The Popper/Oakeshott letters

People who are interested or perplexed by  Michael Oakeshott’s position on reason and rationality may find some illumination in this exchange of letters between Popper and Oakeshott after Popper published a lecture that was in part a response to Oakeshott’s signature essay. Popper Oakeshott letters

People with less nerdish interests will be interested to learn that the philosopher was a fan of the turf.  The blurb on his book How to pick a winner of the Derby  describes it as a light-hearted manual… However, as the tongue-in-cheek title suggested, there is more to the book than meets the eye, especially as one of the young dons went on to become, according to his 1990 Telegraph obituary, ‘the greatest political philosopher in the Anglo-Saxon tradition since Mill – or even Burke’.

The story in The New Statesman….

In 1920, an anonymous article appeared in the New Statesman under the headline “The intellectual side of horse racing”. The headline borders on euphemism, because the real subject is gambling. The serious gambler, the piece argued, relied on a sophisticated set of intellectual tools: “. . . a position somewhere between the extremes of Calvinism and Epicureanism. He worships neither certainty nor chance. He reckons up probabilities.” The ideal tipster, the author continued, “would at once be a great historian, a great antiquary, a great zoologist, a great mathematician, and a man of profound common-sense”.

One of its readers qualified under at least two of those criteria, for the article (by the Irish intellectual Robert Lynd) probably inspired the conservative philosopher ­Michael Oakeshott to explore the theme at book length. In 1936, Oakeshott co-wrote A Guide to the Classics: or How to Pick the Derby Winner. His book, like the New Statesman article, was wry and amused. The mischief extended to the title, which made it possible for schoolchildren “to learn something really worth knowing while keeping out of trouble by appearing to study the civilisation of antiquity”.

Oakeshott, who had published the den­sely argued Experience and its Modes in 1933, clearly enjoyed the change of key – like a composer gleefully writing a jaunty comic opera after years immersed in a serious work. But the light, irreverent tone can be misleading. A Guide to the Classics, which Oakeshott co-authored with a fellow Cambridge don, Guy Griffith, still has much to teach anyone trying to understand the art of picking winners in sport today.

Although the specifics have dated, the ­intellectual disposition is more relevant than ever, especially as sport is experiencing a revolution driven by data analytics. All decision-making in sport (not just gambling, but also recruitment and selection by coaches) hinges on probability. Oakeshott’s second chapter – to what extent does past form determine future performance? – now preoccupies sport’s cleverest thinkers and mathematicians.

Oakeshott rejects the notion of a perfect model, arguing that the form book is always incomplete and knowledge is always imperfect. There is a limit, he wrote in a later piece, “beyond which there are no precise rules for picking the winner, and . . . some intelligence (not supplied by the rules themselves) [is] necessary”. The shrewd judge of sport cannot just plug data into a model; he must also have an imagination – “the imagination that can help to reconstruct something that has really happened, from evidence that is not complete”. A mind trained to understand history, Oakeshott is saying, is more useful in picking winners than a whizzy maths model.

What is this quality that underpins a historian’s disposition? The answer is judgement. Oakeshott had just explored the theme in Experience and its Modes: “It is impossible to exclude criticism from history, and where there is criticism there is judgement. Before a ‘recorded’ event becomes an ‘historical’ event, a judgement must have been interposed.”

It is a timely message, not only for history but also for sport, which has often forgotten the primacy of judgement. In recent years, especially in the scientific afterglow of Moneyball, it seemed that numbers alone held all the answers. And I remain quite certain that data analytics will continue to provide insights into how matches are won and which players are more likely to succeed.

The more we know about data in sport, the more the Oakeshott position – confidence in good judgement rather than scientific “proof” – gains strength. Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team, is a leading exponent of data analytics. Yet he is in the vanguard of a new, subtler understanding of the relationship between data and judgement. The quality of the mind interpreting the theory is as important as the theory, Morey argues. “You have to figure out what the model is good and bad at, and what humans are good and bad at.” No model can deliver results without a wise, shaping intellect: all theories need to be marshalled by judgement.

