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Blog Profile / Darwinian Conservatism

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:289
Posts / Week:1.8
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Trolleyology and Rawlsian Moral Grammar

Trolley Problem 1: Spur Trolley Problem 2: Fat ManYou are walking along the tracks of a trolley in San Francisco. You notice that there is a runaway trolley that will kill five people who have become somehow bound to the tracks. YouShow More Summary

Experimental Testing of the Rawlsian Difference Principle

I have often argued on this blog that political philosophy is ultimately an empirical science that makes falsifiable claims about human nature and human history. In arguing for Darwinian natural right, I am making falsifiable claimsShow More Summary

The Platonic Utopianism of Rawls's "Social Union of Social Unions"

A few weeks ago, I responded to the claim--in Jon Anstein Olsen's dissertation--that my criticism of the utopian Left is a straw-man argument, because the Left today no longer advances a utopian vision of human perfectibility that denies the constraints of human nature. Show More Summary

Hume, Smith, and the Myth of Mirror Neurons

For both David Hume and Adam Smith, sympathy or "fellow-feeling with any passion whatever" is the psychological ground of our moral experience. From his reading of Hume and Smith, Charles Darwin adopted this idea of sympathy in explaining...Show More Summary

How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible

Two men keeping a "fire-bomb watch" at a Freedom School's community library in Holmes County, Mississippi, during the 1964 Freedom Summer. (Photograph by Matt Herron) A young man guarding a Black Panther billboard in Lowndes County, Alabama (a place so violent that it was known as "Bloody Lowndes"). Show More Summary

Olsen and Murray on IQ, Race, and Human Biodiversity

In his dissertation--Neo-Darwinian Conservatism in the United States--Jon Antein Olsen has a chapter on "Human Biodiversity and Conservative Defenses of Racial Inequalities." In his introductory chapter, he explains his hesitation about...Show More Summary

Olsen's Criticisms: The Utopian Left and the Denial of Human Nature

A fundamental claim of my argument for Darwinian conservatism--as combining traditionalist conservatism and classical liberalism--is that Darwinian science supports the constrained or realist view of human nature as fixed that is embraced...Show More Summary

Olsen's Criticisms: Religion and Cosmic Teleology

Olsen has a long chapter on how some of my critics--such as John West, Carson Holloway, and Richard Hassing--have criticized me for defending a Darwinian natural right that is not grounded in religious belief and cosmic teleology (247-82). Show More Summary

Olsen's Criticisms: The Interpersonal Dimension and Human Rights

Olsen writes: "Despite his strong emphasis on the natural basis in our evolved psychology for various types of care and concern for others, Arnhart in fact utterly fails to make room in his theory for any genuinely interpersonal perspective in ethics" (191).This makes no sense to me. Show More Summary

Olsen's Criticisms: The Naturalistic Fallacy and Emotivism

Olsen accuses me of committing the naturalistic fallacy (18-19, 154-55, 180-81,184-86, 190-91, 193-95). I have written a long series of blog posts--a dozen or more--responding to this objection. Olsen is totally silent about what I have said, so I have no way to know what he thinks is wrong with my response. Show More Summary

Olsen's Criticisms: Straw Men and Moral Progress

Olsen claims that my criticisms of the Left are directed at straw men (109-14, 290).My criticisms of socialism, communism, and central planning have no application to modern liberalism, because modern liberals don't promote socialism,...Show More Summary

Olsen's Eight Criticisms

Jon Antein Olsen's dissertation is a good intellectual history of the argumentation for "neo-Darwinian conservatism" in the United States. Although much of what he does is simply a descriptive history of the arguments, he also offers some critical assessments of the arguments. Show More Summary

Neo-Darwinian Conservatism in the United States: A Dissertation by Jon Anstein Olsen

A few months ago, Jon Anstein Olsen successfully defended his dissertation for his Ph.D. at the University of Oslo (Norway), which is entitled Neo-Darwinian Conservatism in the United States. This is a fascinating work, and not justShow More Summary

The Evolution of Inequality (3): Piketty's Historical Data

The debate over the history of economic inequality has been one of the fundamental disputes in political philosophy and the social sciences. Until recently, Thomas Piketty complains, this has been a debate without data. In his Discourse...Show More Summary

The Evolution of Inequality (2): Piketty and the Declaration of Rights of 1789

On Bastille Day, it is appropriate to ponder Thomas Piketty's appeal to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789. The epigram for his book--Capital in the Twenty-First Century--is the second sentence ofShow More Summary

The Evolution of Inequality

When French economist Thomas Piketty came to the United States this spring for a book tour, he was treated as an intellectual celebrity. At some events, he was introduced as "the new Tocqueville." His book--Capital in the Twenty-First Century--has become a bestseller. Show More Summary

The Pursuit of Punctuation in the Declaration of Independence

As we read the Declaration of Independence on this Fourth of July, we should pay special attention to its punctuation. As a front-page article in the New York Times yesterday indicated, there is now an intense scholarly debate over a period in the second sentence of the Declaration. Show More Summary

Nordic Social Democracy as the Capitalist Welfare State

At the end of the 20th century, many socialists were dispirited by the apparent triumph of neoliberal models of economic development and globalization. There were debates over whether socialism had failed in its attempt to challengeShow More Summary

The Marxist Critique of Socialist Anarchism

Having surveyed the anarchist critique of Marxism in my previous post, I turn here to the Marxist side of this debate. Then, in a third post, I will lay out my classical liberal critique of both Bakuninist and Marxist anarchism.Thinking...Show More Summary

The New Communism and Socialist Anarchism

The Haymarket Martyrs Monument with the Black and Red Flag of Anarchy in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois Emma Goldman's Grave in Forest Home Cemetery Recently, the Communist Party USA was meeting in Chicago, where it was founded in 1919. Show More Summary

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