Julian Baggini QuotesJulian Baggini is a writer and philosopher. His latest book is How The World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy
Anger clearly has its proper place at work, which is neither wholly absent nor ever present. The manager who is an emotional blank is just as hard to work for as the volcanic boss, and both can do great harm by setting an unhelpful example for what kind of emotional expression is expected and accepted.
Wasn’t it Bertrand Russell who used the phrase ‘The superior virtue of the oppressed’? There is always this temptation amongst people that see themselves as progressive, and on the side of the weak. They demonize the powerful, but over-romanticize the weak. I think we should recognize that. If you take seriously the idea that people are always going to use truth claims as a means of powering their own agenda, that is going to happen whether you’re weak or powerful.
Science works because the phenomenon being described can be relied on to remain the same. Even in quantum physics, where phenomena are changed by observation, the way in which observation interferes is regular and falls within a limited range of possibilities. Human culture, however, has the nasty habit of never staying the same for very long.
Truth and Truthfulness is an ambitious work, and its journeys into history give it a breadth unusual in these days of increased academic specialization. . . . William’s book combines real history and fictional constructs to tell a revealing story that makes us reconsider the meaning of familiar concepts.
I think the appropriate kind of skepticism is this: you’ve got to be asking questions all the time, you’ve also got to make sure that you’re doing so in the spirit of genuinely wanting to find the answers – and that also means being open. I battle with this: I know I tend to be very skeptical and as a result, I veer towards the dismissive. But being aware of the tendency, I like to challenge my own skepticism and make sure it’s not just knee-jerk. You need to be skeptical towards yourself as well. When you’re only skeptical outwards you’ve got an unbalanced skepticism.
Many people are never happier than when they get the opportunity to complain, while others are deeply unhappy with how things are but just accept the fact. Complaint occurs when we refuse to accept that things are wrong and we do something about it, even if that something is simply articulating our unease.