Recently, I’ve been getting a something-to-believe-in vibe from many in the nationwide ‘media establishment,’ where a kind of Ted-esque secular humanism and cosmo-ideology often seem to rule the roost: Humans are progressing, you see, towards ever greater possibilities of equality and freedom. (S)cience is our shining city on the hill, and all humans can live together fighting ignorance, violence, global poverty, environmental degradation and perhaps, selfish nationalism.
Or, at least, each of us can transcend our individual limitations and choose from various brands of post-Enlightenment reason, idealism and even collective action that can reach up into the cosmos, or down into our interior lives as our material bodies evolve ever forwards as a species on this tiny, blue marble.
How to live…what to do…who to be?
On that note, here are some previously posted links:
**Martha Nussbaum has used Aristotle’s natural philosophy. On this site, see: Bryan Magee Via Youtube: ‘Martha Nussbaum On Aristotle’
***In the realm of political philosophy, for what it’s worth, many libertarians and liberaltarians in lieu of tracing the moral source of the laws back to a transcendent God (thus creating daylight between themselves and religious and often social conservatives), instead turn to the ‘classical’ liberalism of the Scottish Enlightenment: Hume’s empiricism and atheism, Smith’s Theory Of Moral Sentiments, and later Hayek’s adoption of Hume’s principle that the propositions of ethics cannot be proven.
In addition to putting daylight between themselves and religious conservatives, this tends to put a lot of daylight between these classical liberals and the increasingly progressive Democratic party in the U.S. See this position fleshed out: Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-’Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’
-Steven Pinker, Harvard experimental psychologist and cognitive scientist wrote a piece in the New Republic, entitled: ‘Science Is Not Your Enemy‘
-Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic since the 80′s, responded at The New Republic: ‘No, Science Doesn’t Have All The Answers.‘
-Ross Douthat, conservative Catholic columnist at the Times jumped in the fray: ‘The Scientism Of Steve Pinker’
-Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist, responded to Douthat.
-Wieseltier jumped back in with: ‘Crimes Against Humanities: Now science wants to invade the humanities. Don’t let it happen.‘
-Now Daniel Dennett, philosopher, cognitive scientist, one of the New Atheists and Boston-based secularist responds to Wieseltier:
‘Pomposity can be amusing, but pomposity sitting like an oversized hat on top of fear is hilarious. Wieseltier is afraid that the humanities are being overrun by thinkers from outside, who dare to tackle their precious problems—or “problematics” to use the, um, technical term favored by many in the humanities. He is right to be afraid. It is true that there is a crowd of often overconfident scientists impatiently addressing the big questions with scant appreciation of the subtleties unearthed by philosophers and others in the humanities, but the way to deal constructively with this awkward influx is to join forces and educate them, not declare them out of bounds.’
Related On This Site: From The NY Times Book Review-Thomas Nagel On John Gray’s New ‘Silence Of Animals’…From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’…