I am incredibly impressed, and even a bit dumbfounded, that Irfan would invite me to blog with him. From what I know of Irfan, he is a libertarian who has been influenced by Ayn Rand. (That might be an understatement.) By contrast, I am a radical egalitarian, a quasi-Marxist, and a critic of all things libertarian. So you can understand my amazement when Irfan invited me to blog with him. Then I read what some other people have said about Irfan, and I read some of his own work, and then I started to get it. I suspect that Irfan and I have something in common. It is the project of the Enlightenment, applied at a personal level. I am using the word “enlightenment” in the way that Kant used it in his famous essay on that subject. Enlightenment is using reason, in the broad sense of the word, to determine what you will believe and how you will act, and that requires subjecting your opinions and your actions to rational scrutiny, even when that is uncomfortable. Let’s call it running the gauntlet of reason. It’s a bit masochistic, in a way. Subjecting yourself to rational scrutiny opens you up to the possibility of having to change your mind, and that can be painful. But some of us are masochistic in that way, because we value truth that much. When I was in my early 20’s, I was an evangelical Christian theist, and a conservative Republican who campaigned for Jack Kemp in the Republican primaries. Now I am an agnostic who leans toward atheism, and a confirmed socialist. And I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve changed my mind so much. But I don’t want to shut my mind off just yet, and I can tell that Irfan doesn’t want to either. So let’s do this. Let’s run the gauntlet of reason. I have worked on issues in a broad range of areas, from epistemology and metaphysics to philosophy of religion and political philosophy. These days my attention is focused on the latter two areas, so I will probably blog about them the most. But I have lots of other interests as well. Hopefully some of them will interest you too.