1. Thanks to Ralph for stimulating all this discussion about our political liberalism and in general (with Sam’s help) for raising us all up. We can’t help but admire his nobility in taking on the man whom studies show and leading experts agree rescued “normative” political philosophy from the ashes of the linguistic gaming of analytic philosophy and “value-free” behavioral social science. My own view is that Rawls’ “normative theory of justice,” analytic philosophy, and behavioral [and of course rat choice] social science (as opposed to appropriately modest but still methodical empirical studies—everyone should pay attention to what statistical studies show) are all pretty boring forms of corruption. So I have to admit, for one thing, preferring interesting forms of corruption, such as Foucault and Rorty. And for another, I’m still not sure I have the duty to expose relatively uncorrupt and enthusiastic undergrads to books I really have no interest in reading myself. There are many bad things about Nietzsche and Heidegger and maybe even more about Nietzscheans and Heideggerians, but I have to admit I’m always curious to know more about them. (If I taught in law school or in a mainstream graduate department where people were all Rawls savvy, I would, as I explain below, proceed differently.)
2. As it happens, I am teaching a course in contemporary political philosophy this fall. I will (thanks to Ralph) teach POLITICAL LIBERALISM with corresponding stuff from Rorty. I will also teach the best available libertarian. My call on this so far is Tyler Cowen—but I’m willing to be corrected on that. What else should I teach—keeping in mind I want to have some connection to our TRUE SCIENCE OF BEING STUCK WITH VIRTUE THEME of Descartes, Locke, and Darwin today? Also keep in mind I’m open to literally anything—that’s the advantage of living in obscurity.
3. Another sign that our pay grade is ascending is that the astute and most musical Tocquevillian cultural critic CARL SCOTT will be joining us on this channel. Thanks for Ivan the K for signing him up.