Beyond the Culture Wars – An Enactivist Approach

To understand the Culture Wars which characterise much of what passes for political debate in Anglophone countries these days, it is important to understand their roots in identity politics, defined as political or social activity by or on behalf of a racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or other group, usually undertaken with the goal of… Continue reading Beyond the Culture Wars – An Enactivist Approach

On Stereotyping, Part 2 – Should stereotyping be considered harmful?

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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?

On Stereotyping, Part 1 – Is it OK to stereotype people?

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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?

Don’t be a victim! Beyond the culture of entitlement and anxiety

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

Maaate! Your virtue-signalling is tiresome.

Much breath has been expended criticising Sadiq Khan’s recent “Say maaaate to a mate” campaign. Opinions tend to be divided between those who criticise the campaign over its likely ineffectiveness and those who criticise it as inappropriate use of public funds. But are there not more fundamental issues at stake here which deserve greater scrutiny?

On Meritocracy: Is merit or good fortune the driver of success?

Merit is the idea that the most just distribution of social and economic goods falls to those who work hard for them and demonstrate required skills at an appropriately high level. The correlate of that is that the process by which individuals advance in society and are rewarded should be by them demonstrating the required… Continue reading On Meritocracy: Is merit or good fortune the driver of success?

Counting the Cost of Social Justice

It is a key feature of the Culture Wars that they tend to be winner-takes-all affairs. This is arguably because both sides tend to adopt rights-based approaches, then to assert mutually incompatible sets of rights. But is there not a more fruitful way of conducting moral discourse whereby the protagonists of both sides engage with each other in a less confrontational manner?

Social Morality from Kant’s Categorical Imperative to Transcendent Individualism

The starry heavens above us, and the moral law within 1969-2010 Anselm Kiefer born 1945 ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d?Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2011 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/AR01164

“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

The Quest for Social Justice?

The notion of “social justice” has been transformed and weaponised in recent years by proponents of applied postmodernism making use of a category mismatch between the political and moral realms. An understanding of their tactics and methods is needed to counteract the sleight-of-hand that is thus being deployed.