Category Archives: Political Theory

New episodes of The Issue is Not The Issue

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfs0MY7rs8J6jWlCdneoPVQ

 

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, “profilicity,” and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

 

Episode 3—Critique:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W1m0Bez8vU

Philosophy today runs the risk of once more becoming the “handmaiden of theology” by being put in the service of civil religion. The Kantian concept of critique is revived to reflect on contemporary dogmatism and associated power structures that lead to phenomena such as “competitive wokeness” in entertainment (Taylor Swift) or the need to write “diversity statements” in academia. The idea of a therapeutic rather than a normative philosophy is suggested and it is explained how society, along with critique, evolves rather than progresses.

 

Episode 4—Profilicity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yz1C0-mtWI

Why do we need to produce “virtue speech”? We need it to be competitive in society and to bolster our public profiles. A new profile-based identity paradigm, called “profilicity,” is on the rise. It is replacing other identity paradigms such as sincerity and authenticity and provides not only individuals but also institutions (political parties, companies, universities, etc.) with identity value.

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

Episode 1–Virtue Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pg8H-b87Cs;

The phenomenon of virtue speech (“virtue signalling”) has become a central feature in recent outrage movements pervasive throughout the West. Virtue speech, which is implicitly tied to accusations of hate speech, is a form of moralistic discourse setting speech examples that make it difficult to openly discuss elements of our culture without falling into the trap of moralizing.

Episode 2–Civil Religion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EDEuXCPHOQ

Civil religion plays a central role in the virtue speech, or political correctness, discourse. The history of the concept is discussed as well as the structure of the American form of civil religion and how tenets of civil religion are constantly being performed and re-enacted, particularly in current social media outrage movements.

 

Co-Authored Essay “In Defense of Hierarchy” at Aeon

A new essay called “In Defense of Hierarchy,” the joint responsibility of several of us but largely written by Julian Baggini, has been published at Aeon. It is the fruit of discussions at a conference sponsored by the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center, and is an interesting example of comparative or what some folks are now calling cosmopolitan philosophy. Enjoy!

Angle reviews Kim, Public Reason Confucianism

My review of Sungmoon Kim, Public Reason Confucianism: Democratic Perfectionism and Constitutionalism in East Asia (Cambridge, 2016) recently appeared in Ethics 127:3. The first paragraph of the review follows. A pre-publication version of the whole review is available here.
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New Book: Harris, Shenzi Fragments

Columbia University Press has also published Eirik Harris’s outstanding study of the Shenzi fragments — congratulations, Eirik!

Eirik Lang Harris, The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation (Columbia University Press, 2016)

Read on for details on the book, as well as a code that can be used for a 30% discount on the book.

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Did Confucius think our virtues are contagious?

Did Confucius think that if one of us has general virtue, or some particular virtue such as courage or filial piety, that general or particular virtue will have a substantial tendency to spread directly to the people around her, even if she holds no government position?

Here I’ll survey Confucius’ statements in the Analects and conclude that the answer is No. Confucius probably did not hold that view.  (I gave the opposite reading in both my published papers on Chinese philosophy.)

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