Category Archives: ethics

Scientism vs Liberalism

In his book, “The Counter-Revolution of Science”, Hayek argued against scientism – attempts by the social sciences to ape the methods of the natural sciences by ignoring the subjectivity of economic value. I will apply these ideas to criticise of some current ideas that the government should use force to make people happier. Continue reading

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Popper on Schools and Universities

It has been said, only too truly, that Plato was the inventor of both our secondary schools and our universities. I do not know a better argument for the optimistic view of mankind than the fact that this devastating system of education has not utterly ruined them. Continue reading

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Who Should Decide?

Popper points out that it is difficult to find a government on whose goodness and wisdom we can rely and so that we should set up our institutions to allow us to prevent bad government from doing too much damage. Many people seem unaware of this argument and its implications for political and moral philosophy. Continue reading

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The Myth of the Framework

The Myth of the Framework is an essay Popper wrote that was published in the book of the same title. The point of the essay is that relativists tend to set excessively high standards for making progress. I would add that this is not just a problem for relativists: it is is a very widespread and extremely damaging obstacle to intellectual and moral progress. Continue reading

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Essentialism vs freedom

Michael Sandel gives an interesting TED Talk on democracy, saying that we should talk more about the deep moral convictions people have to raise the level of debate in democracy. This may be a good idea, but unfortunately his argument … Continue reading

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Karl Popper on scientific ethics

The hope of getting some argument or theory to share our responsibilities is, I believe, one of the basic motives of ‘scientific’ ethics. ‘Scientific’ ethics is in its absolute barrenness one of the most amazing of social phenomena. What does … Continue reading

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Karl Popper on moral decision making

As we have seen before (in chapter 5), and now again in our analysis of the uncritical version of rationalism, arguments cannot determine such a fundamental moral decision. But this does not imply that our choice cannot be helped by … Continue reading

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