Great post, Katrina. TIL the concept of Highest and Best Use. I love it!

As I’m sure you well know, one of Phil’s obsessions (in the most positive sense of the word!) is with scale. And he led the very successful effort to scale IBM Design.

Now that IBM Design…


I initially neglected to mention that earlier in the chapter, Rorty highlights with approval Freud's blurring of the line between moral and prudential judgments: "One can sum up this point by saying that Freud makes moral deliberation just as finely grained, just as detailed and as multiform as prudential calculation has always been. He thereby helps break down the distinction between moral guilt and practical inadvisability, thereby blurring the prudence-morality distinction."

In other words, the thicker the description of the issues in tension in a situation, the more fine-grained the moral analysis becomes. At some point, the analysis becomes so fine-grained as to become indistinguishable from a merely prudential analysis.


Photo by Noah Näf on Unsplash

My friend and fellow fruitionist, Stephen Taylor, recently posted a beautiful description of how it feels when others dismiss or reject the ideas he offers them in conversation:

If someone receives one of these conceptions from me and accepts it as a gift — and this might mean the gift…


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I recently read (and listened to parts of) Rorty’s last lecture, Dewey and Posner on Pragmatism and Moral Progress. In it, he makes an astonishing claim (at least it astonished me):

We can cheerfully agree that truths — all kinds of truths — are eternal and absolute.

I find it…


Areopagus hill Saint Paul from Acropolis Athens

I just finished listening to one of the most moving podcasts I’ve ever heard: Episode 7 — Charles Peirce and Inquiry as an Act of Love with David O’Hara on Damn the Absolute! The entire discussion was illuminating for me, but what brought me to tears was Prof. David O’Hara’s…


Despite the fact that I’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the concept of the hourglass for around twenty years, it was only after my friend and fellow Rortian, Stephen Taylor, asked me to “write up a condensed conveyance of the bowtie/hourglass concept that I can link to from my…


One of Richard Rorty’s most famous aphorisms is “Truth is simply a compliment paid to sentences seen to be paying their way”. (Actually, he didn’t quite say this anywhere. …


Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

[This is a reply to the following blog post: Mutual mutation.]

Wow, so many great insights in one post! (BTW, I too love using etymology for insights.)

I agree that entering into a mutual relationship is the most profound interaction. I think of the Buddhist concept of mutual causation/reciprocal causation/dependent…


Photo by Hannah Wright on Unsplash

My fellow Rortian, Stephen Taylor, has written a thought provoking post on Rorty’s relationship with language (Rorty Therapy). I take away the following claims from his post:

  1. Rorty views language as humanity’s most important tool.
  2. Rorty goes beyond this to privilege language as uniquely constitutive of our human way of…

Wikipedia: Gustave Doré’s depiction of Canto VII of Dante’s Inferno turns the rocks that the damned hoarders and wasters are forced to move around, Sisyphus-like, into giant bags of gold, emphasising the reason for their punishment.

Albert Camus once said, “one must imagine Sisyphus happy”. That seems impossible to do if one feels deeply the meaningless monotony of struggling to roll the same massive boulder up the same hill each day, forever.

The myth of Sisyphus is a powerfully visceral metaphor for the concept of eternal…

Nick Gall

I am an Ironist currently exploring new career paths.

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