Philosophy: Mind and Manner

Interesting article on Crooked Timber by John Holbo: “In philosophy, after the speaker is done, it is fine for someone to raise his hand and say: ‘but it seems that your central premise – the claim from which all these other things follow – is actually ambiguous between four different claims, two of which are logically false, one of which is obviously empirically false, and one of which is a tautology that won’t support your conclusions at all …’” As an armchair philosophy student (technically my minor) I find this sums up much that I have tried to express. Chiefly its important to question base assumptions in process. As Holbo continues: To put it another way, these aggressive-seeming questions are not intended as conversation-stoppers but as conversation-starters. Read the whole well writen article on Crooked Timber.

Human Lessons: Heinlein Weighs In

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein, in Time Enough for Love A favorite quote of my father’s.  A good basic measure, though additions and subtractions can be endlessly debated. – – – Human Lessons being: instruction and commentary on skills deemed essential to humans not foolishly tied to the expectation of a single, unchanging standard of living.  All advice to be taken as hearsay until proven otherwise by direct observation (AKA don’t blame me, I’m just the guy who linked it.  This is the internet here, people.)