Words of wisdom


Arguing is hard, daunting work (although great fun). It requires not just logical skill, which, like any other skill, can be refined and honed, but substantive knowledge of various theories, doctrines, principles, ideologies, and worldviews. In order for me, an atheist, to persuade a Christian to believe this or that, I must know Christianity inside and out. If I were once a Christian, so much the better. In order for me, a deontologist, to persuade a consequentialist to believe that war in Iraq was justified, I must know consequentialism inside and out. All of us have a great deal to learn from one another ‑- if only we are willing. The flip side is that all of us have a great deal to teach one another ‑- if only we make the effort.

- Keith Burgess-Jackson, on argumentation
(which BTW he says, must use ad hominem)

First, stop whining. You had a choice of poetry or business and you chose poetry. If your love for the subject is not enough to make up for the loss in income then go back to school. Two, stop blaming "an economic system" that glorifies science etc. and notice that these jobs pay highly because the skills they require are rare and people are willing to pay for the product of these jobs. If you produce something that people want you will be paid highly also but don't expect other people to pay so that you can fulfill your dreams of writing poetry that no one wants to read. Third, what do you mean by it's difficult to find work for the philosopher, writer, dancer, poet or sculptor in "Western society." Do you know of any society at any time or place that has offered more for the arts? A retail clerk who does sculpture on the side has a far higher income than does your typical sculptor working in India. Try visiting most of the rest of the world - where science and business are not glorified - if you want to truly understand "drudgery."

- Alex Tabarrok's advice to a liberal arts graduate
who believes the 'system' works against her

The continued expansion of the division of labor is a wonderful thing for the world economy and all countries participating in it. It means continued growth, which means continued change. Many developed countries now export more developed machinery and more sophisticated consumer goods. The less developed countries manufacture and export less developed machinery and simpler consumer goods, while some nations specialize in agriculture and resource exports. It is nothing but the structure of production expanding out over the entire world economy. The world does not stand still.

- Sudha Shenoy

Share this