A Guide to the Classics is republished on 3 June, with two excellent additions – a new foreword by Peter Oborne and a preface by Sean Magee – just as Oakeshott’s ideas are making a quiet resurgence in professional politics. The introduction to the Conservative Party’s election manifesto echoes some important paragraphs from his celebrated essay “On Being Conservative”.

That influence should extend to modern sport. Oakeshott’s ideas on racing provide a case for the value and usefulness of the humanities – inexact but wise, sceptical but informed by deep knowledge.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Niall Ferguson wrote that if failed banks had known more history and less maths, they wouldn’t have gone bust. In the same way, “sports science” has enjoyed an extended boom. To guide its new insights and temper its excesses, however, I’d now put a good wager on the value of “sports humanities”.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to The Popper/Oakeshott letters

  1. Rafe Champion

    Oakeshott’s rebuke to the climate loonies.

    Secondly, while Utopianism is the great enemy of reason, I shall regard also as an enemy that modified form of Utopianism which picks at one problem of society at a given moment & is prepared to upset the whole of the society in order to get that one problem solved.

    Popper. Apart, perhaps, from some minor terminological differences, I can agree with every word you say in your very interesting letter. I fully agree with you that no problem is solved permanently; I should even put it this way: no problem in politics can be solved without creating a new one. And I am very ready to accept your delightful formula that a politics of conversation should replace my politics of argumentation.

  2. Sports science, breeding and related fandangled stuff is all fine for some sports but they fail and fail miserably when applied to sports that involve heavy physical contact.
    It doesn’t matter if your daddy, grand-daddy and great grand-daddy were all champion boxers if you are a little on the timid side when a punch hits you in the face.
    As Mike Tyson said, they all have a plan until they get punched. He might as well have said sports science is good’n all until you get punched in the face. Intimidation matters.

    As for thoroughbreds, they’ve just about reached their breeding limits. Every single thoroughbred can be traced backed to just 4 stallions. EVERY ONE OF THEM.
    That’s why running times over the last 50 years haven’t improved much at all.

  3. cohenite

    This post was a tremendous disappointment to me: I thought the Oakeshott in question was this guy.

  4. Iampeter

    Not really familiar with Oakeshott but if this is a good example of his “thinking:”

    Secondly, while Utopianism is the great enemy of reason, I shall regard also as an enemy that modified form of Utopianism which picks at one problem of society at a given moment & is prepared to upset the whole of the society in order to get that one problem solved.

    …then I’m not super impressed. Utopianism isn’t an enemy of reason. Mysticism is the enemy of reason.
    It’s like he’s making a weird category error, but mostly this shows that he doesn’t think in terms of fundamentals and so is not a clear thinker. That’s kinda a show stopping problem for being a “philosopher.”

    Popper though, is a disaster. He is an anti-enlightenment and anti-reason, advocate of confused mysticism, very similar to Kant but focused on the sciences. We largely have him to thank for the climate loonies as his half baked ideas have done enormous damage to scientific thinking.
    Thanks to Popper no one has the thinking skills to dismiss nonsense ideas on the fundamentals and instead everyone is arguing irrelevant stats past each other, when there’s no argument to be had since the premise of CAGW itself is unsound.
    Thanks Popper!

    Also stuff like this doesn’t speak well:

    ‘the greatest political philosopher in the Anglo-Saxon tradition since Mill – or even Burke’.

    Burke was awful. If he had been alive in the 20th century he would’ve been one of the more incoherent members of the Nazi Party.
    When people think of someone like Burke as “greatest political philosopher in the Anglo-Saxon tradition” then I would question whether these people should be commenting on this stuff.
    These are the same kind of people that put loons like Jordan Peterson on a pedestal.

  5. Leo G

    Utopianism isn’t an enemy of reason. Mysticism is the enemy of reason.

    Your perception of truths transcends ordinary understanding.

  6. Tim Neilson

    Iampeter
    #3463629, posted on May 25, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    I am well aware of your fanatical opposition to Popper’s idea that dogmatic absolutist generalisations can be disproved by concrete specific examples, but what exactly is the “mysticism” of which you accuse him?
    Is is just because he considered that we may not be able to ascertain absolute truth and therefore understood that much human reasoning must, as a practical matter, be done on the understanding that our premises may be falsified?

