About Me

My photo
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).

Friday, December 31, 2021

My essay "The Making of a Cancel Culture" in TPM

My essay "The Making of a Cancel Culture" has appeared online in The Philosophers' Magazine. Check it out.


In this essay, largely aimed at academic philosophers, I focus on university campuses. However, the present-day culture and praxis of cancellation extend much further.

In many cases, we’re entitled (relative to widespread norms of free and candid speech) to express ideas that are not especially scholarly, or not scholarly at all, but have a place in the rough-and-tumble of everyday debate. Some kinds of vilification of individuals or groups, or violations of personal privacy, might lie beyond the pale of democratic toleration, but wherever, exactly, the boundaries lie, this should still leave a vast zone of expressive freedom. When the stakes seem high enough, however, it’s tempting to contract the zone of what feels tolerable, and to excuse cruel behaviour to people who seem like our enemies.

No comments: