User talk:Postmodern Beatnik

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Desire utilitarianism[edit]

Hi Postmodern Beatnik. Regarding the links to desire utilitarianism, I don't really have anything to say in their defence, except that if the article itself stays, then there should at least be a link in the "See also" section of Utilitarianism. I'm happy for you to remove the links from the other articles if you think they are unwarranted. - Borofkin 01:09, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi Postmodern Beatnick... thanks for taking an interest in this article. I just wanted to let you know that I've started a Desire Utilitarianism mini wiki at the Wikia Scratchpad. You are welcome to come and contribute if it, um, fulfils your desires. - Borofkin 04:26, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
To be honest, I doubt that the mini-wiki would take off. I created it because there appears to be interest in the theory, but whether a wiki-community will form is another matter. - Borofkin 02:06, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

{{user ipa}}[edit]

Well, a normal TFD lasts seven days; this one was given a full two weeks, and at one point, they just need to be closed. There was no consensus to go one way or the other, so I could not close as "keep", nor as "delete", and a particular TFD is not the place to make a decision about several templates or try to change a policy/guideline. Those should be done elsewhere, outside the deletion process. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 23:29, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Desire utilitarianism[edit]

I have commenced deletion proceedings at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Desire utilitarianism Banno 21:21, 1 June 2007 (UTC) Perhaps you might vote? Banno 21:40, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Nihilism article quote deletion[edit]

Hi Beatnik. You removed the Dr. Cornel West quote on Nihilism from the Nihilism article -- without discussion. Although Dr. West is a controversial figure in some quarters, he is still a scholar and professor from Princeton U. I tried to figure out where to put the quote in the article and tried the best fit. Do you think his statement does not fit anywhere ? It was rather unique in its point of view. Any ideas ? Thanks. --- (Bob) Wikiklrsc 13:02, 3 June 2007 (UTC) (talk)

My response can be found here. Postmodern Beatnik 16:24, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I saw it just now. One is hard-pressed to even consider responding to it. Wikiklrsc 16:37, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad you understand. Postmodern Beatnik 16:38, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Regarding spoilers[edit]

You lamented a lack of proper defense for opposition to spoilers. I have three points that you may or may not find valid.

  1. By the time you see a spoiler warning, the page is already loaded and the information in front of you. It is particularly useless in short sections, where the likelihood of the "spoilers" being read regardless of "warnings" is high.
  2. Every Wikipedia page already has a disclaimer.
  3. Finally, we should not forget that Wikipedia is not censored.

Your thoughts? Vassyana 21:00, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

My response can be found here. Postmodern Beatnik 15:45, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Name that fallacy[edit]

A second debater at Wikipedia talk:Spoiler [1] has (unknowingly) raised the classic conservative/owning class objection to 'speaking for others'.

"These "young people" whom you mention. Are they aware they've appointed you their spokesman?"

It's an anti-organizing philosophy and I can deal with it on that level (Right to Organize, Universal Declaration of Human Rights). However, I'd appreciate your analysis of what kind of fallacy it is, if it is one. (Please reply here) Milo 20:11, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Just a garden variety red herring, but I've addressed it nonetheless. Postmodern Beatnik 22:51, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

A request for your help with my research[edit]

Dear Postmodern Beatnik

My name is Jim Sutton and I'm undertaking research in the School of Library, Archive, and Information Studies, UCL.

My research involves studying wiki usage, the reasons why individuals use wikis and the benefits/disadvantages of using wikis to manage knowledge.

I noticed a contribution of yours to the article on wikis and I was wondering if you would agree to my analysing your contributions to Wikipedia. This will basically involve calculating how many times you've contributed to Wikipedia within the time period of a week.

I was also wondering what your reasons are for using/contributing to Wikipedia. I'd be extremely grateful for any feedback you can provide.

If you agree to my analysing your contributions and can provide any feedback as to why you contribute to Wikipedia I’d be very grateful. My email address is james.sutton (at) and can be emailed at this address if you agree and have any feedback or questions.

