Monday, March 7, 2011

"The Ashtray Argument"

Errol Morris has a fun story here about his Princeton days with chain-smoking, Kripke-hating Thomas Kuhn as mentor.



Anonymous said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will turn into a Kripke stories thread.

Asstro said...

That should only be done over lots and lots of wine.

Anonymous said...

I was aware of the weaknesses in Kuhn's philosophical positions, but I didn't know he was so evil.

Frank O'File said...

I'm told that among historians of science the technical name for losing one's shit in this way is 'Kuhn loss'.

Glaucon said...

I had imagined graduate school as a shining city on a hill, but it turned out to be more like an extended visit with a bear in a cave.


One advantage of Plato's cave: no bears (= godless killing machines).

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was puzzled. Graduate school was a time to get drunk on magic money that you didn't have to earn; the only price was that you occasionally had to come up with clever ways to avoid your advisor. (Not too hard, usually: just pick an old advisor that you can easily outrun.) That's a shining city on a hill.

The time after grad school--well, that's like being executed by a blind firing squad.

By the way: Plato's cave had bears. It's just that they were shadow-puppet bears. But if you were in the cave, then presumably you didn't know this fact...

Word: shlutti
I am not commenting on this one.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:29: Tsk tsk. What do you mean "the weaknesses in Kuhn's philosophical positions." Throwing an ashtray hardly qualifies. Better philosophers have done much, much - much - worse. Newton and Leibniz, for example.

I'm looking forward to the next installment, but in the meantime same goes out to Errol Morris.

I'm no fan of twitter, but I am a fan of Morris' documentaries. A friend sent me this update of his:

errolmorris (@errolmorris)
11-03-08 9:39 PM
There is no such thing as incommensurability, except in the mathematical sense. (I double dare you to prove otherwise.)

Saying there's no such thing as incommensurability, except in the mathematical sense is like saying there's no such thing as money, except in the economic sense.

And I triple dare you to prove me otherwise.

A little subtlety here please Morris, no less than Kuhn asked for at least, which was not a lot.

WV: proups, as in give Kuhn his proups, please