Exploring Kierkegaard’s Teleological Suspension of the Ethical.

Note: While I intend this piece to be readable for those who haven’t also read Fear and Trembling, I suspect that this piece will be a lot more valuable to those who are interested in the text itself, which can be found in loads of places on the internet, but also at least here.

A few months ago I was writing up a storm about Heidegger. The ultimate purpose of this storm was because I find him fantastic. But I like Kierkegaard a whole lot more. I’ve recently been re-reading his Fear and Trembling, and the concept in it I find the most interesting and worth discussing is the Teleological Suspension of the Ethical that he describes in the first main section of discussion.

Whew. The phrase itself is somewhat of a mouthful. Therefore, in order to make sense for you readers, I should explain what a Teleological Suspension of the Ethical is. That would make sense before I start telling you why it’s important.

And once you know what it is and why it’s important, then we can maybe start talking about it. Or perhaps I’ll save it for a later post. We’ll have to see!

Continue reading Exploring Kierkegaard’s Teleological Suspension of the Ethical.

In Favor of Empathetic Listening


Sometimes, when you try and have a discussion with someone, you find that they’re a complete idiot and they aren’t understanding anything you say; that you have no common ground; and that talking to them is a waste of time. So now you just want to angrily masturbate so you can calm down.

In those cases, it’s possible that what you’ve actually done is been a complete idiot, who refused to understand anything the other person said; that you ignored any possibility of common ground; and that you wasted everybody’s time by angrily masturbating on someone instead of having a discussion with them.

Continue reading In Favor of Empathetic Listening

Your Soul, and How to Swing It: The Moral Distinction Between Kinds of Knowing.

In a previous piece, I discussed the difference between explicit and implicit knowledge. The conversation was situated in a wider context: the context of advertising and behavioural manipulation. In another piece, I mused about the importance of reciprocal-adversarial loops in generating all sorts of interesting systems. I’ve also written about how to avoid letting your verbal/propositional knowledge take over and drown out your experiential/participatory knowledge.

It’s worth noting that I see this piece as fitting in quite neatly with those, and if you like it, I bet you’ll get more out of it from reading the rest.

Today, what I want to talk about is how to balance knowing that something is the case and knowing how it is to be something, in important practical ways. I also want to talk about the danger of not minding your knowing how it is. That way lives evil and madness, I suspect.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the idea that experts in a certain skill are some of the least likely people to be able to explain how to do it well. I’m sure you’ve seen a friend do something amazing, and then when you ask her how, she’s unable to tell you. This means that it’s possible to be able to do something without being able to describe what you did to get the result.

Continue reading Your Soul, and How to Swing It: The Moral Distinction Between Kinds of Knowing.