transposing and thinking


I love playing Francois Couperin on my little midi. I especially love some of his rondos which often go very low on the harpsichord, much lower than the compass of my little electric keyboard. i was thinking about this and realized that electronic keyboards often have a transposing function. Lo and behold, my little $30 keyboard has this as well and will go up to an octave either direction. So when I put it down an octave I can play those deep rich tones in the Couperin rondos.

This is one I have been playing. You don’t have to listen very long until you can hear one of those beautiful low notes.

Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy: Adler ...

I listened to Philosophize this #143 podcast a couple days ago. I am working my way through Mortimer J. Adler’s Aristotle for Everyone in a bid to learn to think a bit more clearly (I can hear your snicker. Stop that.).

So when the Podcast “Philosophize this” had an episode on Jurgen Habermas and his ideas about public sphere and discussion, I listened to it.

Jürgen Habermas - Wikiquote

This is a photo of Jurgen Habermas (still alive as far as I can tell…. born in 1929)

I especially like the podcast description of  Habermas’s idea, communicative rationality in which he develops a four step system for having coherent discussions which lead to insights and changed minds (i.e. democracy type public discussion necessary for good society and government).

all parties in discussion agree to

  1. mutual intelligibility 
  2. agreement that the subject of discussion is legitimate  discuss
  3. all parties arguing from sincere conviction
  4. all agree upon values and norms

Two things jumped out at me. First, the idea that parties in a public discussion must believe in the point of view they are espousing (#3 above). The “sincere conviction” language is my own note taking.

I have spent a lot of my life wondering what people around me actually believe. Hell, I often wonder what I believe. It’s helpful to me to factor in the idea that reason someone might seem a bit fakey to me is that they don’t necessarily believe in what they are saying.

In addition, Habermas (or at least what I remember from the podcast discussion) critiques media in this regard. Essentially he says that if one is operating not from communicative rationality but instead from strategic rationality where one is not necessarily arguing from a conviction or belief, the ensuing discussion is much like listening to a salesperson trying to convince a buyer.

Hmmm. I haven’t probably said that clearly but it is rattling around in my head.

Second thing that jumped out at me. I wonder how the attempt to have clear thinking processes and discussions relates to the idea that we as humans (especially as individuals) often think we are reasoning objectively when, in fact, we are reasoning from an emotional stand point. We think we are using our head, when in fact we are going from the uninformed gut feeling.

This is easy to understand when I think about the evolutionary need for humans to be part of the tribe. It would be more important not to be ostracized from your tribe for being correct but disagreeing with the group consensus.

I think the answer might be related to a quote Ezra Klein puts in his book, Why are We So Partison?. 

“It is not possible to be rational all by yourself; rationality is inherently a collective project.” Klein is quoting Joseph Heath’s book, Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to our Politics.

Anyway, i aspire to clear thinking.


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