What Wine Has Taught Me about Philosophy

the thinker and winePhilosophy in its academic form has unfortunately become a forensic process of detecting flaws in someone’s ideas. Too many discussions degenerate into thinly disguised, tendentious attacks rather than genuine attempts to understand.

I must confess to being guilty of that forensic approach at times during my career. Professional advancement often depends on it.

But I’ve also devoted many years to writing about wine and through those experiences I’ve learned the importance of appreciation as a mechanism for learning. Wine appreciation teaches the skill of attentiveness, of waiting for beauty to emerge rather than forcing it, of being receptive to what the wine wants to do.

Rather than asking “how does this wine fail?” one gains more appreciation by asking “What does this wine force me to notice?”

Of course, in the end, one can be critical if the wine and the situation warrants, but not before fully appreciating what a wine has to offer.

I’ve come to adopt a similar approach to philosophy paying more attention to subtlety and nuance rather than leaping prematurely to a critical stance. Ideas then come to have the suppleness of Charmes-Chambertine Pinot Noir or the life and vitality of Rüdesheimer Riesling.

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