About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Culture is a Weapon on the Institute for Science and Human Values

Over at Culture is a Weapon, this post says some kind things about 50 Voices of Disbelief in the process of plugging a new forum created by the Institute for Science and Human Values. Looks interesting.

To be honest, I have some reservations about the Institute for Science and Human Values, which is Paul Kurtz's new organisation. I can't sign off on its Neo-Humanist Statement, which goes into all sorts of specifics on which I am not committed or even sceptical. Still, I'm happy to draw attention to it; perhaps you'll be more willing than I am to embrace the rather comprehensive view of the world that it has to offer.


Mark Sloan said...

Russell, I similarly am skeptical concerning the utility of ISHV’s Neo-Humanist Statement. However, the Institute for Science and Human Values’ mission statement is much broader than that.

Note the “Science” part of the organization’s name. Sam Harris has proposed science can help us understand what well-being and flourishing ‘is’. I am interested in an alternate approach, the idea that there is a universal underlying primary function (the primary reason they exist) for all past and present cultural moral standards, regardless of how diverse, contradictory, and bizarre they are. (A ‘moral standard’ is here a cultural norm whose violation commonly incites the emotion of righteous indignation.)

I am hoping ISHV’s forum will be a good place for discussing and refining just such science. So far as I know, there has been no such public forum anywhere in the world, which seems to me a very strange thing.

My first post on ISHV’s sub-forum “Secular ethics and morality” is based on my decidedly mixed experience posting on public philosophy forums.

"Confusion caused by the different methodologies of science and moral philosophy"


Comments are welcome.

Russell Blackford said...

Do feel free to discuss such things here, Mark, when relevant posts come up (as will continue to happen).