A Metaphysical Drink

Jameson Distillery, Midleton, Ireland

I’m reading Whiskey & Philosophy: A Small Batch of Spirited Ideas edited by Fritz Allhoff and Marcus P. Adams. I’m only into the first chapter and am thus far really enjoying it. In the introduction the two editors share a great quote by Aeneas MacDonald, who wrote an important book simply titled Whisky. I thought some of you philosophically-minded folk might enjoy it:

Some might say that whisky is a Protestant drink, but it is rather a rationalistic, metaphysical and dialectical drink. It stimulates speculation and nourishes lucidity. One may sing on it but one is as likely to argue. Split hairs and schisms flourish in its depths; hierarchies and authority go down before the sovereignty of a heightened and irresistible intuition. It is the mother’s milk of destructive criticism and the begetter of great abstractions; it is disposed to find a meaning— or at least a debate— in arts and letters, rather than to enjoy or appreciate; it is the champion of the deductive method and the sworn foe of pragmatism; it is Socratic, drives to logical conclusions, has a horror of established and useful falsehoods, is discourteous to irrelevances, possesses an acuteness of vision which marshals the complexities and hesitations of life into two opposing hosts, divides the greys of the world rigidly into black and white.

My favourite line is the bit about whisky being the sworn foe of pragmatism. I wonder what Pierce, James, or Dewey drank?