Notes on Philosophy versus Politics

Why are philosophical opinions and philosophers more complicated than political opinions and politicians? Seems like a rhetorical question–philosophy is ‘smarter’ than politics. But what do we mean by smarter? My take is, philosophical positions, unlike political ones, don’t really ‘oppose’ each other. Philosophy is much…

The Philosophy-STEM alliance

As the Cowen vs. Rationalism spat shows, the harshest critics of rationalism are rationalists. Cowen, Noah, and Wilkinson, all of whom are smart, empirically minded, and Platonists, meet the criteria of being rationalists, and the Rationality community holds them in high regard. That’s part of…

Saving consequentialism and utilitarianism from the trolley car

From Bryan Caplan What’s Wrong With the Rationality Community,in which he criticizes utilitarianism and consequentialism: The first is consequentialist (or more specifically utilitarian) ethics. This view is vulnerable to many well-known, devastating counter-examples. But most people in the rationality community hastily and dogmatically reject them….

The Tyler Cowen-Rationality feud is getting out of hand

A brouhaha has erupted between Tyler Cowen and the Rationality community over comments made in an interview with Ezra Klein, in in which Tyler Cowen, in an uncharacteristic outburst of candidness, lambasted the Rationality community for what he perceives as religiosity and homogeneity: But I…

Reactionary Future, MacIntyre, and Communitarianism

This is many months old but deserves mentioning; in his penultimate post, Reactionary Future (RF) retires from bogging, expressing frustration with what he perceives as NRx decaying into just another derivative form of Protestantism/Calvinism in the tradition of Mises, Hume, Adam Smith etc. Here are…

Guided by the ‘correctness’ of our opinions

Scott’s article GUIDED BY THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS is going viral. He writes: Yet I have the opposite impression. Somehow a sharply polarized country went through a historically divisive election with essentially no debate taking place. As shown below, going as far back as…

Materialism and Empircisim are Easy; Idealism is Hard

Empiricism vs Idealism: Empiricism begins with the hypothesis that there is an objective reality independent of humanity and we may use inductive logic to learn about this reality through our senses. We can experiment and test the validity of our ideas. The scientific method is…

The ‘Universal Person’

Some Desultory Remarks on the Concept of “Universal Person” This superior being, then, imagines himself a disembodied entity made of pure thought, and accordingly, where he positively defines his identity at all, defines it in terms of ideology. His loyalties and allegiances lie not with…

The Post-2008 ‘Philosophy Boom’

This article is going viral: Why read old philosophy? Since 2008, we’ve been in what can be described as ‘philosophy boom’, as articles and stories about philosophy frequently go viral on sites such as Reddit, 4Chan, and Hacker News, and there seems to be a…

Understanding Marx

Aaron dismisses the study of Marx as useless , but possibly falls into the the tempting trap of reductionism. The study of Karl Marx is more than Communism, which of course is a failure, as mass deaths during communists regimes or the economic under-performance of…