Wednesday 16 October 2013

The scar

Kevin Vallier over at Bleeding-Heart Libertarians asked whether a non-ideological political philosophy is possible. And Will Wilkinson gave his answer; I bolded the especially good bit.
It's mostly personal epistemic virtue, but the content of belief helps too. I think a moderate general Pyrrhonism plus conceptually savvy empiricism plus pluralism plus a socially deliberative/procedural bent (not just democratic but also scientific) adds up to something close to non-ideological -- as close one is likely to get, at any rate.
I stopped calling myself a libertarian in part because I thought my many marginal disagreements added up to something really substantive and categorical. Mostly, though, because ideological self-definition inwardly encourages a spirit of community and camaraderie and partisanship that is one of the blessings of life, but which also makes true philosophy next to impossible. I struggle daily with the possibility that I have made the wrong decision, and that belonging, even on the basis of shared error, is more important than truth. Where my label was, there is a scar.
I read that, and I thought about the new Church of Atheism.

I instead choose multiple churches. Pluralist libertarian consequentialist rationalist attempted-truth-seeker contractarian sometimes-anarchist. So long as I don't think too hard about the weightings on the different parts, I don't think that forces too strong a commitment to any bit of it. I choose the hat to fit the setting as needed, trying to keep the truth-seeker one closest to the scalp. That doesn't give me the same shared-community benefits as pure identification could give, but the Economics Department here at Canterbury is a pretty good alternative source of such benefits for pluralist libertarian consequentialist rationalist attempted-truth-seeker contractarian sometimes-anarchists.

HT: @AdamGurri

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