Friday, May 26, 2006


I don't understand the fascination with online quizzes...

but I take 'em anyway. This is one of the better quizzes I've ever taken.

You scored 66% Non-Reductionism, 88% Epistemological Absolutism, and 88% Moral Objectivism!
You are an N-A-O: a metaphysical Non-Reductionist, an epistemological Absolutist, and a moral Objectivist. If you are simply dying inside to figure out what all this mumbo-jumbo means, then simply continue reading.

Metaphysics: Non-Reductionism (Idealism or Realism) In metaphysics, my test measures your tendency towards Reductionism or Non-Reductionism. As a Non-Reductionist, you recognize that reality is not necessarily simple or unified, and you thus tend to produce a robust ontology instead of carelessly shaving away hypothetical entities that reflect our philosophical experiences. My test recognizes two types of Non-Reductionists: Idealists and Realists.

1. Idealists believe that reality is fundamentally unknowable. All we can ever know is the world of sense experience, thought, and other phenomena which are only distorted reflections of an ultimate (or noumenal) reality. Kant, one of the most significant philosophers in history, theorized that human beings perceive reality in such a way that they impose their own mental frameworks and categories upon reality, fully distorting it. Reality for Kant is unconceptualized and not subject to any of the categories our minds apply to it. Idealists are non-reductionists because they recognize that the distinction between phenomenal reality and ultimate reality cannot be so easily discarded or unified into a single reality. They are separate and distinct, and there is no reason to suppose the one mirrors the other. Major philosophical idealists include Kant and Fichte.


Epistemology: Absolutism (Rationalism or Pragmatism) My test measures one's tendency towards Absolutism or Skepticism in regards to epistemology. As an Absolutist, you believe that objective knowledge is possible given the right approach, and you deny the claims of skeptical philosophers who insist that we can never have knowledge of ultimate reality. The two types of Absolutists recognized by my test are Rationalists and Pragmatists.

1. Rationalists believe that the use of reason ultimately provides the best route to truth. A rationalist usually defines truth as a correspondence between propositions and reality, taking the common-sense route. Also, rationalists tend to believe that knowledge of reality is made possible through certain foundational beliefs. This stance is known as foundationalism. A foundationalist believes that, because we cannot justify the truth of every statement in an infinite regress, we ultimately reach a foundation of knowledge. This foundation is composed of a priori truths, like mathematics and logic, as well as undoubtable truths like one's belief in his or her own existence. The belief that experiences and memories are veridical is also part of the foundation. Thus, for a rationalist knowledge of reality is made possible through our foundational beliefs, which we do not need to justify because we find them to be undoubtable and self-evident. In regards to science, a rationalist will tend to emphasize the foundational assumptions of scientific inquiry as prior to and more important than scientific inquiry itself. If science does lead to truth, it is only because it is based upon the assumption of certain rational principles such as "Every event is caused" and "The future will resemble the past". Philosophy has a wide representation of philosophical rationalists--Descartes, Spinoza, Liebniz, and many others.


Ethics: Objectivism (Deontology or Logical Positivism) In Ethics, my test measures your tendency towards moral Objectivism or moral Relativism. As a moral Objectivist, you are opposed to Subjectivist moral theories and believe that morality applies to people universally and actually describes objects and situations out in the world as opposed to just subjects themselves. The two types of moral Objectivists my test recognizes are Kantian Deontologists and Utilitarians.

1. Kantian Deontologists believe that the one intrinsic good is a good will. As rational beings capable of making decisions, the moral worth of our decisions is ultimately derived from the intentions behind our actions, not their consequences. A moral being does the right thing not out of recognition of any consequences, but out of a sense of moral duty. For Kant, a good will is the ultimate good because to deny the will is to deny the one thing that makes us rational, moral beings. If an act will accord with or further our status as free, rational beings, and it is possible to will the universalization of such a moral principle without infringing upon our good wills, then an act is good. Kant's categorical imperative provides an objective standard to judge moral worth--it is not hypothetical in the sense of other imperatives, which hide a latent if-clause. For instance, "Eating razors is good" is good ONLY if you tack on an if-clause that says something like: "If you wish to destroy your gums." Thus, the categorical imperative is good, not just IF something is the case, but in ALL cases. It requires people to treat others as ends, and not means to ends, for to treat everyone as a means to an ends would be to deny them their ability to function as rational, free beings--which is what makes morality possible in the first place. The major propnent of this view in the history of philosophy is, quite obviously, Kant.


As you can see, when your philosophical position is narrowed down there are so many potential categories that an OKCupid test cannot account for them all. But, taken as very broad categories or philosophical styles, you are best characterized as an N-A-O. Your exact philosophical opposite would be an R-S-R.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 66% on Metaphysics
You scored higher than 83% on Epistemology
You scored higher than 88% on Ethics

If you liked my test, send it to your friends!
The Sublime Philosophical Crap Test

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I've been remiss!

Just noticed that it's - ahem - been awhile since my last update.

Good thing no-one reads this, or I'd feel bad.


I'd like someone to explain what is so difficult about driving. I've been doing it for over 30 years now, and it seems that drivers are getting worse and worse.

This isn't really a function of my age. I drive pretty much the way I always have, usually within spitting distance of the speed limit and pretty easy. I mean, I don't tailgate and I try not to drive on the wrong side of the road and I usually stay off the sidewalks. Sounds good, right?

Situation 1 -

In the course of my day, I may feel the urge to pass once or twice. Since I have been driving the same routes for some years now, I know all the best places to pass, and when I do I use the "swoop method," as my wife calls it. That is, since I follow a safe distance behind the car I'm about to pass, I can get a good run and overtake at speed, therefore spending the least time in the opposite lane as possible.

As I generally drive underpowered and/or antiquated junk, the pull out and drag race method doesn't quite cut it.

This works well, unless you get some loon who drives watching his rear view mirror and feels obligated to screw everything up. Maybe he's worried that you might tag him, or maybe it just pisses him off that someone might be in a bigger hurry. Regardless, this maroon will inevitably either hit his brakes, throwing the timing of the pass off, or accelerate to prevent the pass.

The other day, I pulled this maneuver on a car that was travelling about 60 in a 55. Natch, he was upset that I passed him and latched onto my bumper at 70 mph and stayed there the rest of the way into town. I guess it didn't occur to the guy that if he had been driving 70 I wouldn't have passed him?

Now I have a question. Why would he be upset? Surely he can't be mad because I was exceeding the speed limit, as HE was exceeding the speed limit.

Enquiring minds want to know.

Situation 2 -

This is a phenomenon I've noticed mostly with women. I can generally guess the sex of a driver by the way they overtake and pass.

Or don't.

I'm driving along at about 60-65 and this little Grand Am looking car is coming up on me pretty quick. It overtakes me - in a passing zone - gets within a car length of my bumper and weaves back and forth like a drunk.

You guessed it. She - by now I CAN TELL it is a she - can't decide whether she wants to pass or not. There isn't a soul on the horizon and this idiot tails me for 3 miles through a couple more passing zones and stays put. I've sat in the passenger seat while my pulls this exact stunt. What is the problem here?

Once I was following my daughter home (she had no idea I was behind her) and she did this TO A COP!

Not enough testosterone to get 'er done, or what?

That's it for today. Nothing earth shattering.

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