Trust Authority

Wed, Oct 13

In this class, we will consider whether some important philosophical truths are best learned through observing tradition, trusting authorities, and cultivating a more deferential kind of intellectual humility.

By the end of class, you will:

  1. Understand how cultural evolution selects for successful practices
  2. Understand why the functions of traditions are usually opaque to their practitioners
  3. Explain why a reflective attitude toward tradition can undermine its function

Read This:


Chap. 7: The Secret of Our Success, by Joseph Henrich


Book Review: Seeing Like a State (Slate Star Codex)


Do This:

Complete these steps before you come to class

  • Consider the following prompts (you may want to write responses to these in your journal or talk about them with a friend):
    • Do you think traditions can persist even if they are not successful?
    • Given Henrich's justification for tradition, do you think we are ever in a position to reform traditions?

After you've finished today's reading, feel free to take a practice quiz here: [Link will be added]

Watch This: