In the process of creating political worldviews, there are a variety of values we integrate and use as foundational. Liberty, equality, fraternity, and solidarity are commonly held political values in both the United States and Europe. But what might it look like for one to create a political worldview informed by uncertainty, not just as a reality of life to be accepted, but even as a central guiding principle in one’s politics?
In this episode of Damn the Absolute!, Jeffrey Howard talks with Daniel Wortel-London. Daniel is a historian of urban economics and political economy based in New York City. He received his Phd from NYU in 2020.
Together they examine how a cadre of thinkers around the turn of the twentieth century, including the pragmatist philosopher John Dewey, created a political, ethical, and philosophical framework with uncertainty at its center.
They consider the benefits and dangers of a politics of uncertainty and what we can do to engage with uncertainty in an intelligent and non-dogmatic way. Their discussion also includes forays into land value taxes, social democratic policies, and progressive politics.
“Essential vs. Accidental Properties” from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2016)
The Public and Its Problems by John Dewey (1954)
“Twilight of Idols” by Randolph Bourne (1917)
Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought, 1870-1920 by James T. Kloppenberg (1986)
The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernism and the Crisis of Knowledge and Authority by John Patrick Diggins (1994)
“A Land Value Tax Fosters Stronger Communities” by Matthew Downhour (2020)
Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking by William James (1907)
“The Uses of Anger” by Audre Lorde (1981)
“The Uses of Binary Thinking” by Peter Elbow (1993)