Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Determinism

Leftism and Determinism Part II

Yesterday I made the argument that core of the modern left’s political philosophy, that all people are worthy of equal concern, is reliant on determinism. I pointed out that this means that determinism is not merely an innocuous plaything for armchair philosophers, but a substantive moral position in its own right. This obliges us to take it out of its philosophical box and bring our worldview into consistency with it. I then posed two questions, which I intend to attempt to answer today:

  1. What other elements of our philosophy do we have to bring into consistency with determinism?
  2. Does determinism necessarily leave us with a bleak or depressing account of life?

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Leftism and Determinism Part I

A thought occurred to me today–it is impossible to be a leftist without also being a determinist. Here’s why.

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A Critique of Autonomy

If this appears to be “moral philosophy week”, bear with me–I just keep having interesting conversations on the subject. On a couple occasions this week, the topic of autonomy has come up, usually as a principle to contrast with my favoured principle, utility. It is said that when we prioritise what is useful, we invariably use other people as means to ends, and in so doing violate their autonomy, which deontologically held to be sacrosanct and inviolate. While I have made arguments concerning “using people” in the past, I find myself ultimately dissatisfied with the contractualist appeal I have often resorted to (i.e. that rational people in a Rawlsian original position would agree to be used from time to time for the benefit of others on condition that everyone else agreed to be used from time to time as well). What I would like to do is refute the value of autonomy more totally, and, thanks to an idea I had late last night, I think I am in a position to do it.

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David Hume and God

Recently I have found myself reading 18th century Scottish David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, in which Hume sets down his ideas concerning how he believes man reasons, thinks, and understands. In this book, I came across a very interesting argument which I feel well worth examining and discussing–Hume’s argument concerning the nature of god.

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A Reaction to Peter Hitchens: Democracy, Drugs, and Free Will

Yesterday evening the university was visited by Peter Hitchens, columnist for the Daily Mail, ardent conservative, and brother to the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens. You can read his blog here. Peter Hitchens exceeded my intellectual expectations and impressed me. He was thoughtful, clever, articulate, and even admitted to not always being thoroughly pleased with the content of the paper for which he writes. I even found myself agreeing with Hitchens in one quite notable, and though I disagree with many of his other positions, the nature of our disagreement was not quite what I expected either. Today I would like to discuss to views and opinions of Peter Hitchens, where I agree with him, where I disagree, and the reasoning behind each.

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