Thank you for your comments, Allan. I’d like to pursue your insightful remark that people are often confused by the gap between signifier and signified. It is a very old and very common human fault to wish that one’s words and other simplified signifiers capture reality. This human tendency has in no way diminished over time; if anything it has strengthened in recent decades. A big culprit in that is the myth that measurements and algorithms capture reality. Data is not understanding. It is not the case that measurements are the same in all cultures and times because empirical observations just sit there until they are interpreted by people. Are there such things as facts? Probably. Do human beings know them? Probably not. Even when people have a vague grasp on facts, do they use them well? Not as often as they should. Instead, people express puerile invective like calling their political opponents “low IQ bigots without two functioning neurons to rub together.” People invent such empty simplified signifiers and pretend they have captured reality. Even science, in some quarters worshiped as a divine oracle, gives only more simplified signifiers that have no meaning until people give them meaning. Philosophy points out these facts, which irritates those who who wish science could deliver more than it does. I am critical of academic philosophy, but its faults are not inherent to the discipline but come from the same human weaknesses that afflict every other human discipline.

Philosophy professor reaching out beyond the ivory tower. I also run and

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