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?
Once, driving in a foreign land many years ago, I passed a person walking alone on a dark, unlit country road. As random, irrational violent thoughts cross all our minds from time to time, I had an unbidden image of attacking them. Instead of just dismissing the impulse through fear, anger or humour, as those… Continue reading Compassion and politics: a dangerous mix
In 2008 I authored a piece for an international organisation entitled ‘A Charter for Marriage: Reconsidering the Foundations of Marriage for Twenty First Century Secular and Multifaith Britain’. I saw it doing two things: first, finding a centre ground between the patriarchal cultures of Britain’s immigrant communities, who valued marriage as the centre of extended… Continue reading Marriage in the Twenty First Century
In memory of Roger Scruton (1944-2020) Changes in the apperception of the beautiful across historical time and the very individuality of the experience of beauty, have led to a false doctrine of the relativity of beauty. In fact, the history of the development of knowledge supports an alternative view, that the variability across time and… Continue reading Beauty: more than the eye of the beholder (part 3)
Since antiquity, and particularly after Plato, philosophers have pondered on the question of the absolute values, of truth, beauty and goodness. Now, just as then, there have been advocates of their status as real, as well as sceptics. The twentieth century was mostly a sceptical period, although I predict a revival of interest presently, given… Continue reading Individualism and Absolute Values: the Fundamentals of a Free Society
“All that is solid melts into air” (Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto) The most fundamental revolution and radical transformation of human nature and society may already be under way. The last vestiges of organic society are being eroded from human experience as we move towards becoming a totally virtual society. The organic ties that… Continue reading The value of the self: three views on privacy in the digital age (part 2)
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
Abstract The dizzying rate of change today is bringing a focus on fundamental values that is bypassing the traditional concerns of epistemology within philosophy and the historical and political issue of the religious/secular divide. This focus points to an emerging view of social evolution driven by a transcendent view of individual identity. The nature of… Continue reading Self-transcendence and the multiplicity of value-worlds in the evolution of modernity
After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1990s there was a brief window in which it was predicted that the forces of democracy and the free market had triumphed and leftist and socialist parties would thereafter only wither away. The view from the present is of a very… Continue reading What is the point of the Left? A dispassionate assessment of its virtues and vices