List day

Posted by – July 24, 2009

My current list of the most overrated things. They are in rough order of overratedness (which doesn’t mean either worth or ratedness).

  1. Elvis
  2. Aristotle
  3. The Stone Roses
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Kierkegaard
  6. Death in Venice (the movie)
  7. Hegel
  8. David Bowie
  9. The Sixties
  10. Ronald Reagan
  11. Peter Cook
  12. Cognac
  13. Beethoven

This week’s list of words I would support proper use of:

  • exponential
  • ballistic
  • correlated
  • random
  • logical

That is all.

edit: actually that’s not quite all. Overrated thing number zero is sex.

another edit: oh yeah, and overrated thing number something is Michael Jackson *ducks*

10 Comments on List day

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  1. Incestuous Jihad says:

    There’s no way Aristotle is more overrated than Hegel. The former may often be rated as the greatest of all philosophers, but at least he made enduring contributions to philosophy. Hegel is often regarded as among the greatest philosophers, though his contributions to philosophy are nonexistent. In fact, Hegel wanted to abolish the laws of bivalence, non-contradiction, and excluded middle. Yeah, good idea.

    Let’s say Aristotle is rated at 10. His contributions include the syllogism, a theory of definition, some work on categorization, aesthetics, and rhetoric. Therefore he probably deserves to be rated at about a 5 and is overrated by 5 points.

    Hegel, on the other hand, is probably rated around 8, but his contributions would have negative value if any value at all (the guy thought he necessarily proved that there are seven planets). Therefore he is overrated by at least 8 points.

    Kierkegaard is also much less overrated than Hegel. The former is often considered one of the great philosophers, while the latter is thought to be one of the greatest. Kierkegaard also made substantial contributions to the philosophy of self-deception. I estimate his rating at 6, with his deserved rating at 1 or 2, which makes him a lot less overrated than Hegel.

    Finally, you neglected to mention a great many overrated things:

    1. Alcohol
    2. Freud
    3. Soccer
    4. Pink Floyd
    5. Sidney Crosby
    6. British Empiricists
    7. The Eagles
    8. The Beatles
    9. Personal hygeine
    10. Requiem for a Dream


  2. Incestuous Jihad says:

    Have you read anything by Hegel or Kierkegaard?


  3. Incestuous Jihad says:

    Oh yeah, what about Jesus?


  4. sam says:

    @Incestuous Jihad
    I’m not convinced that Aristotle’s meaningful contributions were very profound, and his large body of non-meaningful statements makes him look like an utter fool. If you think trying to prove that there must be seven planets is stupid, whoa Nelly. Aristotle just made stuff up! That coupled with his being rated not just the greatest of philosophers but as the father of science definitely makes him beat Hegel. In fact now I’m tempted to bump him to number one.

    There is some merit to your claim that Hegel should beat Kierkegaard. It’s difficult to say exactly how highly regarded Kierkegaard is, but I still think his writings are more devoid of sense than Hegel’s. Maybe the difference in ratedness should put Hegel on top.

    I’ve read about 70% of a large tome of Kierkegaard’s titled Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments and vowed to never make that mistake again. Hegel I’m mostly familiar with due to commentary in school and via Marx & Lenin, but I have read most of The Phenomenology of Mind.

    Jesus’ overratedness is such a heterogenous thing that it’s difficult to evaluate. I guess if we averaged everyone’s opinion, he’d have to make the list. But this list was more directed at the laughable errors of opinion among so-called civilized people, and in my vicinity at least they probably rate Bono above Jesus.

    Vis-a-vis your list: the only take-home things for me are numbers three and ten. Maybe I’d agree with you about alcohol if I’d tried anything else as mind-altering, but as yet I won’t hear a word against it. I think Freud by now has been pretty much marginalised into dubiousness, plus the challenges he made to psychological thought at the time were IMO an overall advance. Pink Floyd and The Beatles just are that great. Haven’t seen Sidney Crosby play. The empiricists to me are more about science advocacy/methodology than arguing a philosophical point, but I guess they could be seen as overrated philosophers. Who rates The Eagles highly? Number nine was probably meant to read “Spelling”.


  5. sam says:

    Oh yeah, U2 should definitely be on the list.


  6. Incestuous Jihad says:

    Spelling and proofreading are underrated.


  7. Incestuous Jihad says:

    Aristotle’s contributions to philosophy were indeed profound. The Prior Analytics, for example, is probably the most important philosophical text produced before the 18th C. To this text we owe term logic, including the analysis of the syllogism, categorization of sentence types, and rules for valid inference. Aristotle’s logic was the dominant form until the discovery of predicate logic in the 19th C. That’s about as enduring and important as a contribution to intellectual endeavor can be.

    Calling Aristotle the father of modern science highly overrates his scientific contributions, but he was an early natural historian and perhaps the father of ancient science. He started from some kooky assumptions and made some bizarrely unjustified claims, but he nevertheless observed and classified things, tried to understand how our perceptual apparatuses enabled and influenced observation, and invented a camera. Not bad considering that modern science wouldn’t start gaining steam for 1900 years or so.

    As for making stuff up, here Hegel is king. A few of his gems:

    Slavery is blacks’ education in the necessity of work.
    History is the spirit’s coming to self-conscious awareness through the sublation of prior oppositions.
    There is a “negative” that “labors.”
    There is an identity between “identity and non-identity.”

    I suppose you could argue that Hegel invented theoretical entities, while Aristotle just made up various empirical conclusions, but consider the last sentence above: the truth of such a claim cannot be discovered, and therefore the assertion is about as “made up” as you can get. Aristotle may have invented the notion that men have more teeth than women, but at least that’s a physical and logical possibility, unlike some of Hegel’s claims.

    I’m impressed that you’ve read that much of the Phenomenology.


  8. Incestuous Jihad says:

    Just wondering – what do you think of Nirvana’s ratedness?


  9. sam says:

    That’s a bit of a toughie… Nirvana’s not half bad for what it is, but it does receive somewhat disproportionate adulation. Less now than when Cobain had just bought it. Let’s say at the time of his death they were Kanye West -overrated, now they’re roughly Richard Dawkins -overrated.


  10. Incestuous Jihad says:

    I hope you’ll forgive me for dredging up this old post, but it recently occurred to me that the people rating The Eagles highly are the same people who rate Reagan highly.