Saturday, July 25, 2015

comments posted elsewhere. more fun with philosophers
Most academics who defend competition and adversarialism and the vagaries of the market live their own lives as academics abjuring the behavior they claim to celebrate: by the light of disinterested reason, they claim the universality of interested reason. Academics who argue against the model of adversarialism and for collaborative reason nonetheless spend their lives in endless competition and status seeking within the intellectual marketplace of the academy. Both claim for the academy a rightful near monopoly of intellectual authority; both are a model of what Kant referred to as "private reason." Rawls epitomizes the reversal of Kant's hopes. Rawls and Cohen abjured the practice of virtue ethics in favor of the search for ideal calculations and problem solving "machines" to remove the burdens of moral responsibility. The result are books manifesting a erudite sorrowful self-pity.

Cohen:
It's difficult to expect a person who lives in a particular social niche to depress the circumstances of himself and his family below a certain level even for the sake of principles that he sincerely affirms. 
...the transition from being wealthy to being not wealthy at all can be extremely burdensome and the person who has tasted wealth will suffer more typically from lack of it than someone who's had quote unquote the good fortune never to be wealthy and therefore has built up the character and the orientation that can cope well with it.
Pure unctuous sleaze.

Jason Brennan is a libertarian and explicitly opposed to democracy, I can only assume, because democracy is not "true". Robert Paul Wolff claims that "anarchism is 'true'". He fantasizes a utopia of equality if only some imaginary others would stop behaving as they do. The only truth I can see is that most people are shorted-sighted and self-interested, and that all of us are idiots much of the time. The only "values" I can imagine for myself -the explicit overlaying of metaphysics upon facts- is that greed is boring, a mark of the incurious, the lowest form of vulgarity, something to be outgrown.

The only person above who seems to understand this is Wolff, who seems to have chosen virtue ethics as a model of personal behavior while still spending his career spouting scholasticism. But actions being more important than words, the form of language taking precedence over "ideas", I salute him.
the references are repeats. [Brennan is recent] As I think I've said before, I transcribed the Cohen interview; it's in an unpublished post.

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