  7. Tim Neilson

    Burke was awful. If he had been alive in the 20th century he would’ve been one of the more incoherent members of the Nazi Party.

    This is exactly right! Like when he stood up for the rights of the colonists in America against the central government…

    Oh, wait…

  8. Tim Neilson

    Utopianism isn’t an enemy of reason.

    Says the commenter who insists that foreigners have the right to come into a sovereign state, and runs and hides under the bed when someone asks for a coherent theory of why a government is justified in refusing admission to a foreigner who is carrying a highly infectious and lethal disease.

  9. dover_beach

    Not really familiar with Oakeshott

    What you mean to say is’ Not familar at all with Oakeshott’.

  10. dover_beach

    Burke was awful. If he had been alive in the 20th century he would’ve been one of the more incoherent members of the Nazi Party.

    So in supporting the thirteen colonies and their grievances against the Crown, in opposing the Revolution in France, in opposing the worst aspects of British dominion in India, in particular the predations of the East India Company, and in opposing slavery, Burke manifested that he was a proto-Nazi? You really are a damn fool, and a deceitful one at that.

  11. Iampeter

    I am well aware of your fanatical opposition to Popper’s idea that dogmatic absolutist generalisations can be disproved by concrete specific examples, but what exactly is the “mysticism” of which you accuse him?

    I don’t think you understand my opposition to Popper because you don’t understand that contradictions are a show stopping problem and don’t even notice them.
    But to answer your question, I just use the term “mystic” to describe anyone who rejects reason.

    Is is just because he considered that we may not be able to ascertain absolute truth and therefore understood that much human reasoning must, as a practical matter, be done on the understanding that our premises may be falsified?

    Well, that’s a perfect example of the contradictory gobbledygook that demonstrates how irrational Popper was and why I call him a mystic.
    For example, if you can’t know anything for certain, then how are going to falsify anything?
    Popper’s “ideas” are just non-starters.
    I can see why you might like him!

    …Burke manifested that he was a proto-Nazi?

    He would be an incoherent proto-Nazi and the reason for that is his overall position was an elaborate appeal to authority, for individuals to be sacrificed to a greater good, a rejection of reason and the Enlightenment, etc. He just wanted a good ol’ strong state centrally telling everyone what to do. In other words, proto-Nazi.

    The fact that he supported the American Revolution was an example of his total confusion about these subjects and hence, “incoherent proto-Nazi.”

    To be perfectly clear, guys like Popper and Burke aren’t merely wrong and I don’t merely disagree with them.
    They are guys who don’t know anything.

  12. Tim Neilson

    I said Is is just because he considered that we may not be able to ascertain absolute truth and therefore understood that much human reasoning must, as a practical matter, be done on the understanding that our premises may be falsified?

    Iamashiteater said For example, if you can’t know anything for certain, then how are going to falsify anything?

    Poor old comprehension fail.

  13. Tim Neilson

    This thread showcases one of Iamashiteater’s most pronounced mental deficiencies – his inability to comprehend anything except cartoon like binary absolutisms.

    See above, where my post about “much” human reasoning maybe being subject to falsification is met with a response “.. if you can’t know anything for certain…”.
    He’s simply unable to grasp any proposition that isn’t expressed in absolute terms, so he misunderstands it as some absolutist figment of his own imagination.
    (Never mind, in any case, that the question of whether any human knowledge is reliable is one which has occupied many outstanding minds over the centuries.)

    See also his statement that Burke was awful. If he had been alive in the 20th century he would’ve been one of the more incoherent members of the Nazi Party. Never mind that Winston Churchill was a great admirer of Burke’s thinking – I suppose we’ll just have to dismiss Winston as an incoherent incipient Nazi as well.
    (Never mind also that one of Burke’s reasons for being suspicious of democracy was that minorities required protection from absolute majority rule – just equate his views with Nazism.)

