All of Daniel's Comments + Replies

No, Really, I've Deceived Myself

Georges Ray has defended a position he calls "Meta-Atheism." He believes that just about nobody who says they believe in God actually does, for reasons somewhat like the ones Eliezer mentions. I highly recommend checking it out. Here's a link:

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

Perhaps it's not worth complaining, but historically "rationalist" was contrasted with "empiricist." Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza were rationalists, while Locke and Hume were empiricists. Obviously that's not a contrast you mean to be invoking, though maybe that use of "rationalist" is rare enough that there's no risk of confusion.

7MichaelVassar13yMore recently, rationalist has tended to have a meaning closer to its current one, but with strong negative affect associated with it. Peter Drucker, for instance, seems to use it as a term of reproach in "Adventures of a Bystander", to mean the sort of small souled narrow-minded person who thinks that they can be right and others wrong and are allowed to say so because they have reasons for their beliefs instead of having made them up to express feelings but the assumption is that one shouldn't do this because doing it leads to communism, fascism, or other forms of authoritarianism. If people don't have the right to believe what they want then some authority must have the right to tell them what to believe. Traditional conservatives can associate this attitude with communism and other badness. Basically, rationalism is used to mean affiliation with authoritarian regimes who claim the prestige of science.
1bizop13y@Daniel, I agree with this observation. Minimizing being wrong is a pretty recent intellectual development. Epistemic minimax is probably logically a better name, although it sort of sucks.