2017年8月15日星期二

宪政 VS. 民主?


在当代公共政治讨论中,「宪政(constitutionalism)」和「民主(democracy」这两个词常被连用,合称「宪政民主(constitutional democracy)」。可是单从直观上说,似乎宪政与民主这两个价值之间,又存在着某种不可调和的矛盾。

矛盾何在?

2017年5月29日星期一

美国“国殇日”:没有硝烟的记忆战争

本文初稿为201663日“选·美”会员通讯内容,修改稿发表于2017529日澎湃新闻。“选·美”是一个致力于对美国政治进行深度分析的团队,其“会员通讯”栏目已在2016年美国大选结束后停刊,但其它栏目仍在运作,欢迎关注公众号“选·美”(iAmElection)接收更多相关讯息。本文公众号(linsantu)版本见https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Xw8r9dY4NWdtoqYhsCIvZQ

2017年5月7日星期日

波多黎各的二等公民

本文201757日首发澎湃新闻,部分内容来自2016615日「选·美」会员通讯。会员通讯已在美国大选结束后暂停,但「选·美」的其它项目仍然继续运作,包括微信公众号(iAmElection)与小密圈等,欢迎对美国政治感兴趣的朋友关注。也欢迎关注我的个人公众号(linsantu)。

2017年5月4日星期四

书斋内外的政治哲学

上月28日在华东师大政治哲学工作坊,以“书斋内外的政治哲学”为题,和葛四友、应奇、谭安奎、周保松几位老师一起做了场长达三个小时的讲座。澎湃对这场讲座的报道见http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1675431,其中以下部分是经过我自己改写的:

北大秘史

只是一点读书笔记。

2017年4月10日星期一

美国参议院:是费力把事拖,还是启动核选项?

201746日,美国参议院共和党动用「核选项(nuclear option)」,废除了参议院少数派在最高法院大法官任命问题上的「程序性阻挠议事(filibuster)」权。次日,参议院通过了对大法官提名人尼尔·戈萨奇(Neil Gorsuch)的任命,后者将于410日宣誓就职,填补斯卡里亚大法官去世一年多来的高院空缺。

参议院内围绕议事程序的这些斗争在外人看来或许无聊琐碎,实际上却是理解近年美国政治的一大关键。我曾于2013年初在《南方周末》撰文介绍「程序性阻挠议事」的来龙去脉,今天借戈萨奇任命一事重新推送;由于从文章发表迄今的四年多里,大到整个美国政局,小到参议院内关于「程序性阻挠议事」的具体规则,都发生了诸多变动,因此今天的推送也相应地在原稿基础上做了一些增补。

2017年3月10日星期五

三八国际妇女节的五大起源迷思

1975年,联合国首次庆祝三八国际妇女节。然而为什么国际妇女节会被定在三月八日?关于这个问题,几十年来全世界流传着各种各样的迷思,本文聊作考据,予以澄清。

2017年2月21日星期二

微信公众号2017年2月至7月目录

其实一直比较抗拒微信公众号这种传播形式,觉得它刻意制造的种种封闭性是对互联网开放共享精神的极大破坏。然而眼睁睁看着这些年媒体环境不断恶化,把偌大舆论场域拱手让给低质信息总觉心有不甘。所以最终还是经不住朋友们的怂恿开通了公众号(linsantu)。作为一点恶趣味,计划每次推送时都附一段与主题相关的口琴曲——自知水平业余,聊供取乐而已。由于微信文章无法搜索,故在此建一目录,方便查找。

2016年12月8日星期四

Notes on Parfit, "Why Anything? Why This?" (1)

In “Why Anything? Why This” (On What Matters, Vol. II, pp. 623-648), Derek Parfit offers an ingenious line of argument against the insistence that the existence of the Universe be given a non-coincidental explanation. While I am on the same page with Parfit about this point, I think there is some larger issue going unnoticed and that he should have pushed his argument further to a deeper level.

Let me start from a ostensibly minor error his makes when refuting the Axiarchic View, which he formulates generically, as consisting of the following three claims (p. 633):

(1) It would be best if reality were a certain way;
(2) Reality is that way;
(3) (1) explains (2).

Parfit gives (1) and (2) a pass, and instead focuses on scrutinizing (3):

(1) is an ordinary evaluative claim, like the claim that it would be better if there was less suffering. The Axiarchic View assumes, I believe rightly, that such claims can be in a strong sense true. (2) is an ordinary empirical or scientific claim, though of a sweeping kind. What is distinctive in this view is claim (3), according to which (1) explains (2).

While I also think (3) is problematic [note: for reasons slightly different from Parfit’s, to which I will return later], I am surprised that he lets (1) and (2) off the hook so easily, without arguing that the claim that “an ordinary evaluative claim [like (1)] can be in a strong sense true” and the claim that “(2) is an ordinary empirical or scientific claim” cannot be both true at the same time.

To begin with, notice that “it would be best if …” is a normative/evaluative statement [note: I prefer to use “normative” but since Parfit here uses “evaluative” I will leave it at that for a moment], and that reality being a certain way can be interpreted to mean either that reality has a certain normative/evaluative property, ν, or that it has a certain non-normative/non-evaluative property, φ. For example, “lack of gratuitous suffering” is a normative/evaluative property, to the extent that “gratuitous suffering” is a “thick concept,” whereas “obtainment of rectangular planets” is apparently a non-normative/non-evaluative property.

Accordingly, there are two ways to rewrite (1) and (2). On the one hand, we may have its normative/evaluative version:

(1A) It would be best if reality had a certain normative/evaluative property, ν;
(2A) Reality has that normative/evaluative property, ν.

Now, since (1A) essentially claims that if a normative/evaluative condition is satisfied, then a normative/ evaluative conclusion follows (e.g. “it would be best if reality were such that there were no gratuitous suffering”), it indeed “can be in a strong sense true” as it is something that is apt for justification through a priori reasoning. However, the correspondingly claim (2A) is not “an ordinary empirical or scientific claim” at all, as it makes a claim on a normative/evaluative, not an empirical, property of reality (e.g. “reality is such that there is no gratuitous suffering”).

On the other hand, suppose (1) and (2) are reformulated as:

(1B) It would be best if reality had a certain non-normative/non-evaluative property, φ;
(2B) Reality has that non-normative/non-evaluative property, φ.

Then (2B) is indeed “an ordinary empirical or scientific claim” (e.g. “reality is such that there are rectangular planets”), but to what extent is (1B) still “an ordinary evaluative claim” that “can be in a strong sense true”? The claim that it would be best if there were rectangular planets doesn’t make sense unless we supply an account of how the existence of rectangular planets (or likewise other non-normative/non-evaluative properties) actuates in reality a certain normative/evaluative property, ν, the possession of which in turn makes reality normatively/evaluatively superlative.

To be sure, moral naturalists have long claimed that normative properties are reducible to, or supervene on, non-normative “natural” properties. To illustrate, suppose you believe that the badness of suffering per se can be explained away by purely natural facts (e.g. “suffering is no more than the experiencing of pain, and pain is bad, simpliciter”), then you could regard the claim that it would be best if there was least suffering as an instance of (1B) rather than that of (1A). On the face of it this claim sounds “in a strong sense truth.” But just think about why the Logical Problem of Evil has been replaced by the Evidential Problem of Evil: if suffering is a non-normative fact then what really plays the role in normative argumentation becomes “gratuitous suffering” rather than suffering per se. Therefore, instead of “it would be best if there was least suffering” what you would have to prove is “it would be best if there was least gratuitous suffering.”

Now you could either acknowledge that the claim that it would be best if there was least gratuitous suffering is an instance of (1A) instead of (1B), or (as a staunch moral naturalist) keep on trying to reduce the gratuitousness of suffering to a set of non-normative/non-evaluative facts, so as to keep the claim as an instance of (1B). After all, this is what moral naturalists do. – The problem is, however, that Parfit is himself a moral non-naturalist (so am I), which means he shouldn’t have accepted (1B) without questioning from the start.

In a nutshell, the lumping together of (1) and (2) is misleading (at least for non-naturalists such as Parfit and myself) [note: hopefully I could later return to the naturalism-vs.-non-naturalism debate & the compatibility issue between naturalism and the Axiarchic View], and obscures one of the intractable normative/evaluative assumptions underlying the Axiarchic View.

What, then, does this have to do with (3), and with the “larger issue going unnoticed” I have alleged? The next post will discuss.

2016年10月10日星期一

最高法院大法官人选的族裔多元性

1010日以「特朗普想在大法官人选上讨好少数族裔,可惜已经迟了」为题发表于腾讯大家,部分内容改自「选·美520日及101日「会员通讯」。)