Full Video: A Contentious Q&A With Thaddeus Russell (Parts 1 and 2)

Part One: Is there such as thing as truth? Objectivism vs. Relativism debate.

Part Two: the non-aggression principle and the politics of self interest. The objectivism vs. relativism debate also resurfaces. A brief discussion of parenting and Thad's thoughts on Stefan Molyneux

For School Sucks Podcast Episode 310
See all discussions with Thaddeus here: http://schoolsucksproject.com/tag/thaddeus-russell/

Co-hosts: Carlos Morales (http://www.truthovercomfort.net/) and Wes Bertrand (http://www.completeliberty.com/)

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6 comments

  1. Profile photo of Harold

    Although I agree more with the objectivist viewpoint, I found myself empathizing with Thad, almost feeling sorry for him. Correct me if I’m wrong, he is a self-labeled historian, not a philosopher. It seemed like he was ambushed. I give him credit for sticking with the debate in addition to his accomplishments as a historian and writer.

    Having said that, maybe Thad’s students who are not walking through walls by now will be better equipped to defend reality and reason in the future. 🙂

    • Thaddeus grew up in a progressive household and thus had a lot of postmodernism that he’s been taught all his life. He’s gotten rid of most of the progressivism in terms of politics, but he’s still very much immersed in the philosophy of postmodernism. Ayn Rand was correct in diagnosing the American intellectual disease as being much more based in philosophy, rather than politics, which was why she was critical of the libertarians of her day. Being a libertarian doesn’t guarantee that you have the philosophy to maintain such a system that can resist the challenge of subjectivist and relativist ideas.

  2. Profile photo of Eggman3

    Great conversation. Thaddeus and Wes have amazing chemistry. Inspiring, even comforting, to see such talented thinkers and communicators struggle with the things that have troubled me forever. Thank you for producing this Brett.

  3. Profile photo of Scott McRae

    I have great respect for Thad as a historian – I find his deeper philosophical thinking less appealing. He attempt so disprove moral “truth claims” by showing the negative impact on blacks, women and homosexual that result from those making such claims. But if we have no moral universals, why should care about what happens to those groups? Of course we should care, but only because moral universals (based on our nature as human beings) do exist!

    Further, any time the contradiction is pointed out to Thad that he is making some kind of universal statement in his work, his fallback rebuttal is that it’s only because he is working within the “map” of logic and reason laid out by our culture. Not to get all ad-hominey, but that seems like a supreme cop-out to me. His entire project and his commitment to individualism can only exist when it rests on both epistemological and moral universals.

    • Thad is a postmodernist, that shouldn’t be surprising.

      Postmodernists are great at criticizing philosophies and creating great narratives of oppression throughout history, however they show severe limitations when it comes to actually developing philosophical systems, which is why when pushed to come up with one, they often conclude that relativism and subjectivism are the solutions to philosophical problems, including morality.

      It’s a great way of approaching philosophical problems from a revolutionary perspective, however, it is flawed when trying to build a civilization that can stand the test of time and the threat of foreign enemies, since there is no integrated philosophical system for people to bond around.

  4. Profile photo of Scott McRae

    sorry – that post was filled with typos – here it is again:

    I have great respect for Thad as a historian – I find his deeper philosophical thinking less appealing. He attempts so disprove moral “truth claims” by showing the negative impact on blacks, women and homosexuals that result from people making such truth claims. But if there are no moral universals, why should we care about what happens to those groups? Of course we should care, but only because moral universals (based on our nature as human beings) do exist! How can he justify any concern for the treatment of anyone without them?

    Further, any time the contradiction is pointed out to Thad that he is making some kind of universal statement in his work, his fallback rebuttal is that it’s only because he is working within the “map” of logic and reason laid out by our culture. Not to get all ad-hominey, but that seems like a supreme cop-out to me. His entire project and his commitment to individualism can only exist when it rests on both epistemological and moral universals.

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