I also have a survey online which I'm using as part of my research at:

My Wikipedia username is Sutton4019 and my research is being carried out jointly with Melissa Terras at UCL. Her email address is m.terras (at) .

If you have any questions please let me know and thank you for your time. Thanks! --Sutton4019 09:14, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

List of living philosophers and academics of philosophy[edit]

Your comment is quite valid, and had I the time, I would do so. Banno 10:45, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

I just noticed the deletion[edit]

I already responded to your message on the Hume Talk Page before I realized you had deleted the link I had added. I fully intend to put that link back. I will wait a day or 3 before I do so. I would like to remind you that the Hume article is about Hume the man AND Hume the historical figure. DO you intend to erase all references to his racist remarks ?? Think about it. Wikipedia is more than just an encylopedia it is a social experiment. Albion moonlight 10:59, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

My response can be found here: [2]. Postmodern Beatnik 17:07, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. I too appreciate the fact that you are willing to be reasonable. I read your most recent comments on the Hume talk page. There is no need for the Morton link now. I am glad I found a more apt replacement for it. Albion moonlight 07:58, 27 June 2007 (UTC)


:::I know nothing about your field, probably never will, and not trying to be insulting, I don't care about your field. Editing the anti-science article in a manner to indicate that he dislikes science, not editing to tell a story, which would be fine. And implying that misdiagnosing ADHD indicates all medicine sucks is just bad logic. Most ADHD prescriptions are from frantic parents whose parenting skills are bad trying to get little Johnny or Suzy to be better children. Most medicine cures patients. High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes II, and many other diseases have been treated effectively with modern medicine. It is junk science. It qualifies under the title of junk science. It meets the standards of junk science. Logically, I can call it junk science. Cruft was for some really bad writing, which had nothing to do with POV. I don't cruft in any article. I have an MPOV here. Medical POV. And yeah, I'm completely sure that keeping people who are dying of malaria away from common treatments by diluting the malarial drugs to <1 molecule per volume of water will kill the patient, but withholding appropriate treatments. So Homeopathy kills. There, I'm done. Orangemarlin 17:44, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

The Short Version:
All I was saying is that you should try to be nicer.
The Long Version:
First, no offense taken. No one cares about my field. ;) The point was that it is possible to maintain an NPOV while editing an article you disagree with. Second, your comment above merely referred to editing the anti-science article, not to editing it in a POV way, so that is what I was responding to. Just saying that someone edits such-and-such an article says nothing about who they are and is not a sufficient reason to dismiss them. That would be the guilt by association fallacy (which brings us back to my philosophy of time example). If he edits the article poorly, that would be a different issue. Either way, if you're going to critique someone, clarity is important.
And speaking of clarity, let me explain that my comment about ADHD was in no way meant to reflect on the medical establishment as a whole. Indeed, I completely agree with your characterization of why most diagnoses of it are made. But that was precisely my point. It was a counterexample to what I saw as a false dichotomy in your earlier comment. You seemed to be implying that all traditional/alternative medicine is bad and that all modern/institutional medicine is good. That is simply not true, as the over-diagnosing of ADHD demonstrates. But neither is it true that "most medicine cures patients." Most modern medicine treats patients, removing symptoms but not curing disease. There is a fundamental—and important—difference. You yourself slip between the two words in your last comment, but such an elision can easily hide equivocation. We must be careful not to commit such a mistake.
As for "junk science," I'm going to need a definition before I can agree that homeopathy counts. But even if it is junk science, my point was that you were being needlessly uncivil. Your comments do not support your claim to an MPOV, but rather suggest that you are unable to AGF. One can disagree vehemently while remaining calm. And more than that, you need to be fair. The malaria example is just an appeal to emotion and does not logically support the ordinary interpretation of the brash claim that homeopathy kills. Sure, the decision to use homeopathy in that case might lead to death, but so might the decision to undergo a risky surgery in another situation. So there is just as much evidence for the statement "surgery kills" if we accept the standard of evidence you are implicitly proposing above. But the common interpretation of "homeopathy kills" is along the lines that it typically or frequently kills. As yet, you have provided no evidence for that claim. Perhaps such evidence exists. If so, you are free to search for a way to put it in the article without violating WP:NPOV. But until then, try not to let your claims run loose in the museum. Postmodern Beatnik 14:28, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi PB (by the way, cool name). I moved the conversation here, because I get so many drive by shootings and genuine discourse at my user page that I missed your comments. I'm glad you weren't insulted, because philosophy makes my brain fry. I like 1 + 1 = 2 thinking, and philosophy is more like 1 + 1 = something, but it depends upon how you might examine the question. Actually, I can fake a lot of things, but I cannot even begin to fake philosophy! I think we're in agreement on your first two paragraphs. Editing an article is one thing (I edit Creationism articles, which is about the farthest thing from my belief set ever). But editing in support of it (anti-science) is fine, but then I dismiss anything science that comes out of your mouth. That's why I have no respect for certain editor's comments about Homeopathy or any other quack medicine (sorry, can't help myself).

