The other day I went to see the eye doctor, who told me I have blended vision: one of my eyes is farsighted and the other is nearsighted, but they function well together. Quite a fitting analogy for what Pierre Hadot called philosophy as the love and practice of wisdom. We tend to think ofContinue reading “Blended Vision”
In recent posts we’ve looked into holding opinions about fewer topics, holding multiple opinions about the same topic, and changing our opinions about the opinions that other people hold. But what exactly is an opinion? Let’s take a closer look. Pyrrho, a fascinating but shadowy figure reputed to be the founder of ancient Greek skepticism,Continue reading “Opinions vs. Truths”
Sometimes it’s difficult to hold fewer opinions in your own mind or to engage in cognitive empathy toward others; that’s when it can help to hold multiple opinions at the same time. This might sound like the mental equivalent of juggling plates, but it’s a skill worth cultivating (and one with an ancient pedigree, asContinue reading “Holding Multiple Opinions”
My friend Paul sent me a few thoughts about my recent post on holding fewer opinions. He’s formulated an approach that involves holding fewer opinions about other people’s opinions. This seems valuable, and related to a post I wrote four years ago entitled “Why Do You Think What You Think?” My introspective conclusion then wasContinue reading “Opinions about Opinions”
A few months ago I read the transcript of a discussion between Brian Beck and Robin Hanson, in which Hanson advised the listener to hold fewer opinions: “Just have fewer opinions on topics. You don’t need as many opinions as you usually have.” You should pick the topics on which you’re going to be somewhatContinue reading “Holding Fewer Opinions”
Every four years I dread the prospect of yet another election for president of the United States. What a depressing, anxiety-ridden spectacle! It’s almost enough to make me a monarchist (if only we could find the right sort of monarch, of course). As with everything else, 2020 is worse than usual. With every election seasonContinue reading “Election Survival Guide”
In my most recent post (“Beyond Binary“), I talked about the need to transcend dichotomies and false alternatives. One aspect of doing so is recognizing what I called a wider palette of viewpoints, which is easy to do in philosophy and psychology but not in politics (at least not in American politics with its two-partyContinue reading “A Wider Palette”
As political polarization proliferates, it’s beneficial to explore realms of thought that are not limited to left vs. right and us vs. them. Personally, I’m partial to philosophy: it’s impossible to reduce all of philosophical thinking to, say, Epicureans vs. Stoics without ignoring the deep and unique contributions of Platonists, Aristotelians, Taoists, Buddhists, Confucians, Hindus,Continue reading “Beyond Binary”
This weekend, in honor of Warren Buffett’s 90th birthday, I’d like to consider the phenomenon of compounding. It’s a little-known fact that Buffett earned almost 90% of his $82 billion fortune after the age of 65. Yet supposedly he has been fascinated by compounding since the age of 10, when he had an epiphany aboutContinue reading “Compounding Wisdom”
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