The best response I've seen so far to the Neil Levy paper traveling around the blogosphere comes by way of Hei Lun, from Begging to Differ.

Given that we have a limited amount of time to pursue our various activities, none of us can ever hope to become an expert in everything. But what should we believe when we encounter "moral and political controversies"? Levy argues that "we do better to embrace the views of experts who are also morally wise" rather than waste our time engaging in "open-minded evidence gathering."

But as Hei Lun notes, why should we waste our time listening to Levy and evaluating his argument? If his argument is correct, we shouldn't bother reading the actual paper - we should just take his word for it (assuming Levy is both an expert and "morally wise," of course). Writes Hei Lun, "So the conclusion seems to be that I shouldn't read Levy's paper unless I can be sure that it's wrong."

For some strange reason, Levy's paper reminds me an awful lot like Benjamin Hellie's "argument" that since the left is obviously correct, anyone who disagrees with the left must be lying, by definition.

It's amazing how far we have progressed from the Enlightenment era ideal of reason over tradition and authority, isn't it?

Share this

Thanks for the compliment.

Thanks for the compliment. Can you call me "Hei Lun" instead of "Lun"? It's like Mary Joe or Bobby Sue (but not really). Thanks.

"Morally wise". Ick ick ick.

"Morally wise". Ick ick ick. It may be possible to contrive a more arrogant euphemism for "agrees with me", but I can't think how.

Worse, "experts who are also morally wise". Why doesn't he just call them "philosopher-kings" and have done with it?

It is metaphysically

It is metaphysically impossible to evade judging for oneself.