What Can Philosophy Do For Humanity?, #5–Meta-Kialo in the Narrower Sense: Critiques of Current Discussions on Kialo.

Mr Nemo
4 min readFeb 8, 2020


By Robert Hanna


Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Phildialogues

III. Principled-Negotiation-&-Participatory-Decision-Making

IV. Kialo

V. Meta-Kialo

V.1 A Critique of Kialo: Eight Worries

V.2 Meta-Kialo in the Narrower Sense: Critiques of Current Discussions on Kialo

V.3 Meta-Kialo in the Broader Sense: Some Lessons from Teaching Introductory Ethics

VI. Conclusion


This installment contains section V.2.

You can also read or download a .pdf of the complete version of this essay HERE.


V.2 Meta-Kialo in the Narrower Sense: Critiques of Current Discussions on Kialo

Something that Steichmann touches on only indirectly, but that I think is much more important than any of his Kialo-specific worries, is the need for critical reasoning to be applied to the first-order critical reasoning in the Kialo discussions themselves, since there can be various kinds of false presuppositions and bad philosophical pictures shared by everyone who’s participating.

Indeed, even merely the choice of topics, or target claims, can already narrowly constrain participants’ thinking about the issues, and rule out relevant alternatives, without justification.

What I’m proposing, then, is that before philosophers begin conducting phildialogues on Kialo, and also while those phildialogues are being conducted, we can and should also be critically thinking about, writing about, and even having phildialogues about, current discussions on Kialo.

E.g., consider this screen shot of a current discussion on Kialo about the existence or non-existence of free will:

Having looked closely at the earlier edited contributions to this discussion, and also at the associated comments by participants, stage-by-stage, I think that we can adequately and compellingly explain how and why the free-will-deniers are in the majority in this discussion.

And that’s because virtually everyone who’s been participating in the discussion, whether on the pro side or con side, is dogmatically, or at the very least uncritically, committed

(i) to (what I think is) the false philosophical presupposition of natural mechanism, and also

(ii) to (what I think is) the equally false but also hegemonic scientistic ideology that’s conveyed in the bad and mind-manacling philosophical picture of ourselves as deterministic-or-indeterministic “moist robots,” that’s naturally associated with natural mechanism.[i]

Moreover, and even more importantly, if (and, I think, only if) we fully reject the false presupposition of natural mechanism and also fully liberate ourselves from the mind-forg’d manacles of the “moist robot” bad philosophical picture, then a new and rationally defensible anti-mechanistic theory of free agency can finally come into view.[ii]

Therefore, meta-Kialo in the narrow sense, aka meta-Kialo, can and should be every bit as important as, and in certain cases, even more important than, “normal” or first-order phildialogues on Kialo — especially for discussions in the many important areas outside of the official category of “philosophy,” as this screenshot of Kialo’s homepage shows:


[i] See, e.g., R. Hanna, “The End of Mechanism: Kant, Science, and Humanity,” (September 2019 version), available online HERE; and S. Haack, Science and its Discontents (Rounded Globe, 2017), available online at URL = <https://roundedglobe.com/books/038f7053-e376-4fc3-87c5-096de820966d/Scientism%20and%20its%20Discontents/>.

[ii] See, e.g., R. Hanna, “Natural Libertarianism: A New Theory of Free Agency,” (September 2019 version), available online HERE; and R. Hanna, Deep Freedom and Real Persons: A Study in Metaphysics (New York: Nova Science, 2018) (THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 2), also available online in preview, HERE.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Saturday 8 February 2020

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Mr Nemo

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.