Saturday, October 6, 2012

Belated introduction to comments on UPB

I want to understand Stefan Molyneux's UPB idea. His book defeated me on my first try. I do not yet fully understand it and so I don't know whether or not or to what degree I agree with him. I have decided to write a commentary as I go along in order to clarify things for myself, make note of problems I have, and suggest solutions. I make it my final goal to restate Molyneux's argument in a brief, simple outline form, one that Molyneux would not object to. When I can state his idea clearly, then I can decide whether or not I agree.

I am sometimes tempted to discuss peripheral issues, of which many exist, or to quibble or speculate. I will try to avoid this, or at least admit to it when I can't resist. I intend to restrict the commentary to discussion of Molyneux's central argument, what it means, whether or not it works, and what it might need added or subtracted to make it succeed.

I can't resist making one gripe at this point, since it motivates the commentary. The text of Molyneux's book confuses to me with vagaries, digressions, distractions, and irrelevancies crowding out what seem to me to be the salient points. Perhaps if I continue in a reasonably fair spirit, I will find that these complaints exaggerate the case. I am not optimistic about this. Even if I end up in agreement with Molyneux, I suspect I will continue to think that he failed to express his idea well. Perhaps his long contemplation of this idea brought him too close to it, and he may be forgiven for losing the capability to assume the perspective of a newcomer.

On my own behalf, I apologize for my use of professor-speak. Somehow I can't resist. Perhaps it would amuse the reader to assume I do it with a touch of irony and self-mockery. Probably that is too generous and I am the cartoon rather than its author.

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