David Friedman on Special Pleading
If you don’t already have David Friedman’s “Ideas” in your RSS feed, I recommend it. He posts infrequently, but the probability that I learn something from each post exceeds 0.9.
One outstanding case in point is his most recent post, “Special Pleading and How to Recognize It.” He discusses 3 examples. First is an argument from Lockean principles for income and/or wealth redistribution. He shows that if we take the argument seriously, we don’t get where those who use the principle want to get to. On this he cites philosopher Matt Zwolinski’s argument for welfare.
The second is an argument for reparations for slavery. He shows that if we take that argument seriously, we should take wealth from poor Africans and give it to rich Americans. On this he concludes, “Not the conclusion that people making the argument wanted.”
The third is on Wal-Mart and urban sprawl.
All are worth reading and pondering.