45 Pawtucket, United States
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My self-summary
I am Zarathustra the Godless, who asks where is there one more godless than I that I may delight in her instruction? At the very least, I could only believe in a god who knew how to dance. And I usually don't quote Nietzsche this much, but he was very good at expressing powerful sentiments briefly, and this profile needs some help with brevity. The rest of this will be mostly me speaking for myself, and so more long-winded.

I'm a philosopher. In my dissertation, I proved that nothing is real, so I recommend that everyone relax and not worry so much. My favorite philosophers are Plato, Hume, Nietzsche, and from more recent times Rudolf Carnap and David Lewis.

My AIM ID is the first four letters of "giraffe" followed by "sophist". Why? Well, "sophist" was already taken, so I had to modify it somehow. My girlfriend at the time was short, but suffered from strange delusions of normalcy (pointing out that she found clothes that fit in the petite section, and that petite means small, failed to impress her at all). Since she thought she was normal (as if I'd date anyone normal), but could tell I'm around a foot taller than she is, she insisted I'm tall, and so called me a giraffe.

I find the instant messaging feature on OKcupid quite inconvenient, so I mention my AIM handle because of that; I nearly always have my OKcupid IM turned off. I'm also on Facebook, so if you figure out my real name (not too hard, really) you can look for me there.

I am liberal, intellectual, and affectionate
What I’m doing with my life
Pursuing happiness and academic success. I like to teach, so I will be continuing to struggle with the academic career path (really the only way to go with the philosophy Ph.D.) I suppose the reason I chose philosophy in particular to study and teach is that philosophy's high level of generality, its search for the truth about everything, makes it useful for a philosopher to know many things about many different subjects. Since I'm interested in many different subjects and would be looking into them anyway, it's nice to be in a field where such sidelines are relevant.

Besides teaching and reading a lot, and writing less than I should, I'm trying to imitate my philosophical heroes in non-philosophical respects, in hopes that that will magically improve my philosophy as well. I'm already somewhat inclined to favor socialist politics, and whenI have access to a gym, which hasn't been recently, I've spent some time working on the big shoulders. I'm not nearly hardcore enough to contract syphilis for a silly plan like this, and I don't know how to get assigned to an embassy in France, so the remaining item for me to work on realistically is to develop a strange fascination with trains. I guess I already approve of them as a mode of transport; perhaps that's a step on the way to finding them intrinsically interesting.

Oh, and at some point I started learning ballroom dancing, which I enjoyed, though I need to find a new place to do it. I suppose I could make that the substitute for the syphilis; the philosopher who is widely thought to have died of syphilis was very fond of dance metaphors. I don't know if he could actually dance himself, though. Anyway, if you like dancing that might be another reason to get in touch with me.
I’m really good at
Philosophy, and really most intellectual pursuits. Being smug.
The first things people usually notice about me
I imagine it's probably my giant bald head.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books: I like many different kinds of books. I like lots of SF; Cherryh, Niven, LeGuin, Heinlein, Douglas Adams, and many more. Lots of classics as well; I'm a big fan of Dostoyevski. Lots of random things, books from other cultures; I enjoyed the Tale of Genji, and I like some of Tariq Ali's stuff, like The Stone Woman. Recent fiction reading included Dom Casmurro by de Assis, apparently one of the greatest Brazilian novelists of the late 19th century (the writing is certainly brilliant, even in translation, so I can see where his reputation has come from), and George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.

In non-fiction, there really isn't much philosophy I won't read. Well, not much real philosophy I won't read, I have no interest in new age "philosophy" or shallow self-help books or meaningless mysticism generally. But despite my bias toward analytic philosophy I'll read continental texts, and I'm interested in the great texts of other traditions even if they're religiously influenced (I have no more objection to reading some Buddhist or Hindu philosophers than I have to reading Descartes). Recently I've been reading Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre, in an effort to understand Heidegger by looking at those who influenced him and those he influenced. I think Carnap's critique of Heidegger is much more profound than is ordinarily supposed, but I feel I need to study Heidegger much more closely in order to confirm my harsh judgment. It might also help me understand the mystifying fact that many people take Heidegger seriously.

I also like to read history, pretty much any period. I have a guilty love of military history particularly.

Movies: Blade Runner, Casablanca, The Empire Strikes Back, the LOTR trilogy, Dr. Strangelove, Murder by Death, The Producers (the original version), The Thirteenth Floor, Young Frankenstein. I like science fiction, trashy or otherwise, and dark or absurd comedies. I like most other kinds of movies when they're well done, but SF, dark comedies, and absurd comedies are the genres where I'm most likely to still like them even if they're not well done.

Music: Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Dire Straits, Gin Blossoms, They Might be Giants, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, Indigo Girls, Cyndi Lauper

Food: Virtually anything with lots of spices (Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc.) Less spicy things I mostly only like if they have lots of cheese; I also like some varieties of Italian, for example.
The six things I could never do without
Books. Sex. Intelligent conversation. Cuddling. Spicy food. Role-playing games.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Philosophy, strangely enough. Also, anything at all that happens to come up. I'd say I'm one of those people who thinks too much, but I'm not sure that any amount of thinking is really excessive in my case. I am not inclined to trust my feelings. Feelings often lead people astray, and I have plenty of personal experience in that. Hume says "reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions," but I find things go much more smoothly when my rational slave part is trying to do what the master really wants, not what the master claims to want.

Now, I don't overestimate the power of reasoning. As one who has taught logic, I know how bad most people are at reasoning, so probably most people should trust their feelings over whatever confused logic they might employ, since their confused logic would probably lead them astray even more often. However, I am genuinely quite smart, and when I reason about things I tend to get good results, so since it works for me I try to employ the reasoning strategy a lot. Which, of course, gives me more practice, and makes me even better at the reasoning thing in a nice feedback loop. Since the feedback loop has been operating for years, I think a tremendous amount all the time. This is also an advantage in my profession, obviously. The only flaw in the system is that I still need to figure out how to get myself to more reliably do what my reason tells me I should be doing.

I should say that one of the things I never trust my feelings to tell me is what my feelings are. Filthy liars are always misrepresenting themselves. So if I'm asked my feelings, and I want to answer truthfully (which I almost always do), it takes me a while to figure out an answer, since I need to examine the evidence. This can easily be mistaken for me taking a while to think about what the "right" answer (the answer the other person wants) is, but that's almost never what I'm doing.

I also think a lot about politics. Unsurprisingly for an academic, I'm fairly liberal. I've always been interested in politics in the abstract, but for a long time I didn't take all that much interest in current American politics. However, recent years convinced me that the Republicans must be stopped, so I try to keep informed, and I've made some small efforts to do useful things to advance liberal causes. My serious blog often discusses politics, when I'm bothering to update it. If you stop by and see it hasn't been updated recently, please poke me and tell me to get busy on it.
On a typical Friday night I am
At a party with friends, or perhaps at a LARP. Or reading at home.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I have trouble knowing what to answer for the drugs question. I haven't taken any illegal recreational drugs for some time, and never took them more often than once or twice a year (though I have no particular objections to them). I am, however, taking a prescription drug which the DEA places on schedule II. That's the same category as cocaine, though at least my med isn't as bad as that scary schedule I stuff like marijuana.
You should message me if
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 certainly was.

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.