    Note also his statement that Mysticism is the enemy of reason, followed by the insight that I just use the term “mystic” to describe anyone who rejects reason. Not a hint of tautology or circular reasoning in that special effort.

    We’re then treated to: To be perfectly clear, guys like Popper and Burke aren’t merely wrong and I don’t merely disagree with them.
    They are guys who don’t know anything.

    I’ll leave the reply to Edmund Burke:

    Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

  14. dover_beach

    He just wanted a good ol’ strong state centrally telling everyone what to do.

    It’s always a parade of ignorance with you. Burke is famous for supporting civil society (family, clubs, societies, and the like) and it’s affinity to the principle of subsidiarity that is inimical to a strong centralised state.

  15. Iampeter

    I said Is is just because he considered that we may not be able to ascertain absolute truth and therefore understood that much human reasoning must, as a practical matter, be done on the understanding that our premises may be falsified?

    Iamashiteater said For example, if you can’t know anything for certain, then how are going to falsify anything?

    Then your post #3463790 was pointless.

    It’s always a parade of ignorance with you. Burke is famous for supporting civil society (family, clubs, societies, and the like) and it’s affinity to the principle of subsidiarity that is inimical to a strong centralised state.

    Collectivism, which dishonest people like you fool themselves by pretending to appeal to “families, clubs, societies and the like,” anything but the individual and his rights because you don’t care about those, is the basis for a strong central state. Not inimical to it.

    Civil society, on the other hand, is based on individual rights and rights-protecting government. Concepts neither Burke, nor you, know anything about nor support.

    You basically know absolutely nothing about any of these topics and your total lack of self awareness and projection is highly entertaining. It’s like watching the cringe humor of the Office.

  16. Iampeter

    Edit: @Tim, I meant your post #3463646 is pointless.

  17. Tim Neilson

    I said Is is just because he considered that we may not be able to ascertain absolute truth and therefore understood that much human reasoning must, as a practical matter, be done on the understanding that our premises may be falsified?

    Iamashiteater said For example, if you can’t know anything for certain, then how are going to falsify anything?

    Then your post [#3463646] was pointless.

    This must be your lamest effort yet.
    Quoting your own hopeless misunderstanding of my question and claiming that that’s somehow evidence that there’s something wrong with my question.
    Even by your standards of brain-damaged zero IQ self-beclownment you’ve really reached a new low.

  18. Tim Neilson

    Collectivism, which dishonest people like you fool themselves by pretending to appeal to “families, clubs, societies and the like,” anything but the individual and his rights because you don’t care about those, is the basis for a strong central state. Not inimical to it.

    Civil society, on the other hand, is based on individual rights and rights-protecting government. Concepts neither Burke, nor you, know anything about nor support.

    Poor old zero IQ brain-damaged intellectual failure.

    Once again demonstrating his utter mental incapacity to understand that real life isn’t merely dogmatic absolutist binary abstract generalisations.

    What a pathetic imbecile!

    If Burke’s “small platoons” aren’t a bulwark against a “strong central state” why did H!tler ban Rotary Clubs?

    Cuz de Rotarians were “confused” and didn’t realise that being committed to their club meant they wuz NAZIS!!!!

  19. Tim Neilson

    Iamashiteater wants people not to play football.

    Obviously football is impossible without some sort of organisation. Football couldn’t exist if everyone rejected the idea of co-operation amongst players, umpires, timekeepers etc. The only practicable way for football to be played is to have some sort of structure through which players and others organise to meet at a particular place and time and each to assume an assigned role for the purpose of getting a game played.

    No matter how informal it might be, it is a football club. (Normally football is conducted between a number of clubs co-operating through a league structure, but one could envisage football being conducted via intra-club matches within one club only.)

    But Iamashiteater tells us that clubs are “collectivist”, and thus the basis for a strong central state, which is the same as being an incoherent [email protected]

    For similar reasons, Iamashiteater is opposed to all sporting clubs, and also to orchestras, choirs, theatrical groups, rock bands, etc.

  20. pbw

    The art of the troll is to occasionally throw in something interesting.