As for junk science, it really is a pejorative term. The wiki article on it claims its used in a political context, which it is. People on the left or right use it to meet their standards. Global warming is an example where both sides claim the other is using junk science. The better term is pseudoscience. The US National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious and select group of scientists, has proclaimed a number of "scientific theories" as pseudoscience. Back to Creationism, they claim that is pseudoscience (not whether you have faith in it, just the science to prove it). Many authors have stated that Homeopathy is pseudoscience (though I use the highly pejorative, and probably POV "junk science" verbiage). The pseudoscience article here on Wiki is actually pretty well written (and since you are into philosophy, it really is a result of the philosophy of science). There are certain standards that qualify something as pseudoscience:

  • Use of vague, exaggerated or untestable claims. Homeopathy meets most if not all of the points here.
  • Over-reliance on confirmation rather than refutation. This is what bothers me a lot about the quack medical articles. They make claims that are based on rumor, observations or a claim made in the 1800's. They don't use science to falsify the hypothesis. How can we trust the results--of course, I think they don't want us to.
  • Lack of openness to testing by other experts. Well, I don't know if any scientist would really want to study Homeopathy or Herbalism, but no one is asking.
  • Lack of progress. These ideas have remain unaltered despite the wealth of science disputing it.
  • Personalization of issues. Well, that's what I've been observing. I don't take this stuff personally. I'm concerned that people might be harmed by reading the article. The people who believe in this nonsense get highly defensive, and don't provide facts.

So, unless I'm missing something, this is a pseudoscience. For clarity sake, I will refrain from the use of junk science. Orangemarlin 20:29, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

PS. I'll try to be nicer. I'll drink heavily before involving myself in controversial issues. Orangemarlin 20:34, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Hah! Well, I'll drink to that. Anyway, we seem to have come to a consensus between the two of us. "Junk science" is certainly pejorative, but "pseudoscience" is fine by me. And thanks for the references from the pseudoscience article. It's much better written than pseudophilosophy. Maybe I'll fix up the latter using the former as a model. Postmodern Beatnik 13:17, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


You had asked about the value of tagging those philosophy articles. I have been working on getting things ready for a bot to go out and tag every article in certain categories. All of this is for the purpose of assessment. Data is collected from all tagged articles every three days. You can see the results at Wikipedia:WikiProject Philosophy/Assessment. This process produces a worklist of articles in the task force area. You can see advanced forms of this at WikiProject:Military History, and WikiProject Mathematics. I really don't think in terms of "task forces" that language came along with the format. I just am interested in the tools available, and the closer focus that is possible with these "task forces."

