Wiki Contributions



Thanks for writing this—I think it’s a fairly useful summary. I’m not a Nietzsche expert but it tracks well with what I know. I also find the L&L Darrow reference well-chosen: when I was younger I remember being excited the first time I read the Darrow plea, just because Leopold, whatever his other flaws, seemed to ‘take ideas seriously’—although I didn’t know the words for that then. I think one of Nietzsche’s contribution to culture is in some sense instantiating part of the essence of taking ideas seriously.


My main worry with your post is that, as with all analytic distillations of continental philosophy, it reduces a worldview to some claims about that worldview. In general I think Nietzsche’s whole work is written in a way that’s supposed to stylistically communicate his idea, in the same way the word ‘bell’ evokes the sound of a bell quite independent of the semantic content of that word. And so I read Nietzsche’s convoluted claims as on the level of explicit content vaguely irrelevant, because the style itself is an example of the eternal return (of his worldview).


My main takeaway from your comment is that not all thoughts are of an expressible form, and that there’s a pre-writing step where inexpressible thoughts sometimes become expressible ones.

Before your comment, I would’ve considered the step you discuss part of step (1) of the intro (‘have a thought’). But, I think you make a good point about the end of idea formation being separable from the end of clarifying that idea into a potentially communicable thing—and about both being separable from the act of actually communicating the thing (e.g. writing). 

Obviously, the borders between the three steps (or kinds of steps?) are vague and somewhat arbitrary. But, you make an interesting point, and I for one would be curious to see an attempt at a more precise delineation.

(A digression: I would also be curious how your idea fits with the distinction between thinking something and thinking that one thinks something. Have you thought about this? I’d *maybe* consider looking at some stuff in epistemology about knowing X and knowing that one knows X.) 


The point of point 10 is that overusing words like ‘like’ or choosing simple, possibly-inexact words can cause problems. In particular, it can cause writing to stray from being about the idea to being about the interaction with the idea (see point 9), it can set the wrong kind of vibe (communicate the wrong emotive thought to the reader), and it can occasionally obscure the logical content. I think using ‘like’ and deliberately simplified language is great when one is thinking through one’s ideas, but I think it often makes writing less sharp (less bell-like, if that simile resonates).