Stephen Hawking was scheduled to do a conference in Jerusalem, but has backed out, choosing to respect the academic boycott of Israel. The academic boycott seeks to show the Israeli case to be analogous to the South African case–during the apartheid era in South Africa, many academics chose to boycott that country. Is Stephen Hawking right to respect the academic boycott?
Yesterday I found myself rewatching Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film. This morning, I found myself watching a few interviews with Tarantino and was reminded of one of his running traits–he really hates it when people attempt to connect violence in movies to violence in real life. It goes beyond mere point of disagreement; he views the very notion that his movies could have any affect at all on the real world behaviour of people as beyond ridiculous. It suggests a fundamental different in aesthetic philosophy between Tarantino and his critics, and I think I have managed to put my finger on precisely what that difference is.
Given the title, it’s necessary to make a clarification. I support a federal Europe. It’s the only way Europe can regain its ability to make foreign and economic policy independently from the United States, and regain its position as a leading region. However, after running some numbers today, I no longer believe in the Euro as presently constituted. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I would like to return to a concept I’ve referenced once previously–intellectual hipsters. Intellectual hipsters are people who want other people to believe they are intellectual, philosophical people, but have not put in the work of really considering the ideas they embrace. This results in philosophical fads where a bunch of people jump onto the bandwagon of a facile idea. Often they do not even credit the originators of the idea, but treat it is as if it were some brilliant revelation they stumbled upon in their “reflections”. They assume that anyone who does not express agreement with the position just has never thought of it before, when in actuality usually the idea was considered and dismissed some time ago by people who, you know, actually think about the implications of the philosophical positions they take. Today’s hipster idea? Scepticism.
Today I attended a lecture on the political philosopher Ronald Dworkin, and it made me think some new thoughts with regard to the concept of personal responsibility. Traditionally, I have found myself thinking the concept has relatively little merit, but in this post I would like to reconsider this position and precisely where my view on the just society stands with regard to it, to and Dworkin more broadly, specifically considering moral hazard–the notion that, without some level of personal responsibility, there is long-term damage to people’s sense of duty to society and consequently to societal outcomes.