Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Important to combat..

Normblog has a regular feature each Friday, The Normblog profile, where he publishes the answers to 50 questions he puts to various bloggers of various interests, backgrounds, and politics.

The profile poses a few interesting questions. I was curious about compiling the answers from the bloggers that I usually read, whether because I like what they say or because I disagree with them. I may follow up on this exercise with some of Norm's other questions but for today, I wanted to collect the answers to this particular question:

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat?

Here are some of the answers:

Tim Blair: 'We're poor; it's their fault.'

Bob of Brockley: The literal truth of the Koran

Na’ama Carmi: Essentialism.

Mr. Eugenides: That any authority, temporal or spiritual, has the right to circumscribe my private behaviour. For such a simple, almost truistic idea, you'd be surprised how many people don't seem to get it.

Eamonn: Anti-Americanism. It's a new kind of anti-Semitism, deforming, perverse and rapidly uniting the ugliest strands of European and Arab rage.

Eve Garrard: The view that moral relativism is the only way to take account of the importance of context in morality, or the only way to justify tolerance of moral differences. This view has been zapped several times by various philosophers, but it continues to be very widely held.

Norm: That 'there is no such thing as the way the thing is in itself, under no description, apart from any use to which human beings might want to put it' (Richard Rorty).

Linda Grant: Any overarching big idea which explains everything - basically most things which end in an 'ism'. Particularly those ideas which treat their enemies as walking containers of antagonist concepts rather than flesh and blood human beings - Islamist! Zionist! colonialist!

Mick: Postmodern cynicism in its various forms.

Oliver Kamm: Rousseau’s General Will.

Michelle Malkin: The cult of multiculturalism and the self-esteem movement in the American education system.

Manolo: That beauty is the subjective, artificial construct. Indeed, it is not. Beauty and the appreciation of beauty they are part of the very essence of the human soul, and are indeed eternal verities.

Martin in the Margins: 'A lie that brings a smile is better than a truth that brings a tear' (or words to that effect) - spoken by Kris Kringle in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.

Neo neoncon: The idea that, because total and complete truth can't be known on this earth, all truth is therefore relative and all truths personal and equal.

Noga: Moral relativism.

Melanie Philips: Nihilism.

Stephen Pollard: That the state is beneficent.

Shuggy: The idea that religion is the sole source of morality.

Roger l. Simon: Monotheism. (I'm serious.)

George Szirtes: That God is on your side.

Michael J. Totten: Fundamentalist Islamic Fascism.

Jeff Weintraub: That human beings are simply determined by external forces and have no capacity to act independently, creatively, and responsibly - either individually or collectively.

You can find all the links to the respective blogs, and many others, here, on Normblog.

As an exercise, can anyone extract and articulate one unifying thought underlying all these answers? Is there such an idea lurking underneath the different answers?

It's a trick question. That is my answer to my own question.


At 1:37 PM EDT, Blogger bob said...

Lots of them are in favour a philosophy of doubt, questioning, reasoning, refusing to accept the authority of orthodoxy. But many of them draw a line: the insistence on doubt does not mean that nothing is true and that anything is permitted.


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