Archive for April, 2006

On Retrospective Valuation

by Jason Stotts

No, this is not another melancholy bemoanment of a loss that I’ve only just realized; rather, it’s an analysis of the whole idea of retrospective valuation.

Retrospective valuation is when one realizes the value of something (whether it’s a person, place, things, etc.) only ex post facto – that is, you only realize how valuable or significant something was for you after the fact.

What prompts me to think of this issue is being back in Florida after a long absence; I forgot how beautiful the weather was here and how nice it was to be able to sit outside in the sunshine, with a gentle breeze buffeting me, with birds singing, and big puffy clouds floating overhead – all when it is still winter where I live. It certainly seems to me that people are better suited to the milder climes than the harsh winters of the North.

The point of this essay, however, is not to sing the praises of the South, but rather to point out some significant philosophical issues; such as part of the problem that gives rise to retrospective valuation seems to involve people being too present oriented and yet at the same time not being present oriented enough. While this seems to be a contradictory statement, I think that if you think about it for a minute you’ll understand.

It is often the case that people are too present oriented insofar as they are only focused in the present without giving thought to the future. This is a problem because value partly comes from the future effects and expected positive benefits. For example, one reason why people don’t always value the people they are with is that they fail to recognize that a good relationship only gets better with time and so while one may not be that excited about their current relationships (whether friendships or intimate relationships) often one fails to see that they will continue to improve if they’re with good people. Also, if you think on your own life for a minute I’m sure you remember a time when you had something that you didn’t value at the time, and now thinking back you wish you could do it over with the knowledge you have now of it’s true value.

The other part of the problem is that people are not present oriented enough – by this I mean that sometimes people expect all of the value to come from future positive benefits and fail to recognize that the present also gives rise to value. To think that all value comes from the future would be to rob the present (and ultimately your whole life of value). This is, unfortunately, an all too often occurrence in today’s culture which emphasizes “forward thinking.” For example take this little note:

Don’t love me for who I am,
love me for who I will be,
but don’t try to make me be,
what I should be.

The problem is that if one truly loved another for what they will be in the future and this is the sole source of valuation, then this will start an infinite chain of forward valuation – except people are not immortal and so the future chain will end with death, which will destroy all the values predicated upon it. To insist that value only comes from the future ultimately destroys value itself.

It makes me wonder why people always insist upon creating false dichotomies such as values comes either from the future or from the present. Why can’t it be both?

It seems to me that in order to have a full theory of valuation one must account for both the present and the future – not that one should ignore the past either, but that’s a trickier case.

The past is harder because while the past can be a great source of value, one must remember that people are not static and if one only values based on the past and ignores the current state of the person, then they are not being Just. Furthermore, the past can often induce people into courses of action based on false premises, if they don’t take change into account. However, the past is one of the most important bases of valuation because from your past you have proof of the value. For example, you know that the car you’ve had for three years is reliable because every time you’ve ever tried to start it, it starts without a problem and it has never had any mechanical issues. The past is a proof of the value of something – it is tests passed or failed and a sure indication. However, relying solely on the past can be disastrous because it can cause one to ignore the dynamics nature of existence in favor of the static conception which ignores a lot of relevant information.

To return to our point – it seems that the idea of retrospective valuation is quite significant to valuation theory and that understanding its nature can protect one from the complications and problems that it can cause.

You must always be on guard against operating solely through retrospective valuation as it is detrimental to living your life now – if you only understand the value of that which is around you by looking back, you’re sure to miss out on the most important things in life.

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Aristotle and Plato

by Jason Stotts

It’s interesting, that while Aristotle had significant problems with Plato’s philosophy, he still respected him greatly. Not only was his respect great, but also his eloquence and the depth of his feelings for his teacher betray the beauty of his character. The following is part of Plato’s eulogy, which Aristotle wrote.

Coming to the fair land of Cecropia
he piously founded an altar of holy friendship
for a man whom the wicked may not properly even praise;
he, alone or the first of mortals, showed clearly
by his own life and by the courses of his arguments
that a man becomes good and happy at the same time:
but now none can grasp this any more.

One could scarcely ask for a higher honor than for The Philosopher himself to say that you are so noble that the wicked may not properly even praise you.

It makes me wonder, though, where eloquence has gone in modernity and where this depth of love and passion for one’s friends has disappeared to…where has Nobility gone?

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Necessary v. Sufficient Conditions

by Jason Stotts

The Case of Morrell v. Stotts

At Philosophy Department Senior Symposium a question was raised in which Matt Morrell and I took polemical sides – the question was on the nature of necessary conditions and the nature of sufficient conditions. This article will chronicle the debate point by point with Matt and me adding to it in turn. Comments are welcome, especially if you discover a problem with either of our arguments or if we seem to be speaking at cross-purposes.

Matt #1:

My position is this: If the exhaustive set of necessary conditions is satisfied for some action X, then this is a sufficient condition for X.

Jason #1:

My problem, Matt, with your position is two-fold:

1. Is this exhaustive of the class of sufficient conditions? I would object, whole-heartedly, if you asserted that all sufficient conditions are only exhaustive sets of necessary conditions – however, I shall reserve that objection in case this is not your position.

2. What difference does it matter that this set of necessary conditions is exhaustive – no matter how many necessary conditions you fulfill, unless one of them is sufficient you will never have X. That is, of course, unless you want to argue that sufficiency is something that only comes about from having this set of exhaustive necessary conditions (see “1” above). Otherwise all I’ve done, by exhausting the set of necessary conditions, is to make it extremely easy to effect the sufficient condition – a condition which, it seems to me, is fundamentally different from a necessary condition.

Matt #2:

Your intuition is correct that (1) is not included in my position, so I will move on to address point (2). I’m a bit surprised to see that you’ve taken this argumentative tact. To say “you can not have X unless one [condition] is sufficient” mandates that, for every X, there exists a single sufficient condition. By definition, if a sufficient condition is fulfilled for X, no other conditions are necessary to establish X. Thus, your stipulation that every X must be accompanied by a sufficient condition renders senseless the notion of conditions that are necessary but not sufficient. By taking this tact, then, you destroy the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions — something of which you accused me earlier.

The problem with your argument is that you establish a false dichotomy between these two claims:

a) A sufficient condition can not be merely an exhaustive set of necessary conditions (your position)

b) A sufficient condition must be an exhaustive set of necessary conditions (1).

In reality, there is a third possibility. This states that a sufficient condition can, but need not be, merely an exhaustive set of necessary conditions. In other words, an exhaustive set of necessary conditions forms one instance of a sufficient condition, though not all situations require that a sufficient condition be an exhaustive set of necessary conditions. Whether this sufficient condition for X is an exhaustive set of necessary conditions will depend on the particular instance of X at hand. This third option is my position.

Jason #2:

Matt, I’m not sure that your “third way” actually presents a viable option significantly different from the alternatives; furthermore, my position is that no sufficient conditions are sets of necessary conditions. This is substantially different from the position which you wish you to attribute to me. My position is the categorical claim:

No SC are {NC}.

This is, I think, a position which does not destroy the distinction between NC and SC. I can still say that some action A is a NC for X, but that A is not a SC for X – I can also still say that some action Y is a SC for X, but that Y is not a NC for X. I see no problem with this, to particularize my point: the former would be something like “having normally functioning legs is a necessary condition for jumping, but having normally developed legs is not sufficient for jumping”, while the latter would be something like “Jumping is a sufficient condition for leaving the ground, but jumping is not a necessary condition for leaving the ground”.

I firmly belief that when one talks of the “cause” of some X, that one is only looking for the sufficient condition for X – to ask about the necessary conditions goes beyond the standard explanation and requires an explicit question pertaining to it. However, just because some action Y is a SC for X does not mean that I cannot go further and say that {A,B,C} were NC. Think about it less abstractly for a minute and you’ll see how evident this is: it was necessary for me to go to preschool, go to grade school, go to middle school, and go to high school – but none of those were sufficient for me to get into college, whereas actually applying was sufficient.

Because of the foregoing, I don’t see how I’ve destroyed the distinction, nor do I see how you have substantiated your claim that it’s ever possible for a SC to be a {NC}.

Also, it seems to me that your original position relies on an equivocation between senses of “necessary”. The first sense is the logical sense where A must happen for X, but does not “cause” X. The second sense is the common language(CL) sense where A must happen for X, but this can “cause” X. For example, the CL statement “running was necessary for me to sweat” makes sense to us, but is not true. The true statement would be “running was sufficient for me to sweat”, since clearly running caused me to sweat and others things could have caused it. The CL path seems to be what you are relying on, since you say that some {NC} are SC for X – but this only seems to follow from the CL definition of necessary and not the proper logical definition of necessary

Matt #3:

Jason, it seems you are, in fact, holding the position I attribute to you. I maintain that your claim renders senseless the idea of conditions which are necessary but not sufficient. You have given me an example of a situation that has a single sufficient condition (i.e. jumping -> leaving the ground), and of a situation that has a condition that is necessary but not sufficient (i.e. having legs -> jumping). You must provide me with a single instance that has both:

a) a sufficient condition

and

b) a distinct necessary-but-not-sufficient condition (bearing in mind that this can not be included within the sufficient condition, based on your categorical claim).

Otherwise, your argument will face my earlier problem that it renders the idea of necessary-but-not-sufficient conditions to be unintelligible.

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You Know You’re a Philosopher When…

by Jason Stotts

9. You enjoy ethical debates
8. You enjoy the abstract
7. You can speak English that normal people can’t understand
6. You love to make distinctions
5. “Why” is your favorite word
4. You get offended if someone calls you sophisticated
3. You think in principles
2. You frequently hear the phrase “you think too much”
1. Philosophy “turns you on”

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Bullsheet Article

by Jason Stotts

With the recognition that my collegiate career has reached its conclusion, I write to carry on the tradition of the seniors who came before me who write into the Bullsheet to share their wisdom with the underclassmen.

First, though, I’d like to condone all the recent Bullsheet submissions, it’s always amusing for me to see how one funny article can spur a string of stupidity. Case in point: Max wrote an article the other day about people who utter the non-sense phrase “I heart you”. Now this phrase would be cute for a third grade girl who didn’t know any better, but for someone in college it doesn’t speak highly to your intelligence. What’s funnier for me though, is that we have freshmen who think themselves so worldly as to show Max up by engaging in more stupidity: Mattew Ezzard wrote “piss off”, Alexandra van Dam proffered a beautiful example of an ad hominem abusive when she insinuated Max was poor, and Katie Berta pointed out that Max is not a god speeler (oops!) while missing the point of his argument. To these kind people, I say “good move, good move” – albeit quite sarcastically.

Now, time for the real reason I write today, to give unto you, you charming little underclassmen, some reflections and advice about Denison from a graduating senior.

1. College changes you, even if you don’t always notice it at the time, bit by imperceptible bit you become more mature and grow in your abilities (that is, of course, unless you drink yourself stupid)

2. I advise you all to take advantage of everything Denison has to offer: be involved, try new things; you’ll find out a great deal about yourself from this.

3. Meet new people and be friendly to everyone, every smile makes the world a better place (as trite as this sounds).

4. Learn new things and grow – don’t remain stuck in your past with your half-formulated ideas that you’ve never analyzed anyway.

5. Res-Life and Security are not out to get you, nor are they evil people (most of them), they do have a job to do. You knew there were rules at Denison and if you didn’t, you should have checked. By coming here and remaining here you are agreeing to their rules, so don’t be upset when someone holds you accountable.

6. Coffee: I once heard that “philosophy is best done caffeinated.” Well, so is college.

7. Attend the comedians, performances, plays, and trips. Do you realize that in just a couple years, these things will not be free and you’re going to have to pay to see them? Not only that, but they’re a great break from studying and they can help get you through the week.

8. The dining halls do suck. That’s just a fact.

9. If you don’t like the way something is in life, stand up and speak out against it. YOU can make a difference in the world if all you do is stand up for what you believe in. Have some integrity and a backbone!

10. Being haughty, instead of showing that you have “class”, shows quite the opposite.

11. Don’t let your life pass you by – while studying is important, you can’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun with your friends and the people you care about, this is college after all.

I wish all you underclassmen luck in your upcoming year(s).

To my fellow seniors, WE’RE ALMOST DONE!!!

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The Rules

by Jason Stotts

Thanks to Terry Goodkind and his “Sword of Truth” Series for these amazingly insightful rules as well as guiding me to Objectivism. Terry, you saved my life when I needed it most and although you shall never know what you have done for me, I shall be eternally grateful to you.

————–

Wizard’s First Rule

People are Stupid. Given the proper motivation, people will believe anything because they either fear it is true, or because they want to believe it is true. People’s heads are filled with knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is not true, but they think it is true. People can rarely tell the difference between the truth and a lie, yet they think they can, so they are fooled more easily. People want to believe, so they do.

Wizard’s Second Rule

The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.

Wizard’s Third Rule

Passion rules reason.

Wizard’s Fourth Rule

There is magic in forgiveness, magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, and more so in the forgiveness you receive.

Wizard’s Fifth Rule

Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.

Wizard’s Sixth Rule

The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason.

Wizard’s Seventh Rule

Life is the future, not the past

Wizard’s Eighth Rule

Deserve Victory

(Originally appeared 8/24/05)

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Freedom of Speech?

by Jason Stotts

It’s high time I picked up my pen on the issue of the Danish cartoons and the murderous muslims who are trying to destroy the very foundation of my culture. They are offended that we spoke out against their religion?

I am offended they spoke out against my culture of reason!

This is America, we have the right to free speech! Why do we have this right? It is because we are human and as such have inalienable rights. All human people have rights, this comes from their human nature. Whether your government recognizes your rights is irrelevant, if it does it’s a good government and if it doesn’t it’s a bad government, but either way rights are inalienable.

The right of free speech means the right to your own thoughts and opinions, to have your ideas stifled is to be mentally assaulted.

I will believe what I want, what I have good reason to believe, I will say what I want, and I’ll be god-damned if anyone tries to stop me!

It is high time we got off our asses and stood up for our rights, for our heritage of reason and rights, for our humanity!

No longer can we allow the chains of apathy to shackle our minds and our hearts. No longer can we ignore or evade the importance of ideas.

Ideas make the world go round, ideas influence the very course of humanity and it is the very ability to have our own ideas that the muslims are attacking.

If they think violence is acceptable to show their disproval of our ideas, then let us meet them in kind! Let us bring war to them, let us show them that we will not be frightened or intimidated, that we will never back down from our principles and will give our very lives if we need to in order to preserve our dignity and humanity!

The issue is this: Faith or Reason.

Which side are you on?

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What do I want in a girl? (2nd Revision)

by Jason Stotts

Recently I was talking to a close friend of mine and I was explaining how I was single and that I was trying to resign myself to head back into the “dating-game”, when she asked me a very astute question: “So, what do you really want in a girl? I mean you must have thought about the qualities you are going to look for.” I was struck by the question and I paused to give it some thought…what was I really looking for?

So, I decided to put some thought into this question and see if I couldn’t come up with a list of things I would want in my next girlfriend and this is what I came up with, and while they’re pretty much in order of importance, there’s flexibility in a lot of them as to where they should be in the hierarchy.

1. Intelligence

One of the most important things that I will look for is a keen intelligence. Unlike some guys, I’m more interested in what’s between a girl’s ears than what’s between her legs (not to say that I’m not interested in that, but you get the point). I’m an intelligent guy and I only want to date equals, I have no interest in having a “bitch” or a “slave”, I want a true relationship of equal partners. This requires that the girl have at least enough intelligence to have a decent conversation with and enough intelligence so that I don’t have to explain every point I make to her.

