As a writer, editor and speaker, I delight in playing with all sorts of different ideas in all sorts of spheres. My interests include philosophy (critical rationalism, Karl Popper’s epistemology, David Deutsch’s “problems are soluble”), joy-filled creative loving kind connected relationships, life (including childbirth and childhood!) without coercion and suffering, psychology, self development, IFS, life extension and solving the death problem1, freedom (both political and psychological), and other ideas relating to how to live and have a blast doing so.
My worldview and my approach to life is irrepressibly and actively optimistic (possibilities abound; people are generally well-intentioned; suffering is optional; so much more is possible than one might first think; problems really can be solved; optimism as a way of being and acting), and fallibilist (all human beings are fallible; I assume that I can be, and indeed am often, mistaken even when I feel certain that I’m right; fallibilism as a way of being and acting in life), libertarian (vs authoritarian; freedom facilitates the growth of knowledge, problem-solving, progress), and responsible: I approach life from the empowering stance that I myself create my life and my experience of my life, vs thinking of myself as a victim: like 3P but without the woo (woo = bad explanation).
Underlying all my interests is the central question, what are the conditions (including in our own minds) under which creativity and the growth of knowledge flourishes? I am fascinated by how our ideas about the world and our unconscious blind spots affect our interpretations and our ability to (dis)solve problems, and by how we can free ourselves from obstacles to our creativity that seem to hamper our ability to make progress in our lives.
In the early 1990s, with a lot of help from my friends including David Deutsch, I founded Taking Children Seriously, editing and publishing Taking Children Seriously, the paper journal, throughout its existence. I have not yet finished writing my Taking Children Seriously book, but I am writing it, and I hope it will make a difference. In the meantime, take a look at the Taking Children Seriously website at takingchildrenseriously.com.
When reading anything on my site, please read critically: I often disagree with things I have written in the past. My earlier writing in particular now often strikes me as harsh, judgemental, defensive, pessimistic or victimy. Some of it lacks the spirit of chesed (lovingkindness, grace, benevolence, compassion) that I value. In the Introduction to Conjectures and Refutations, Karl Popper wrote:
“The theory that truth is manifest—that it is there for everyone to see, if only he wants to see it—this theory is the basis of almost every kind of fanaticism. For only the most depraved wickedness can refuse to see the manifest truth; for only those who have reason to fear truth conspire to suppress it.”
The truth is not manifest, and disagreement does not imply wickedness or a refusal to see the manifest truth. Some of my earlier writing may even veer into coercive shaming, and to the extent that it does that, it is sabotaging rather than facilitating the growth of knowledge that could otherwise make a difference.
In addition, my thinking has changed in a number of respects over the last 30 years. For example, despite the over-optimistic things I said in my EU speech, I went on to campaign intensely for Brexit, in the hope of making Britain a self-governing country again and to bring back political accountability and get rid of the EU regulations in British law. (Still hoping for a miracle there…) Another slight change in my views is that whilst I remain generally far more in favour of free trade than most people, I think it has become clear that free trade with China and other authoritarian regimes is a mistake. Another slight shift in my views is that whilst I still very much think that being willing and prepared to defend liberty is a precondition for liberty, I am much less sure that getting involved in fighting all these wars between countries in which both sides are corrupt/authoritarian regimes is a good idea.
In an immortal life I might rewrite everything and only keep up stuff I still think true, but for the moment, there is only now, and I don’t have unlimited time, so I am clearly dating all older posts.
Sarah Fitz-Claridge, 2023, ‘About’, https://fitz-claridge.com/about/