The paper on Bartley’s contribution to Hayek’s last book has been revised and has gone off to join a collection of papers about Hayek. The aim of this paper is to introduce the idea of the authoritarian framework of western thought, to consider some problems with critical thinking about our traditional moral framework, and to note some of the problems created by the justificationist framework of thinking (which Bartley called a “metacontext”) and the “justified true belief” mindset.
The paper contains a passing reference to the roles of academic philosophy and the true belief religions in supporting and propagating the justificationist, “true belief” framework and the mindset that goes with it.
What is to be done? It is easy to specify what can be done in academic philosphy: simply put CR on the syllabus with the appropriate reading from Popper, Bartley and others. But what about the religions and the churches that preach obedience to various authorities? They are the major conduits for the moral frameworks that we have at present and we should be grateful for the Judeo-Christian heritage that we enjoy. Indeed all the great religions have what amounts to a common core of moral values, with awkward variations in some cases. So how can the framework of religious throught be reformed without losing anything of value? This is something that Bartley was groping towards in the revised edition of The Retreat to Commitment when he hinted that the Christian faith could have inherited a very different framework for its teachings if a different sect among the early Christians had won out at some crucial period in the evolution of the official doctrines.