2. Independence

Being an independent sort of fellow myself, and valuing the virtue of independence both in mind and body, I will definitely be looking for a girl who is independent. A girl who can make her own judgments, act under her own motivation, and who doesn’t care what other people think of them. Independence is important – who wants to baby-sit their partner?

3. Rationality

Rationality is a necessity in any girl I date – I have found that the lack of rationality to any great extent will spell disaster for me in relationships (of any kind including friendship), the larger the lack of rationality the more spectacular the betrayal at the end. I can’t stand to be around people who can’t see reality for what it is and who live in their own little subjective worlds.

4. Sexuality

I think that sexuality is important in any relationship. To me, sex is an expression of the love your have for yourself and the love you have for your beloved, an expression of the value that you see in yourself and in your beloved, a celebration of your life and your life with your beloved. Sex is something that I see as vital to a relationship – through it you can really show, in a way not otherwise possible, how much you care for the person you are with, how much you desire them, how much you want them to be a part of your life. Intimacy (sex included) brings two people together in a way that doesn’t seem otherwise possible. I think it’s extremely important for people to be in touch with their sexuality and their bodies.

5. Sense of Humor

I think a sense of humor is just a good component for being a fun person to be around in general and a good sense of humor makes a relationship all the more fun and connecting. Laughing with someone is a great experience to bring two people together and keep them happy for all their lives.

6. Passion

I love a girl who knows what she wants and then puts her all into getting it – a girl who is passionate about everything she does because she just wants to do the best she can. I need a girlfriend who has that passion for her endeavors and for life in general, passion for life is a great first step to be truly happy.

7. Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a truly fundamental characteristic I look for in a girlfriend because it is a mark of a girl who is good and who knows she’s good, a girl who is worth loving and knows it. I can’t stand people with no self-esteem, it makes me sad to think of their kind of existence and I couldn’t be with someone like that forever.

8. Motivation

This is greatly tied to passion, but I can’t stand people who have no motivation to go out and succeed and to do things with their lives. I hate people who are only motivated enough to get up in the morning and sit around their house, or who are only motivated enough to get a dead-end job and then eke there way through life. I want someone who wants to be someone for herself.

9. Philosophical

My mind is very philosophical, I think in principles and have a lot of knowledge about philosophy; ergo I need a girl who at least enjoys talking about philosophy or who wants to learn more about it. I couldn’t be with someone who doesn’t think about the things that happen around her or who only thinks concretely – I could never be with a girl who only thinks about the petty issues of clothing and gossip. This reminds me of a quote that I once saw:

Little minds talk about people.
Mediocre minds talk about events.
Great minds talk about ideas.

I need a girl with a great mind.

10. Integrity

I need a girl who has sound moral principles and who lives her life by them. I am tired of hypocrites who do nothing but spout empty moral rhetoric that they don’t even live by. Integrity is important in a girl because I need to know that she won’t just do whatever comes to mind and that she will be consistent in her words and deeds.

11. Commitment

I want a girl who will be committed to me in all ways – not in an altruistic kind of way, but with true egoistic passion for me because I make her life better and because she truly wants me to be in her life.

12. Willingness to try new things

I can’t stand people who aren’t willing to try new things just because they’re comfortable being stuck in their rut. I once had a friend and we were going out to dinner together, I asked her if she wanted to go and get Chinese food, and she said that she didn’t like it. I then asked her if she had ever had Chinese food, and she said that she had not. It’s this kind of close-minded ignorance that I can’t stand. If you’ve never done something and you have no valid reason to think that it will harm you in some way, go for it and see what happens! We all only have one life to live and its too short for me to be with someone who isn’t willing to experiment.

13. Honesty

This should be self-explanatory, but I don’t like people who lie and I would want to be with a girl who is completely honest and open with me.

14. Aesthetics

This should be self-explanatory as well, but I would like my girlfriend to be attractive to me. I’m not asking that she be drop dead gorgeous, but neither do I want her to be ugly. I think that personality is more important than looks, but I think that a beautiful mind in a beautiful body is the best combination.

