Friday, November 08, 2013

Ingrid Robeyns is the female Harry Brighouse: earnest, well-intentioned, myopic to the point of parody, but all boats rise and fall with the tide.

"Epistemic Humility"
My worry is that this category of experiences, differences, practices, and other features of human life that we cannot understand without first-person experience, is much larger than we generally tend to assume.

Goliath is being read and well reviewed. Saudi and Israel actions are forcing US Iranian rapprochement. History moves on. If people can be said to drive change, the people driving change on the question of Israel and Palestine are those engaged directly in the process, first the Palestinians themselves, then outside advocates and their opponents.

QS 06.03.12 at 9:58
You’ve turned sexual harassment into an intellectual game, that is where the “creepiness” originates. How do you moderate that? You don’t. You realize that your ability to treat the issue so dispassionately, playing the game of Find the Universal, probably has something to do with your maleness and position outside this particular terrain. 
Sexual harassment was banned not because we found the Universal Principle Against Harassment but because women and men who believed it to be wrong fought successfully for prohibition. These people were likely motivated by a variety of ideas and experiences. The way we keep the libertarians marginalized is not by abstract philosophical games but by appealing to this concrete history. 
Chris Bertram 06.03.12 at 10:06 am
QS: your latest tells me that you see political philosophy as it is usually practised as involving a profound mistake. You are entitled to that opinion. It is not one that I share.
If the economists who defend their arguments as formal epistemology without predictive value are now mocked, what's there left to say about political theorists?

It's not a question of whether and when to join the march; it's not a purity test.  If you're going to stand on the sidelines you should at least be willing to stand as an observer. The fixation on "creation", of ideas and concepts, or ideal "truths", turning away from observation, is bad science and minor art. It's small beer; it doesn't matter if its domestic or imported, with a fancy label in French.

Martin Luther King was a small town preacher not a theologian; his actions are studied by historians not philosophers. That's not an argument for preferring irrationalism to rationalism, or arrogance to humility. All humility is false humility; it focuses attention on the person who desires it.

Curiosity results in humility; focus on the first and the second takes care of itself. That's a form of indirection technocrats can't fathom.  Equally incomprehensible is the arrogance of the performer: the zeal of the prosecutor or the indignation of the advocate, both paid to play their roles.

"Doing these cases, I began to find myself in a dangerous situation as an advocate. I came to believe in the truth of what I was saying"
"Lawyers are... the rule of law"

King was an advocate for the cause of his own freedom; lawyers are advocates for their clients.
Two models of engagement in democracy, both founded in first person experience. Robeyns comes from the cultural world of judges, not of participation but authority.

Someday maybe I'll be able to stop repeating this shit.

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