Wednesday, September 2, 2009


my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.
(The inconceivable line has already been used against Megan many times, I think any Princess Bride quote should be considered a reference to it when discussing her.)
Anyway, let's focus in on a little stupid.

Economics is a young discipline, and hasn't had the opportunity to nail all its terms down as perfectly as philosophy has.
This line makes any actual student of philosophy laugh very, very, very hard. Perhaps the single most common question in a philosophy class is "what do you mean by term x?"
That's often how Socrates began a dialogue, as anyone who was awake in Phil 101 may recall. Philosophy is often a debate about the meaning of terms, including the meaning of "meaning". A word like "good" means several hundred different things in philosophy, depending on both the philosopher/school of philosophy at play and the particular scholarly interpretation(s) of them being used as a map through their work.
Economics, in contrast, seems to rely on fixing the meaning of terms to the point of absurdity, making what is supposed to to be the description of actual, real world, practices and functions into idealized abstractions which have no relation to the realities they attempt to describe. Yes, of course this also happens in philosophy, don't get me started on Hegel, but philosophy as an academic discipline is nowhere near as monolithic as economics except in the wrong hands.
(There are, also, some who would profoundly disagree with me on this, particularly those practitioners of "cutting edge" analytic philosophy such as x phi who have long since ceased actually practicing philosophy in favor of a bizarre abstract calculus of no measurable value. Oooo, I'm being contentious, heehee.)
My point is that, as always, Megan simply has no idea what she's talking about, which is, I think, why she can be so fucking certain of herself. Those who actually study an academic field soon recognize how little they truly know of it, and how little they can know of it, engineers seemingly excepted. I've read every word, more or less, written by Nietzsche, and even more words written about him, but I've only scratched the surface, and my German isn't nearly good enough to read scholarship on the man and his work by his own countrymen. The kind of overarching claims Megan makes speak to the weaknesses of her mind just as much as their content, and her not even self-deceiving claims of humility merely demonstrate that she has enough awareness of her failings to need to avoid them. Many of us take awareness of our flaws as a goad to try to overcome them, but Megan, like many others with closed minds, recoils in horror when presented with her limits, and expends more energy trying to avoid acknowledging them than we do trying to overcome ours. Glibertarianism, like all forms of movement conservatism, offers a safe haven for such weak minds.

This ended up quite a rant, and I don't have a neat way to get back to my original point and make it fully relevant, but that's ok. I don't have to know everything, unlike Megan.

1 comment:

Mr. Wonderful said...

Knowing neither industrial-strength philosophy nor economics, I still feel able to state without fear of contradiction: Huh?

Philosophy is, by definition, the most abstract of the humanities. "Nailing all its terms down" is an end, not (as in other disciplines) a means. Philosophy, one might say, is the pursuit of adequately nailed terms, which are never, by definition, attained.

Economics--need one say this?--is supposed to be a science. A science begins with nailed-down terms and uses them as tools for studying the quantifiable phenomena of the external world.

What a deeply, deeply stupid thing to say. You what else is deeply stupid? Me, for always being surprised at her.