15. Thoughtfulness

I think thoughtfulness is really fundamental to sustaining a good relationship. By doing little things for each other you show that the love is still there and active. I really want my next girlfriend to be thoughtful and just do little things just for the fun of it.

16. Curiosity

Curiosity is important in life and love, its good to go new places and do new things with each other. Curiosity is also good because if you’re always curious about everything and constantly learning new things, you can bring that into your relationship and make it better.

17. Spontaneity

Spontaneity is great to keep things interesting in a relationship and to keep things from being too routine. It adds another dimension to a relationship when your girlfriend is always thinking up fun new things to do or try on the spur of the moment, it makes you stay on your toes and makes everything a little more exciting.

This list isn’t comprehensive and I’m sure I didn’t explore every possible thing avenue under the things I listed nor every possible things I might want in a girlfriend, but I did lay out some of what I would look for…and I’ve concluded that the girl I’m looking for probably doesn’t even exist. Still, it’s better to have high standards than none at all so I shall continue my search for a girlfriend.

**********************************
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for taking an interest in this essay, it’s nice to see comments on a piece for a change. So I thought I’d take a moment to reply to each of you in turn.

—-
Anonymous (March 30):

The quote about great minds is from Eleanor Roosevelt. And it’s a dumb quote, because it doesn’t make any sense. (The fact that it came out of Eleanor Roosevelt’s mouth doesn’t help it any.)

Look, you want your readers to start leaving comments? Here you go:
Why be so down on concretes and people and events?

What of your precious abstractions, without the concrete people, things, and events they refer to?

My advice to you is to be vigilant about not being rationalistic, especially when it comes to dating: go out and get experience. Don’t merely say, “Oh, she’s *got* to be a brilliant mind; she’s got to want to talk about philosophy”. Maybe that’s true, but you owe it to yourself to *know* it by first-hand experience. Any semi- intelligent person can deal with philosophic ideas to some extent. Do you really want to rule such a person out, without ever giving her a chance? What if she’s only inclined to philosophy to the extent that her life practically necessitates it, and that winds up being not as much as it is for you? Say, for example, that she’s a scientist, or lawyer?

Would that be so bad? (Again, maybe it would for you, I don’t know.)

And besides, dating can be fun. You’re probably a reasonable guy. Don’t worry so much about not having put enough thought into what you’re looking for yet. Let experience inform you, and come back at it as the need arises. Don’t you think you can trust your subconscious to prevent you from making any hasty decisions?

——
Reply:

The quote from Eleanor Roosevelt is actually a very insightful thing, the source not withstanding. It means this: people with very concrete bound-minds who are short-sighted think merely of the people around them, people with slightly less concrete-bound minds who are less short-sighted talk about ideas, and people who can think abstractly and in the long-term talk about ideas. The point being that those who think in ideas are the ones who really understand the world and how it operates, they are the ones who possess great minds. Not that this is to denigrate concrete reality – such is all that exists, but one should think about concrete reality abstractly and in principles.

Your advice about not being rationalistic is good and warranted – it is always a concern that one’s mind could become wrapped in its own ideas that it would lose touch with reality. However, the list was generated from my past dating experience and my interactions with my friends and people I know. I’m not necessarily using the list as “you must have at least 13/17 points to qualify”, rather it’s just a list of things that are better for one to have in order to be more compatible with me. But the higher up on the list the more important (in general) the issue is – for example if a girl was not intelligent at all, she need not apply. It’s not that I couldn’t “date” a dumb girl, but I could never respect her nor love her so it would be pointless. You make a good point – there are a lot of intelligent and good people who are not philosophers (such as lawyers or scientists) and I would not want to rule these people out. I’m not necessarily looking for another philosopher (the piece never says this either), but I do want to be with someone who can think and who does whatever it is she does excellently.

It’s true as well that dating can be fun and I plan on continuing to date people (even if they don’t meet some of the criteria on the list) because that is the only way I can find out what I really want and frankly, it can be a lot of fun. Hopefully my subconscious and my conscious mind will prevent me from doing something too silly.

