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
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?
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
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?
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?
“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 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.
The spirit of resentment forms the dark heart of Marxism, its viral load, to pursue the analogy, and the dialectic its protective mechanism of transport. For Marxism to affect and infect its host, though, it must exploit its weaknesses. One vulnerability is clearly the existence of actual injustices in society, of which there is an endless supply. The other is the susceptibility of a proportion of the population with above average narcissistic tendencies. Though most people are narcissists to some degree, people with several traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder5 are highly susceptible to radical ideologies, not only leftist, but also far-right, Islamist, and animal rights and environmentalist extremism, for example.