Secular Right | Reality & Reason

May/09

26

Supersense

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After reading this Michael Shermer piece I went to Amazon and looked up Bruce Hood’s book Supersense.  Amazon has posted an engaging little short video of Hood talking about his book — engaging enough, at any rate, that I momentarily forgot that I am poor as a church mouse (on this site, I guess that should be a humanist-discussion-group-meeting-house mouse), my children are hungry, etc., etc., and shelled out twenty bucks for Bruce’s book. It better be good.

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9 comments

  • RichardOn · May 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Interesting site, but much advertisments on him. Shall read as subscription, rss.

  • Brandon · May 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    So I am trying to understand what this site is all about. I gather a group of athiest materialists talk about…..the superiority of athiesm and materialism. I am not sure why you call yourselves conservative. Conservatism should at the least apply some kind of metaphysics. Platonic, Aristotelian, something. Schopenhauer says that any great man must believe in a system of metaphysics. This knowledge is the only way to lead ordered lives and societies. Read Rene Guenon. Read Schopenhauer. Read Plato for gods sake. I get it. You guys think evagelicals are dumb. OK. Cool. They are pretty stupid. They have zeal for unprovable ideas. Don’t we all.

  • Ivan Karamazov · May 27, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Brandon :

    Brandon

    So I am trying to understand what this site is all about. I gather a group of athiest materialists talk about…..the superiority of athiesm and materialism. I am not sure why you call yourselves conservative. Conservatism should at the least apply some kind of metaphysics. Platonic, Aristotelian, something. Schopenhauer says that any great man must believe in a system of metaphysics. This knowledge is the only way to lead ordered lives and societies. Read Rene Guenon. Read Schopenhauer. Read Plato for gods sake. I get it. You guys think evagelicals are dumb. OK. Cool. They are pretty stupid. They have zeal for unprovable ideas. Don’t we all.

    Not sure you’re doing justice to the essence of Schopenhauer. He was an atheist, of course, and took philosophy right up to the edge of the knowable “abyss”, but then said ( anticipating Wittgenstein, it seems ) that, about all the rest we can say and know, nothing. Plato was very wrong in his “Ideas”. Schopenhauer tried to “rescue” the concept, but came up lacking there too. If only Darwin had preceded or been contemporary with Schopenhauer. Now THAT would have produced something quite wonderful.

  • Ivan Karamazov · May 27, 2009 at 5:17 am

    BTW, what I wrote about Schopenhauer and Darwin reminds me of a “thought experiment” that I think is fun to contemplate. Try to imagine two historical figures that, if they had met and collaborated ( ignore the language issue ), something very beneficial to Man’s knowledge would likely have resulted – much greater than the sum of their individual life-time contributions. Schopenhauer and Darwin might be my favorite combination, but there are certainly many others, in other fields.

  • Author comment by Bradlaugh · May 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Well, the others can speak for themselves, #2. I call myself conservative because I prefer less government to more, think capitalism superior to socialism, believe in the principle of subsidiarity (i.e. that when a political function can be performed by some lesser, more local, authority, it should be), mistrust grand schemes for social improvement, favor established & well-tried ways of doing things, and value liberty higher than equality.

    What should I call myself? And why do I have to read a shelf of metaphysics before I can have an opinion about anything? Metaphysics is boring.

  • Caledonian · May 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Conservatism should at the least apply some kind of metaphysics.

    Does the absence of metaphysics count? Because we have a lot of that.

    Reality check: philosophical wankery doesn’t constrain what people believe, philosophical wankery is what people come up with when they want to generate a model of why they believe things and do a terrible job of it.

    Theory comes long after practice, and it only justifies practice to the degree that it’s useful. ‘Metaphysics’ is not useful.

  • TrueNorth · May 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book, Derb. It reminded me of an fascinating TED lecture I watched recently where Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist, discusses the irrationality exhibited by people when they try to judge the relative benefits of different options.  One example he gives is an experiment where doctors are told that a patient they sent for hip surgery might possibly benefit from a drug he forgot to try on them.  Most of the doctors cancel the surgery and try the patient on the drug.  However, if you tell them that they forgot to try two different drugs on the patient, the majority now decide to go ahead with the surgery anyway, which makes no sense whatsoever.  It is an interesting subject and Ariely is an entertaining talker.Are we in control of our decisions?

  • Tony · May 27, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I read metaphysics occasionally, but I haven’t been able to take it too seriously since college. It was then that I became disillusioned with how unencumbered by evidence most philosophy is. Of course, when philosophers discipline themselves to accommodate evidence, they transform into scientists.

  • Tony · May 27, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Brandon, it’s a mistake to suppose that evagelicals [sic] are stupid. They may be wrong, but a lot of bright people can entertain weird ideas, sometimes because their intellectual capacity enables them to rationalize bizarre propositions (e.g. that the industrial revolution destroyed civilization). Our capacity for compartmentalization also enables us to believe strange things despite being intelligent.

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