His philosophical work focused on Spinoza, Buddhism and Gandhi. He earned a doctorate at the University of Oslo at age 27 and was the youngest person to be appointed full professor at the University of Oslo.
Næss argued for abstaining from the following to make discussions as fruitful and pleasant as possible:
- Avoiding tendentious irrelevance
Examples: Personal attacks, claims of opponents' motivation, explaining reasons for an argument.
- Avoiding tendentious reciting
Reproductions should be neutral regarding the subject of the debate.
- Avoiding tendentious ambiguity
Ambiguous arguments may be easily adopted to suit criticism.
- Avoiding tendentious use of straw men
Assigning views to the opponent that he or she does not hold.
- Avoiding tendentious original research
Information put forward should never be untrue or incomplete, and one should not withhold any relevant information.
- Avoiding tendentious tone of voice
Examples: irony, sarcasm, pejoratives, exaggeration, subtle (or open) threats.
For many years these points were part of the two compulsory courses in philosophy taught in Norwegian universities ("Examen philosophicum" and "Examen facultatum").
I first became aware of Arne Næss during the Mardøla protest in 1970 and through his activity in "Fremtiden i våre hender" and his book "Økologi, samfunn og Livsstil" (1974).
I will recommend his book Life's philosophy: reason and feeling in a deeper world where he in his preface states:
Parts of the book is written at his cabin Tverrgastein under Hallingskarvet and I visited this beautiful place (seen uphills behind me) in 2002.