What I'm "Dogmatic" About
By Bryan Caplan
Tyler recently wrote:
If you’re very dogmatic in one area, you may be less dogmatic in
others. I’ve also met people — I won’t name names — who are
extremely dogmatic on ethical issues but quite open-minded on
empirics. The ethical dogmatism frees them up to follow the evidence
on the empirics, as they don’t feel their overall beliefs are
threatened by the empirical results.
While Tyler’s not naming names – even privately – I have strong reason to believe that my name is near the top of his private list. If so, I protest that the shoe doesn’t fit. I admit that there are some specific claims that I’m “dogmatic” about in the sense that I can’t imagine any evidence or argument that would cause me to drastically revise my probabilities.* My top picks:
1. The physical world exists.
2. One mental entity exists, namely myself.
3. This mental entity exists over time and has free will.
4. Other living human beings also usually have mental states, exist over time, and have free will.
5. Moral facts exist – some things are objectively good, bad, right, wrong, etc.
6. It is good to be alive and happy.
7. It is wrong to murder, steal, or lie.
* If by “dogmatic” you mean excessively certain, then I naturally dispute the charge. But that’s trivial.