I saw a video from this professor making the rounds on some of my favorite blogs, and since philosophers rarely get re-posted to such places, i thought i would go ahead and re-re-post.
As usual, i have trouble with the usage of the notion of rationality/irrationality here, but i find it to be an interesting topic. Listening to most people discuss politics is like listening to teenagers discussing what is the best band, and that does seem very strange because it should be important in a way that “best rock band” is not.
In another sense, however, it is not at all surprising. My graduate schooling was in analytic philosophy and i can honestly say that i can’t think of anyone from my class, nor the classes above and below me, who changed their position significantly on any of the main philosophical opinions which they had when they entered the program, and to those i still speak to they have pretty much the same views still today … they are just much much better at arguing for those positions (“better” when judged via analytic criteria, that is). So … if even the smart kids in the room studying exactly the topics that should lead them to question their beliefs … if even they never change their beliefs …
Me? Neither. But i entered a nihilist, so i would have had to have gained a metaphysical ground upon which to stand in order to have changed.
Actually, a few, myself included, just flat out changed areas of interest and moved to where they had less skin already in the game. Maybe that is the next best option.