The Pervasive Role of Priors: Part One

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5 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    Isn’t there another prior lurking under what you call “principle,” namely that the burden of proof is on the government to justify asking you to do anything? That isn’t an assumption shared in all cultures, polities or political philosophies, and ought to be articulated.

  2. Claire Hill says:

    Yes, absolutely! I don’t mean to suggest that the priors I mention are the only ones.

  3. Brett Bellmore says:

    Some of the other “priors” would be,

    How do civil liberties get treated?

    What makes something a civil liberty?

    What is the rule of law, and how important is it?

    I’ve found these seriously involved in, for instance, the gun control debate.

  4. Terri E. says:

    this reminds me of what we are discussing in class this week on Ethnocentrism and disembodiement. The united States is made up of several different cultures, in which we all share different values, religions and beliefs. All citizens try to are ethnocentrism, in which we judge other culture beliefs and values based off our own culture beliefs. In other words when it comes to the government and it policies, some citizens are okay with the government telling them whatto do and how to live because it is apart of their culture. For instance lets take the prophet Muhammad cartoon ( chapter 4 page 105 of Digital Media Ethics textbook) which sparked an crisis when the author spoke out about freedom of speech and democracy directed towards Islam and muslims, of how Muhammad ran the lives of these people and they had to obey. while on the other hand here in America we make our own choices and have our own voices, we choose how we live. Basically in this situation far a the government being able to persude citizens to do or think a certain way, it depends soley on that individual, their beliefs and culture values.

  5. anon says:

    In an ideal world each country would be founded on some well-defined set of basic values upon which all the citizens of the country agree. Then all the laws would be derived from those values as logical consequences of them. The difference between different countries would be which set of basic values they use as a foundation. The world would be partitioned to countries so that every person who disagrees with the values of his/her country could move to another country with a set of foundational values he/she agrees with.

    In the real world, people with completely incompatible set basic values squabble over how the country should be run. The public discussion in politics is often on the level of what should be done instead of what we want to achieve in the end. The best solution to whatever political problem the country is facing of course depends on what we want to achieve which in turn depends on the basic values of people. The public discussion about policy should always start from the philosophical level: what is the basic moral principle we use as a foundation when solving this problem?

    Of course an agreement in a debate can not be reached if the axioms on which each of the debaters base their rationale are completely different. It is like a lion and a zebra debating on whether they should grow meat or vegetables without ever actually explicitly revealing that one of them is a herbivore and the other is a carnivore.