Monday, May 3, 2021

Virtue in the Pursuit of Truth

A question that I've been pondering over the last several years is how do we create an environent in which ideas proliferate, the best ideas rise to the top, and the worst ideas fade away. It has to be a free marketplace of thought lest good ideas be suppressed (and bad ideas forced). That's a foundation--but it's not enough. We've seen that even in the free exchange, some really bad ideas can get quite a following. In this age, misinformation can often run rampant. So, what do we do?

Alisdair McIntyre suggested the concept of virtue as being those qualities that are necessary for success in a practice. I think we can apply this to the realm of dialogue and debate. External controls will always be inadequate and potentially dangerous. What we need is to instill the internal controls of virture in ourselves in order to become the type of people who have productive conversations leading to truth. This raises the question, what are those virtues? Here I provide a few of my suggestions: