Sounding Cocksure

Frank,

When all I read from one commenter is repetitive, chances are that I stop reading that commenter. So I don’t believe that Paul is helping his cause by constantly repeating the same motto. Perhaps he wins something by hammering his memes, but he loses the conversational effect. Optimizing the trade-off between these two objectives is still an open problem, I believe.

If what gets repeated is outrage, what obtains is an aspersion contest. The only reason I would read an aspersion contest is style. Even when flaming, style matters.

If your objective is to have a conversation, don’t bend backwards, but lean over and try to bear in mind that you could be wrong. Internet is there for a good while. Sounding cocksure helps no one in an eternal moshpit.


This is why I underlined the logical point about abstract entities.

Replacing “taxi driver” with “the driver of the taxicab which you most recently took” would be more vivid, but would still get you an abstract entity. The expression still uses an indexical to shift between possibilia. Abstract entities are efficient devices, and most of them are quite innocuous. Even if grant nominalists some points, nominalism loses in the end.


I believe you are mostly right about the overall decision framework. But I doubt that what we do right now is anything else than commenting on an Internet blog. So I would spare the “actual decisions” stance. Mileage varies, of course.

(Source: planet3.org)