Over at the Less Wrong blog there is a post, So You’ve Changed Your Mind. This portion caught my attention:
So you’ve changed your mind. Given up your sacred belief, the one that defined so much of who you are for so long.
You are probably feeling pretty scared right now.
I reflected and realized that the various issues where I’ve held relatively strong opinions and then changed my mind were generally cases where I relied on received wisdom, looked more closely, and felt that there was some misrepresentation among the orthodox gatekeepers of wisdom. But there’s one “big” issue that I guess I have changed my mind: I used to view all utility calculations on the scale of the individual, and accepted that all entities above or below the scale of the individual were useful only as a means toward individual well being. I probably wouldn’t defend this position anymore, though I think it has a logical coherency and may still be viable in some places and times. I’m not a “communitarian” or anything like that, rather, I have an impulse to just disavow these sorts of formal constructions of how best to attain and maintain human happiness in a time and space invariant sense.
Individual and social life are often best optimized by both forethought, and a simple process of trial and error through living. Those who accept the power of a priori in matters societal are often younger from what I have experienced.