THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2021
The transparent Dumbness, it burns: Robert Woodward's new book, co-written with Robert Costa, bears a one-word title:
Following its 72 chapters, its epilogue ends with a two-word paragraph:
The authors refer to the peril facing our democracy in these (ongoing) days of Trump. More expansively, the epilogue ends as shown:
Could Trump work his will again? Were [sic] there any limits to what he and his supporters might do to bring him back to power?
Even in fuller context, the word "were" doesn't make sense there. But as the book ends, Woodward and Costa are most specifically saying that peril remains if Donald J. Trump seeks the White House again.
Our democracy remains in peril, the authors say in their book. But according to the experts with whom we consult, we've moved past the point of peril. The die has already been cast.
Could the logicians have helped us with this? Most likely, they couldn't have. That said, the logicians—indeed, the "philosophers" and philosophy professors in general—walked off their posts so long ago that the question is hard to assess.
(Could it be they were never on their posts? Yes, that's possible too! It's a point we expect to explore.)
Tomorrow, we'll return to a discussion we introduced last week. We'll return to the preface to Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, "the most important philosophy book of the 20th century."
It was rated the most important such book, but no one has the slightest idea what its author might have said! So it goes within a culture where academic elites, as a group, have walked away from their posts—have ceased to function as a "guardian" class.
In our view, Philosophical Investigations could have served as a highly instructive guide to what might be called "daily logic." Hard to parse though its text may be, a great deal of instruction can be teased from its bewildering numbered passages.
No such effort has ever been undertaken. That said, we'll plow ahead with an attempt to define the gains which could have been made. Tomorrow, we'll return to Wittgenstein's attempts, in his preface, to describe his intentions in writing the book, and we'll discuss his attempts to describe his book's shortcomings.
For today, one particular news report filled us with instant despair. The statistical dumbness, how it burned! We'll describe that hurtful report in today's afternoon post.
As it turns out, we the people weren't designed to run something like a democracy. Our brains were wired for Storyline, and as it turns out, we're pretty much tribal pretty much all the way down.
Regarding the preface to which we've referred, we briefly discussed it last Wednesday. To review that discussion, click here.
We'll resume that discussion tomorrow. Next week, we'll move on to the start of the most important philosophy book's unexplored text.
Could a different approach to this book have helped? Alas! Even as we continue to work in the garden, we're going to stick with a no.
Tomorrow: "I should have liked to produce a good book. That has not come about."