The universal permission slip
January 11, 2016 § 22 Comments
Modernity is characterized by a whole array of incoherent doctrines: liberalism, positivism, nominalism, feminism, materialism, relativism, financial anti-realism, etc.
It is technically impossible to say what a person committed to an incoherent doctrine should and should not do based on that commitment. An incoherent doctrine provides layers of intellectual rationalization for whatever the person committed to it happens to prefer — what he happens to prefer for reasons extrinsic to the doctrine. Incoherent doctrines create an illusion of being in the moral right, a structure of arguments and reasons which propose to justify whatever a person’s preferences happen to be independent of the incoherent doctrine itself.
This is a significant reason why incoherent doctrines are so popular. They make it possible to argue, at least superficially, that the good, the true, and the beautiful are equivalent to whatever preferences we happen to have. Incoherent doctrines destroy objective values and replace them with whatever our preferences happen to be.
Now sometimes we have good preferences and sometimes we have bad or objectively disordered preferences. Rather than examining the coherence of a doctrine used to rationalize those preferences, we prefer (ahem) to characterize people who rationalize what we perceive to be bad preferences as having an inauthentic commitment to the doctrine.
Well said. You read my mind, but in my mind it was less eloquent.
[…] Because liberalism is incoherent the playoffs, I mean elections, and the political circus more generally, become all about lists of preferences: aggregations of long lists of policies, tied together by nothing more than their appeal to different market segments. […]
Quick question Zippy. Is there really such a thing as “objective values”? Values are a function of culture, time and place. Subjective.
Or did you mean to refer to immutable principles?
The good, the true, and the beautiful have an irreducibly objective aspect or modality. Modern art (e.g. Picasso’s cubism, which is just an especially skilled example of genitalia-peppered graffiti designed to express hatred of the female beauty which enslaved Picasso and which he therefore despised) is often a rebellion or attempted rebellion against the objectivity of beauty, for example.
(This rebellion often fails of course. Just as lies need some purchase in the truth to gain traction at all, ugliness needs some grounding in beauty in order to express its rebellion against beauty).
[…] Source: Zippy Catholic […]
[…] Modernity is characterized by a whole array of incoherent doctrines: liberalism, positivism, nominalism, feminism, materialism, relativism, financial anti-realism, etc. […]
And to value gold is the very worst type of anti-realism regardless of it being valued woldwide for thousands of years.
I don’t know about the worst, but if the main reason to value gold is that other people covet it – as opposed to reasons rooted in the nature of gold itself and its usefulness for some good purpose(s) – that is indeed anti-realism, whatever it’s pedigree.
Gold is used in ornaments–that is the chief use in India and other traditional countries but perhaps to be useful for you means to be useful in some industry.
The realist economics would find it hardgoing if coveting is to be factored out. How to calculate the realist value of a house in Princeton?
Making covetousness the measure of value and failing to take it into consideration at all do not exhaust all possibilities.
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