Also, it makes further analysis possible. I would like to see a list of most common blue links in each category. As well as collecting redlinks. There is no end to the possible analysis. The issue could use some input over at WP:PHIL Be well, Gregbard 15:11, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Bacon, etc[edit]

{ahem} Not to get snooty, but try looking at courses taught by schools that excel in British Empiricism. I suspect you'll find Bacon there (though syllabi can be misleading). And just to clarify, I don't think you need to learn about Bacon to understand the scientific method. I was just mentioning it by way of suggesting how important he is historically. I stand firm on the point about Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, however. Perhaps you do not need to understand Bacon to understand Empiricism in a "good enough" way, but to really understand the issues and motivations behind later Brits, you're going to need to understand how it all started. You may be able to understand contractualism without reading Hobbes, but you won't really get it (or why later contractualists felt compelled to address some rather odd issues) unless you read his version (as well as the criticisms of contractualism by Hume--but now I'm just demanding perfection). Postmodern Beatnik 03:51, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

ROFL - I think we need to agree to disagree! (Although, I am with you on Hobbes and contractualism.) You are convincing enough that I am definitely going to spend some time in the holidays starting from scratch again with British empiricism, reading Bacon first. Btw, there is a very interesting looking book on women philosophers that regularly crops up on the course reading lists for British empricism, "Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period", ed. Margaret Atherton. (It occurs more often than Bacon related texts (hee hee).) Do you know anything about it? I hate to say this, and only do so because I am more or less anonymous on Wikipedia, but is it really useful, or is it being included because people are trying to redress the sex imbalance in philosophy? Anarchia 04:34, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Glad to hear you take my point about Hobbes. Dis my man and we'd have real problems (though not so many as if you had dissed David Hume—then it would be on). Returning to Bacon, I might also note that he is typically considered the best of the Renaissance philosophers and one of the five founders of modern philosophy (along with Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, and Gassendi). He also coined the phrase "knowledge is power." But now I'm just being pedantic, aren't I? Anyway, when you're reading Bacon pay particular attention to the Four Idols and his Ants/Spiders/Bees metaphor. I'm pretty sure both are from Novum Organum. In fact, the idols are so important, it's really a shame that only two of them have Wikipedia articles. Maybe we'll have to get on that. You might also notice that Descartes pretty much lifts his call for new philosophical foundations directly from Bacon's call for new philosophical foundations ("we cannot engraft the new onto the old") and both attack Aristotelian Scholasticism—the abandonment of which is the context for the New Science.
As for Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period, several of the excerpts are indeed filler. And such filler articles are often the result of overbearing political correctness. However, I suspect that it shows up on so many reading lists (yes, yes, perhaps more often than Bacon) due to its first entry: Princess Elisabeth's correspondence with Descartes. And that is well worth the read. If you think I can wax on about Bacon, wait until you hear me tell of Elisabeth. Now there was a woman who doesn't need our help getting equal time. She trounced Descartes and left him sputtering. Sure, you'll hear plenty of macho historians of philosophy talking about how she "just didn't get it," but take a look—almost everything she said continues to be a criticism of Descartes today (though in different terms, since she used "soul" instead of "mind"). So yes, I highly recommend reading Elisabeth of Bohemia, too.
Now if you'll excuse me, this snooty gentleman must go lecture on Humean hermeneutics to a group of poststructuralist architects. ;) Postmodern Beatnik 17:13, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
'Post-structure-alist' architects!!!!! You have made my day. I think I will just stick to lecturing to philosophy students! (Actually, break at the moment, so essay marking :( ) P.S. I am with you on Elisabeth and Hume, too. Hume was my spur to get into philosophy in the first place. Anarchia 21:35, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
And here I was worried that was too pretentious of a joke. By the way, how do you have essays to mark already? What kind of a slave driver are you? ;) Postmodern Beatnik 02:25, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Claim of logical fallacy[edit]

A long-time WP:COI, tendentious editor at Space music has claimed a logical fallacy that I can't grasp from the way he has described it.
• Here's the diff of his first edit of this claim, "These early uses of the term were largely limited to the artists who applied it to their own music.".
• Here's the SpM history page. Note the arguments in edit summary comments by another editor.
• Here's his #Logical_fallacy claim on the talk page and my response. Note that he took my point and changed the dates in the analogy to "1916". Ignore the back-and-forth after the first two posts.
• The key to his thinking seems to be "After 1973 the number of sources increases, because usage of the term increased - NOT vice versa." I don't recall any vice versa related to the edit summaries.
Can you help me sort this out? Milo 10:30, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

