Category Archives: 3QD essays

3QD: No, Let’s Not Give Up On Liberalism Just Yet

Liberalism has been so successful in promoting a wide range of different ideas that its own name has gotten pretty murky. Many people think it means supporting a welfare state, championing the voices of people usually pushed to the side, … Continue reading

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3QD: More complications, please

It is entirely possible that we cannot handle the ever rising tide of knowledge. Yes, I am going to presume that it is knowledge — that we are not barking up the wrong axis mundi, that we are not ten days away from … Continue reading

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3QD: The Many Things That Don’t Exist

Lots of things don’t exist. Bigfoot, a planet between Uranus and Neptune, yummy gravel, plays written by Immanuel Kant, the pile of hiking shoes stacked on your head — so many things, all of them not existing. Maybe there are … Continue reading

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3QD: Is It Enough to Abide?

SOCRATES: Dear sir! You seem to be an happy fellow, able to enjoy the mixed bitter and sweet fortunes of life! DUDE: Oh, hey, man! Nice toga thing you got going on there. Let it hang, right? SOCRATES: You are … Continue reading

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3QD: Life in the garden of forking paths

We primates of the homo sapiens variety are very clever when it comes to making maps and plotting courses over dodgy terrain, so it comes as no surprise that we are prone to think of possible actions over time as akin to … Continue reading

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3QD: Riding an Empty Suit

A man rides an empty suit. The suit tells others what to think of the man, though it would not fit him. The man does not control the suit, but merely takes a ride upon it, come what may. In … Continue reading

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3QD: It’s not easy to live in a Mystery

Over years of teaching philosophy, I have observed that people fall into two groups with regard to the Biggest Question. The Biggest Question is one that is so big it is hard to fit into words, but here goes: When everything … Continue reading

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3QD: Go ahead and speak nonsense

[…] Somehow, through our language, culture, and shared projects of both construction and destruction, we manage to invent a spirit-world of fictions and concepts that paper over whatever-it-is-that-really-is-there, and we think and act in that spirit-world. It is nearly impossible … Continue reading

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3QD: What you know is a policy to live by

Philosophers are prone to define knowledge as having reasoned one’s way to some true beliefs. The obvious kicker in any such definition is truth; for how am I supposed to determine whether a belief is true? If I already know … Continue reading

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3QD: Don’t be so sure

[By the way, this is my 50th 3QD essay, by my count. I have encountered many interesting ideas and intelligent and gracious people through the site. It’s been a wonderful partnership.] Luxuriating in human ignorance was once a classy fad. … Continue reading

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3QD: Lots Of Things Exist, But You And I Are Not Among Them

Of course, it pays to be cautious when you read philosophers writing about what exists. They are slippery, weaving in and out between “in one sense” and “in another” like clever eels wearing togas. The fact that we can talk … Continue reading

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3QD: How To Make Rational Mammals

Suppose you are Father God, or Mother Nature, or Mother God, or Father Nature — doesn’t matter — and you want to raise up a crop of mammals who can reason well about what’s true. At first you think, “No … Continue reading

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3QD: What is living and what is dead in the Enlightenment?

Talking about “The Enlightenment”, when understood as something like “an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries” (thanks, Wikipedia), is like talking about Batman: do you mean classically heroic comic … Continue reading

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3QD: Living through lives of others

Observations are laden with theories, or so we are told, and theories are laden with cultures. There’s a good reason for thinking this. Theories, after all, spring out from people’s heads. But people’s heads grow within languages and cultures, along … Continue reading

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3QD: Science and the Six Canons of Rationality

Philosophy of science, in its early days, dedicated itself to justifying the ways of Science to Man. One might think this was a strange task to set for itself, for it is not as if in the early and middle … Continue reading

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