Reading the "Public Use" clause

Alexander R. Cohen miscsubs at
Sat Jun 25 08:11:19 PDT 2005

RJLipkin at wrote:

>         Let me close my participation in this sub-thread 
> with two points. Distinctions between
> "philosophy" and "political position" may, in some contexts be 
> valuable.  But without an illuminating explanation of their 
> differences and how these differences function in this debate, the 
> mere assertion of this distinction is unhelpful.  Asserting that some 
> hold a political position by offering reasons while others do not 
> fails to cure this problem.
>         Also, the claim that Nozick's libertarianism arguably is not 
> based on the concept of the good and Rand's is--that is, her 
> philosophy rests on a particular ethics--does not show, satisfactorily 
> in my view, that when it comes to political philosophy both were not 
> advocating political philosophy in contradistinction to a political 
> position, although one version of that philosophy was, whatever its 
> ultimate merits, an exemplar of philosophical reasoning, while the 
> other was not.

To clarify: I never claimed that either was not advocating political 
philosophy. Both were. What they were not advocating was /the same/ 
philosophy; they were advocating two different philosophical systems 
that in the field of politics led to the same or very similar conclusions.

Also, to claim that an argument is "bad" or not "an exemplar of 
philosophical reasoning" without even pointing to the alleged flaw, let 
alone offering an argument that it is a flaw, is unhelpful--and 
disappointing from a scholar whose posts are normally so thoughtful.

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