Sunday, December 2, 2012

One more thing worth making explicit

I'm not a philosopher at all. I'm a social scientist. Spend a lot of time (even leisure time - how sick is that?) thinking about the way humans behave. But I don't think about it the way philosophers think about it.

But there's overlap, of course. As a citizen and a social scientist I'm going to be interested in things that people who are citizens and philosophers are interested in, like democracy. As a guy that thinks a lot and a social scientist I'm going to be interested in things that people who think a lot and are philosophers are interested in, like the way humans assess and collect knowledge about the world around them.

But we'll often think about it in very different ways. And that's OK - neither side "owns" these sorts of issues. But I won't always live up to the expectations of people who want it laid out philosophically. I'm generally unequipped to do that. I am not an imbecile, though, and am vaguely familiar with enough philosophy to know that there are some well regarded guys I think basically have it right and I prefer them to other well regarded guys.

If you want a strictly philosophical answer to a question that concerns humans very broadly, you're best off asking a philosopher that broadly agrees with me but is trained to talk about it like a philsopher talks about it. I'm happy to give it a shot, it just may be embarassing for me (and if it's really bad - maybe even for you, as in "why am I even reading this nut").


  1. Daniel,

    A few weeks ago you didn't like what I had to say about T. Jefferson.

    Delong has now picked up my POV


    Contrary to Mr. Wiencek’s depiction, Jefferson was always deeply committed to slavery, and even more deeply hostile to the welfare of blacks, slave or free. His proslavery views were shaped not only by money and status but also by his deeply racist views, which he tried to justify through pseudoscience.

    In 1820 Jefferson was shocked by the heated arguments over slavery during the debate over the Missouri Compromise. He believed that by opposing the spread of slavery in the West, the children of the revolution were about to “perpetrate” an “act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world.”

    If there was “treason against the hopes of the world,” it was perpetrated by the founding generation, which failed to place the nation on the road to liberty for all. No one bore a greater responsibility for that failure than the master of Monticello.

    1. I hope I never told you that Jefferson was opposed to slavery. I don't think I did.

      That was a great article - read it earlier today myself.

      I'm not too sure about your last sentence. That seems unnecessary strenuous for a guy that wanted a line about the problem of slavery in the Declaration and wasn't even there for the Constitution (yes, I know, he had contacts etc.)

    2. btw - this is not a post about Jefferson. Let's save any more conversation on this for the next time I talk about Jefferson.


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