Monday, March 5, 2012


Philosophers suprised that people react to their ideas. More proof that the uber-educated intelligentsia can be some of the biggest dumb-asses on the planet. 

 Brilliant essay by Trevor Stammers at Mercator.

A paper proposing use of the term ‘after birth abortion’ to refer to the killing of both disabled and apparently healthy new-born babies, was published recently in the Journal of Medical Ethics, arguably one of the world’s leading bioethical academic publications. As the editor of a similar (though far less prestigious) journal, I very clearly appreciate the right of the current JME editor, Professor Julian Savulescu, to publish his former colleagues’ views. Academic journals should be a place where open and robust debate on controversial issues can occur.
What has surprised me though is the apparent naiveté of both Drs Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, the young authors of the paper, who were reported as being shocked at the hostile reaction to their opinions. Whilst not in any way condoning the cheap and harmful anonymous death threats and hate mail against them both, which are indefensible and deplorable, I find it astonishing that, as philosophers, they should express bewilderment at it and protest that their paper “has no relevance outside the bioethics community” and is “pure academic discussion”.
 The idea of the internet-age philosopher being a latter-day Aristotle, musing to his disciples among the leafy colonnades of the Lyceum and isolated from the rest of the world is completely untenable -- certainly since Karl Marx’s emphasis on the sublation of philosophy from theory into practice (praxis). To put it in plain English, every social revolution begins with an idea and Giubilini and Minerva’s ideas are no exception and have every relevance in the world beyond academia. If we did not expect our ideas to be noticed and, if we believe they are good ones, to be acted upon, there would be little point in putting them in print in the first place.
Amen to that. Read the whole thing.

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