    For example, this is an interesting point.

    if you can’t know anything for certain, then how are going to falsify anything?

  21. Iampeter

    @pbw, one of the more hilarious aspects of reading the Cat is the suggestion that I’m the one that’s trolling, along with the fact that people like Tim actually aren’t trolling at all and are in fact being perfectly serious.

    You can’t make pay for this kind of content.

  22. dover_beach

    Shorter IamMengele: “families, clubs, societies, and the like, are proto-Nazi institutions”.

  23. Iampeter

    Shorter IamMengele: “families, clubs, societies, and the like, are proto-Nazi institutions”.

    No, collectivism is the basis for Nazism.
    You are pro-collectivism, not “families, clubs and societies.”

  24. dover_beach

    No, collectivism is the basis for Nazism.
    You are pro-collectivism, not “families, clubs and societies.”

    I informed you about Burke’s famous defense of ‘little platoons’, i.e. families, clubs, societies, and the like, as a bulwark against an overbearing state when you accused him of being a proto-Nazi, and then you accused anyone that mentions such intermediary associations as collectivists-in-hiding.

    You are a dishonest and ignorant clown from go to woe, IamMengele.

  25. Iampeter

    I informed you about Burke’s famous defense of ‘little platoons’, i.e. families, clubs, societies, and the like, as a bulwark against an overbearing state when you accused him of being a proto-Nazi

    Yes and I addressed this in post #3464177:

    Collectivism, which dishonest people like you fool themselves by pretending to appeal to “families, clubs, societies and the like,” anything but the individual and his rights because you don’t care about those, is the basis for a strong central state. Not inimical to it.

    Civil society, on the other hand, is based on individual rights and rights-protecting government. Concepts neither Burke, nor you, know anything about nor support.

    In other words, Burke supported an overbearing state, he rejected individual rights and the fact that he said nice things about families has nothing to do with it.
    The fact that he thought families could act as a bulwark against the state, or something, is an example of his political illiteracy. Hence, incoherent Nazi. Politics isn’t about families and that term doesn’t need to come up in political discussions unless you’re a collectivist who doesn’t know anything about politics.
    And so it is with you.

    You are a dishonest and ignorant clown from go to woe, IamMengele.

    Um, you’re the one trying to discuss topics you know nothing about, with a pretentious and rude tone, lacking in any self awareness. That means you’re just describing yourself and you know it.

  26. dover_beach

    You haven’t addressed anything at all, IamMengele. You’re completely ignorant of Burke’s writings. You accused him hysterically of being a ‘proto-Nazi’ without any foundation. You haven’t pointed to any of his writings that even hint at his being a promoter as a parliamentarian or writer of a strong, centralized state. You waved away his support of the thirteen colonies, his opposition to the revolution in France and his warning of its totalitarian character, his opposition to British policy in India and the role of the East India Company and the polizeistaat that was emerging, and so on. In fact, you laughably claimed that this reflected the incoherence of his position, even though you firstly never demonstrated any promotion of a strong, centralized state in his thought, and secondly, because the list provided itself demonstrates a coherence in his political thought that you could only dream of yourself, given that you believe nothing, being largely, an empty vessel.

  27. Iampeter

    You accused him hysterically of being a ‘proto-Nazi’ without any foundation.

    I explained this point numerous times, even again in the post you’re responding to.
    You haven’t understood the response because you don’t know anything about politics.
    Now you’re bringing up even more random nonsense that doesn’t change anything and doesn’t address what I’m saying, because you don’t know how to address it.

    Basically I’m saying nothing more complicated than: Burke opposed individual rights and was therefore supporting totalitarianism, whether he understood it or not.
    Your responses like, but…but…er…he said positive things about families, or something, doesn’t have anything to do with it.

  28. Rex Anger

    Petey, I agree that you are absolutely right. None of us know anything about politics as you choose to define it. And trying to point out your definitions at least appear to be at variance with both history and demonstrated, lived reality is really disturbing all of us.

    In fact, as a classical liberal who seeks to observe and even enforce the rights and freedoms of the individual to live their life as they see fit, you are living your philosophy. Kudos to you.