The "Logical fallacy" thread at Talk:Space music has resumed, and your username has been casually mentioned by a new editor. In response, it looks to me like the COI editor has misunderstood the term "ad hominem", which makes me wonder if he is really as well-educated as his writing would otherwise suggest. Milo 08:05, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Uncluttered categories of a non-notable philosopher[edit]

Thanks.-- Mumia-w-18 01:33, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Reply re: spoiler DRV[edit]

Cross-posted from my talk:

  • That's a good point, PoMo Beatnik, but here's the problem: unlike policy (which can outright override a fallacious XfD consensus in certain circumstances), guidelines exist only to guide consensus, hence the name. They cannot overrule the course of a discussion; the folks at the DRV were well-aware of WP:SPOILER, and spoke little of it. I suppose they assumed that the guideline could be adapted to account for the template's loss, that "current fiction" could be reinserted in place, or that a new template (to cover whatever other exceptional needs may arise) could be designed. One could say that the DRV result -- which was decisive, even overlooking an unfortunately defective XfD close in the interest of the right result -- serves as evidence that the guideline is now dis-established. While guidelines exist to "guide" XfD discussion, they are relatively fragile, and a strong result saying "ignore this!" can be fatal to a guideline. Policy, above the consensus of any one XfD, is obviously a different matter. Best wishes, Xoloz (talk) 14:47, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

To your latest question:

  • Yes. Rational argumentation is always welcome; if it triumphs in winning consensus, it may achieve anything, short of compromising the five pillars. Best wishes, Xoloz (talk) 13:17, 27 November 2007 (UTC)[edit]

Hello. Thanks for reporting (talk · contribs) to WP:AIV. Generally we decline to block IPs with zero preexisting warnings, however in light of their 40-odd rapid recats, I went ahead and issued a fifteen minute block. --Kralizec! (talk) 17:41, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I did a rollback on all the edits I could. Articles that were edited after this IP's changes will have to be manually fixed. --Kralizec! (talk) 17:50, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Glad I could help! Thanks for your help in fighting vandalism! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kralizec! (talkcontribs) 17:53, 19 December 2007 (UTC)


So, I vote that you add some HPS type material to the metalogic article. Thanks :-) Pete St.John (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 19:44, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Will do. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 23:18, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I am pretty sure de-populating the category, and removing it out from under mathematical logic was not what you had in mind when you voted to keep it. That is what certain people are planning, now that they cannot kill it. Just thought you should know what's going on. Thank you for supporting the category. Be well, Pontiff Greg Bard (talk) 16:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Re: Parfit and Bundle Theory[edit]

I didn't remove the reference. It may look like I did because I added some lines before it. –Pomte 20:09, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Spoiler template[edit]

Hi, I saw your reasonable response on my question about the spoiler template, before that discussion went crazy. Can you elaborate some? --AW (talk) 06:20, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Hume an atheist?[edit]

