Monday, April 28, 2008

What's old is new again, and again, and again.
Blackburn is a philosopher. I'd have thought this was his area of expertise.

Follow the bouncing ball:
Science is the study of facts and philosophy the study of values. Conflating the two in favor of facts, values become assumed. Values assumed, all questions are seen as those of expertise. Terms of measurement are of course assumed. Curiosity is defined by the frame, values by the frame, moral worth by the frame.
Democracy, the multiplicity of values and goals, is undermined.
Blackburn's is the linguistic and philosophical (formalist) corollary to Law and Economics. I'll remind you of the fun I had with Colin McGinn
I had in mind experts of many different types, not all specialists in a particular field. Following Plato, I envisage people trained in all subjects relevant to politics--history, geography, philosophy, psychology, etc. These would be the "philosopher kings" (though not our narrow sense of "philosophy"). They could have advisors in a specific field, if necessary, but they would be broadly educated. These experts would work with some democraticlly elected leaders to make policy--but not merely in an advisory capacity.

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a response to a response
" 'Science is the study of facts and philosophy the study of values.’ This is a highly eccentric view of philosophy. One way of thinking of philosophy is as the critical examination of common prejudices…”

Critical examination of common prejudices without examining your own can seem logical only if you choose to see such things as external to yourself, as apart and other. The foundational analogy here, and analogy is all it is, is to science. The values behind the deployment of that analogy are not the values claimed by those who deploy it. If they paid more attention to their own prejudices, looking at the historical parallels, that would be clear even to them. Maybe I should have said ‘Science is the study of facts and philosophy the argument over values.’
That would have been clearer.

The formal analysis of language is seen as equivalent to the formal analysis of numbers. The moral values, the moral argument behind mathematical formalism is the moral argument of Platonism. I won’t argue one way or the other about numbers, but the moral logic of Platonism in language is authoritarian.
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Update- Oh Jezuz. I read the piece, hilarious. Right, wrong, and everything in between. It works best as intellectual and emotional autobiography but autobiography is autohistory and you know how much I love history. He contradicts his own arguments, with style. He's writing from sensibility, not ideology. My last comment at CT:
"He’s not hiding behind anything: his subjectivism, if not outright irrationalism, is front and center. There’s honesty in that... I’ll happily defend him, just like I defend TS Eliot and Philip Larkin."

Next up: Technocracy and Democracy: Contradiction and the Philosophy of Art. Kraftwerk

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