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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robert Neville and Bin SONG are interviewed about several topics related to Confucianism (or Ruism) in series of podcasts produced by the student team of the Howard Thurman Center at Boston University. They are available here. The series’ topics include: Boston Confucianism, Confucianism’s take on the last election, the relevance of Confucianism to contemporary American society, Confucian education, civil examinations, why Ruism may be preferred over Confucianism, Ruism’s political philosophy, Ruist metaphysics, etc.
A new three-part series from BBC Four. The first two episodes, on Buddha and Socrates, are available online. Just from watching the first few minutes, it seems like there is a heavy influence of Jaspers’ “Axial Age” theory. If you’ve seen the full episodes already, let the rest of us know what you think!
This is a call for submissions to a special issue of the journal Educational Philosophy and Theory, which will be edited by Liz Jackson and Timothy O’Leary of the University of Hong Kong.
The Umbrella Movement, a student-led series of protests, occupations and collaborations across different social groups, has permanently altered the social and political landscape of Hong Kong. In marked contrast to the depoliticized, capitalist orientation that predominated in the public sphere in the past, the Umbrella Movement is marked by youth performance of alternative values of collaboration, accountability, and communitarian care. Participants in the Umbrella Movement, both students and educators, are finding new ways to nurture experiential learning in student-authored contexts, in contrast with the teacher- and test-centered education historically customary in Hong Kong. Resistance to the conservative political values of Hong Kong, that preclude local youth democratic participation in revising and reshaping the society, lies at the heart of this movement.
This Special Issue of Educational Philosophy and Theory examines the Umbrella Movement as not only a political movement, but also an alternative form of education that is framed by student resistance and the desire by young people to reclaim their cultural, social, and political world.
Confucius valued careful and serious speech. One passage in the Analects says that a person can be judged as wise or unwise on the basis of a single sentence. So how is it possible that for many Americans, the first thing they think of when they hear the name of the Chinese teacher is “Confucius say,” followed by a silly one-liner?
This story about a foreigner passing out on the subway in Shanghai caught my attention; and I thought it might interest some of our readers as well. It turns out that after fainting and falling to the floor, not a single person tried to help the foreigner. The explanations in the article seem a bit dubious; and there’s no fat villan to throw in front of the subway car, which would make for a more interesting discussion; but I’m guessing a few of you might have some thoughts on the piece nonetheless.