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Tuesday, 25 June 2019


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The 'book' or the overcoat?

No. Grayling has expressed contempt for Brexit voters, and has the most ridiculous hair. I can hardly imagine that he would write well on anything.

I read 'The Story of Philosophy' by Will Durant sometime during my 30's. It helped convince me philosophy is mostly arbitrary nonsense, which was not the author's intent. Have at it.

Well, Bob, you would know all about "arbitrary nonsense"!

Try the Wikipedia philosophy timelines, click through the links to the various philosophers, and on each philosopher's article click through the linked concepts ...




When you've got to the end of it, if you're still with us, you probably won't need to shell out a penny.

I read Bertrand Russell's "A History of Western Philosophy" many years back and I must say I thought it was crap. Really badly explained. Not a patch on doing the same thing with Wiki and going "one click through" each concept off each philosopher's main article.


David, as one of the most constant followers of your blog, I suppose I would.

I agree with Bob, except for the part about philosophy being "arbitrary nonsense" (which, besides being an audacious overgeneralization, is itself a philosophical claim). I was about to suggest the Durant book myself, and looked up to see Bob had already done so. It's a splendid overview.

Thank you all, Gentlemen, good advice is always welcome.

Malcolm, you ignored the "mostly". As I've stated here before, philosophers use the same process as novelists. They're essentially telling stories from a personal point of view and those of other philosophers they've read.

"They're essentially telling stories from a personal point of view and those of other philosophers they've read."

Then why Bob, do you so readily accept "climate" philosophies?


If this, for example, is some sort of "novel", I think I'd rather have waited till the movie came out.

JK, we know of climate change because of science. The peer review process has lead to 97% of climate scientists agreeing:

That's about as sure as anything gets in science because there are always 'mavericks' involved.


Malcolm, I didn't write that philosophers produce good novels, only that they use the same writers' processes. One of their most common and revealing traits is using florid, over-reaching language to make their ideas seem profound, which is definitely on display at your link. 'Philosophy of Being' indeed.

No Bob not science precisely speaking rather computer modelling programs is where the 97% of those you tout "can find" agreement.

That a ten year old "can illustrate" the supposed *science* with crayon scratches on any flat surface ought lead reasoning people to doubt what's supposed.

The Marianas chain as I recall from An Inconvenient Truth should have been Davey Jones lockered near on a decade ago as I recall "the science" warnings.

And notice nobody's mentioning Antarctica whatsoever lately?

Ah well. You can lead a horse to water...

Oh dear, not that "97% consensus" nonsense again. It is cask-strength hogwash, and was flayed, quartered, and dragged through the streets as tendentious buncombe almost as soon as it was foisted upon an eager and credulous public (which was years ago now). That we should still keep hearing about it, even in such an august (and otherwise sensible) forum as this, moves me to the brink of despair.

You can believe whatever you like and mock things you don't understand, but the net effect will approach zero and the world will carry on. How's that for philosophy?

Thanks, although I generally try to make sure I do understand a thing before mocking it.

That said, I'll grant you that your remark is a fine example of Stoic philosophy, and could have easily been uttered by Marcus Aurelius.


You're correct that the 97% figure is controversial. However, it's obvious that if you Google "97% debunked" you're going to get biased results. I'll admit to being more sympathetic to the view of NASA than of Forbes, The Guardian, The National Review, and so on. I'll also admit that communicating highly technical information to the public includes a lot of problems. If you're interested, here's Scientific American's take, which also comes up in your search:

By the way, I read a compilation of Marcus Aurelius' writings lent to me by a history major pal during college. I seem to recall an impression he was a sensible enough man.

More sympathetic to the view of NASA huh?

Well why not - but we take the word of Forbes if they say "Buy Woolies?"


One of the most common misconceptions about climate change is that it predicts the planet will heat evenly everywhere. That's a hangover from the days it was called 'global warming', which gives the wrong impression. A clearer way to think about it is that there's more energy in the atmosphere. That can lead to changes in weather patters that, at least temporarily, make some places colder or cause more precipitation. In the first article you missed this:

"But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years -- I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses."

The second article is from a group that seems specifically set up to challenge climate science. They don't even claim to be a scientific organization:

"PRINCIPIA SCIENTIFIC INTERNATIONAL is legally registered in the UK as a company incorporated for charitable purposes."

Check the other articles listed along the right of the page. They're probably a front for one or more dirty energy groups.


Thanks for the pullquote - you perhaps miss those bits, "But it might" ... "if the losses" ... "I don't think"?

And since you haven't bothered to further "enlighten" me with specific bits from what the physicist fellow had to say I take it your thoughts on turbulence in the oceans system our planet certainly has, for those who purport themselves to be 'climate scientists' in support of what you (apparently) conclude can just confidently toss off the 71% not included (yet) in the models?

I would suggest, for the next time you reach for a 'climate change is scientifically confirmed' link you might have a better chance of convincing me if the science reflects Observed Changes over Time via the means of a worldwide network of thermometers residing at the 12,080 foot depth of the planet's oceans.

Perhaps NASA has a satellite system as we type already taking such measurements?


Thanks for the suggestions. You should send them to NASA. They'll probably start working on those sensors right away.

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