Friday, June 09, 2006

Leiter on Religion:
A mixture of the obvious and the odd. His radicalism is so bourgeois in it's assumptions; and to be radical is never to assume, yes?

[still a bit rough]
I've always had a visceral sort of distaste for the moral philosophy of contracts and self-interest. Rawlsian logic reminds me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Somewhere in Hull: Apropos the neighboring family of 20 odd children -filthy and unkillable infants of the Catholic poor- an Anglican old dry stick turns to his wife and asks why "they can't they just use birth control like we do when we have sex." To which the wife [Terry Jones?] sheepishly replies: "But darling, we don't have sex."

I don't eat pussy because I want my cock sucked, I eat pussy because there's nothing else I'd rather do. And given a choice between a woman who sucks cock because she feels obliged as payment for a social debt and one who swallows for the love of it, which would you choose? Mix the genders any way you like, the question is the same.

Rather than false neutrality, why not accept the inevitability of bias? Rather than gross generalizations and the intellectual vulgarity of Rawls and John Cleese, why not choose to look down on self-interest itself: why not treat it with the disrespect it deserves?
That's not to say one should ignore it -one cannot disdain what does not understand- but accepting the existence of a lowest common denominator is not the same as celebrating it as such.
Science may teach us that greed is common. It does not preclude the judgement that it is also banal. Nor in fact does it preclude the argument that it's glorious, but such an argument at least is a discussion of value.

I'd have more respect for DeLong and more interest in Leiter's ideas (Leiter has a sense of humor) if they both understood the degree to which they each conform to a type. Their logics are built on sensibilities and values. As I've said before, the argument is not between religion and science but between the values of craft -of skill and artifice- and science. The rule of law is the rule of oratory and interpretation, and the goal is an imperfect justice. Science is the search for facts, described hyperbolically as a search for truth.

Craftsmen are more flexible than bureaucrats. Poets, priests, con-men, and lawyers are craftsmen, and academics are bureaucrats of the imagination, or that's what they become when they start referring to scientific processes as 'values.'

I prefer con-men to bureaucrats (on principle).
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On a related, and more recent, note Jason Stanley asks what he thinks is a rhetorical question, Why Hire a Philosophy Major?:
"Perhaps because those trained in philosophy are likely to possess a better combination of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills than those trained in any other major?"
At the bottom of the PDF he links to, the lowest numbers, alongside Business-Accounting[!] are for Social Work and Early Education.
It seems logical the next test should be for empathy.

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