Re: MD When is a metaphysics not a metaphysics?

Date: Fri Feb 27 2004 - 22:00:13 GMT

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    Hey David,

    Oh, I knew you weren't being funny, I was just being flip, though, because I am quite convinced by what I've been saying. What I didn't say is that the reason I re-read my posts is because I love the sound of my voice in my head.

    The static I've been getting from people on this idea of a public/private split is, I think, because people think I'm proposing something new and/or radical, when I think most Western beneficiaries already agree to the basic idea. Like most of the philosophy I'm been expounding, I don't think its nearly a big a leap as some people are thinking. My reformulations are mainly me trying to assuage people's fears and trying to explicate what I'm saying and not saying. But, though I think most people adhere to the basic idea, I don't think people quite live out the consequences as faithfully as they could. My explications are also, then, aimed at trying to get people to live with the consequences of this idea or prepare for the consequences of the other.

    David said:
    Your point about fantasy/hope becoming reality is one I would strongly support and is obvious, what I wanted toknow was how separate do you think these things really are. I wonder if the public/private split means only that certain things cannot be discussed but carry on having big influence on the dance floor anyway, as you admit anyway, so keeping them off the dance floor, sorry senate floor, is not really much of a split in terms of what determines our political decisions, but I would agree that it stops every decision being discussed all the way down to metaphysics/religion, and practically stops a lot of going nowhere argument.

    This is exactly it. It is not a split in terms of what provides the impetus for our political decisions, it is a practical channeling of conversation so that the inquiries that are relevant to politics are not blocked.

    David said:
    But that says more about conflict and how we deal with it then some special private/public split that is out of court for some reason of non-relevance. And who is to say when/where something like metaphysics or religion does not come into play right at the heart of our political decisions.

    I've never claimed that there was anything special about the public/private distinction other than the fact that the political realm is a pool we all have our toe dipped into (I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the "private/public split" is "out of court for some reason of non-relevance"), so being able to manage that conflict is something that is relevant to all democratic citizens (unlike other kinds of conflict that are more specific).

    Asking the transcendental-authority-critical rhetorical question, "who is to say when/where something like metaphysics or religion does not come into play right at the heart of our political decisions?" doesn't make much sense to a pragmatist because the pragmatist was never suggesting that there is a "buck stops here" authority that decides such things. A community coming to intersubjective agreement on the types of things that have priority over others and the types of things that should even be on the table to be discussed is who has authority. But this is simply to say that no one really has authority. It is to say that the political process is a dynamic process, one that continually reassesses how it works as it goes along. But again, the subject of the question itself (when/where metaphysics/religion comes "into play at the heart of our political decisions") is beside the point because democratic citizens aren't concerned with the heart of your political decisions,
     with what gave you impetus to believe what you believe. They are concerned with the outcome.

    David said:
    Hey, the senate/capital floor is where we are meant to discuss our conflicts. If we keep them outside, some of that conflict will turn into war/violence and covert operations don't you think. I am for a little bit more self/common understanding and pluralism and a lot less private/public split.

    Who said "self/common understanding and pluralism" and the public/private split are mutually exclusive? I don't think they are at all. When you say "the senate/capital floor is where we are meant to discuss our conflicts," I think you are slightly wrong. Its not the place where we discuss _all_ of our conflicts, only our political conflicts, which is why we keep the religious and philosophical ones outside. I'm not saying that people shouldn't discuss religion or philosophy with other people, that they should end those dialogues and thus shut themselves off from understanding certain people. That would be bad and would lead to some nasty things. I'm saying that the Capital floor isn't the place to do it. Something like this e-mail forum is the place to do it.

    On the side note of me never changing my mind, I think that's a low blow and not really relevant. You don't really have any evidence of me not being "big on changing [my] mind." You can only take my word that I am or from my efforts in trying to understand other people. Being open to other perspectives and actually changing your perspective are two separate things. The one doesn't necessarily entail the other. You have to be convinced to really change your perspective, you can't really do it because your an open person and open people change their minds. _That's_ willy-nilly relativism that nobody but capricious hipsters indulge in. There are certain things that I'm fairly convinced of: cruelty is bad, helping people is good, reading books is good, foundationalism is bankrupt, poo doesn't taste good. Just because I'm open-minded doesn't mean I _need_ to change my mind on any of these things. It just means that I should remain open to the possibility that, e.g., poo
    might start to taste good (one of these days...).


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