Liberal Outlook

Bertrand Russell says that

“The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. This is the way opinions are held in science, as opposed to the way in which they are held in theology.”

There is a fragility about uncertainty that makes robust certainty in the face of all evidence so appealing. But what happens to certainty when it becomes certainly and obviously wrong?

Maybe we’ll find out in November.

Published by

Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

One thought on “Liberal Outlook”

  1. As I was re-reading Alistair Cockburn’s Agile Software Development (recommended), I may have found the answer to your question:

    Quoting from the book (page 49)

    “There is evidence that people generally are risk-averse when they have something in their hands that they might lose and risk-accepting if they are in the process of losing something and may have a chance to regain it”

    He sums it up as “preferring to fail conservatively rather than to risk succeeding differently”.

    Yes, people are risk-averse when they might gain. I wonder if that relates to “I voted for before I voted against” vs. “You know where I stand”.

    I think it does.

    This is from Piattelli-Palmarini’s research, if you want to read more about it (I haven’t)

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