The asymmetry of appealing to authority

Almost all arguments will ultimately rely on some form of appeal to authority. If rationalists are disappointed by the insubstantiality of their own appeals, perhaps they should consider a philosophy that vindicates appeals to authority more rigorously.

Preferences are logically prior to incentive structures

If we want to say “it is immoral to try and influence people’s preferences because [insert boringly stupid Rawlsian reason here]”, then we should just say that, not pretend that the problem is far harder to solve than it actually is because we’ve restricted ourselves to assuming that everyone’s preference relation is purely self-interested and we just have to fix incentives to counter that.

The atomised-individual dynamic

Karen Stenner’s The Authoritarian Dynamic is a seminal collection of evidence on when and how authoritarianism affects polities, but the nuance that she offers above and beyond previous investigations into authoritarianism begins to invite questions about whether it is “authoritarians” who are truly the voters that should puzzle political psychologists.

Academia, it’s time for a schism

Oliver Traldi proposes that academia can solve its current polarisation by focussing on the epistemic justification of knowledge. I argue the schisms of Protestantism indicate this is likely to fail.

The theodicy of Dark

Dark fulfils the theodicy expressed by Dostoevsky: Evil exists because of the lies of Man, and all the suffering of innocents is preventable, but at the end “there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all human hearts”.

Why conservatives should listen to Max Richter

Let’s say you’re a conservative who has begun to worry that he or she might be in an echo chamber. All your friends post about how lefties are just SJWs, and you’re getting worried they might be simplifying things. So you want to listen to some opposing voices: where should you start? I argue: composer Max Richter.

All good societies are judgemental

Activities like casual sex that were formerly prohibited by norms were prohibited in the first instance precisely because of how badly things can go wrong when they’re treated laissez faire. There is no tenable case where casual sex or drugs or polyamory can be completely free of judgement. They can’t ever be “just a bit of fun”.


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