In Part 1 of this article where I asked Is it OK to stereotype people?, I pointed out how modern cognitive science, understood in particular in terms of the paradigm of Active Inference, leads us to conclude that stereotyping is intrinsic to all observing, understanding and learning. So any attempt to stigmatise people for engaging… Continue reading On Stereotyping, Part 2 – Should stereotyping be considered harmful?
It is a commonplace assumption that stereotyping people is a bad thing which we should do our utmost to avoid. Perhaps this is a position you would agree with, on the grounds that it is wrong to make generalisations since this can result in us misjudging people and potentially treating them unfairly. But I would… Continue reading On Stereotyping, Part 1 – Is it OK to stereotype people?
A paper that came out in 2014 by two sociologists, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, made the argument that with the rise of a more diverse and egalitarian culture, particularly in the academic world, combined with the rise of powerful administrative sectors therein, a new form of social morality has emerged that they referred to… Continue reading Don’t be a victim! Beyond the culture of entitlement and anxiety
The life philosophy of an ancient fellow I once knew, who was in the habit of dispensing chunks of wisdom from his doorstep, could have been summarized in the following aphorism: “Everyone’s good at something, everyone has a weakness, and you’ve got to die of something”. In his case all three observations neatly converged on… Continue reading Expertise versus Elitism
One of the accusations thrown at postmodern theorists and activists, such as the purveyors of identity politics is that they are advocates of relativism and deniers of facts. I am going to argue that this is actually their greatest virtue. They go downhill from there on in, as they seek to impose their own brand… Continue reading From certainty to dialogue: furthering the project of modernity
Recently, I was sitting very cosily in front of a log fire in a pub waiting for a friend to buy the first round at the bar. Despite it not being very busy he took quite a while to come back. In explanation he said it was because so many people are now sitting at… Continue reading Social signalling and social bonding
“I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US congressional representative and activist) Equity is defined as the quality of being fair and impartial (OED). As such it is uncontroversial and clearly a good thing, something we should all… Continue reading Equity Explained, Part 2: The Misdirecting Hand
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” (George Orwell, Animal Farm) A new wind, balmy and soothing, is blowing through the halls of academe, the corporate world and civil society generally. Its name is equity, diversity and inclusion, frequently known by the acronym EDI. Its very suggestive reasonableness – even… Continue reading Equity Explained, Part 1: The Promise and Problems of Equality
“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” (Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind, 1977) The problem of evil is one of the oldest problems in human thought. Every religion and many philosophical systems have contended with its nature and… Continue reading The Imperfect Paradise: Narratives of Ordinary Life and the Incursion of Evil
“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” (Immanuel Kant, Epitaph) In the Metaphysic of Morals Immanuel Kant proposed what he considered to be the rational basis of all morality,… Continue reading Social Morality from Kant’s Categorical Imperative to Transcendent Individualism