80. Philosophy, Logic & the Social Sciences



Ben Burgis is a philosopher & left-wing theorist. He teaches Logic for Left-Wing Debaters & Activists, writes a column for Jacobin & hosts the Give Them An Argument podcast. Ben has debated Walter Bock, David Friedman, Dave Smith, Keith Knight & many other libertarian thinkers and content-creators. He joins me for episode 80 of The Agora to compare & contrast the logical underpinnings of our respective philosophies; socialism & agorism.


-For more on the Philosophy of Truth, I recommend checking out Simon Blackburn's On Truth

-Ben briefly mentioned Quine

-Quine's Elementary Logic was one of the books I learned formal logic from

-WARNING: This is NOT an easy read

-Alternatively, check out Tarsky's Intro to Logic


-I mentioned theoretical physicist Sean Carroll's book on Quantum Theory, Something Deeply Hidden

-I can't recommend this book enough!!!***


-For more on Praxeology, check out this episode of The Agora with Walter Block, appropriately titled "Praxeology"


-Ben didn't sound like a fan of MMT

-Although I haven't read Stephanie Kelton's book, I did watch this debate Bob Murphy did. Needless to say, I also reject MMT.


-I asked Ben about the "coordination problem."

-Mises' Economic Calculation In a Socialist Commonwealth is the go-to book here.


-Ben recommended Francis Spufford's Red Plenty for a non-specialist view of the coordination problem.

-Ben also recommended The People's Republic of Walmart by Leigh Phillips & Michael Rozworski

-Michael Albert's Parecon


-The view of property rights Plato lays out in The Republic contrasts starkly with Aristotle's view in Politics.

-**If you want to read the Greeks, I don't recommend audiobooks**



-Left-libertarian, Roderick Long's defense of public property in the context of Lockean Homesteading Theory can be found here.


-Ben's debate with David Friedman was epic, & I cannot recommend it enough!!



-Ben's account of the end of feudalism contrasts sharply with the Austro-libertarian view.

-The historical account I prefer can be found in Hoppe's A Theory of Socialism & Capitalism


-Bahm-Bawerk's critique of Marx's Theory of Exploitation is perhaps best laid out by Joe Salerno, in the clip below:



-Ben mentioned David Schweickart's book, After Capitalism


-Bhaskar Sunkara's Socialist Manifesto can be found here


-When I asked Ben what resources he recommends for learning more about leftist philosophy, other than whats been mentioned here, he brought up G.A. Cohen's, Self-Ownership, Freedom & Equality.

-He also recommended Cohen's paper, The Labor Theory of Value & The Concept of Exploitation