Versatile Blogger Award

A HUGE thanks to Diotima’s Ladder for nominating me for the versatile blogger award.

In keeping with the rules of the award, I will nominate some blogs (I can’t nominate 15 as time prevents me from reading that many), and provide 7 facts about myself.

Blogs I Nominate

  1. Diotima’s Ladder (philosophy)
  2. Selfaware patterns (science and learning)
  3. awesomeaustin (philosophical treatments of surprising topics)
  4. Stories & Soliloquies (philosophy and fiction)
  5. David Yerle (various topics, especially science; no new activity :()


Seven Facts About Myself.

  1. Although I don’t believe in ghosts, my breakfast was once stolen by them.
  2. The greatest gift I was given was the ability to appreciate simple pleasures.
  3. The second greatest gift I was given was the ability to enjoy learning.
  4. I believe contemplating intellectual topics (like math) can be a spiritual path.
  5. I want to find the “answer to everything”, but am unsure what form it will take.  To this end, I often try to learn unifying truths that can non-vacuously reduce the space of facts in the world.
  6. I think ideas can be beautiful, even if untrue.  As such, I can study, discuss and appreciate how they explain things without believing them.  I think of this as on a par with aesthetic appreciation.
  7. I only write poetry when I’m upset.  My latest (unfinished) work is “A Heapin’ Helpin’ of Hell”, which laments Ben & Jerry’s removal of my favorite ice cream.  That this removal happened years ago, and I’m only now writing about it tells you all you need to know.


  1. I usually eat my breakfast before the ghosts can get to it.

    #4 would be true for me if I were good at math.

    #5 and 6…I’m totally with you there.

    Unfortunately I’ve never been good at writing poetry, probably because I don’t enjoy reading the vast majority of it. However, I’m amazed by others who can do it well…your brand of poetry sounds right up my alley. A poem about missing a flavor of Ben and Jerry’s? Perfect.

  2. Thanks for the nomination, and congratulations!

    I have to admit to having the same sentiment as 6. There are many ideas that are really cool, even if they aren’t true. I think that’s why, despite being a confirmed skeptic, I still enjoy science fiction and fantasy immensely, as well as movies involving Greek, Norse, Biblical, and other ancient stories.

    • Your articles are a pleasure to read!

      #6 actually relates to #4. That is, I wonder if the utilitarian nature of knowledge stands in the way of appreciating knowledge as such, and if (ironically) not caring about the truth of something might lead us to appreciate it for its own sake.

      • Thanks! I very much enjoy yours also.

        On 4, the word “spiritual” is often something of a stumbling block for me. It seems to be one of those words that means different things in different contexts to different people. It seems like sometimes it means camaraderie with and love of our fellow humans, other times awe of the universe, but often it’s about our beliefs in a non-material spirit realm. When people ask me about my spirituality, it seems like they’re almost always interested in my thoughts about the last subject.

      • Agreed! I’m careful about using “spiritual” for the same reasons. I use “spiritual” to mean “inner” or “mind”, but not everyone does this.

        I sometimes use “philosophical” but that too has too many connotations. People don’t generally think of philosophy as something useful and applicable to daily life 😦

        Sometimes I use “inner path”. I’m not thrilled with that phrase, but I can’t put my finger on why…

      • Very much agreed on “philosophical”, although I usually find it easier to understand what someone is saying with it from the context. Your use of “spiritual” almost sounds like a synonym for “contemplative,” but I suspect even that word might lead to some confusion.

        It seems like a good portion of philosophy is in defining terms. A lot of the most intense debates seem like people arguing past each other with different definitions.

      • Yes, I’m basically using “spiritual” as a synonym for contemplative. I might use “contemplative” instead — thanks!

        And yes, so much of philosophy is defining terms. In fact, whenever I disagree with someone, I clarify terms (and hence, distinctions) and often I find our disagreements vanish.

        In fact, one motto (along these lines) that I really like is: “When faced with a contradiction, draw a distinction”.

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