“Theory” as polemic

I have been following - via The Electric Agora and via Twitter (where I maintain a fitful and tenuous personal presence*) - certain recent sex/gender identity debates and, more generally, the internecine conflict between various feminist and other progressive factions. I have not been participating in these clashes and skirmishes. They are not my battles. … Continue reading “Theory” as polemic


Knowledge of the past, knowledge of the world

Is it acceptable to distinguish between, on the one hand, an account of the past (whatever kind of account it may be) and whatever it is which such an account is, or purports to be, about? I ask this question because I was challenged for using this form of words in a recent discussion with … Continue reading Knowledge of the past, knowledge of the world


Not so long ago I discussed the views of Alex Rosenberg and some other thinkers on science, knowledge and consciousness. Rosenberg embraces the term 'scientism' (which, of course, was coined as a derogatory term) as being descriptive of his point of view. I highlighted serious problems with Rosenberg's approach, but there are some aspects of … Continue reading Scientism

Radicalism and religion

Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, had been involved with a mystical form of Judaism (possibly Merkabah) before he joined the early-first-century Jewish sect which became (largely through his own writings and missionary activities) a new religion quite distinct from Judaism. Paul knew that his teachings were unacceptable to most devout Jews and would … Continue reading Radicalism and religion

Defining morality

Previously I have talked about the way political orientation is shaped by an individual's moral priorities. Any scale of moral values will not be one-dimensional, but if certain sets of virtues are seen as central, other sets will necessarily be pushed out of the limelight. Gentleness, kindness and compassion; diligence and self-reliance; self-discipline; different kinds … Continue reading Defining morality