Exploring the Introduction to "Plato's Critique of Impure Reason" by D.C. Schindler
Dogmatism opens individuals up to ideological possession and, ultimately, self-destruction. To become dogmatic presupposes a disregard for what is real, true, and whole in combination with an affinity for preserving the relativity intrinsic to any given perspective. The dogmatist clings so tightly to their perspectives (the relative) that they are unable to grasp the whole (the absolute). Since the truth must, by definition, encompass the whole, dogmatism always leads to self-deception.
“The problem with dogmatism is that it is essentially relativistic: by making a particular claim definitive in isolation from the integral whole within which that claim would have its reasonable and sense-giving ground, dogmatism ends up absolutizing the relative and therefore making the relative a ne plus ultra.* The problem with relativism is that it is essentially dogmatic: by equalizing all perspectives in a wholly undifferentiated manner, relativism makes each perspective in itself a kind of self-contained totality, which is therefore on its own term incontrovertible and thus definitive.”
In a footnote to the passage above, D.C. Schinder elaborates on the nuanced definition of dogmatism, which, somewhat counterintuitively, isn’t simply an insistence on a dogma, but rather involves the absolutizing of that which is relative.
*It ought to be noted in this context that the insistence on dogma is not necessarily dogmatism. In fact, some form of “suprapersonal” absolute, within which an individual inserts himself, is arguably necessary ultimately to avoid dogmatism. As used here, the term “dogmatism means the absolutizing of an individual perspective.”
Such nuance is critical in considering whether “Bitcoin maximalists” are engaging in a dogmatism of sorts, and thus running the risk of deceiving themselves. Inherent to dogmatic views is the promotion of a static idol into the position of ultimate value, rather than dynamic the process of valuation as such. In Biblical terms, we could say that dogmatism is idolatry—something God warns extensively about. Since Bitcoin is not static and individuals can always choose which version of it to run for themselves, it does not seem that dogmatism can be applicable to it. Further, given its “suprapersonal” absolute nature—specifically its absolutely fixed supply of 21M, an entirely unique phenomenon in economic history—Bitcoin may even be instrumental in the avoidance of dogmatism, as the author argues in the footnote above. Individual perspectives are central to the one-of-a-kind decentralized nature of Bitcoin as money. Paradoxically, these individual perspectives have coalesced around the “suprapersonal” motif of an immutable supply of 21M to form humanity’s only technology exhibiting an absolute quality. Before Bitcoin, only those primordial substances of time and energy exhibited absolute scarcity. In this way, Satoshi’s creation is Promethean in its implications, including its convexity to dogmatism. As a way to prevent the self-deception of dogmatism, Bitcoin is tool well-accorded with the nature of reason itself. Arguably, Bitcoin is the most reasonable thing in the world…
“Again, if reason finds completion in the mere adequation of a particular judgement, it does not so much matter whether one insists (as a “dogmatist”) that this partial grasp is “true,” or takes (as a “relativist”) this partial grasp to be “just my opinion, which is no better than any one else’s”; the decisive thing is that one does not see reason’s need to be comprehensive in order to be reason at all. If we do not feel a need to follow thinking all the way through to the end—and thus remain faithful to it—because it is the nature of reason to do so, then reason has lost its claim on us.”
Be sure to check out the “Platonic Philosophy Series” where John Vervaeke and I take a ~10 hour deep dive into these essential topics:
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