Saturday, January 21, 2012

Andrew Sullivan shares some of Louis C.K.'s political philosophy (which seems like a lose label for what he talks about)

Here. Whatever you want to call it, it's very good. Particularly the very last line. If you had to put a label on it, I'd call it Pragmatism.

Furthermore, I think the few issues he talks about on where he's a conservative and where he's a liberal - as well as more things from Louis, if you're familiar with some of his other discussions - show very nicely how "populism" and "libertarianism" aren't the only two things you can get when you mix some "liberal" views and some "conservative" views. People can take that Nolan chart way too seriously sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. I disagree that everything is testable: How do you really test the proposition that lying can have good effects or bad effects - to test Aquinas's notion of disordered mind and action? Otherwise, it encapsulates some nice points.

    There's a line from the cult British series Ultraviolet (it's about vampires) where the head of a government organization says that keeping an open mind is the most dangerous thing they can do. The show, to its credit, didn't play that line up as just heroic, or just a caricature of an ethical consideration. On some issues, some people believe - and can have good reasons for believing - that their beliefs are not open for discussion. (Incidentally, it was an open question, and they did rely on evidence to settle the matter.)

    We also run into this in empirical studies, don't we - how do you respond to claims that we have to test even absurd propositions to better approach the truth? It seems to me that you would have to make reference to the theoretical virtues to dissuade somebody from testing the proposition that to get something good X we have to do something Y (X can be "get free eggs, go to heaven, disprove the probabilistic structure of the universe as predicted by quantum mechanics;" Y can be "play video games, sacrifice all the scientists on a rough altar, or fly airplanes upside down.") So there clearly are limits on open thinking and we hide a lot of method in that phrase "the ideal layperson / articulate spokesperson."

    I recall that the legal scholar Jack Knight (from Duke University) published a book about pragmatism, and gave a lecture early last year at my university on the subject of pragmatism. I do not recall his position exactly but I think he emphasized a different part of the subject (partly what motivated the work was a casual association of Pragmatism, through politically nefarious actions, with something disreputable). However he probably made a point quite similar to that.


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