Huemer's "On Liberty and Philosophy"
By Bryan Caplan
I’ve started scanning the early writings of my favorite philosopher, Michael Huemer. I have quite a few in my possession. First on the menu: his prize-winning graduate student essay, “On Liberty and Philosophy,” which addresses the philosophical side of what I’ve called the libertarian penumbra. One highlight:
The emotional significance of materialism is something more vague but probably more evident than its logical implications (or quasi-implications). A world-view which reduces all of us to physical mechanisms essentially indistinguishable from mindless automata simply has the effect of undermining one’s respect for human beings and sense of human dignity on an emotional level. Such a theory produces the feeling of being stranded in a universe devoid of meaning.
Huemer has asked me to include the following advisory label:
I think the essay contains some false statements about the
state of the field (including a mis-definition of “rationalism”),
which is unfortunate. However, the most important philosophical points are
nevertheless right and important…
[Y]ou should probably note that they’re from
college, about 24 years ago, and that in the meantime, I’ve become nicer to
people like Brian Doherty, and better at spelling.
If the Brian Doherty reference puzzles you, stay tuned.