A Quick Observation

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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24 Responses

  1. Avatar BSK says:

    Easy for YOU to say… you are a woman hater posting at a men’s only blog.  Pshhh…Report

  2. Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    I have also been honestly (and pleasantly) suprised at the general civility of the two threads (with a notable exception, but hey).   I think you have a terrific community here, and I’ve learned a lot from the other members, here.

    I’m unaware of another political / policy  blog that has the diversity of outlooks that this one has, or such a wide variety of intelligent, articulate, and non-dogmatic commenters.    (I’m still trying to figure out how the core group manages to find all the time for dialog).

    So thank you all, and keep it up.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Golf clap for all involved.Report

  4. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Would that it were generally accepted that being pro-choice or pro-life are each positions that moral and rational person can take!Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      You know Rose, I actually disagree with that on principle. I actually think that the uniqueness thesis is true: For any given set of evidence E with respect to a proposition P, there is onlly one level of credence C which counts as most reasonable/rational/epistemicallly warranted. (which is why people agreeing to disagree really gets me itching to write long boring posts on epistemology)Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Every person is a world, filled with a constellation of thoughts and dreams.

        Is it really so strange that we aren’t alike?

        Agreeing to disagree is saying “I still think you’re alright, even though we really think differently”

        We think differently because we Are different.

         

        Unless you think everyone’s a snake, speaking with forked tongue — there might be, someone out there, it is true, who might come to two dramatically different conclusions — and have them both be right.

        But far more people are the cat, caught between two mice, who lets them both run away…Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

        To borrow the example from William James (on a different matter): what about a walk home that involves two possible paths, each with no distinguishable aesthetic benefits over the other, each the same distance, etc. is there no case where there is insufficient evidence to determine one option as epistemically/rationally warranted?

        Even if the uniqueness thesis is true, and it may well be (epistemology is not my forte), I’m not sure that I have access to C.  I do think there are better arguments than others. But given that there are many people I respect who, using arguments that are not obviously unsound, disagree with me, I prefer to have some humility on the issue.

        Curious: what do you think of Clifford on evidentialism? Do you think it’s *morally* wrong to believe something for which there is no evidence?Report

        • Avatar Murali says:

          what about a walk home that involves two possible paths, each with no distinguishable aesthetic benefits over the other, each the same distance, etc. is there no case where there is insufficient evidence to determine one option as epistemically/rationally warranted

          If both positions seem equally warranted given my current evidence, then I should be indifferent between them i.e. my credence levels should be at 50%. If I think P has slightly better evidence going for it, my credence levels should similarly increase proportionate to the strength of the evidence. What the uniqueness thesis basically says is hat there is a fact of the matter as to how strong a piece of evidence is with respect to a particular proposition.

          I prefer to have some humility on the issue.

          As mentioned above, having humility on the issue does not mean that we should just agree to disagree. Rather, humility on the issue requires us to moderate our credences.If we were previously agnostic between P and ~P and a lot of people whose views I respected believed P very strongly, I would have to adjust my credence of P upwards significantly.

          Do you think it’s *morally* wrong to believe something for which there is no evidence?

          Only as a kind of instrumental duty. If we are to get a proper assesment of what the right thing to do is, we need to know what the right thing to aim at is and we need to know what is the best way to achieve that aim. For example, if I wanted to do the right thing, I would need to know whether doing the right thing involved helping people. I would also need to know what kinds of actions would actually help people. So, we do have second order moral duties to improve our empirical and moral understanding. (at least in certain domains related to our first order duties)  And it also seems reasonable to suppose that I do a better job of improving my empirical and moral understanding if I believe things for which there is evidence and avoid belieng things for which there is no evidence. So clearly there are cases where I could do better, morally speaking, if I didnt believe without sufficient evidence. However, it certainly doesnt follow that there is anything morally problematic about being a creationist even in the context of the current wealth of evidence against intelligent design. We fail as truth seekers, but it is not clear if there is some sui generis duty to be truth seekers.

          Of course, it may still be a good idea to cultivate the disposition to believe only when the evidence warrants said belief so that we do believe appropriately when it does matter with regards to the execution of our moral duties.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        (which is why people agreeing to disagree really gets me itching to write long boring posts on epistemology)Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Well that didn’t work out very well. There was a whole comment attached which is now floating aimlessly in cyberspace. The short and dirty of it, however, was this: I encourage you to write that post.Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        “(which is why people agreeing to disagree really gets me itching to write long boring posts on epistemology)”

        When people say this, they are usually simply saying that they are going to stop arguing.  Agreeing to disagree means accepting another’s position as equally valid but contrary to your own.  This happens much more rarely than that phrase is actually uttered.Report

      • Avatar rexknobus says:

        Moral Rational Person #1 — Human life begins at conception. Therefore, at all stages of gestation (no matter where that gestation is occurring – womb or petri dish) that is a human being in there. Therefore, to purposefully end its life is murder. Emotional add-on — it’s an innocent baby.

        Moral Rational Person #2 — When human life actually begins is up in the air. Not as early as conception; not as late as birth. Also, the entity in question slowly approaches its humanity in the confines of a woman’s body. Therefore, the woman has, at the beginning of the process, a great deal of leeway in dealing with the situation. That leeway diminishes as we approach birth, but for many weeks there the woman’s decision is paramount, overriding the concerns of what it is her womb. Emotional add-on — it’s my body, keep your (religious, patriarchal, objectifying) opinions to yourself. If I want the baby, I will not smoke or drink for a while; if I don’t want the baby, I have the right to go to the clinic.

        Moral Rational Person #3 — Human life begins at conception, however, human life is not sacred; we all rate it on a gray scale. Under some circumstances (largely determined by each individual) it is acceptable, perhaps even desirable, to kill other human beings. Under other circumstances (largely determined by each individual) some human beings are declared much more valuable and thus killing them is much more abhorrent.

        Personally, I have absolutely no problem seeing moral and rational people adopting any one of those notions. Demonizing one’s opponents is a sad, but effective, tactic.Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          I believe that what Murali is telling us is that he is a moral cognitivist, and therefore he believes that moral beliefs have truth values, and furthermore that these values can be known. I’m not sure it makes sense to say that a rational person either knows those values or remains agnostic, particularly when what is at issue is a pressing moral question for which remaining agnostic is as problematic as making a choice without complete knowledge. It stands to reason, then, that even for a cognitivist it is possible to be rational and wrong, and therefore it is possible for two rational people to disagree on a pressing moral question.Report

  5. Avatar Will H. says:

    Sorry, Mike, but I’m all aborted out.

    One thing I did want to make note of though regarding access:
    New Mexico’s largest cities are: Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and Roswell, in that order. From there, you get into towns of less that 50,000.
    From where I’m from, it’s not unordinary to drive to Lubbock or Midland if you need to see a specialist.
    But then, I’ve lived in places where it was a 5 mile drive to pick up the mail.
    The thing is that distance measures are elastic in determining ease of access.
    People in rural areas are well aware that they need to drive a bit to get somewhere.Report