Saturday, August 01, 2015

a repeat to remind myself.

Rationalism is predicted on taking people at their word:  "I believe in God"/ "I'm a nice guy"/ "I'm a liberal Zionist".  Empiricism is looking for confirmation in the world: interrogating, examining form, subtext, context, history.

Rationalists see their rationalism as a model of social interaction, and would say that empiricism in the context of social interaction is disrespectful or rude. "You don't believe me?" "Pretentious, Moi?"

Rationalism is earnest and collaborative. Empiricism is adversarial, but with self-doubt a requirement works through a wide-ranging reciprocal skepticism; interaction by necessity becomes debate and game and theater, an ongoing negotiation of self among friends and strangers.

Americans in their relation to the world around them, are rationalists. As a Greek man said to me today over coffee, "They're not social. They don't know how to talk to other people".


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