New York Times essay about "the philosopher" has now attracted over 600 comments. I suspect a lot of them are from real live philosophers who don't care for the portrait: "the philosopher" is unworldly, a faller into wells, a ponderer without time constraints, but somehow (for all that) an incendiary world-changer. If we must caricature, let's at least get it right.
I think there's something to the idea that "the philosopher" is (among other things) a hyperrationalist. To wit: take Anders Sandberg's discussion of squidophilia here. The average person just lets himself say "yuck" to the practice and doesn't dig any deeper. Sandberg is very much "the philosopher" when he says "why, why, why?". If he can't figure out why, he's prepared to accept squidophilia.
There is a good point in the post: disgust is not reliable. You should be prepared to examine your "yuck" reactions. Philosophers are right to insist on this.
But then what? If you examine them, some will go away. Fine. Why act on reactions that are transient? Some will not go away, but you will take them much less seriously and so (reasonably) decide to quarantine them so they don't affect your judgment. But some yuck reactions are persistent, and don't want to be quarantined. A hyperationalist doesn't like these either. If you can't explain, you must abstain. That's the basic idea.
I don't know about that. The suppression of "yuck" reactions contrasts sharply with the way philosophers treat their own "intuitions." If you have a very strong intuition that the fat man can't be pushed in front of the trolley to save the five, that's "data"! It's par for the course to take such reactions very, very seriously.
Why so little respect for gut reactions that are tinged by feeling (squidophilia, eww!), and so much respect for non-visceral intuitions (push fat guy, no)? Equal rights for visceral intuitions!
I don't know why it's bad to mix it up with squid, but I suspect it's not all about squid. If someone were making love to a metronome or a box of cereal I'd be just as concerned. Why, why, why? Not sure, but I don't plan on abstaining from the reaction until I can explain it.
p.s. Any thoughts evoked by the squiddie picture are entirely your responsibility.