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Species of speciousness 1: false dichotomy

By Tom Chatfield  

“Philosophy,” Ludwig Wittgenstein once observed, “is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” It is a battle, he might have added, that we are both unsure we can win and unsure we want to win. To call something “specious” is to say it has a false look of truth – from the Latin speciosus, meaning beautiful. It is, in a way, a complement. As poets and tyrants have long known, beauty has a way of making things look true; while there is in all of us the suspicion that it may matter more to…

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