Thursday, March 15, 2007

Interview: A Blog Game of 5 Questions

Recently, a new blog 'game' arose. I noticed it over at Veronica's interesting and funny Nine Pearls blog. The rules of the game are as follows:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be a little more intimate!
3. You WILL update your journal/bloggy thing/whatever with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

As this sounded interesting and amusing, I elected to play this game. Thus, I will now answer Veronica's questions, which are as follows:

1.) Why are you a “combat” philosopher? Were you in the military? Do you simply idolize Sun Tzu?

The name combat philosopher was conferred on me quite a while ago, whilst I was in graduate school. At the time, my main mode of transportation was a motorcycle. Thus, I tended to wander around in a heavy pair of boots and a leather jacket. I consider these minimal safety gear, in addition to a helmet. The boots I had then were similar to army boots. I also had a bad habit of wearing pairs of combat pants at the time. The large pockets were very useful. This was only part on the reason I got this name though.

During this period, I spent sometime away from home at a major summer institute. While there, I got a bit of a reputation for being prepared to argue with anybody, no matter how important, or famous they were, if they made a false or dubious claim. Thus, it was from my attire, plus fearless philosophical 'combat' that were the origins of the name.

On the blog, my goal originally was to use philosophical methods to fight against the stupidity, lies, ignorance and prejudice that we are sometimes fed by the media and the like. My goal was to really do this, not just complain a lot, as we see on some blogs. This was why the name seemed appropriate. An additional reason comes from the fact that philosophy, done correctly, depends very heavily on argument. According to Lakoff and Johnson's, (1980) Metaphors We Live By (University of Chicago Press), arguments are strongly associated with metaphors of war. Thus, again 'combat' seemed to quite hit the spot.

All that being said, I actually prefer Lao Tzu to Sun Tzu. I have never really been in the military, although I did a brief stint in the cadets in high school, before I deserted. I am actually something of a pacifist, apart from on philosophical matters.

2.) Who is your favorite philosopher and why?

The honest answer to this question is probably 'myself'! However, I suspect that was not the answer that the question was supposed to elicit. It is actually hard to say. I do have a fondness for the works of Nietzsche, but he is badly misunderstood in popular culture. I am also impressed by the power and insights of both Kant and Wittgenstein.

3.) According to your entry on the legal status of chickens in Louisiana, you smoke. What brand, how long, how old were you when you started, and have you ever tried to quit?

Oh dear, my great guilty secret. At the moment it is Winston Lights. In my younger days, it was hand rolled Gauloises. I started when I was about seventeen years old. I have tried to quit a few times, a couple of times with success. However, the old monkey has always had a habit of climbing up again on the proverbial back. I am now working on cutting back. I am hoping that the recently reported results concerning the Insula may yield a better solution. On this one, as the Greeks used to say, I suffer a bad case of acrasia.

4.) I have heard that there is long-standing debate in philosophic circles about zombies. How much coffee does one have to consume before hypothetical zombies seem like a good way to make a point?

Oh dear, this is a topic that makes me cringe, just a little. It is claimed to have an origin in the work of Descartes. A reasonable discussion of this topic (at least, as reasonable as is possible, given the topic) can be found here. Recently, Dave Chalmers has been all too responsible for bringing zombies back to life and making them popular. I personally do not have much time for zombie talk. Given that I drink vast amounts of very strong coffee every day, I would say that these zombies have another cause, but I know not what.

5.) What was your favorite thing for lunch in elementary school?

I am pretty sure that the correct answer is ham, cabbage and potatoes. It was a while ago, so my memory is not all that clear. I still love thie meal to this day.

The CP


Blogger Veronica said...

Ahhhh. Winston Lights were my cigarettes. But, I quit.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Horace said...

(sorry, posted under the wrong name above)...

I ask this as someone with scant philosophical background, but would it be fair to say that Wittgenstein and his positivist extensions of Kantian enlightenment epistemologies are often at odds with Nietzsche?

Am I wrong in understanding them (generally, simplistically) this way? If so, how do you reconcile them in your own work?

Please bear in mind that I've read too little of any of them to have an informed opinion here; I am asking for insight...

9:17 AM  

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