[ExI] Cosmopolitanism, collective epistemology and other issues

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 16:17:01 UTC 2016

On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 7:09 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> On 2016-07-11 00:57, William Flynn Wallace wrote:
> Cosmopolitanism  is a form of humanism.  As a humanist I feel a connection
> with all people, not just my tribe and its beliefs.  Which brings up
> patriotism.  Long ago I encountered the idea that intellectuals were more
> faithful to ideas than to places or governments or their tribe.  That
> means, and studies show, that liberals like me are less patriotic than
> conservatives.  Haidt seems to regard this as  moral weakness.  I do not.
> Exactly. I find patriotism downright disturbing - when people wave flags,
> I half expect them to start a lynch mob. I tend to trust people who wave
> around ideas (although I know that sometimes that makes them even more
> dangerous).
> Of course, there is also the problem that a lot of cosmopolitans are
> actually just a bit western internationalist, as Ross Doutat pointed out:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/opinion/sunday/the-myth-of-cosmopolitanism.html?_r=0
> I am deeply annoyed that I recognize myself so much in his description - I
> want to be a *proper* cosmopolist rather than just in the internationalist
> tribe.
> Do I support my country's government?  Depends on what they are up to.
> (People who are at Kohlberg's stage 5 or 6 can make difficult citizens,
> who don't shut up and do what they are told).
> Exactly. And that is why they are necessary for the functioning of
> societies. Without them even an open society will stagnate.
> Dr Anders Sandberg
> Future of Humanity Institute
> Oxford Martin School
> Oxford University
Response to Douhat:  ​Judith Rich Harris, in No Two Alike, and other
writings, proves to me that most of what children become is due more to
their peers than to their family.  This is precisely the reason I would
not, as Douhat seems to recommend, send my children to a majority-minority

To be egalitarian, as a cosmopolitan must, does not meant that  we must
love everyone or think of them as intellectual or cultural equals.  We
think of others as sharing our rights and privileges, and so on.  We see
that they are different and should not have to be like us to be accepted.

But around here, going to local schools would mean low level minorities who
do not share our culture at all.  Parents, mostly the males, mostly
absent​; relatives in prison; sexual culture involving children  of 8 o 9
having routine sex; girls of 12 or even less getting pregnant.  Do any of
us want an environment like that for our kids?

​When I went to LSU and got housed with a bunch of Cajuns, I found myself
talking like them in a few weeks.  Some things are picked up very rapidly.

If the above means that I am not truly cosmopolitan, then so be it.  I have
to doubt that anyone can be fully accepting of other cultures.  Some will
just seem weird, and others just not the way we want ourselves and our
families to live.

Douhat is right and wrong at the same time.  I have no problem seeing the
intellectual elite as a tribe, as long as my tribe is not insular or
dismissive of others or afraid of them.  My tribe shares the ideal of, for
example, double blind studies as best in many researches, a standard not
shared by some other tribes, or maybe not even understandable to some.
Egalitarian does not mean equal in all things.

And some things in some cultures, including our own, can be just wrong.

bill w


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