This blog is so neglected, the fact that you're even looking makes it hum with titillation.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Can't keep quiet

It's pretty ridiculous that this is what I'm writing after having abandoned this blog for months, but here goes:

Nick and I were emailing back and forth today about the politics of Critical Mass, the massive bike ride that takes over the streets of downtown San Francisco the last Friday of every month, and we agreed to disagree about a few things, noting, of course, that this wasn't by any means a concession that both viewpoints were equally valid. The word "equipollence" -- familiar to me from questionable translations of Sextus Empiricus -- came up:
[from dictionary.com]
equipollent:
1. equal in power, effect, etc.; equivalent
2. Logic. (of propositions, propositional forms, etc.) logically equivalent in any of various specified ways.

Granted, 2. is pretty damn vague. For me, it means that our arguments are equally convincing; in other words, the only option is continued skepticism -- either in a healthy, resigned way ("I can't know, so I won't bother myself with wondering"), or a frenetic, hampster-wheelish way ("I gotta keep thinking about this 'til one argument reveals itself to be the persuasive, and therefore true, one").

For Nick, "equipollence" brought to mind something entirely different: horse semen. And if you think about the etymology for even a few seconds, it makes sense. And that made my day.

No comments: