political values, all its efforts are focused on protecting the freedom of … Continue reading

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Entertain

I looked up the etymology of the word “entertain”. Inter- (among) + tain (hold). To hold-among. Then I looked up “consider”. Con- (together) + sideris (stars). It is hard to miss the stark difference in situatedness between entertaining a a … Continue reading

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Leftist Identitarianism is an identity

(The following is a rant inspired by the recent debate between Sam Harris and Ezra Klein.) Leftist Identitarianism is itself an identity, one with more real-world reality and salience than any of the canonical identities it recognizes and focuses upon. … Continue reading

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Synesis

Given the emotional connotations of the word “empathy” and my suspicion that few people have actually had firsthand experiences with empathy outside of merely emotional understanding I am going to re-adopt the term synesis. Synesis is a greek word for … Continue reading

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How to talk about politics?

I think I am going to try to organize political conversations around a single all-purpose question: “With respect to this change you want, if you could wave a magic wand and pass any legislation you wanted, what would you legislate?” … Continue reading

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Pseudostrength

I think a lot of what is currently lauded as strength is actually aggressive weakness. Aggressive weakness says “I’d be stronger if other people didn’t prevent me from being strong.” It resents signs of strength in others, interpreting them as … Continue reading

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Scientism vs designerism

Rereading Richard J. Bernstein I can now see clearly why my first encounter Beyond Objectivism and Relativism was such a revelation and relief to me as a designer: But we must realize that “individually the criteria are imprecise: individuals may … Continue reading

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Mark of the philosophical laggard

Failure to stay current with philosophical thought has the form: “Beyond this point philosophy ran astray.”

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Seinfeld wisdom

“Your blessing in life is when you find the torture you’re comfortable with.” — Jerry Seinfeld I’ve tried to say something like this before, but this is how to say it right.

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Golden Ages

As great as television has become in the 21st Century, podcasts are even greater. The wealth of insight available through podcasts is staggering. My suspicion is that this is largely due to the medium’s low production overhead, which enables individuals … Continue reading

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Domain hoarding

I use domain names as a sort of intellectual property registry. I know I will never use most of the domain names I register, but I do want to plant a flag in the terms I invent or want to … Continue reading

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Coinage: misnorm

When people have a distorted image of a discipline, and harbor a detailed misunderstanding of how that discipline achieves its results, this can result in a “misnorm”. A misnorm combines a fanciful picture of what a discipline really accomplishes, how … Continue reading

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Orginality then and now

The 20th Century ideal of originality was based on an individual as sufficient condition of creation: “I alone originated this.” Or “the help I got arriving at this original idea could have come from any number of sources, but I … Continue reading

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Applications

Some people, when confronting an abstract idea, ask “what can I do with this, practically, concretely, in specific applications?” Other people, when confronting a concrete practicality, ask “what can I learn from this, theoretically, abstractly, generally?” Unfortunately, all too many … Continue reading

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Where we are

An irritable, snobby, consensual contempt — “everyone who matters knows those people are hateful idiots” — stands on one side; paranoid, delusional belligerence stands on the other. Both claim privileged knowledge of “what’s really going on”, and this knowledge not … Continue reading

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Drawing on every side of the brain

In high school, all my art teachers taught us to draw and paint the shapes our eyes “really” saw. We were discouraged from drawing the things we believed we were depicting — eyes, noses, vases, cow skulls, gourds, drapes — … Continue reading

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