Nightcap

  1. Arnold Kling likes Larry Summers! askblog
  2. A stake in the heart of capitalism Douglas J. Den Uyl, Law & Liberty
  3. Friendship in pre-war East Asia: Lu Xun and Uchiyama Kanzō Joshua Fogel, JHIBlog
  4. The irony of modern Catholic history James Chappel, Commonweal

Atomistic? Moi?

I have written a brief paper entitled ‘Hayek: Postatomic Liberal’ intended for a collection on anti-rationalist thinkers. For the time being, the draft is available from SSRN and academia.edu. Here are a couple of snippets:

Hayek offers a way of fighting the monster of Rationalism while avoiding becoming an inscrutable monster oneself. The crucial move, and in this he follows Hume, is to recognize the non-rational origins of most social institutions, but treating this neither as grounds for dismissal of those institutions as unsound, nor an excuse to retreat from reason altogether. Indeed, reason itself has non-rational, emergent origins but is nevertheless a marvelous feature of humanity. Anti-rationalist themes that appear throughout Hayek’s work include: an emphasis on learning by processes of discovery, trial and error, feedback and adaptation rather than knowing by abstract theorizing; and the notion that the internal processes by which we come to a particular belief or decision is more complex than either a scientific experimenter or our own selves in introspection can know. We are always, on some level, a mystery even to ourselves…

Departing from Cartesian assumptions of atomistic individualism, this account can seem solipsistic. When we are in the mode of thinking of ourselves essentially as separate minds that relate to others through interactions in a material world, then it feels important that we share that world and are capable of clear communication about it and ourselves in order to share a genuine connection with others. Otherwise, we are each in our separate worlds of illusion. From a Hayekian skeptical standpoint, the mind’s eye can seem to be a narrow slit through which shadows of an external world make shallow, distorted impressions on a remote psyche. Fortunately, this is not the implication once we dispose of the supposedly foundational subject/object distinction. We can recognize subjecthood as an abstract category, a product of a philosophy laden with abstruse theological baggage… During most of our everyday experience, when we are not primed to be so self-conscious and self-centered, the phenomenal experience of ourselves and the environment is more continuous, flowing and irreducibly social in the sense that the categories that we use for interacting with the world are constituted and remade through interactions with many other minds.

Nightcap

  1. Our multi-monopoly problem Robin Hanson, Overcoming Bias
  2. Patchwork as real world vectors Chris Shaw, Libertarian Ideal
  3. On Tory paradoxes Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  4. The argument from coherence Nicolas in Faith, All Along the Watchtower

Nightcap

  1. Australia’s shame JM Coetzee, New York Review of Books
  2. Conservative critics of capitalism Christian Gonzalez, City Journal
  3. The age of American despair Ross Douthat, New York Times
  4. The cosmopolitans of Tsarist Russia Donald Rayfield, Literary Review

Nightcap

  1. Thoughts on the Battle of the Marne, 105 years later John Rossi, American Conservative
  2. The transformation of time Keerthik Sasidharan, Aeon
  3. The turn against motherhood Frank Furedi, spiked!
  4. In praise of Facebook Rachel Lu, the Week

Nightcap

  1. Was Hitler driven by a fear of Anglo-American capitalism? Robert Gerwarth, Financial Times
  2. Hong Kong’s long struggle against Beijing Melvin Barnes Jr, Origins
  3. My mother, the ex-Communist Arnold Kling, askblog
  4. Hizballah’s puzzling quiet Michael Koplow, Ottomans & Zionists

Nightcap

  1. Emptying the Soviet bread basket Donald Rayfield, Literary Review
  2. The real sexism problem in Economics Victoria Bateman, Aeon
  3. Europe’s hard problem of capitalism or democracy Mark Mazower, New Statesman
  4. A new Gilded Age, or Old Normal? Luria & Zabala, American Affairs