Sunday, July 16, 2006

Finding a Way Back to National Discourse

The good people at Firedoglake are sometimes on the money and sometimes caught up in a shrill rhetoric that I find myself shying away from. But there are smart people there. Today, they have a valuable book discussion on The Age of Fallibility by George Soros. Pachacutec had this to say in the post that leads off the discussion:
But let’s start at the beginning: Soros begins his discussion from a core philosphical framework, some first principles through which he comes to understand and explain the nature of human cognition, knowledge acquisition, rationality and the limits of rationality. In fact, he is not primarily a political thinker or even one comfortable in the rough and tumble world of hardcore politics.

Having had the opportunity to discuss his book with him, I can tell you Mr. Soros longs for a world where rational people can put their arguments into the public domain for consideration by a fair and willing citizen audience. He is not a partisan, temperamentally predisposed to fight for any political party. By personality, he prefers calm centrists far more than I do, as my diagnosis of what is unfortunately politically necessary in this age of polarization and monumental global stakes probably differs a bit from his (rabid lamb that I am). But on the fundamental ideas put forward in his book, he and I are in agreement.

The first part of the book lays out his philosophical first principles, the upshot of which is that no individual can perfectly know the full truth. Therefore, human societies must protect themselves from gross error by committing themselves to becoming and remaining open societies, places where all voices can be heard and considered.
Give the post a good look and check out the discussion that follows; it's erratic at times and then suddenly the discussion becomes focused and on the mark. But that's the nature of real discussions (feel free to ignore the trolls though).

If you scroll down through the discussion, I have a comment at number 184 in the comment section. There are many good comments, Mary at 186 being one of them. Join in or feel free to add comments here as well.


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