Edward Willett

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Pondering perfection in an imperfect post

Here’s a rather metaphysical question for you: why do we strive for perfection? Cold logic tells us that perfection is impossible. As a writer, I know perfectly (sorry) well that I will never in my life write something perfect. In fact, I know logically that it’s impossible to even define what a perfect piece of writing would look like, because there are always multiple ways to write anything, from a simple action to a complex character’s internal monologue, and you can never be certain there might not have been another way to do it that would be better than the way you chose: another way that’s a little bit closer to ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:12, December 12th, 2012 under Blog, Writing and Editing | 2 Comments »

Political irrationality

[podcast]http://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/04/Political-Irrationality.mp3[/podcast] This week, in honour of the Canadian federal election coming up May 2, I’m revisiting a column from a few years ago that seems apropos. It’s all about political irrationality, and if you read that phrase and immediately assume it’s referring to the obvious irrationality of the political beliefs of those who plan to vote for candidates belonging to that stupid/evil/corrupt other party, well, think again: by making that assumption, you’re actually the one demonstrating political irrationality. Political disagreements tend to turn hot very quickly. And that’s just one way they’re unusual, says Michael Huemer of the University of Colorado in Boulder. In “Why People Are Irrational About Politics,” posted on ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 8:23, April 1st, 2011 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns | Comment now »

The irrationality of political beliefs

Monday was Family Day in Saskatchewan, and probably more than one family that got together that day set a dinner-time rule: "Don't talk about politics."Political disagreements, unlike run-of-the-mill disagreements, tend to turn hot very quickly. And that's just one way they're unusual, says Michael Huemer of the University of Colorado in Boulder. In "Why People Are Irrational About Politics" the associate professor of philosophy notes that political disagreements are also unusually widespread (pick any two people and they'll probably disagree politically about something-or-other) and unusually long-lived.Heumer lists four theories that attempt to explain why.The miscalculation theory says political issues are so difficult that people make mistakes in reasoning them out and then disagree ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 5:12, February 20th, 2007 under Blog, Science Columns | 2 Comments »