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).

Sunday, June 30, 2019

New op-ed piece published by Arc Digital - "Philosophy Is Not Ideology"

This op-ed piece"Philosophy Is Not Ideology", was published on 21 June 2019, over on the Arc Digital site. Check it out!

Except in the discipline’s most technical areas, however — areas such as formal logic and the philosophical study of semantics — disputes among philosophers seldom converge on anything like a stable consensus. These disputes run into problems of ambiguous, conflicting, and incomplete evidence, conceptual confusion, and a diversity of bedrock assumptions, intuitions, and values. It is therefore typical, rather than unusual, for philosophers to maintain opposed ideas even after honest and strenuous efforts to find common ground. This is well known within the discipline, and in the past, such considerations have obtained far more consensus from philosophers than any suggested answers to big philosophical questions. Thus, philosophy’s tolerant disciplinary norms reflect the practicalities of philosophical inquiry.
The point of the article is not, however, to claim that all is well within the discipline of philosophy. On the contrary, it expresses concern about internal challenges to philosophy's disciplinary norm of fearless, open inquiry. Having examined a couple of cases of this, including the Tuvel affair, I conclude on a worried note:
In the past, philosophy has survived, and maintained its integrity, in the face of external pressures, including hostility from church and state. It is not clear, however, that philosophy as an academic discipline can survive the tactics of ideologues working from within.

(Edit: Link updated 28 June 2021.)