Repost-From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn

Full interview here.

“Nigel: Has relativism had its day as an influential philosophical position?

Simon: No – and I don’t think it should ever die. The danger is that it gets replaced by some kind of complacent dogmatism, which is at least equally unhealthy. The Greek sceptics thought that confronting a plurality of perspectives is the beginning of wisdom, and I think they were right. It is certainly the beginning of historiography and anthropology, and if we think, for instance, of the Copernican revolution, of self-conscious science. The trick is to benefit from an imaginative awareness of diversity, without falling into a kind of “anything goes” wishy-washy nihilism or scepticism….”

It looks like we’ve been dealing with such a problem for a long time, in one form or another.

See Also On This Site:  Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?:  From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…Are we going soft and “European”… do we need to protect our religious idealism enshrined in the Constitution….with the social sciences?…Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People

From Wikipedia’s Page On Leo Strauss: A Few Quotes:  From The Philosopher’s Magazine Via The A & L Daily: ‘My Philosophy: Alan Sokal’

From Nigel Warburton: BBC Discussion Of Agnosticism: A Cop Out?

Full post here. (The link may not last long.  For future reference, it is the Richard Bacon show on the BBC, Tue June 29th, 2:13:00).

Is agnosticism a convenient middle path…a cop out…a way to split the difference and not confront the balance of evidence?

The Kantianism is thick here.  Here’s a quote from Betrand Russell:

As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God.

On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.”

See Also On This Site: The comments section of Theodore Dalrymple In The City Journal: Atheism’s Problems…From New York Magazine: If God Is Dead, Who Gets His House?

Did the ground shift some time ago?  Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On YouTube

 

Nigel Warburton On His New Book About Free Speech

2 min introductory video here. (book can be found at the link)

I get a lot of comments from people who think that philosophy’s not good for much, and often I agree.  Maybe it’s best for clarifying one’s own thinking, and through that clarification offering insight into a central and divisive issue:

The divisive issue here is free speech, especially in Europe (it can get you killed) and has become a flashpoint between Muslim immigrants and European natives (where national and racial identity can be violently united).  

Do we want absolute freedom of speech or absolute anything for that matter?…How does a civilization deal with the often unwise, incendiary ranting that comes with it?  Who decides what the limits are?

Worth a look.

Also On This Site:  Do you defend Christianity against Islam as Roger Scruton does despite his depth?  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism…the way people treat immigrants is important, but so is the way people treat the poor among them…

Martha Nussbaum may be asking the question:  How do you create a civil society that does not place religion above a concept of the moral good, yet that also does not pursue the moral good while zealously excluding religion?  Repost: Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder

I’d like to answer that question without theories of distributive justice please…I don’t think a big bloated government helps in the long run.

Also:  From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

Tempe Library Free Speech Zone Sign by Scrap Arcs

by Scrap Arcs

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