Category Archives: Scepticism

More on Middlebrow Epistemology…

A while ago I wrote on “middlebrow epistemology”… that form of argumentation that has the essential qualities of a pub argument – the factoids, the simplifications, the argumentum ad passiones – but decently covers them with a figleaf of rationality. … Continue reading

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The Virtues of Staying Quiet…

“Whereof one cannot speak,” wrote Wittgenstein in Tractatus, “Thereof must one be silent.” The immediacy and excitement of social media and online journalism have encouraged people to ignore this and hold forth on everything. Mouthing off with insufficient knowledge of … Continue reading

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On Middlebrow Epistemology…

The social critic Dwight Macdonald coined the term “Midcult”: a pejorative name for that middlebrow culture which, he claimed, apes mass culture, reproducing “the formula, the built-in reaction [and] the lack of any standard except popularity” but “decently covers them … Continue reading

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On the Limits of Empirical Conservatism…

British conservatism is in a depressing state. While the Conservative Party remains predominant in politics it is liberal in all but name. One of few causes for tentative optimism is the growth of what might be called empirical conservatism, defined … Continue reading

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All His Failings Exposed…

It is hardly worth becoming agitated by the splenetic biologist and blogger PZ Myers’ bafflingly spiteful and woefully ignorant screed against Effective Altruism and theorists of existential risk. Who could be convinced by such blatant bare assertions and such obvious … Continue reading

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A Lie That Became A Truth…

Opinion commentators erect ideological castles from the sand of legends and myths. Take Lawrence Richards, who wrote a popular essay attempting to explain the scale of the amusement that greeted the claims that David Cameron had committed unsavoury acts with … Continue reading

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