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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE and HUMANITY ENHANCED.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sinning Against Nature



I spoke to the Adam Smith Society in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago on the subject of "Sinning Against Nature: Morality and Politics". The idea was to discuss claims that we must "follow nature" as a matter of morality, and that this should somehow influence the development of public policy.



Astonishingly enough, from my viewpoint at least, there are still attempts to condemn various practices and technologies on the ground that they supposedly defy or violate the natural order. My aim was to offer a thorough philosophical critique of such claims.

In this case, the audience was quite receptive. We had a stimulating after-dinner discussion. I expect that I'd still encounter objections to cosmic hubris in some other forums.

A more elaborate paper on this subject has been accepted by the Journal of Medical Ethics - hopefully appearing fairly soon.

I'm attaching a couple of pics from the night, one with Anna Blainey, historian and libertarian thinker extraordinaire. (But why do I always end up with alcohol in my hand, or nearby, whenever my photo is taken?)

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