Saturday, April 02, 2005

Rules of engagement

A reader has asked my opinion of a recent Adam Kotsko post on issues in paternalism and pedagogy. My response is, I think, predictably Kantian. Or Fort Kantian. And since I’m afraid I’ve been rather uncharitable to Adam, I decline to include it on my main page. Instead, my response is to be found in the comments following a recent post. Obviously, however, I am not above advertising it here.


Blogger Adam Kotsko said...

My post wasn't terribly clear, because my own thought process wasn't terribly clear. Although the examples that I gave were absurd, there is an increasing resentment of any involvement at all by outside parties representing society as a whole -- such that parents will often side with their children against teachers, etc.

I liked Bitch PhD's response to my post in which she said that we have a responsibility to help those who are inadequately socialized, in her example by simply telling children running down the aisles of a movie theater that they need to sit down and let everyone else enjoy the movie. Shame is one thing, but just plain embarrassment can catch one off guard and motivate a change in behavior.

I don't think you were particularly uncharitable.

4/02/2005 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mein Herr, I have a question. I have been rereading the Critique, or at least some amusing sections of it. One of the arguments for the synthetic a priori is that scientific rules which are not analytical, such as "every event must have a cause" could not be a posteriori. Is that true? Kant continually asserts this, but I don't think the arguments are very strong. I am sure various empiricists and inductivists have challenged this over the years, but it seems that this is still a core belief of many philosophical types, though quite unsupportable. Children obviously don't perceive causality until some experience (as Kant would probably grant). And animals or at least mammals also have some notion of cause and effect (as Skinner and others show): in a maze when rattus rattus gets it right he gets the cheese. Reinforcement and conditioning and so forth are about cause and effect: the anmial learns what things to do to be rewarded. Kant would not likely have wanted the SAP to be applicable to a rat or a dog, but perhaps you could tell me how exactly a rule about nature could be a priori...............

4/05/2005 11:05 PM  

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