Whose Racism? Which Enlightenment?

By Kevin Currie-Knight ___ Like so much else, the Enlightenment seems to be a flash point in the contemporary culture wars. Some, like Douglas Murray and Stephen Pinker, suggest that we are moving too far away from “enlightenment values” like liberty, equality, and the idea of a universal human nature (to which they oppose the... Continue Reading →

On our Use of the Moral Idiom

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ 1. An unpopular, overweight teen – call her “V” – is in her high school cafeteria, eating alone. Several other girls taunt and humiliate her, to the point that she bursts into tears and begs them to cease their torments, crying, “You’re hurting my feelings, please stop!” 2. What would... Continue Reading →

on authority [and rousseau’s fork]

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Hannah Arendt maintained that one has authority, when one commands obedience from others, not by exercising power over them, but because they recognize and respect one’s right to do so. [1] To accept authority, then, is to accept hierarchy, which, in turn, is to accept a substantial if not formal... Continue Reading →

Prolegomena for a Pluralist Metaphysics: People

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ I shouldn’t need to tell anyone that there are people. You’re a person, as am I. There likely are others in your house. Certainly, there are more down on the street.  I understand from a not entirely reliable authority that Hell consists of them. Clearly, uncontroversially, obviously, people exist. They... Continue Reading →

The Good Old Liberal Consensus

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ The editors have invited us to “examine a single philosopher or school, maybe a movement,” so that we might “consider how what passed for wisdom then may or may not help us now.”†  Undoubtedly, there are many areas in which we have surpassed the wisdom of our predecessors, but one... Continue Reading →

The English Revolution and the Genesis of Modernity

by E. John Winner ____ This is first of two essays, concerning the events of the English Revolution of the 17th century.  Why should these events concern an audience primarily interested in philosophy and philosophy's concrete relations with contemporary culture and politics?  The immediate answer to this is quite easily pronounced in two names: Hobbes... Continue Reading →

Notes on Conservatism, Liberalism and Some Other Political Orientations

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ It is to be counted as a blessing that two of our most fundamental political terms, ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’, wear their meanings on their sleeves, if only because, as George Orwell has observed, confusion in language is typically accompanied by a corresponding disarray in thought. (1)  We must deem it... Continue Reading →

Trigger Locke

by Dwayne Holmes A recent video discussion posted at The Electric Agora tried to pin down the history and definition of "classical liberalism." [1] This largely agreed with my own understanding. However, at one point Dan and David addressed Social Contract theory, particularly as derived from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. There, Locke contrasted... Continue Reading →

Classical Liberalism (Part One)

by Daniel A. Kaufman The first of two conversations with our own David Ottlinger on Classical Liberalism and American Society.  Here, we go into some depth on what Classical Liberalism is and how it is expressed in the work of its two most foundational thinkers: John Locke and John Stuart Mill.  In our second conversation,... Continue Reading →

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