Silence, Peon

The best way to inhibit blogging is to generalize Brian Weatherson’s observation that “Philosopher Makes Mistake” is rarely big news. If you don’t have something constructive to say about the mistake, it’s rarely worth a journal article. In the same vein, most of the time when I read the latest jackassery, I start to crank out a post, but stop feeling it’s worth it after five minutes. This is especially true when the target of the response is itself something ephemeral, such as a blog post.

Had this post continued where it was initially going, it would have booed an Ezra Klein post on drug patents.

Update: A corollary to this point is that if you’re not willing to link to it, you should probably not talk about it. Over at Pharyngula, PZ Myers posted about Michael Egnor’s extremely bad argument for dualism, but didn’t link to the argument on the grounds that it would only encourage Egnor. He then made a second post addressing Egnor’s followup. So he’s now having a back and forth discussion with someone who is nevertheless not sufficiently important to link to. It’s especially obnoxious since the first ten results on google for “michael egnor” don’t indicate an obvious way to find the post in question.

There’s something appealingly Kantian about this whole bit. By violating the blogging norm of linking to the people you argue with, you end up doing something wrong, not because of a self-subsistent moral truth, but because of the very standards of practical rationality. (Ok, it’s a bit of a stretch).

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