The scene is a lovely dinner party (thanks to Catherine), hosted by philosophers for philosophers, non-philosophers, and some precocious children (who were introduced during the evening to the concept of a "wet willie," no thanks to Greg). What do philosophers talk about when they get together off the clock, so to speak? Temporary and accidental intrinsics? Modal adverbials? Borat and how funny we find his racist humor in spite of ourselves?
Not these philosophers. They talk politics. One of their number, Ivy educated and with an AOS in metaphysics, proclaims herself a libertarian. Not that kind of libertarian. Not the kind whose main concern is to secure reproductive freedoms. Well, yes to those liberties, she concedes, but our primary political problem is taxation, and all the lazy folks who rely on welfare because they would rather not work a real job.
Another dinner party-goer, defending some of the folks who are on disability and drawing social security, offered up some personal experience in support of government support for those unable to find or hold a job for medical reasons. Another, a criminal defense attorney who deals with people on federal assistance, also tried to defend the importance of federal aid to maintaining civil order (at the very least). But our libertarian friend held her ground.
Why? Because she doesn't accept "appeals to authority" as good reasons. And now we come down to it. For what do we teach Introduction to Logic?
A logic professor brushing aside personal testimony (first- and second-hand) with the 5-cent fallacy "appeal to authority" has lost the key to epistemology. How can there be knowledge if we don't base it on experience? If all appeals to authority were suspect, we would know precious little, including how to interpret our own experience.