A Janus word is one that means one thing but also its opposite. Example: sanction. There are word-pairs that sound like they mean the opposite but don’t, like flammable and inflammable. And then there are word-pairs that sound like they mean the same thing but mean the opposite. Example: disgruntled and gruntled. Who’d have thought … Continue reading THE RHETORICIAN AND THE PHILOSOPHER
Apart from the half dozen things I do care about – and for aught I know I’m the only one who does – I pretty much live in my own little world. My wife, by contrast, researches everything. She even knows, go figure, which Year of Our Lord it happens to be. But she doesn’t … Continue reading AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING TRANSPHOBIC …
I killed a wasp the other day. I murdered a wasp the other day. These have two very different meanings. Why? Because killing means killing, whereas murder means wrongful killing, and presumably no one, or almost no one, thinks it’s wrong for me to have killed that wasp. The term murder includes a moral assessment, … Continue reading WHAT IS IT TO TRIVIALIZE?
What things need to be licensed, what can but needn’t be, and what shouldn’t be? Doctors, engineers, pilots, certainly. But some people have argued, though mostly tongue-in-cheek, that if anyone needs to be pre-qualified it’s parents. Requiring a license to drive doesn’t seem unreasonable, but there are plenty of jurisdictions, especially in the so-called Third … Continue reading WHAT TO DO WHEN A COLLEAGUE GOES AWOL
I trust it will be granted that there are things that matter to no one, that there’s nothing that matters to everyone, and that there are things that matter to some people but not to others. What may not be so readily granted is that there are things that shouldn’t matter to anyone, or things … Continue reading MATTERING
WHY MY COLLEAGUES ARE IDIOTS - Rant # 168 – IS IT PHILOSOPHY? Here’s what I write in the course outline for my Intros, “What is philosophy? is itself a philosophical question, best answered, if at all, only after having done some of it.” But what’s the antecedent of the pronoun ‘it’? We’ve all been … Continue reading Is it Philosophy?
WHY MY COLLEAGUES ARE IDIOTS - Rant # 163 – IN DEFENSE OF SHILLING For the 312th time – yes, I decided to start counting - I have no interest whatsoever in weighing in on the global warming debate. Nor, for that matter, in the debate that seems to have replaced that debate, namely the … Continue reading In Defense of Shilling