W. K. Clifford on philosophical writing style

From the Department of Collegial Zingers, here is W. K. Clifford on an intellectual acquaintance:

clifford-100x141“He is writing a book on metaphysics, and is really cut out for it; the clearness with which he thinks he understands things and his total inability to express what little he knows will make his fortune as a philosopher.”

(Quoted in Brand Blanshard’s On Philosophical Style, Manchester University Press, 1954, p. 28; a more recent edition is here).

Mathematician Clifford (1845-1879) was also the author of the important “The Ethics of Belief,” in which he argues that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for any one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

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