    …It’s just a shame you’re so insufferable and contemptuous about it. Like a vegan cycling enthusiast named Karen.

  29. dover_beach

    I explained this point numerous times, even again in the post you’re responding to.

    Dear oh dear. Not only is this not the case, you, again, repeat the claim about Burke, that he opposed individual rights, without any foundation. Not a single reference. You are almost as lazy as you are ignorant. Even a buffoon makes the barest of effort to inform himself when schooled but your pride betrays you, again.

  30. Iampeter

    Petey, I agree that you are absolutely right. None of us know anything about politics as you choose to define it.

    I’m sure if there was something wrong with my definition it would’ve been the first thing one of you would’ve picked up on by now. Who are you kidding with these kinds of responses?

    …It’s just a shame you’re so insufferable and contemptuous about it. Like a vegan cycling enthusiast named Karen.

    Yea, I’m the one being insufferable and contemptuous.
    I think if you guys spent as much time actually learning about the topics you’re pretending to talk about as you do trying to save face and project, you might actually not need to pretend anymore.

    Not a single reference. You are almost as lazy as you are ignorant.

    Yea because you haven’t spent all thread missing the substance of the discussion, going off on random tangents about what Burke said on anything except what’s actually fundamental, because you don’t even know what is fundamental to these discussions.

    You’ve demonstrated that even if you ever read Burke, you don’t know what to look for anyway and have no idea how to work out what he was saying about politics. It would’ve been a waste time for you.

    The fact that you don’t know that Burke is famously anti-Lockean rights and anti-reason, that he said freedom isn’t about the individual but about the “social” and so on, is perfectly consistent with you not knowing anything else either.

  31. Rex Anger

    That’s fine Peter.

    I have come to firmly believe that you are not attempting to prove us wrong, but convince yourself that you are right. Telling your fellow Cats we know nothing and disparaging us when we disagree with you and counter your claims proves neither your rightness nor our wrongness.

    If you want us to tell you you are right, you are doomed to fail. No human being ever will. And the more you insult us, the more we dig in. It works both ways you know.

    If you are not sure you are right, you research and modify your stance until you feel you have it right.

    And if you are convinced you are right, then there is no need to tell us all about it and how wrong we all are in turn. Then complain that you’re being targeted and respond to every challenge with ever more verbose and snarky versions of “No, U!” Don’t waste your time on us, and just carry on. We’ll either ‘get it’ in the end, or you simply don’t bother responding any more.

  32. Iampeter

    @Rex Anger, everything in your embarrassing post is describing you and many others here, not me.
    As usual.

  33. Rex Anger

    No, U!

    (See, I can do it too! And with less letters! And it’s just as mindless and obnoxious!)

  34. Iampeter

    So, you’re going to keep doing the very thing you were trying to accuse me of doing? No one saw that coming.

    Hey remember in the previous thread when you said that politics is too confusing for anyone to know anything for sure, because the human mind is just too complex or something?
    And you presented it as an argument.

    You’re exactly what this thread has been missing!

  35. dover_beach

    Rand on Locke:

    Locke was disastrous. He departed from Aristotle and denied that we can perceive reality. In this respect, he opened the gate to a lot of trouble from modern philosophers.

    You would know this if you were familiar with Lockean scholarship. Locke’s skepticism undermines his position on rights and reason. By the time we get to Hume, not a century later, we get,

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.

  36. JC

    You haven’t understood the response because you don’t know anything about politics.

    There she blows.

  37. Rex Anger

    Hey remember in the previous thread when you said that politics is too confusing for anyone to know anything for sure, because the human mind is just too complex or something?
    And you presented it as an argument.

    You’re exactly what this thread has been missing!

    Incorrect Petey. I said I did not need to know the textbook definition of philosophical thought -isms to know that your statements are full of crap. Furthermore, I suggested that a ‘textbook’ definition of a given strain of thought might not be accurate or possible, given the infinite complexity of human thought.

