On this episode of Unsupervised Learning Razib discusses approaching politics through philosophy, political philosophy, and what it’s like being an excessively online academic in 2022 with Oliver Traldi. Currently working on a book on understanding politics through a philosophical lens, Traldi explains the relevance of epistemology to the project, while Razib queries the role that deductive, abductive and inductive reasoning might play in political views. Both also consider that political orientation is just a form of tribalism, as made clear when individuals chart a wholesale shift in a cluster of “beliefs” on topics as diverse as abortion and trade within just a few years.
Traldi and Razib also discuss ancient political philosophy and its relevance to the modern era, as well as John Rawls and Robert Nozick, the two political philosophers most prominent in late 20th-century America. Traldi also mentions that American academia has developed a recent interest in Chinese and Indian philosophy, both of which have extensive areas of focus on politics. They cap their discussion of politics by discussing the role of intellectual movements like libertarianism on mainstream political parties like the American Republicans.
Finally, Razib discusses Traldi’s experience of being a “very online” academic philosopher early in his career, and his contributions to various online publications, and how they relate to his scholarship.