Notes on notes on virtues

It can be an interesting exercise to try to find patterns, regularity, structure, commonality among the virtues. I like your insight here.

When I tried to do this, I ended up categorizing virtues as those involving Temperament (e.g. initiative, independence, frugality, spontaneity), Social Virtues (e.g. kindness, honesty, generosity, leadership, wit), Character (e.g. humility, honor, benevolence, integrity), Attitude (e.g. hope, serenity, temperance, patience), and Intellectual Virtues (e.g. imagination, rationality, know-how, curiosity). Looking back at this, I think the Social and Intellectual virtues make sense as categories, but it's harder to distinguish Temperament / Character / Attitude from each other, so I don't know if that's as helpful.


Notes on Fitness

I'll start ;-)

The best exercise program is one you actually do. Darebee is a site that has a bunch of exercise programs that you can do at home (no special equipment needed). It's free, and ad-free (donation-supported). It's useful particularly for those of us working from home who have good pandemic-related reasons to stay away from the gym.

Unexplored modes of language

drumming/tapping, received by ears or touch possibly faster than spoken language, because precise sounds can be very fast. I don’t know. This doesn’t really sound good.

That sounds like Morse Code. Telegraph operators had developed a set of codes and abbreviations and emoticon-like conventions during the heyday of the telegraph... give it enough time and internationalization and it might have developed its own grammar. There was a case of a POW who blinked in Morse code during a propaganda video he was forced to make: 

My Weirdest Experience

I can relate. I also had a dream in which I suspected I was dreaming, attempted to do some tests to rule that out, ruled it out to my satisfaction, and later woke up from it. Disconcerting.

Notes on Fairness

I believe they did a follow-up study to try to adjust for this. In the follow-up they were able to surreptitiously note the results of the coin flip (without the flipper knowing). The people who flipped the coin but ignored the result because it didn't go the way they wanted still rated themselves more fair than those who did not flip the coin but just decided to make things go their way without going through a coin-flipping ritual first.

Notes on Fairness

I drew a blank.

I found the cake-dividing and roommate algorithms promising. If I'm in situations in the future that seem isomorphic, I'll be sure to do some research to try and find a fair division method that's most likely to make everyone feel they got what's coming to them.

But as far as how to cultivate the virtue of fairness... I dunno. The best I came up with was to be much more cautious about my self-assessment of how fair I'm being if I have skin in the game. I should definitely assume that my brain is going to be feeding me some good reasons why fairness and my self interest happen to coincide again.

Some of the experiments suggest "hacks" that might help (e.g. sometimes people engaged in "fairer" dictator-style divisions if there was a mirror in the room with them when they made the division) but I don't have a good feel for how reliable those would be generally.

Don't bother to google how to become more fair unless you're in the market for skin cream.

Toward A Culture of Persuasion

Is “rhetoric” the discipline you’re looking for?


It used to be a standard part of a good liberal education, and I’d be happy to see it return, retooled for the media of the modern day.

Notes on Sincerity and such

Sometimes the passive voice is more graceful or effective. In those cases, you can avoid the trouble that passive voice usually causes if you explicitly add the grammatically-optional subject.

For instance: "Insider information was unwisely tweeted by Elon." By using the passive verb "was tweeted" you change the order, and therefore the relative emphasis, of "insider information" and "Elon" in a way that may be appropriate to what you're trying to communicate. But by explicitly adding "by Elon" you successfully resist the temptation to leave the subject unstated, and thereby save the day for clarity and precision.

I cover that in my advanced "technical writing in one easy lesson" class ;-)

What are Examples of Great Distillers?

I'm fond of the "A Very Short Introduction" book series from Oxford University Press. Some very good examples of those include Thomas Pink's on Free Will, Susan Blackmore's on Consciousness, Christopher Janaway's on Schopenhauer, David Weir's on Decadence, Stanley Wells on Shakespeare, and Brad Inwood's on Stoicism.

Notes on Temperance

I'm not as familiar with Christian views on temperance (though I am very fond of After Virtue - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/16106951). I associate Christian temperance with "Thy will be done" -- trying to discern God's desires and aligning one's own with those -- but I haven't looked into it very closely beyond that superficial guesswork. Is there any resource you would suggest beyond After Virtue to get the Thomist viewpoint on temperance (without having to read the ginormous Thomist corpus)?

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