Essay: Let Us Recuse Ourselves Awhile

The mind, Holmes told Watson, is like an attic. "You have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out." Holmes stocked his own mental attic with a detailed knowledge of chemistry and cigar ashes. Knowing about cigars helped him solve The Boscombe Valley Mystery.

Holmes believed in a sort of Doctrine of Discriminating Obliviousness. He professed ignorance of the Copernican design of the solar system. "What the deuce is it to me?" he...

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