Language News Philosophy Reviews

Recommended additional reading (PfH1: Knowledge)

For “Philosophy for Heroes: Knowledge,” I relied on a number of authors for inspiration, ideas, and source material. Here is a selection of recommended additional reading, if you want to go beyond the introduction I gave in the book itself, here is my list for the first book. Enjoy!


   Karen Armstrong. Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Anchor, 2011. ISBN 978-0307742889. URL

   Peter S. Beagle. The Last Unicorn. Roc Trade, 1991. ISBN 978-0451450524. URL

   Theodore Dalrymple. Life at the Bottom: The worldview that makes the underclass. Ivan R. Dee, 1332 North Halsted Street Chicago 60622 U.S.A., 2001. ISBN 15-6663-505-5. URL

   Epicurus. The Art of Happiness. Penguin Classics, 2012. ISBN 978-01-4310-721-7. URL

    Daniel L. Everett. Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle. Vintage, 2009. ISBN 978-0307386120. URL

   Richard P. Feynman. Character of Physical Law. Penguin, 2012. ISBN 978-01-4017-505-9. URL

   Richard P. Feynman and Ralph Leighton. What Do You Care What Other People Think? Further Adventures of a Curious Character. W W Norton, 2008. ISBN 978-03-9332-092-3. URL

   Richard P. Feynman and Jeffrey Robbins. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. Basic Books, 2005. ISBN 978-04-6502-395-0. URL

   Sanford Holst. Phoenician Secrets—Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean. Santorini Books, 2011. ISBN 978-09-8332-790-5. URL

   Steven Mithen. The Singing Neanderthals—the Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body. Harvard University Press, 2007. ISBN 06-7402-559-8. URL

   R. Munroe. Xkcd. Number v. 0. Breadpig, 2010. ISBN 9780615314464. URL

   Leonard Peikoff. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Dutton, New York U.S.A., 1991. ISBN 05-2593-380-8. URL

   Leonard Peikoff. Understanding Objectivism. NAL Trade, 2012. ISBN 978-04-5123-629-6. URL

   Ayn Rand. For the New Intellectual. Signet, 1963. ISBN 978-04-5116-308-0. URL

   Ayn Rand. Philosophy: Who Needs It. Signet, 1984. ISBN 978-04-5113-893-4. URL

   Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged. Dutton, 35th anniversary ed. edition, 1992. ISBN 05-2594-892-9. URL

   Ayn Rand. The Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution. Plume, expanded edition edition, 1999. ISBN 978-04-5201-184-7. URL

   Ayn Rand, Harry Binswanger, and Leonard Peikoff. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. New American Library, New York, N.Y., expanded 2nd ed. edition, 1990. ISBN 04-5201-030-6. URL

   Carl Sagan. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Ballantine Books, 1997. ISBN 978-03-4540-946-1. URL

   Fernando Savater. The Questions of Life. Polity Press, 2002. ISBN 07-4562-628-9. URL

   Brenda Ueland. If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit. Important Books, 2012. ISBN 978-80-8783-058-1. URL

   Thomas I. White. In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier. Blackwell Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-14-0515-779-7. URL

   Elie Wiesel. The concept of heroes, 2014. URL [online; last accessed March 16, 2015].

   Dieter E. Zimmer. So kommt der Mensch zur Sprache. Heyne TB, 2008. ISBN 34-5360-065-7. URL (German)

News Uncategorized

How can a visit to an Italian restaurant help us to better understand the world?

How can a visit to an Italian restaurant help us to better understand the world?

We live in a complex world, but language helps us to grasp even complex situations.

What is the connection between pizza and heroism? At first, the two hardly seem related–one is a favorite dish and the other is a way of life. But understanding how pizza delivery works can give us insight into how we can comprehend other, more complex scenarios.

To become a mentor, which is a foundation of being a true hero, you have to know what is real. You have to have a strong grip on reality.

How can we train our minds to better know what is and what is not?

In this adapted excerpt from the book Philosophy for Heroes: Knowledge, author Clemens Lode sheds light on how our use of language creates a concept hierarchy, a mind-map of definitions that empowers us to be able to think more effectively.




   A Slice of Life: Concept Hierarchies and Pizza Delivery

An adapted excerpt from Philosophy for Heroes: Knowledge.



In our lifetime, we learn many concepts. A “concept” is determined by the nature of an entity. A simple example: we learn the concept of “furniture” early on, and as we are introduced to types of furniture (e.g., high-chair, table, bed), we can apply what we know about the original concept to new entities. Hence, we need not consider each situation (i.e., something to sit on, or sleep on) over and over again. If we apply these dependencies of specialization to more general concepts, a structure arises—a concept hierarchy.

A concept hierarchy is a tree-like structure consisting of concepts, defined by the definitions of given connections (e.g., “chair” and “table” are furniture, the concept “furniture” would thus constitute the root of a tree and “chair” and “table” are two successive branches).

Let us consider the example of a pizza delivery company. There, orders, inquiries, customers, and employees must be managed. The first step of management is an accurate grasp of the current situation. Instead of verbally surveying each employee and customer and placing a summary in a file, we abstract the properties of the relationship to each respective person. The employees may have much to tell about their lives, but only a few items of data are important for the payment of their wages, such as a name and bank account number. The same holds for the client, for whom we actually require only a delivery address. In addition, we must manage our products (the pizzas) and the individual inquiries and orders. In the construction of our concept hierarchy, we try to determine only the relevant properties of an entity and disregard all other information.

As all the parts of our pizza company should at the same time refer to identifiable entities with a creation date, they should inherit from a more general concept named “entity.” And obviously, “clients” and “employees” are persons; we can thus let properties such as the address inherit from a more general concept, “person.” With the definition of “order” and “request,” we must in both cases reference the person placing the order (customer) and the employee processing the order (employee), and thus generalize the properties in a concept called “process.” Let us supplement these definitions with properties of the customer (his account), the employee (his position in the company), the order (the ordered product), and the request (the customer’s message); we now obtain a schematic construction of this small slice of the world:








As this example shows, a concept hierarchy allows us to base our understanding of reality on things we know to be true. We can add details as necessary, but we don’t need to reinvent the wheel (or the pizza) from scratch every time.

And that, my friend, explains what pizza and philosophy have in common: begin with what is true, rely on that, and allow that to direct your decisions.


Motivation & Health

Dune – David Lynch (Tribute)

Dune tribute.

Dune is directed by David Lynch and based upon the novel by Frank Herbert.

Song Order:

1. Final Dream
2. Prophecy Theme
3. Big Battle

[vc_video link=’’]

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Math News

What does math have to do with becoming a hero?

We live in a complex world, but it is possible to understand even “irrational” aspects of it.

What is the connection between mathematics and heroism? At first, the two hardly seem related–math is about measuring things, and heroes do immeasurable good. Isn’t one limited and the other limitless?

But the two are, in fact, connected. To become a leader, which is the foundation of being a true hero, you have to know who you are. You have to have a strong grip on reality. But this very reality is often questioned, with a common argument being that we live in an irrational world, and that the existence of the so-called “irrational numbers” in nature make any attempt to understand reality impossible.
How can we respond to such a claim?

In this adapted excerpt from the book Philosophy for Heroes: Knowledge, author Clemens Lode sheds light on how the source of these numbers is indeed quite rational

Read the full article at here.

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Website update!

With the completion of “Philosophy for Heroes” ( ), my attention now turns to the website. Last week, I have upgraded the website (Server, PHP, etc.) and you should see noticable faster loading times. More to come!