The Metaphysics of Liberty

The Metaphysics of Liberty

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Philosophy suffers from an excess of convoluted introspection. One result is that concepts multiply unchecked. That some events have observable causes gets reified into a First Cause or, in a more secular age, to the thesis that every event is fatalistically determined. Another drawback of convoluted introspection is that tiny but crucial assumptions slip in, often unawares, with the result that densely argued counter-tomes are written in reply and no progress is made toward any kind of consensus. At bottom, subjectivity reigns. I exaggerate. Toward the other pole of the subjectivity-objectivity continuum, consensus among scientists is in fact always at a good healthy distance from compulsive unanimity. New theories replace old, and at any one time the evidence can usually be interpreted two ways. Indeed, it is possible to pile epicycle upon epicycle in the Ptolemaic system of the heavens and approximate the ellipses planets travel in the Copernican system. What cinched the case for Copernicus was not simplicity--after all alchemy is simpler than chemisty. Nor was it experiment--there were no moon shots back then. Rather it was Newton's foundations. He established a physics for the earth and the heavens alike. Earthly physics we can verify, and it does not jell with the Ptolemaic system.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 214 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 628.22g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1989 ed.
  • 214 p.
  • 0792300807
  • 9780792300809

Table of contents

1 James McGill Buchanan and Individualism.- 1.1 The Work of Buchanan.- 1.2 Buchanan's Individualism.- 1.3 A First Move away from Strict Methodological Individualism.- 1.4 New Contractarian Man.- 1.5 The Methodological Meaning of the Unanimity Rule.- 1.6 Additional Requirements for New Contractarian Man.- 1.7 Potential Abuses of the Unanimity Criterion.- 1.8 Duties to Obey the Laws?.- 1.9 Contractarianism and Natural Rights.- 1.10 Conclusion.- 2: Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Collectivism.- 2.1 Unger's Characterization of Individualism.- 2.2 Buchanan's Implicit Agreement with Unger.- 2.3 Unger's Criticisms of the Individualist World View.- 2.4 The Factual Basis for the Separation of Theory and Fact.- 2.5 Unger on the Separation of Reason and Desire in Individualism.- 2.6 Response to Unger.- 2.7 Unger on the Separation of Public Rules and Private Values.- 2.8 Response to Unger.- 2.9 Unger's Evolutionism.- 2.10 Conclusion.- 3: Mario Augusto Bunge and Scientific Metaphysics.- 3.1 The Aim of Bunge's Philosophy.- 3.2 Bunge's Furniture.- 3.3 Bunge's Systemism.- 3.4 Bunge on Mind.- 3.5 Bunge's Systemic Conception of Society.- 3.6 Conclusion.- 4: Friedrich August Von Hayek and the Mirage of Social Justice.- 4.1 Hayek's Own Argument against Social Justice.- 4.2 The Metaphysical Issues in Hayek's Argument.- 4.3 Progressive Taxes Not Necessarily a Mirage.- 4.4 Multi-Generational Social Contracts.- 4.5 Elitism.- 5: Ayn Rand and Natural Rights.- 5.1 Similarities and Differences with Contractarianism.- 5.2 The Arguments for Natural Rights.- 5.3 The Advantages of Contractarianism over Natural Rights.- 5.4 Value and Fact Again.- 6: Raymond Bernard Cattell and Evolutionary Federalism.- 6.1 The Self of Self-Interest.- 6.2 Teleology.- 6.3 Cattell's Morality from Science.- 6.4 Criticism of Cattell.- 6.5 The Ontology of Federalism.- 6.6 Problems for Contractarianism in the Composition of Countries.- 6.7 Evolutionary Morality.- 6.8 Conclusion.- Endnotes.- Appendices.- No. 1: Egalitarianism as a Morality Racket.- No. 4: Contracting for Natural Rights.- About the Author.- Name Index.- Man as a Part of Nature Subindex.- Divine Subindex.
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Review quote

`...the book is well worth reading. It may be recommended, however, only to a reader who has a taste for unorthodox approaches. I do.'
Kyklos 44 (2) 1991
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