Showing posts from June, 2021

On Philosophy's envy of her four sisters (series: notes to myself)

Philosophy has four sisters: Mathematics, Poetry, Religion, and Science. She envies all of them. She would like to be as powerfully abstract, and rigorously demonstrative, and practically useful, and timeless ... as she believes Mathematics to be. But failing, she ends up calculating the qualitative, formalising the undefinable, inferring the trivial, and missing the obvious: useless, empty, self-referential. She would like to be as delicately perceptive, and existentially fine-tuned, and meaningfully profound, and experientially rich ... as she believes Poetry to be. But failing, she ends up blathering obscure intuitions, prophesying in an esoteric language, playing with words while disrespecting facts and reasonings, obsessed with invented etymologies but oblivious of actual meanings: unhinged, nonsensical, unaccountable. She would like to be as methodologically driven, and systematically explanatory, and epistemically foundational, and progressively cumulative ... as she believes

On bad and wrong ideas as compost (series: notes to myself)

Roses need compost, a mixture of ingredients used to fertilize and improve the soil. So do good ideas: they grow better with some semantic compost. Wrong hypotheses and failed experiments; fallacies and non-sequitur; cliche, imitations, commonplaces, and boilerplates; half-baked ideas, wrong ideas, and just silly ideas; nasty dogma and deeply-rooted superstitions; recurrent mistakes and plain errors; the trash and the kitsch; the inevitable confusions, delusions and illusions; untenable ideologies and falsified theories; unjustifiable beliefs, irrational convictions, false views... this is all semantic compost obtained by decomposing and recycling our mental waste, wherever it grows: in the arts and humanities, communications, cultures, laws, procedures and techniques, religions, sciences and STEM of all kinds... We constantly produce a boundless amount of semantic waste. It is not useless, but a resource that contains the beneficial elements that can help the next generation to unders

On those who fail, but criticise the problems, not their solutions (series: notes to myself)

I have met many people unable to accept, let alone admit, that they were ever wrong or might have made a mistake. The fault is always something else's or someone else's. Others were wrong:  they failed to comply; they mismanaged something or misunderstood something else; they were late, or delayed them; they did not get it, or did not understand; they did not write or did not reply, did not receive it or did not send it. They , not themselves. I call them hetero-blamers, with an inverted reference to Kant's heteronomy of reason. For the hetero-blamers of the world, it is always circumstances or people that did not work. When their solution fails, it is the problem's fault. Some people are naturally born hetero-blamers. They use the same, simple, counterfactual mechanism we all deploy, at least occasionally, to protect our skins from our failures: "I could have, ... I would have ... if only...". But they apply it not just to what they fail to achieve - as

On the need to be exposed and the beginning of philosophy (series: notes to myself)

To be exposed.  To perceive something in such a way as to be affected, painfully, by what is imposing itself on one’s own perception, because of its barely bearable presence or absence.  The boundless blue of space and time, beyond the dark trees, in a lately lightful evening.  The unlimited blackness of nothingness, harmless, beyond your exiled existence.  The endless green intricacies of malleable meanings, latching onto each other, beyond themselves.  The bottomless whiteness of hollow horrors we inflict upon ourselves, beyond understanding.  Being exposed to all this and more precedes wonder ( thaumazein ). And protecting oneself from this exposure prevents wonder.  The mind does not bear too much exposure.  There is a reason why we prefer to linger in the darkness.  The cave is refreshing .  We do not wish to be blinded by the light outside, skin burning under the sun.  Still, a life unexposed cannot be a life lived philosophically.  So, philosophy begins in maieutic pain . It all