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).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tim Dean and others on Blackford on Harris

My review of The Moral Landscape is already attracting a fair bit of interest in the blogosphere. I haven't even tried to keep track of it all, but here is a piece by Tim Dean.

The discussion right here on this blog has also been interesting, with the views ranging from what I think is agreement with the general Harris position on what morality is all about to a view that (I hope this isn't too much of a parody) I was far too soft on Harris and that his book is a setback for good philosophy. I do think that aspects of the Harris approach (to debate and to Western philosophy itself) have caused a bit of a backlash from philosophers, though that's not so much the case with me. I've been defending a form of moral scepticism for a long time now, and certainly right from the start as far as this blog goes.

The current discussion is all welcome, of course. And this raises a general point about disagreement among allies. I'm not a great fan of people who spend a lot of time and effort trying to undermine the social objectives of others with whom they're more or less in agreement, or who insistently tell them "Ur doin it rong!" That doesn't mean that we can't publicly disagree with each other on important issues, whether it's metaethics or foreign policy. We may be allies, but we're not clones of each other, and it wouldn't be healthy if we tried to be.

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