Sunday, 23 June 2013

Nietzsche on independence

I was reading Nietzsche the other day, and I came across this passage about independence. I've read it a few times since, and I now consider it to be amongst his finest:

"Independence is for the very few; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it even with the best right but without inner constraint proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring to the point of recklessness. He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thousandfold the dangers which life brings with it in any case, not the least of which is that no one can see how and where he loses his way, becomes lonely, and is torn piecemeal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing one like that comes to grief, this happens so far from the comprehension of men that they neither feel it nor sympathize. And he cannot go back any longer. Nor can he go back to the pity of men.—" - Nietzsche

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The epistemology of blogging

It amuses me that philosophers whose arguments are normally watertight fall apart when it comes to the epistemology of blogging. "Blogs *can't* be accurate," they claim, "No one would have the time! Fact checking, writing, no payment!"

Their argument is flawed only by their lack of experience with the Internet. It is not humanly possible to imagine the immense amount of collective time found through global connection until one has seen it. Descartes noted that we can't really imagine large numbers, and this is why very clever people manage to go so wrong. They have never seen sites like Reddit, never explored the forum section of imdb, do not, bless them, really understand twitter. They do not know how many bored people there are on this planet.

And yet they argue vehemently about whether blogging is -- from an Epistemic viewpoint -- good or bad. And they are wrong. Maybe they have belief, and possibly truth, but their arguments are necessarily lacking in justification, and therefore by definition they cannot have knowledge.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Maths and Philosophy

Mathematics and Philosophy seem to me to be the last of the true Academic subjects. One does not read Philosophy to "get a job", as is the case with all Commerce subjects, and a majority of Science and Humanities as well. Maths (at least pure maths) is similarly abstract and unpractical. Study maths in order to teach it one day, maybe.

Of the two, Maths is probably seen as more practical. Even banks employ Mathematicians, and you don't get much less academic than FNB. Whereas the Philosophy Factory never made past a surprisingly popular meme.

But studying for a Philosophy exam tomorrow and a Maths exam the day after (yes, that's why I'm currently writing this), Philosophy seems so much more practical than maths. Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals has practically changed the way I think about and live life. The fact that the derivative of sin(x) is cos(x), and the fact that I can write out a geometric proof for this has done no such thing. Nor do I think it ever will.

Sorry, maths.