—-

Autumn (March 30):

Is it so unreasonable to think that a man is looking for something beyond a “young hot blonde”, that he might want someone with some substance? It is a rare thing to find a man that is not afraid of a real and educated woman, and who is strong enough to handle one. I am appalled that anyone would so much as insinuate that this is an unrealistic list of “wants”.

—-

Reply:

I agree with you, Autumn, that it should not be unreasonable to think that I would want a girl who was more than just a “young hot blonde” – it’s interesting to think of the level of depravity that our culture has sunk to in order to make people think that a guy looking for a girl with substance would be rare or unusual.

I’d like to think people like me aren’t so rare (although I wouldn’t want to argue that they’re the norm either), rather I think it’s more that people like me are usually more shy and reserved and therefore not out in the open as “viable options”.

I’m not sure that the original commenter was saying the list was unrealistic (although I can’t certainly see how it could be read that way) – but if it was meant to insinuate that the list is unrealistic and unattainable, then I would firmly support you in being appalled! There must be girls out there who meet the criteria, even if I have yet to meet them.

—-

Liz (March 31):

Curiosity and “trying new things” is a bit repetitious… don’t you think?

—–

Reply:

No, I don’t think that “curiosity” and “willing to try new things” are repetitive, even if one does seem to be an extension of the other. I think of curiosity very broadly, I think of it as a passion to know different things and a drive to understand everything around you. On the other hand, I think of “willingness to try new things” as being open to new experiences that you haven’t tried, even if they seem unfamiliar or “weird”, because this is the only way we learn in life and it’s important not to miss out on a great source of value because you’re afraid of things that are outside your “comfort zone” or routine. Now, clearly curiosity often leads one to try new things, but that is not the only reason one tries new things, nor does all curiosity lead to trying something new.

—–
Anonymous (April 4)

Autumn said: “I am appalled that anyone would so much as insinuate that this is an unrealistic list of ‘wants’.”

If this is a reference to the previous comment, then it’s seriously mistaken.
Again, the advice was this:
Jason should take care to ensure that his criteria are accurately reflective of his appraisal of actual women. That is to say: he should take care not to create any *floating* ideal women in his mind. My point is that maybe there are women out there who wouldn’t meet some of these criteria, but whom he’d nevertheless be very compatible with. For example, someone who might not be interested in philosophizing to the same extent as him, or might have a different source of motivation for their interest in philosophizing about things.

Autum, I cited examples such as, perhaps someone studying law, or science. That’s hardly some “young hot blonde” (although no reason she couldn’t be young and hot and blonde, presumably, unless Jason prefers brunettes or redheads? 🙂 ).

Anyway, the advice is just a word of caution more than anything (and based on my own personal experience). I know next to nothing about Jason, and I’ve never met him.

Given what I do know, I’ll assume he’s a rational and morally ambitious guy, and a good-looking one at that. So I think he’ll have no trouble attracting the kind of woman he’s looking for, and ultimately achieving a successful romance. Good luck, Jason!

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Reply:

This appears to be the original “anonymous”, or if not someone who understands their original intent. Either way, I agree with your point about not creating some abstract idealized woman who couldn’t possibly exist. I also agree (as I said above) that I didn’t really intend the list to be restrictive and that I should open to different types of women.

It seems like Autumn’s reply was more generalized (correct me if I’m wrong on this) to the idea of the list being weird than to your particular examples.

Personally, I don’t have anything against young hot blondes, as long as that’s not all they are and they do have some substance to them. It’s interesting, but I have an affinity for brunettes, although that’s not a criterion I use when I’m deciding whether to date someone or not.

I think your word of caution is wise and I’ll certainly keep it in mind.

I do tend to think of myself as rational and morally ambitious guy, although when I read that comment I paused at your choice of terminology…was the phrase “morally ambitious” merely coincidental or a reference?

Thanks for the well wishing and comments, would you perhaps care to identify yourself?

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I appreciate all the comments and suggestions – hopefully I will find a great woman some day to date, but until that day I shall stay vigilant and just enjoy living my life. I hope my replies help to clear up some of what was going on.

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