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Ilia Schmelzer, “Against Absolute Certainty”

Just came across an interesting monograph by one Ilia Schmelzer, “Against Absolute Certainty” (2013; pdf). A self-professed “independent scientist,” he also appears to advocate an ether theory in physics and a realistic interpretation of quantum theory.

Abstract of his article:

I criticize Hoppe’s concept of argumentation ethics, which is used to give a “Letztbegründung” (final, incontestable proof) of libertarian ethics and Austrian economics, from the point of view of Popper’s critical rationalism.

I also evaluate various arguments against Popper in libertarian literature and find them misguided: They criticize only an empiricist straw version of Popper’s [critical] rationalism.

I argue that the libertarian theory – ethics as well as economy – have to be based on critical instead of classical rationalism.

He also criticizes my estoppel theory, although oddly, given that this paper was published in 2013, only cites my original 1992 Reason Papers article,1 and not more recent elaborations.2 See also “The Genesis of Estoppel: My Libertarian Rights Theory” and “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide“.

I haven’t read it all yet but it may be similar in some ways to Jan Lester’s Popperian, anti-justificationist, “conjecturalist” approach in  Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled.3

  1.   Kinsella, “Estoppel: A New Justification for Individual Rights,” Reason Papers No. 17 (Fall 1992), p. 61. []
  2. E.g., “Punishment and Proportionality: The Estoppel Approach,” 12:1 Journal of Libertarian Studies 51 (Spring 1996); “A Libertarian Theory of Punishment and Rights,” 30 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 607–45 (1997); “New Rationalist Directions in Libertarian Rights Theory,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 12:2 (Fall 1996) 313–26 [superseded by “Dialogical Arguments for Libertarian Rights,” in The Dialectics of Liberty (Lexington Books, 2019)]. []
  3. See my criticisms in Anarchist Libertarian Jan Lester’s Argument for Intellectual Property and “Aggression” versus “Harm” in Libertarianism. []
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Chris September 26, 2022, 1:14 pm

    I’d like to see your comments on this after you’ve read through it all. This should give you a better way to explain your and Hoppe’s arguments, a reason to drop your arguments (which I doubt most), or confirm your and Hoppe’s arguments even more.

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