Monday, July 23, 2012

Dan Klein's Knowledge and Coordination on Dropping Anchor

Re-examining one's positions -- re-viewing one's point of view -- is trying business, because one must view from some ground, and once we begin to question our home ground, how do we choose another? Eventually, people must claim their ground and their sanity. They must stop inquiring into their own core beliefs, so they install smoke detectors and sprinkler systems to prevent the fire of inquiry from reaching their own precious ground. It is a necessary and fully human strategy. -- p. 307
Compare Oakeshott:
Here, theorizing has revealed itself as an unconditional adventure in which every achievement of understanding is an invitation to investigate itself and where the reports a theorist makes to himself are interim triumphs of temerity over scruple. And for a theorist not to respond to this invitation cannot be on account of his never having received it. It does not reach him from afar and by special messenger; it is implicit in every engagement to understand and is delivered to him whenever he reflects. The irony of all theorizing is its propensity to generate, not an understanding, but a not-yet-understood.
Nevertheless, the engagement of understanding is not unconditional on account of the absence of conditions, or in virtue of a supposed terminus in an unconditional theorem; what constitutes its unconditionality is the continuous recognition of the conditionality of conditions. And consequently, this engagement to be perpetually en voyage may be arrested without being denied. The theorist who drops anchor here or there and puts out his equipment of theoretic hooks and nets in order to take the fish of the locality, interrupts but does not betray his calling. And indeed, the unconditional engagement of understanding must be arrested and inquiry must remain focused upon a this if any identity is to become intelligible in terms of its postulates. An investigation which denies or questions its own conditions surrenders its opportunity of achieving its own conditional perfection; the theorist who interrogates instead of using his theoretic equipment catches no fish. -- On Human Conduct

Klein's is a great book, by the way. (As is Oakeshott's, but you already knew I thought that.) Get a copy.


  1. Assuming I find time to finish Keen's book, Klein's is what I'll be reading on the plane back back to the states.

    1. It's good to see that *someone* has sense enough to heed my commands!


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