"Well I never" is the Victorian "I can't even".
Traits that cannot be faked
(Ability in general?)
Having a giant pretty tail
Ethics: 'We have to: no one else will.'
Politics: 'We have to: the outgroup will.'
Charles C Mann's "wizard/prophet" axis is extremely useful for understanding fierce conflicts between do-gooders.
But these two clusters in policy space are only empirical. There are better centres to hold.
e.g. Sisyphean optimism: history as people's solutions to problems that themselves created new problems, for which we will always have to find further solutions.
Remarkable species, that can manage to turn both "welfare" and "free speech" into pejoratives.
'The best selfish life would be dominated by delusional beliefs and base pleasures, but this can't be generalised.'
- Rob Wiblin
'mankind has various ways, some of them too technical to register as art, of adding to the store of beautiful created things...'
- Clive James
"True? You don't even manage logical."
(That latter claim was recently made untrue by Sam Bowman's provocation/trolling, though:
"here’s the basic problem with “neoliberalism.” It’s a made-up thing. It’s just a word that Foucault popularized, to talk about economic ideas that he didn’t really understand. There is no group of people out there who actually describe themselves as a neoliberals. Because of this, there are no constraints on what it can refer to, and there is no one to answer any of the criticisms that are made of it..."
"... the most reliable indicator that a book is going to be a complete mess is that it contains either discussion or extensive citation of Foucault (and/or Bourdieu)... in philosophy, where this stuff is dead as disco, it’s amazing to see academics still taking it seriously"
- Joseph Heath, smashing it as always
"although Foucault’s work is clearly animated by a set of moral concerns, he refuses to state clearly what his moral commitments are, and instead just uses normatively loaded vocabulary, like “power,” or “regime,” as rhetorical devices, to induce the reader to share his normative assessments, while officially denying that he was doing any such thing."
The essence of being modern and Continental is making up new words for feeling icky:
Hegel’s unhappy consciousness, Kierkegaard’s angst,
: "Oh how horrible it is, to be relatively free and knowledgeable, and to have the option of technology!"
Unoriginal but underemphasised: The heart of the data science boom is not mostly algorithmic progress, but the simple, predictable upshot of massive data growth:
"a number of problems [have] actual individual variables [with not] a lot of meaning. There’s information in the correlation structure that can be revealed, but only through really huge amounts of data.
there are N variables, right? So there’s N-squared potential correlations, and N-cubed potential cubic interactions or whatever."
When studying anything deeply, you sometimes have to decide whether you prefer absurdities or repugnances.
(e.g. Gödel's incompleteness is repugnant, but Hilbert's program is absurd.)
(e.g. Instrumental harm is repugnant, but the recommendations of Kantian ethics are absurd in even quite common situations.)
* Rationalism: abhorring contradiction most.
* Romanticism: abhorring ugliness most.
* Common sense: abhorring unconventional conclusions most, even if both absurd and ugly.
“with Rousseau... all is solemn, as though heaviness of manner were in some way the same as weight of idea — a naïve and most un-French assumption..."
— Stanley Loomis