I find Peter Thiel to be a disturbing figure, and yet with some interesting perspectives.

In this review – slatestarcodex.com/2019/01/31/ (section IV) he proposes a dichotomy:

"Definite optimism" is the belief things get better because of doing good things. Specific good things, like you figure out something that makes things better and you do it.

"Indefinite optimism" is structural: what is good? What is better? How do we make things better? Eh. We can only structure the world to hopefully ratchet up.


Separately I was thinking about libertarians vs. anarchists – they have many purportedly shared values, yet are far apart from each other. This definite vs. indefinite optimism (or maybe definite vs. indefinite good) could be a way of distinguishing them.

Libertarians are very indefinite, they studiously avoid making any assertion about what a good life is, what anyone might want to do with their freedom. Anarchists... much more definite, with opinions about what freedom actually means.

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