    Take your own fascinations with and recitations of the ideas of John Locke. Given the facts that:

    1) The man himself was a Christian, and all his writings on natural law, the rights of man, how governments work and interact with the people, etc. were firmly based on his faith and relationship with a Creator God, whom Locke believed bestowed Reason on His creation;

    2) You yourself have repeatedly claimed on the Cat that Christianity is a leftist, collectivist, murderous ideology that is anti-Western;

    3) You consider that any religion or system of mysticism is dangerous and irrational;

    4) You consider yourself to be a classical liberal following Locke’s ideas of individual rights, etc.;

    Combining your previous arguments and the facts presented above, it turns out your personal philosophy’s key thought-figure is in fact an irrational leftist, basing his thoughts and ideals on a leftist, collectivist, murderous and anti-Western ideology. Furthermore, he combines this with a dangerous irrationalism. Based on your repeated denunciations (and implied detestation) of anything you deem ‘leftist’ or irrational, should you not be reconsidering your stance entirely?

    If not (which I will assume will be your stance when you next hurl a “No, U!” in my general direction), then your Lockean-inspired classic liberalism is not as per the exact and correct textbook definition. You have picked and chosen of all his ideas what you deem to be satisfactory for yourself. Hence my argument that the complexity (and we now add inherent contradictions) of human thought makes a concrete definition of any -ism difficult to develop. And any disparaging reply you may make from this point only confirms my argument.

    To sum up: If you are going to misquote me, at least do it correctly by maliciously half-quoting only what you need to fling back at me as part of your “No, U!” Don’t invent something else entirely. Silly Petey.

  38. Rex Anger

    @Rex Anger, everything in your embarrassing post is describing you and many others here, not me.
    As usual.

    Petey is the only man in the entire parade who is in step, and all the Sergeant Majors and their pace sticks in the world cannot demonstrate to him otherwise…

  39. Iampeter

    You would know this if you were familiar with Lockean scholarship. Locke’s skepticism undermines his position on rights and reason. By the time we get to Hume, not a century later, we get…

    What is this even addressing?

  40. dover_beach

    What is this even addressing?

    Your ignorance.

  41. dover_beach

    Again, Rand on Locke:

    Locke was disastrous.

    That is what Rand called your champion of ‘reason’. Really, fancy thinking Locke was a rationalist of any sort.
    Which is it to be, IamMengele? Locke or Rand?

  42. Iampeter

    Your ignorance.

    You continuing to miss the point of the discussion you yourself initiated is not evidence of my ignorance.

    That is what Rand called your champion of ‘reason’. Really, fancy thinking Locke was a rationalist of any sort.

    Locke isn’t my champion of reason. How did you even get onto this?

    You were trying to challenge me on Burke being a collectivist, remember?

    Let’s see, you’ve tried raising what he said about families for some reason, now you’re going off on what Rand said about Locke for some reason…

    Can’t wait to see what random new tangent you’ll try next.

    Anything to avoid facing the fact that you have no business in these discussion, taking the kind of tone you’ve taken, pretending you’re “schooling” anyone about anything.

  43. Iampeter

    Ooh, you should mention the “East India Company” again and Burke’s opinion on the Thirteen Colonies for some reason… You’re discussing politics like a big boy!

  44. dover_beach

    Locke isn’t my champion of reason. How did you even get onto this?

    Did you forget that you were claiming that Burke was a collectivist/ proto-Nazi because he opposed Lockean rights and was ‘anti-reason’. I simply pointed out that Locke’s philosophy is a disaster (Rand) for both rights and reason. By your own measure, that makes Locke a proto-Nazi too.

  45. Iampeter

    Locke certainly didn’t have a proper grasp of everything and was also still religious.
    It definitely took Rand to fix his mistakes, but he was the first to come up with political concepts like “rights” and mainstream them which was revolutionary and makes him a hero.
    This shouldn’t even need clarifying.

    In any case, this has nothing to do with the fact that Burke was explicitly against rights and the individual in favor of “society,” tradition and mindless submission to authority. Hence, proto-Nazi, like I said.
    He was the polar opposite of Locke.

    All of this also fails to explain your previous random tangents in the discussion you yourself started.

Comments are closed.