Browsing social media this morning, I found myself surrounded by radicalism. I stumbled across the comments of a friend who was complaining about bankers (in fact he was wishing them dead), an article by Russell Brand in which Fox News were the enemy and then something by another friend describing Facebook's latest attempts to manipulate us into believing something (I didn't bother to check what that thing was).
I'm not really interested in whether these statements have any merit. However what did capture my attention was the dualism of good versus evil presupposed by each, with the author, naturally, on the correct side of this divide.
Dualism - understanding something by reducing it to two fundamental components, sometimes structured hierarchically - is not restricted to the moral realm. It seems to be extremely pervasive in metaphysics (think Plato and Descartes) and epistemology (rationalism/a priori and empiricism/a posteriori).
Whilst many simplistic dualisms may be overcome with a little effort, I'm curious as to why they have such a hold on our intellectual phenomenology. Are dualisms simply easier to work with? Do they appeal to the cognitive miser in us? Do they perhaps they reflect the way in which the world really is?
Or - my favourite - might dualism itself be a necessary category of the mind, an epistemological filter through which all experience and much knowledge becomes realisable?