Monday, March 26, 2018

#85 / Category Mistake

To speak of, say, a sincere sofa is to commit what philosophers call a “category mistake” — sofas are incapable of sincerity.

This observation comes from George Will, the Washington Post columnist, in a column that ran yesterday.  Will, incidentally, is appearing today as a participant in a panel at the Leon Panetta 2018 Lecture Series at the Monterey Conference Center. Will is taking a spot on the panel previously allocated to John Bolton, presumably because Bolton's new assignment as the president's national security adviser has mandated such a rearrangement of Bolton's schedule.

The Panetta forum will focus on the topic: Global Crisis and the American Dream — America First or America as a World Leader? Judging from Will's Sunday column, I think that he and Bolton would probably not agree on how to respond to that question. 

Will does say that Bolton is "five things President Trump is not — intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced." He also says that "Bolton ... will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes."

Will, in other words, is not a Bolton fan. Nor is he a fan of our current president. There is another "category mistake" highlighted in Will's column:
To speak of this president’s convictions (or plans, or policies) about this or that is a category mistake. Let’s say this one more time: Trump. Has. No. Convictions.

My blog posting yesterday noted the troubling aspects of the appointment of Bolton by a president who "has. no. convictions." Thus, I thought it appropriate to advertise Will's column, and his local appearance in Monterey.

I am generally not much of a Will fan, but on this matter: Will. Gets. It. Right.

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