Sartre and the Nobel Prize

In 1964 Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature but declined it. The New York Review of Books published his explanation of why he refused to accept the award: Sartre’s argument is riddled with contradiction and nonsense. I will comment on some parts. A writer who adopts political, social, or literary positions … More Sartre and the Nobel Prize

Wittgenstein was wrong—and Stalin was right—about tautologies

Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote: A tautology . . . says nothing. (Tractatus, 5,142) He further clarified: The logical product of a tautology and a proposition says the same thing as the proposition. This product, therefore, is identical with the proposition. (Tractatus, 4,465) Basically, Wittgenstein is saying that if T is a tautology and p is any proposition, … More Wittgenstein was wrong—and Stalin was right—about tautologies

Carnap – Heidegger 1-0 (certified)

Almost 8 years ago I published on my Facebook a post about Carnap’s well-known criticism of Heidegger. I reproduce it here (in blue font). Carnap famously claimed that some of Heidegger’s allegedly deep philosophical thoughts are in fact just pseudo-statements in which he committed elementary logical fallacies, like treating the word “nothing” as a name … More Carnap – Heidegger 1-0 (certified)

​​​​​Taleb and the art of bad aphorism

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated “public intellectuals” today. Exhibit A is his awful book The bed of Procrustes: philosophical and practical aphorisms (Random House, 2010). Here are some examples, with my brief comments: Pharmaceutical companies are better at inventing diseases that match existing drugs, rather than inventing drugs … More ​​​​​Taleb and the art of bad aphorism

Was Bernard Williams potentially a great philosopher?

John Searle says “Yes”. I say “Perhaps not”. Here is Searle: Well, Bernard was a very good friend of mine… I think Bernard was as intelligent as any human being I’ve ever met. He had a kind of quickness which was stunning. Now one consequence of that is there’s a sense in which people who … More Was Bernard Williams potentially a great philosopher?