Latest Posts

Constrained Goods:

Sometimes we cherish things that we would not wish upon our own children. Isn’t this a puzzle? If such things are so good, why would we strive to eliminate the conditions that make them possible? I propose a basic distinction between constrained goods and liberal goods that will help to solve the puzzle.

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Vulcans and Androids:

Science fiction has made popular a certain trope concerning us logicians. The thought is that logic is somehow cold and calculating, the activity of a merely robotic kind of intelligence. Students sometimes assume that this is the point of logic class. Emotions get you into trouble, so your parents want you to be more like Spock. The unfortunate side-effect of the treatment is that you will be less fun at parties. In defense of logicians everywhere, especially those passionate, very-fun-at-parties, Platonic logicians, I submit that this stereotype misses a deep truth about the nature of the human soul.

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The Socrates Effect:

A curious thing happens when a young man meets Socrates for the first time. To a young man, the humiliation of successful men in the previous generation holds a perennial fascination. They gathered around. They enjoyed the spectacle. They imitated the method. A few of them listened and understood.

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If you would like to browse past essays from the Notebook, you can see the big chronological list in the Archive or you can browse through the list of Tags. In this notebook you can read my attempts to work out my ideas in a public space before they make it into the longer and more polished Essays.