Just As Long As I Don\'t Excuse The Khmer Rouge...

If there's anything that should make me rethink my views on ethical epistemology, it's the fact that Chomsky shares them:

There is little reason to doubt David Hume’s observation that [moral intuitions] are grounded in our nature—as we would restate it, adding nothing much substantive, in our genetic endowment. We can learn little bits about these topics by the methods of science, but the issues of human life so vastly exceed the range of scientific understanding that we are almost always proceeding on the basis of moral intuition, which is subject to reflection, debate, sharpening, etc., but cannot be grounded… The same is true of the epistemological intuitions that guide scientific research, in fact. Why should we seek what by our cognitive standards are simple, elegant theories? In brief, we have to live our lives, without immobilizing ourselves by posing questions that are very remote from answers, or even coherent formulation. That’s not to say we shouldn’t think about them, but without being immobilized by them.

What I’ve called truisms I think are moral truisms: for example, that we should apply to ourselves the same standards we apply to others (in fact, more stringent ones). Suppose I run into someone who doesn’t agree: say, someone who thinks it’s outrageous for someone to cause severe harm to us, but just fine for us to cause far more severe harm to them? Then discussion is pretty much at an end. However, I think this situation is very rare.

...One rarely comes across someone who says “I’m a Nazi and proud of it.” But if so, that reveals that there is something of a common moral ground, and a basis for constructive interchange—which may, and sometimes does, sharpen moral intuitions as well. We all know that very well in fact. It’s not that long ago, after all, that it was considered not just tolerable but in fact deeply moral to have slaves, beat one’s wife if she is disobedient, lash children, torture a poor person who robbed a crumb of bread, etc.

While Chomsky's take is much more Kantian than mine, the similarities are still scary. Is it time to rethink Randianism?

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How embarrasing. I had to

How embarrasing. I had to scramble to the dictionary for 'epistemology'!


Meh, typical Chomsky

Meh, typical Chomsky baloney: pulls something out of his ass that sounds good - excuse me, "elegant" - and backs it up with little more than word games and appeals to emotion and aesthetics. This is pretty much his "deep structures" schtick reapplied, and he's even less credible this time around. Sure, there are good arguments to be made in favor of natural rights/ethics/morals, but this ain't them. His business about genetic encoding of moral codes is easily cut to shreds by Ockham's Razor, for one thing. I wouldn't worry, MG - from what I've seen of your writing and his, I think this is just a coincidence, an example of a broken clock being right twice a day.

Exactly what is

Exactly what is "Randianism?"

Randianism: A philosophy

Randianism: A philosophy characterized by frank, uninhibited sexuality. With the emphasis on "frank." :beatnik:

Well that sounds a hell of a

Well that sounds a hell of a lot better than the chomsky stuff. I say go for it!!! :wink:

Is it okay if I have more of

Is it okay if I have more of a "francine" emphasis in my Randianism? I'm not into Franks, if you follow me... :wink:

why does Chomsky think

why does Chomsky think stealing peoples wealth from them by taxation is ok, but beating it out of them is any different morally? is he a fkin moron?

qwest, watch your mouth!

qwest, watch your mouth! The polite term is "nuanced"! :beatnik: