Whatchamacallit this thingamajiggy?: a psychobabble kōan

The teacher told Psinga: “When you tell Whatsisface ‘A lot of Thingamajiggies are Whatchamacallits’, Whatsisface resists, and says ‘How do you know? Have you asked a lot of Thingamajiggies? Are you saying this because you are yourself a Whatchamacallit?’. Whatsisface doesn’t want to pause to understand that:
i. Whatever else Whatsisface considers a Thingamajiggy to be, is also a type of Whatchamacallit.
ii. You may have traversed an inferential distance and arrived at the conclusion ‘A lot of Thingamajiggies are Whatchamacallits’, and may not be starting with the assumption that ‘A lot of Thingamajiggies are Whatchamacallits.'”

Psinga instinctively started to resist, but suddenly stopped short, for he understood. He said “I must take care not to be like Whatsisface.” And he took his first step across the inferential bridge.

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3 comments
  1. unawoken said:

    “In studying a philosopher, the right attitude is neither reverence nor contempt, but first a kind of hypothetical sympathy, until it is possible to know what it feels like to believe in his theories, and only then a revival of the critical attitude, which should resemble, as far as possible, the state of mind of a person abandoning opinions which he has hitherto held…. Two things are to be remembered: that a man whose opinions and theories are worth studying may be presumed to have had some intelligence, but that no man is likely to have arrived at complete and final truth on any subject whatever. When an intelligent man expresses a view which seems to us obviously absurd, we should not attempt to prove that it is somehow true, but we should try to understand how it ever came to seem true. This exercise of historical and psychological imagination at once enlarges the scope of our thinking, and helps us to realize how foolish many of our own cherished prejudices will seem to an age which has a different temper of mind.” — Bertrand Russell

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