Can I Still Listen to Michael Jackson?

Preamble

Like wounded infantrymen caught in the sights of a crack shot enemy sniper, celebrities fall one by one to the unstoppable bullet of cancellation. From Woody Allen (handsy paedo) to Harvey Weinstein (all round scumbag), Roseanne Barr (racist) to R Kelly (sex fiend), each new day seems to bring a fresh allegation of unsavoury behaviour against some of the biggest names on the planet. And now, joining the ranks of the cancelled, we find the King of Pop himself, Mr Michael Jackson.

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On Inexactness

Philosophy, and maybe even human thought as such, has long been a quest for exactness; for figuring out the exact nature of reality and the forces that shape it; for figuring out the exact workings of language; for figuring out the exact meaning of happiness, justice, and the good life. Us humans, we gauge, compute and quantify: “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”.[1] Give us a world and we’ll hold a yardstick to it. Show us a universe and we’ll show you our metrics. Nothing escapes the ruler, the meter, the stopwatch, the word. But how exact do we want these systems of representation – our measurements and language – to be? Are we beings of exactness? Not in an absolute sense, for sure; nor all the time, it would seem; and, in some regards, maybe not at all. In order to substantiate these claims, I’ll take you through some thoughts on statistics, language, and ethico-political philosophy.

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