Category Archives: Philosophy

Speaking as an existentialist…

To existentialist ears, the identitarian preface “speaking as a…” sounds like an announcement of inauthenticity. It is hard to be an individual. It is even harder when one does not know from where individuality comes, and it is impossible when … Continue reading

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Making conversational space

A post I put on Facebook just now: This morning I was reading a pdf book (using the Notability app on my iPad) about the relationships people have with the things in their lives. As always, I was writing all … Continue reading

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Symptom, diagnosis, treatment

A good doctor must respectfully trust a patient’s descriptions of symptoms — for the patient has privileged access to this reality — but respectfully mistrust all self-diagnoses and treatment suggestions, requests and demands. Any doctor who will not listen to … Continue reading

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Establishing the conditions for the possibility of establishing the conditions of possibilities

This morning I’m kicking Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics to the curb and starting Peter-Paul Verbeek’s What Things Do. It’s funny, but not entirely a coincidence, that this books starts out attacking Heidegger’s anti-technological views. I suppose I’ll mark my book … Continue reading

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A bad case of apotheosis

Yes, apperception involves awareness of one’s own experience of perception and conception — but it also requires adopting other modes of perception/conception, for only these alternate modes of perceiving help us detect the difference between our own immediate perceptions of … Continue reading

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Approval or love?

When I was in my early 20s I made a sharp distinction between what I loved and what met my approval, and I noticed my music taste split along those lines, and the best of both tastes conflicted with the … Continue reading

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Political test

When you were a kid, who did you hate more: A) the school bully who gave you a wedgie on the playground? or B) the teacher’s pet who took your name and made you stay in for recess? If you … Continue reading

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Ex nihilo, omnia

If you’ve known a being to emerge from nothing to change everything you’ll be converted from illusion to truth. If it happens again — God forbid — a different order of conversion should occur.

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OOO inventory

A hammer, two walking sticks, a thermos that got dented in and eventually discarded, a house across the street that was torn down years ago, Lily’s absence.

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Gnossiennes

A few moments ago, I was looking back through a book for a passage, but I started to think about something else, and I mostly forgot what I was looking for. …mostly… But I had a lingering wordless feeling about … Continue reading

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Reason

Reason is situated midway between bloodless logic and bloody passion.

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Two conversions

Expansive conversions permit us to relate ourselves to more of reality. Intensive conversions permit us to relate more of ourselves to reality. The former are cold; the latter are hot. * This way of categorizing conversion events is helpful when … Continue reading

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Chord: Love as hermeneutic device

Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: Love as artifice. — Whoever wants really to get to know something new (be it a person, an event, or a book) does well to take up this new thing with all possible love, to … Continue reading

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Maturing

Reading Appendix A of Rorty’s Achieving Our Country, “Campaigns and Movements” I came upon this bit: “Most of us, when young, hope for purity of heart. The easiest way to assure oneself of this purity is to will one thing—but … Continue reading

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Betrayal of liberalism in the name of liberalism

This passage from Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country (1997) helps me pinpoint the shift from a predominant liberalism to illiberalism in the popular left: The academic, cultural Left approves — in a rather distant and lofty way — of the activities … Continue reading

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Antiwholesale

Some thinkers are exciting to disagree with, not only despite how exasperating they are, but maybe because of it. I have whiplash from alternating nodding and head-shaking, reading Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country. Marginalia from the last three pages: “yes” … Continue reading

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Tradition of self-criticism

A tradition of self-criticism might be comprehensible only to self-critical individuals who have developed their own capacity for justice through long, painful process of increasingly severe self-criticism and overcoming of personal flaws, mistakes and profound errors of judgment. For those … Continue reading

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Master of the Golden Rule

Imagine a man sitting down and pondering the Golden Rule. He thinks through what he knows to be true, what he loves and desires, and what practices have served him well in his life. Then he imagines a world where … Continue reading

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Nouveau puissant

We call “nouveau riche” the newly rich who do not know how to be rich gracefully, who clumsily act out how they think rich people are. We need the term “nouveau puissant” for the newly powerful. Nobody knows what it … Continue reading

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Intellectual infanticide, Ares’s handpuppets, and agonistic homeopathy

Agonistic pluralism is perhaps the most important political concept I’ve learned in the last ten years. It holds that all liberal-democratic political positions are uneasy bundles of internally contradicting principles (or, more accurately, heuristics) which will, inevitably, be interpreted differently … Continue reading

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