I see you undid my deletion of two categories (atheists philosophers, Scottish atheists) from the David Hume page. Do you seriously hold the view that Hume was an atheist? Secondly, and more importantly, can you name (say) two serious scholars of early modern philosophy that hold that view? Prof grizzlebizzle (talk) 02:06, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I do seriously hold the view that David Hume was an atheist. And for what it's worth, I am a "serious scholar" of early modern philosophy. Since I obviously cannot corroborate myself, however, know that I am joined in this contention by Paul Russell (whose subtle and nuanced account of Hume's religious views is well worth reading) and the late J.L. Mackie. Hume's atheism also comes out quite clearly during his final interview with James Boswell, and the only time Hume claimed not to be an atheist was in an attempt to get a job he had been denied because he was an atheist. There are others, scholarly and otherwise, who hold my view (Anthony Flew, for instance, counts Hume as an atheist even after his conversion), but I have responded to your direct challenge. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:52, 15 February 2008 (UTC) (copied from User talk:Prof grizzlebizzle)
There's Paul Russell, yes. But Mackie's work on Hume doesn't strike me as being up to current standards of historical scholarship--that's a criticism of Mackie as historian of philosophy, not as philosopher simpliciter. I just find an atheistic reading of Hume very implausible. Nor does the interview with Boswell support your view as clearly as you seem to think. And while we're counting ancedotes, you know the d'Holbach dinner party anecdote, right? And, yes, Hume was accused of "atheism," but in the early modern sense of the term which was simply "heterodox in belief"--Spinoza, a pantheist, was also commonly labeled an "atheist" in early modern philosophy. I think labeling Hume an atheist (in the contemporary sense) is an extreme minority position among scholars and a very implausible one. Prof grizzlebizzle (talk) 01:59, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Mackie was a very dedicated Hume scholar; but if you aren't willing to accept him, then perhaps you should look into Ernest Mossner. I suppose you might be thinking of Nick Capaldi's view, but a crucial aspect of his argument comes from the bizarre assumption that everyone in the Dialogues speaks for Hume, as opposed to the more reasonable assumption that none of the characters speak directly for him. Moreover, Capaldi goes to great lengths to convince us that the Dialogues are not about whether or not God exists, but rather the relationship between religion and morality. Yet he goes on to claim the Dialogues as evidence of Hume's theism! Now, Hume was obviously conflicted during the course of his life over the design argument. But despite his inability to find an empirically sound way in which to eviscerate it, he clearly wanted to reject the argument. Indeed, Philo comes tantalizingly close to positing the theory of evolution in the Dialogues, only to give up due to a dearth of empirical evidence (the price of living in a pre-Darwinian age). That is, Hume knew where science needed to go, it just hadn't gotten there (yet). As such, he was loathe to state his personal convictions as the sure conclusion of an appropriately empirical philosophy. Thus was his intellectual conscience.
And it is this intellectual conscience that comes out in the d'Holback dinner party anecdote. To be an agnostic philosophically is certainly the only reasonable position, as Hume and Kierkegaard both show. But as Kierkegaard taught us, the heart is never neutral—it always makes a choice. And insofar as that choice is definitive of who is an atheist and who is a theist, I think Hume falls in the former category. Indeed, as Hume himself said:

The conviction of the religionists, in all ages, is more affected than real... Men dare not avow, even to their own hearts, the doubts which they entertain on such subjects: they make a merit of implicit faith; and disguise to themselves their real infidelity.

Hume and Kierkegaard nicely sum up my own view on the question of theism versus atheism, and insofar as I see myself in precisely the same position as Hume (philosophically agnostic, but personally lacking faith) I see us as both atheists in an important and relevant sense. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:54, 17 February 2008 (UTC)


Thank you very much for the barnstar! But just as importantly, thank you for your excellent suggestions and input in helping us whittle down the choices. Without you, we never would've been able to do it as quickly, efficiently or effectively as we managed to. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 16:44, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for explaining the strikethrough convention, I had not seen that used before and while I've browsed many articles and talk pages I am newbie enough to have missed this. It still might be good at some later point to mutually delete some chunks of our conversations that were based on mutual misundestandings, as I hate cluttering up discussions with dated material. But this makes more sense for now. Thanks for restoring the material for now and for your patience.--ScottForschler (talk) 13:26, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Vital articles[edit]

Je vous prie de lire ce que j'ai écrit sur Mickiewicz. J'espére que vous y penserez bien. -- (talk) 14:53, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

David Hume[edit]

As the GAR reviewer, I am informing you that David Hume, an article that you worked on, was delisted in GA sweeps process. My suggestions are available on the GAR page. Hope they are useful for article improvement.--Redtigerxyz Talk 06:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

ArbCom elections are now open![edit]

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