Showing posts from August, 2022

Breve guida a come valutare i programmi elettorali in 4 passi

NB correzioni fattuali benvenute nei commenti sottostanti. Possono sembrare tutti uguali in superficie. Se si controllano i programmi elettorali dei partiti o delle coalizioni che chiedono di essere votati alle prossime elezioni in Italia uno sarebbe perdonato se non riuscisse, leggendo ciascuno di essi individualmente, a identificare il partito o il gruppo che lo ha formulato. Si potrebbe commentare, in modo cinicamente Leibniziano, che sia un triste caso di identità degli indiscernibili. Tuttavia, ci sono alcune caratteristiche che, nel migliore dei mondi possibili (sì ancora Leibniz) fanno la differenza e permettono una valutazione comparativa. I 4 documenti che si possono prendere in esame in modo esemplificativo hanno lunghezze molto diverse e se si guarda al numero di battute o parole la differenza è ancora più macroscopica. In ordine di lunghezza del formato pdf abbiamo: a) M5S: 13 pp.  b) Per l'Italia (centro-destra): 17 pp. c) PD: 37 pp. d) Azione - Italia Viva - Calenda

On Heraclitus and the secret nature of adverbs (series: notes to myself)

I used to teach my students to write without adverbs. If you state that “the car is red” you may be right or wrong, but adding “certainly” does not make your statement any more convincing or correct.  Philosophers love their “arguablys” almost as much as lawyers love their “allegedlys” and criminals their “hypotheticallys”. But truths and falsehoods, fallacies and deductions, reasonings and explanations require no “ly”. Philosophers should not cover their backs, like lawyers and criminals, when writing. Adverbs, I taught my students, should go. Years later, I still tell them to be wary of adverbs, for they make reasoning lazy, as if an “ostensibly” here and an “undoubtedly” there could replace evidence, arguments, proofs, actual information, a good inference or a causal explanation of why things may or may not be this or that way. And yet… and yet … I recently realised that adverbs have a secret nature that I should have seen before. We usually think in terms of things and properties

On collecting quotations (series: notes to myself)

Newton.  Phrases that roundly capture juicy thoughts. Nothing to add, nothing to subtract, impeccable syntax, perfect semantics. Tiny shiny shells, to be collected "like a boy playing on the seashore", in a file of memorabilia. I save quotations from the waves of forgetfulness, before time grinds them into the sand relentlessly filling my mind. Locke.  The collector of quotations is fastidious. One's own quotations are not those to be found in cheap lists or memorised by everyone. No. For the collector, they must have the purity and uniqueness of an unknown gem dug up by himself. The effort in finding them, then extracting and saving them, is part of their value. For the quotations are semantic capital that the collector "removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property". They are his quotations of someone else. The double possession ma