Neil the Ethical Werewolf passes me the Caesar's bath meme:
List five things that people in my circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but which I can't really understand the fuss over.
Okie-dokie. But first, I must address two of Neil's picks, for they are truly outrageous! Two of the things Neil doesn't understand the fuss over:
-- Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. This is the MOST IMPORTANT PHILOSOPHY BOOK OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
Now, I will admit that it is not particularly well-written, which Wittgenstein acknowledges in the preface. So it often is hard to see the point of what he has to say, and sometimes it's just impossible. The book totally falls apart about halfway through.
Nonetheless, it is, as I say, the most important work of philosophy written during the 20th century; at least half of the philosophy that is done nowadays is pointless, but nobody realizes it because they haven't been paying enough attention to Wittgenstein. What's weird is that he's really popular, in a way, but the lessons he taught seem not to have been learned. For instance, both Kripke and Putnam never should have happened in a post-Wittgenstein era. Wittgenstein had already refuted them before they even started writing.
Some day I will write about the private language argument, and more about why I am a proud member of the cult of Wittgenstein.
-- The White Stripes. The White Stripes kick fucking ass! In fact, they kick so much ass that I am going to make you download a song of theirs and listen to it in all its ass-kicking glory. Right-click on the link below, and choose 'Save Target As'.
White Stripes: Black Math.
Anyway, here are my five things that my peers are wild about but I don't get the fuss over:
1. Neuroscience. Everybody oohs and ahhs about fMRI technology, and numbskulls like Patricia Churchland think we can just hand over the entire study of mind to the neuroscientists. But in reality, neuroscience is surprisingly primitive. It has shed very little light on human cognition; most of its findings amount to stuff like: "Ooh, looky, the blood rushes to this side of the brain when we tell the subject to do arithmetic! These are ground-breaking results!" Phrenology for the 21st century.
2. Children. Think about it: an ugly, tiny little human that is completely dependent on you ... ooh, where do I sign up? Get a cat. There are lots of cats that need homes. Cats are much cuter than children. They are more interesting to talk to as well.
3. College sports. The teams change dramatically from year to year, no player is ever on the team for more than four years, and a majority of college football and basketball fans aren't even in any way affiliated with the school they root for. What gives? Plus, the whole thing is so corrupt you can practically smell it. Take about exploitation of labor: schools make millions off of football and basketball, and what do the players get? A scholarship. Woopty-doo. At a state school, this is worth, at most, $15,000 a year. Sure, a few of them will go pro and earn millions, but (a) they could have done that without college anyway and (b) most of them won't.
4. Materialism/Physicalism. I've gone on at length about this, and people are probably tired of hearing about it, because no one seems to really give a shit but me.
5. Marriage. I don't get it. You promise to stay with someone forever. What happens if, twenty years in, you aren't happy? You either (a) break your promise or (b) stay in a miserable relationship. So you're either making a promise you're not going to keep, or you're promising to stay with someone no matter how miserable it makes you. Why would you want someone you love to make that promise to you? Wouldn't you want them to leave you if it would make them happier?
Oh yeah, so I guess I'm supposed to 'tag' somebody now, right? Lessee .... howsabout ... Girl With An Alibi, Becky Dagley, Pope Benedict XVI, and Michelle Malkin.