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« What does "policy preference" mean? | Main | Do Justices "Vote?" »
Saturday
Sep082007

Where Insight Comes From 

[The following are notes written in Wittgensteinian format during a lunch break at APSA on August 30, 2007]

1. Here's the problem: If you wait and catch it, it has certain way about it.  It is fresh and interesting. You understand it. It could happen at anytime. It is like something sort of deposits it in the brain.

2. But if you have to labor to find it -- if you have to "go to work," so to speak -- it becomes arduous and something else. It becomes technical. It becomes, in a way, "argumentative" [... not the right word: "proof-like," addressing all contingencies and objections].  You can find yourself feeling like you are laboring so tediously on an "outpost" of some kind.  It is like, instead of going into coal mines, you go into "mental mines." It is like finishing or polishing or welding or something.

2.1.  It is no longer a process (cognitively) like "art," but rather becomes a sort of menial or technical labor.

2.2.  The product also changes. Go try to state something as a proof. Go try and address all of the bloody senses of talking at once.

3. Once the train of thought ends and you try to revisit it, it becomes so artificial, boring and lifeless. Where did it go? Can it only be seen in a momentary impression? How do you then communicate it to others?

4. ... you had better not be interrupted.  [note: lunch came -- Ed.].

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