While rhetorical questions depend on the sense that “the answer is so obvious that you’d be embarrassed to answer it,” Dennett recommends doing so anyway. He illustrates the point with a Peanuts cartoon: “Charlie Brown had just asked, rhetorically: ‘Who’s to say what is right and wrong here?’ and Lucy responded, in the next panel: ‘I will.’” Lucy’s answer “surely”1 caught Charlie Brown off-guard.
There are a lot of good gems here. I also like his Rule 1, which reminds us to think of our mistakes the same way the scientific method does. This is vital to dealing with backsliding while trying to build new habits.
“Surely” is a bad thing from his Rule 3 ↩
I pretty much quit Twitter a while ago, but Gabe convinced me to drive in that last nail. I do find myself wanting to have a place to put the ephemera I used to post on Twitter, so I am going to copy Gabe on something else.1 So, for at least a little while, this is where I’ll put most of my nonsense. I will post the more With the Grain stuff on my main site, publishing twice a week, beginning again in December.