A Small Thought About Academic Philosophy

 Posted by on 18 July 2002 at 11:21 am  Academia
Jul 182002

Tom Stone (of Episteme Links) sent me a thoughtful note about my blog entry about switching my focus from ethics to epistemology, pointing out some the upsides and downsides of either choice. While writing my reply, I came up with this pithy formulation:

The danger in ethics (and politics, to some degree) is that the Objectivist ideas are regarded as obviously false and evil. So we hear stupid objections like that egoism can’t be a moral theory since moral theories concern restraining self-interest or that the egoist would want everyone else to be altruists, and so on.

The danger in metaphysics and epistemology is that Objectivist ideas are regarded as passé, as already having been considered and rejected. Debates about realism in perception or about grounding knowledge in experience often take this form, even though the Objectivist view is similar to, but not the same as, those viewed discarded by history.

That’s hardly the whole story of Objectivist ideas in academia, but it is an important part, I think.

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