Tag: david hume

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, the Administrative State, Free Speech, and Silicon Valley Regulation

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had legendary classical liberal legal theorist and longtime professor at University of Chicago Law School and now at NYU Law — and prodigious Ricochet podcaster Professor Richard Epstein on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • The role that Professor Epstein’s famous book, “Takings” played in Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing — and then-Senator Joe Biden’s hectoring
  • Professor Epstein’s groundbreaking theories on private property rights, eminent domain and the Takings and Commerce Clauses
  • The practical argument against progressivism
  • Whether we should deconstruct the administrative state, and if so how to do it
  • The danger to free speech emanating from college campuses in a world of microaggressions, trigger warnings, de-platforming
  • The folly of regulating Silicon Valley social media companies
  • Classical liberalism versus socialism and libertarianism

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Problem of Social Induction

 

Scottish philosopher David Hume — a skeptic’s skeptic, and not exactly a vaunted figure around here — is famous, in part, for his criticism of inductive reasoning. (Induction involves moving from a particular (or a series of particulars) to some general conclusion.) We tend, for instance, to use inductive reasoning when linking cause and effect. If I lift a ball and let go, the ball falls. The ball behaves this way every time I release it. As far as I know, every single human who hoists a ball into the air and drops it notices the same thing. The ball invariably plunges toward the earth. I conclude, therefore, that a causal relationship exists between my letting go and the ball’s descent.

But, according to Hume, my reasoning is faulty.* No matter how many times I observe one phenomenon following another, I can never be certain that the first causes the second. To do so — to achieve certainty — would require knowledge of the principles underlying that causal chain. But I have no such knowledge. I don’t know, and can’t know, whether there is a causal chain.

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