Brief update

Hi guys,

It’s been about 3 years since my last post. Since this blog is still getting some views I thought I’d give a brief update on how I feel now about what I wrote.

I dislike that I often slipped into a sarcastic, mocking, or insulting tone. In a discussion, sarcasm, mockery, and insults really have no place at all, but I did it pretty often. It lowers the quality of discussion on both sides. The person who wrote in an insulting tone now feels committed to their view and will be much less willing to admit that they were incorrect. The person whose view was mocked will obviously also feel much less sympathetic to the argument being made. All it does is make so that no one’s going to learn anything from the discussion, at which point it stops being a discussion and starts being a rant or heated argument. Also sarcasm mockery etc. can serve as a crutch to avoid explaining yourself properly – if a person gets stuck in a spot where it’s hard to explain what they mean they can slip into saying something along the lines of “obviously X is ridiculous, and Y is correct”, where X often ends up being a strawman.

That said the nastiness mostly wasn’t as bad as I feared, except for the last post I made, that I was dropping philosophy, which was made when I was very frustrated and upset. Not surprisingly I got some bitterness in return in that post (although most people were much more well-mannered than I was). Obviously it was a mistake – as frustrating as it was for me to feel like there’s no place for me in philosophy unless I become a sycophant, taking it out on people and ranting doesn’t help anyone.

That said I’m happier than ever with my decision to drop out of philosophy. I was someone who felt that I was right and everyone else was wrong. Regardless of whether I was right or wrong about that, what’s best for someone with that attitude is to go into a field where right and wrong and good and bad is measured objectively. It removes a big source of stress & frustration. As it turns out the new area I’m pursuing is going well for me, which is pretty vindicating although obviously it doesn’t prove anything regarding philosophy.

To be honest I still basically feel that the field of philosophy is pretty far off-base and so in that sense I still think that “I was right and they were wrong”. People usually equate this to thinking that I’m better than everyone at philosophy but it’s not quite that arrogant a statement. I think that the way philosophy is now will mostly drive out people who don’t take a certain approach to philosophy, and that approach is IMO quite flawed. So I still think there will be some people who better at thinking about these kinds of issues than me, I just think most of them will avoid philosophy. Still pretty arrogant I know.

Anyway, sorry about the rude exit post, best of luck to everyone!

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6 Responses to Brief update

  1. Fernando says:

    SO what did you do with your life since you dropped? I used to read this blog when you first began publishing.

  2. Ben says:

    You have been defeated and can’t admit it to us or yourself. Though you’ve left, this website marks your position like a tombstone and weighs us all down. Delete it and let us all breathe easier knowing your uncompromising half-death won’t haunt those with a more mature approach to understanding philosophy. Please…

    • err says:

      Good lord, watching philosophers fight is like watching a dead fish get shoved into the anus of a zebra. Unpleasant for everyone and utterly inane, and nobody else wants to look at it, let alone take it seriously. “You have been defeated.” Very…”logical.” It’s pretty obvious the philosopher’s own #1 fan is himself. Please calm down.

  3. Steve G. says:

    Your comments are well reasoned but based on ignorant or false premises. Your critique should have been directly aimed at 1) the uncompromising philosophical dogmatism of your teachers, 2) the circular curriculum which teaches comic book level philosophy to college undergraduates, 3) the almost universal professional ignorance of the context and content of what Plato actually said.

    Plato is certainly not terrible. If you apply your abilities patiently to all of Plato’s work, you’ll discover that he was by far the greatest genius of all time, far above all the great minds we usually associate with genius. Aristotle, Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Einstein don’t even come close.

    One consequence of the unconscionable professional dogmatism of your teachers is that there are very few serious Plato scholars who translate and explicate Plato fairly, in his own voice. Dogmatism reduces Plato’s philosophy to the commonplace then turns it upside-down, as in the famous Raphael’s School of Athens.

    • Slappy Malmstein says:

      How pointless (and wrong) to place Plato above the genius of Aristotle, Archimedes, Galileo, Newton and Einstein. They weren’t even involved in the same thing. Plato was involved in moral philosophy, while the others mostly did natural philosophy, now known as Science. While the others created models that were testable and often predicted actual reality, Plato created a contrived, tortured metaphysics (the Forms) in order to try to force the real world to fit into his moral preconceptions. And even as a moral figure he was a failure, as he was willing to discard the sine qa non of the Greek miracle, democracy, for the nightmarish totalitarian, fascistic mind-control regime he proposed in the Republic. Not surprisingly, the warden of this prison would be, who else, a philosopher and his own mold. To top it off, he was a Philistine, who somehow missed the point that the Iliad was not a warrior training manual, but the most profound antiwar statement ever made. No wonder that along with freedom, he would abolish poetry.

      Screw Plato. Long Live Xenophanes, Pythagoras, Sappho, Democritus, Epicurus, Herodotus, Hippocrates and all the others.

      • Steve G. says:

        Theoretical science has its origins in Plato’s hypothetical treatment of all empirical ‘facts’ (scientific dogma) as forever open to improvement. Hypothesis also applies to reason itself, the god of reason (Zeus), mathematics, and Plato’s own ideas.

        Plato has no ‘Theory of Forms’ as is taught in intro courses. This is a recent invention to reduce Plato’s fourfold divided line to pulp. Forms are very high level abstractions, higher than energy, mass, acceleration, or assets, liability, or bureaucracy, proletariat, and on. These are not expressible in common language, but are related to each other in context.

        Plato’s moral preconception is single rational absolute ideal morality, above ethnic and regional customs. A god-given standard to judge all morality. This is one of the reasons that super human highest-level god-given rational forms are needed. The others are the need to explain rational thought and the possibility of language, given a chaotic physical world and subjective personal psychology.

        I think you’re giving what you call democracy too much credit, here. Check Wikipedia’s article on ‘Plato’s five regimes’. Seemingly we’re all about to sink into Plato’s ‘tyranny’.

        Plato lived in a great age of reason. In Plato’s time poetry was irrational. How is it today?

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