Reason as the Leading Motive

Posts Tagged ‘Academia’

Philosopher Watch 2

Posted by Jerry on December 30, 2007

Philosopher and academic bully Colin McGinn has gotten into yet another public feud with a philosopher (and ex-colleague) over the latter’s book on a theory of consciousness.

In an article published in the Philosophical Review, McGinn wrote a bitter and scathing review of Ted Honderich’s new book.

Apparently, Colin McGinn is no stranger to academic bullying, as he himself admits:

“People have complained about my tone in reviews for the past 30 years,” says McGinn proudly. “I’ve made definite enemies in the past 30 years in important departments.”

But on the blogosphere, professorial authority has little traction, and McGinn comes off looking like just a cheap weasel.

A while ago, I had posted on McGinn’s poor intellectual manners after he had made the preposterous claim of having “dispatched” with the “terrible theory” of ethical egoism and had prodigiously heaped scorn on all who challenged his argument on his blog. At that time, the substance of his responses were slurs, ad hominem attacks, and outlandish charges of ineptness.

Reading about his review of Honderich’s book, I see that very little has changed since.

[HT: Noodlefood]

Posted in Books, Culture, General Work/Life, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Philosophy Today

Posted by Jerry on October 19, 2007

Learn how to write several paragraphs and yet not say a word:

From Philosophy Now

Why Should I be Good?

The term ‘good’ has many uses. We might say: “Kevin is a good footballer”; “This is a good pen”; “It’s a good thing my train arrived on time.” But in none of these cases does ‘good’ have any moral implications. Kevin’s being a good footballer does not in itself make Kevin a good person. Yet when I ask why I should be good, I take this to be equivalent to my asking why I should be a good person. This is a question that underlies moral action.

When I say that Phyllis is a good person, I do not mean that she performs some particular function well. Persons can perform various functions or roles, and can perform these better or worse, but it is not these capacities that we are interested in when we ask whether some person is good. If Phyllis is a good person, this is not because she functions well, but because she acts rightly.

So why should I act rightly? Acting rightly is a matter of doing the right thing. But why should I do the right thing? Some might respond that that’s a silly question, because doing the right thing is simply doing what it is right to do – and if something is the right thing to do, it is simply what one ought to do, and there is no more to be said.

I think there is some sense in this point. To ask why I should act rightly is to invite a tautological response: I should act rightly because that’s the right way to act. And, similarly, I should be good because it is good to be good. This shows that concepts such as ‘goodness’ and ‘rightness’ cannot readily be analysed into more basic constituents.

So I am confident that I should indeed be good, and that this means doing the right thing. But I now need to determine what the right thing to do is. And there, as Shakespeare says, is the rub.

Dr. Mikel Burley, University of Leeds.

Posted in Culture, Philosophy, Rights and Morality, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Objectivism in Academia

Posted by Jerry on October 4, 2007

Diana blogs the front page of the UT Austin’s College of Liberal Arts’ website. The university’s philosophy department ranks among the nation’s top 20 philosophy departments. It is also where Dr. Tara Smith leads the department’s studies in the philosophy of Objectivism! 🙂

From Noodlefood:

The tagline of the college is just too perfect: “What starts here changes the world.”

Posted in Ayn Rand, Culture, Objectivism, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: