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bettabilitarianism

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  • This is consistent with Oliver Wendell Holmes' “bettabilitarianism,” his answer to utilitarianism; every time we act, we effectively make a bet with the universe which may or may not pay off.

    Game as Cultural Form, Play as Disposition

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  • On page 217 of my copy of The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand there's a bit about Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Charles Sanders Peirce, and Chauncey Wright that describes bettabilitarianism: "Holmes eventually lost sympathy with the views of his friend William James, which he thought too hopeful and anthropocentric. He never had much interest in Peirce; he thought Peirce's genius "overrated." But he continued to admire Wright, and years later cited him as the inspiration for what he liked to call his philosophy of "bettabilitarianism." "Chauncey Wright|,| a nearly forgotten philosopher of real merit, taught me when young that I must not say necessary about the universe, that we don't know whether anything is necessary or not," he wrote to Frederick Pollock in 1929, when he was in his eighties. "So that I describe myself as a bettabilitarian. I believe that we can bet on the behavior of the universe in its contract with us. We bet we can know what it will be. That leaves a loophole for free will--in the miraculous sense--the creation of a new atom of force, although I don't in the least believe in it.""

    October 27, 2015