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More Eggs

I will never forget this. One morning, when I was about seven years old, I sat down with my younger brother and sister to a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. I dug in immediately, preferring my eggs as warm as possible.

“Look!”, came a cry from across the dining room table. It was my brother speaking.

I looked over and saw him mashing at his breakfast with the edge of his fork. My sister, seated next to him, was doing the same. Their faces were alight with glee. They looked up at me expectantly, then returned intently to making a mess on their plates, then looked at me expectantly again. My expression must have shown my incomprehension. What was I supposed to be looking at? Three-year-olds playing with their food? What else was new?

“I’m making More Eggs!”, my brother explained.

I tried to return my attention to eating my breakfast, but, before long, my resolve broke down. I just couldn’t let it be, for some reason. “You’re not making More Eggs, just smaller pieces,” I said, setting down my fork.

Continue reading More Eggs

Premature Identification

One of the things I find most striking about Objectivism is its subtlety. I’m in the minority. The lucidity of Ayn Rand’s writing, I think, tends to fool her admirers nearly as often as it fools her critics. She reduces complex issues to essentials, casts fine lines of distinction in sharp relief, illuminates the obscure, and penetrates the impenetrable. She makes it look easy.

It’s not easy.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. And an argument, to be refuted, must be comprehended, which means it must be surrounded with understanding. Ayn Rand made dispatching her opponents look easy because, far more often than not, she had them surrounded.

To my dismay, I’ve observed too many who call themselves Objectivists surround their interlocutors’ arguments, not with understanding, but with mere words. This isn’t comprehension; it’s circumlocution.

And in fact, it’s often worse than that. Continue reading Premature Identification

Coincidence?

[T]he great majority of people lack an intellectual conscience.

—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

—Henry David Thoreau

I think not.

Erratic Thoughts on Daedalus I

Philosophizing is antisocial, perhaps the most perfectly antisocial activity possible, easily beating out murder. Even I will readily admit, however, that man is a social animal. Small wonder, then, that philosophy is most popular among those constitutionally incapable of engaging in it.

Those who philosophize risk alienation, solipsism, exile, poisoning, poverty, […]

Philosophy, Philsophistry

Earlier this month, Diana Hsieh posted a nice little jab at the profession of philosophy. Her title is a bit of a misnomer, as not all the points of mockery are apropos to “analytic” philosophers. That said, professional philosophers, be they the get of Wittgenstein or the spawn of Heidegger, deserve a great deal […]

The Taciturn and the Garden Party

I had two thoughts on my mind just now. First one, then the other. Both of them seemed like good blog topics, and as I sat down to write on the second, I realized they’re connected, and interestingly so.

First, I was thinking about philosophy and how it affects me, and […]

I Shall Be Telling This With A Sigh

I just popped over to Strike the Root and found this old-friendly quotation:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that […]

Presumed Incompetent

Contrary to the respectable opinion-in-practice, the way to get the most out of intellectual exchange may well be to presume your interlocutor is a duplicitous imbecile, but that his argument is vastly more subtle and penetrating than at least first impressions suggest.

Intellectual Conscience

In the course of my long term quest to discover what a philosopher ought to be, I realized, to my (it is not exaggeration to say) horror, that there are a great number of men (†), apparently a majority, who cannot philosophize. The most interesting and penetrating diagnosis of this condition I have […]