Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Preferential Treatment

An excerpt from what I am writing:

The hidden importance of the statement: “I like it.” Why like it rather than not like it? There is a lot packed into that experience. The quality of one’s experience of something varies widely for people. Beyond the level at which we give reasons for our beliefs, it is this preference which is determining for belief. Nietzsche writes about the importance of taste. Interestingly, this is the level at which most people contemplate the cultural products they experience: movies, books, TV shows, fashion. They say "I liked it" or "I didn’t like it." Very much in touch with their preferences and generally out of touch with their ability to say why they like or dislike. This is useful for maintaining aggregate demand in a consumer society, but bad for the dream of an informed, thinking, democratic public. One of the many ways capitalism and democracy contradict.

Intellectuals focus on their reasons for belief and neglect their affective preferences, yet, it’s contended here, these affective preferences, taste, play an important role in the development of a person’s worldview. So behind the ordinary persons preferences is their whole disposition toward life. One could do an interesting psychodynamic investigation of why a person likes x or y cultural product and similarly, I contend, we can do an interesting psychodynamic investigation of why an intellectual or anybody believes in x and not y when x and y are arationally assumed or felt or seem to be true.