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That episode of The Jeffersons, again

Three days ago I mentioned an episode of The Jeffersons in which the etymology of the word "sincere" was discussed.

I thought for a bit that I had tracked down the ep and that it was Season 2, Episode 4, "Harry and Daphne," which aired on October 4, 1975.

Alas, though, I had focused on the wrong culprit. Harry never there discusses Daphne's sincerity at all, and the only etymological discussion involves the name Keller (which we're told means "cellar," -- big whoop.)

If any reader of this blog can help me identify the episode where Harry or someone else DOES discuss "sincerity," I will be grateful.

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Repairing our Belief Systems (Memeplexes)

"We can conduct certain tests assuming that certain memeplexes (e.g., science, logic, rationality) are foundational, but at a later time we might want to bring these latter memeplexes into question too. The more comprehensively we have tested our interlocking memeplexes, the more confident we can be that we have not let a meme virus enter into our mindware."

Keith Stanovich, THE ROBOT'S REBELLION (2004). 


Without Wax: A Thought

The word sincere certainly looks like it could have come from the expression "without wax," or sine cero in Latin. 
My understanding is that this was a folk etymology which serious scholars dispute, but it had a venerable history to it even before Lionel Trilling cited it in a 1971 book on the development of the ideas of sincerity and authenticity. Trilling said that this fanciful etymology serves a purpose to remind us that the adjective described materials before it came to describe people -- materials that were in fact what they were sold as. 
There's an episode of the television show THE JEFFERSONS, made not long after the publication of Trilling's book, in which the word "sincere" is expounded by one of the characters in this way.
As I remember the sitcom episode, the word began with medieval apple merchants who would hide the flaws in their product by the astute application of patches of wax -- red wax, presumably. 
Skeptical buyers would say that th…

Protests in Iran

The current round of protests in Iran now seem to have gone far beyond anyone's original intent, and the demands of the leaders emerging from the movement are inflated compared to the more modest demands that were being put forward in the final days of the old year. 

I believe this is typical of the dynamics of a revolution. 

Let's look back on those days for a moment. The sequence of events I have in mind began on December 28 among people angry that factory workers were owed a lot of back pay, and that prices of important commodities were heading up. 

Within just a day or so, videos available on social media showed protesters chanting "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran." That may sound more like a chant in Farsi than it does in English. It was symptomatic of the way an agenda increases. The focus was still on jobs and prices, BUT the idea was that the country's leaders weren't focusing on jobs or prices because they were focusing instead on supporting Hez…

The Bad and the Evil

The word "good" is sometimes contrasted with "evil" and at other times with "bad." I might ask you,
as I watch you sip a glass of wine, whether the wine is good. The negative answer would be, "no, quite
bad, vinegary even!"

Or I might ask you whether you think Donald Trump a good President. There the negative answer
could well be that you think him, and/or his presidency, and/or its existing or likely consequences, "evil."
Some writers have made heavy water out of this. They have said that the “good” in the phrase
“good versus evil” is a moral good whereas the “good” in the phrase “good or bad” is a non-moral good.

Thus, morality only deals with one particular sort of good out of the vast realm of possible goods,
it only deals with the contrast-to-evil sort of good.