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

Should We Celebrate “Diversity”?

Should we celebrate diversity? To ask the question in the current political climate in the Anglosphere is to answer it: to respond with anything less than an enthusiastic “Of course we should!” is to risk upsetting all the lovely people in the picture above and worse, to invite the wrath of the Cancel Culture squads… Continue reading Should We Celebrate “Diversity”?

Universal Values in the Postmodern Era

The pursuit of universal values has a a long history as humans have sought a basis for a harmonious, shared life. But there is a danger that in striving to establish universal values, the perfect becomes the enemy of the good. Perhaps we need to resist this temptation and acknowledge instead the context-dependence of all valuing.

The Political Logic of the Excluded Middle

For several years the received opinion is that the middle ground of politics has been abandoned here in the UK, in America and in much of Europe. There is, indeed, a superficial plausibility to this assertion, evidenced by the intemperate language of much of political debate. However, I believe that the underlying reality is quite… Continue reading The Political Logic of the Excluded Middle

Antagonistic Tribalism: the cement of political extremism

Being that we are tribal in nature and have lived in tribal cultures for far longer than we have lived in individualistic ones, there is a strong propensity to be swayed by appeals to tribalistic urges, including negative propaganda, negative rumours and negative stereotypes. Sometimes we need no external catalyst, but are primed to categorise someone and assume the worst of someone on the basis of a perceived shared identity, ignoring and collapsing the likely complex self-identity of individuals on the basis of limited information and experience. This tendency is countered most effectively by personal knowledge of people from many different backgrounds

Legality and Morality: Can Man Serve Two Masters?

It is often suggested that obedience to the law is a virtue and by implication that respect for the law is a requirement of morality. But is this necessarily the case? Although this might at first might appear obvious, I would suggest the issue turns out on closer inspection not to be so at all.… Continue reading Legality and Morality: Can Man Serve Two Masters?

Jazz Hands Mired in Controversy

An experienced practitioner demonstrates the concept of "Jazz Hands"

Reports are surfacing of a new controversy over the banning of applause at NUS conferences produced by the agency of human hands. The ban was introduced as a concession to a number of conference delegates who made representations to the organising committee of the national conference that they experienced the outbreak of applause as microaggression,… Continue reading Jazz Hands Mired in Controversy

Is It Inhumane to Oppose Freedom of Movement?

There are many moral issues relating to the plight of refugees and migrants in our world today we could usefully give attention to. But there is no compulsion to support or advocate freedom of movement as part of a moral response. Ultimately the degree to which freedom of movement is allowed between nations is a political decision with moral arguments capable of being made on both sides.

Values and Identity

We hear much about “values” and “identity” in discussions in the media these days. Often the debate about values is specifically around so-called “British values”; and the discussion about identity is often in the context of what is referred to as “identity politics.” The discourse on both these topics in my experience tends to be… Continue reading Values and Identity