If you can match up the philosophers from my self-summary with the
traits in the section on what I'm doing with my life. Especially if
you can spot the errors. Or if you can't and want me to tell you
who's who. Or you know of a ballroom dance event and want a
partner. Or you're curious about my erotic writing. Or you have a
vacancy for a back scrubber.
It'd certainly help if you don't find my account of what I think
about creepy and over-intellectual. I like to analyze everything. I
often do it playfully, analyzing things which are clearly not
important or applying whimsical, arbitrary standards of analysis,
but if you just don't find that sort of thing fun no matter how
it's done, you're sure to find me irritating.
Actually, since OKcupid says I need more characters in my summary,
I'll just give away the traits. Tradition, that wonderfully
reliable source of knowledge, maintains that the young man whose
nickname was later to become almost synonymous with philosophy, was
given that nickname by a wrestling coach. Apparently, his shoulders
were impressive enough to merit his being called "Platon", meaning
"broad." Some modern scholars think this story is a Hellenistic
invention, and that he really was just named "Platon" by his
parents. His grandfather was named Aristocles, and there was a
strong Athenian tradition of naming one son after his grandfather.
However, while neither of Plato's known brothers was named
Aristocles, the tradition also usually was applied to the eldest
son, and Plato was not the eldest. He could have had a brother who
died young and was never mentioned by our sources, or perhaps his
parents just disregarded this tradition.
David Hume spent almost two years attached to the British embassy
in Paris. So far as I can tell from his biographers, his well-paid
job (with extravagant pension benefits subsequently) was to hang
out in the salons with the philosophes
. This may not have been
as much of a waste of British public funds as may at first appear.
Many important French aristocrats and politicians would frequent
the salons, and it seems the French philosophical set loved Hume.
Still, whether the British were getting a good deal or not, Hume
It was long the majority view that Nietzsche died of syphilis,
perhaps contracted through the blood when he was a medic, working
under horrible conditions, during the Franco-Prussian war. Though
there has never been any evidence for this, various stories
involving his contracting the disease from prostitutes have also
been popular over the years. More recent scholarship has argued
that his symptoms and the fact that he survived more than ten years
after his collapse do not fit syphilis, and so that he probably
died of something else; apparently a slow-growing brain tumor would
best fit what we know of his decline. Interestingly, something
similar could also explain his father's death at a relatively young
age, and a vulnerability to such tumors can be hereditary. But most
people still only know the syphilis story.
Rudolf Carnap published virtually nothing about his political
views, or indeed his views about virtually anything which might be
considered a matter of values. However, his private communications
reveal that his politics were extreme left, and that he thought his
strictly scientific approach to logic and philosophy was in fact a
natural accompaniment to his socialist politics.
David Lewis was fascinated by trains. He frequently used them in
his philosophical examples, and he was a model train hobbyist. I am
further reliably informed that on one occasion, when he was a guest
of honor at a conference, the grad student who was assigned to
entertain him had to take him out to a nearby train station in the
middle of the night, because there was something he wanted to see
there. The anecdote relates that the grad student was unable to
determine what, if anything, Lewis was particularly looking for at
the train yard, though apparently he was satisfied with the trip.
Another Lewis anecdote, that of the goat refutation, is also
normally reported as describing events that transpired on a train.