On May 7, 1:42 pm, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, May 6, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>I'm not an engineer.
> > >> I know, that's part of the problem.
> > > I think it's part of the solution. As the saying goes, if all you have
> > is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
> It's far easier to get a reputation as a good philosopher than a good
> engineer because you can't fake it. If a engineer is full of shit there is
> no way to hide it, the bridge falls down or the laptop catches on fire or
> the power grid dies and plunges the nation into darkness and all the world
> knows he's a idiot, but a philosopher can hide his ineptitude by saying
> things that can never be proved or disproved in his lifetime or expressing
> platitudes in pretentious language that sounds much deeper than they really
> are or by expressing his personal preferences as if they were universal
> truths and not just a matter of taste.
> To keep his job a engineer needs to be right, or at least not dead wrong,
> nearly 100% of the time because if he is dead wrong people could quite
> literally end up dead, but a philosopher can never be right and still get
> tenure. When a engineer makes a blunder it's front page news but when a
> philosopher makes a blunder few know or care and he never misses a
> paycheck. The engineer has by far the harder job.

The engineer has a harder job, just as it requires more effort to
hammer a nail than it does to write with a pen. That doesn't make him
better equipped to address the nature of the cosmos as a whole. Being
literal minded is appropriate for literal tasks - building bridges,
inventing the combustion engine, etc. If the universe is what I
suspect it is, then it is only half literal, with the figurative half
being the more relevant 'head end'.


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