Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Something for you all

I'll be writing a response to this at some point in the future.



  1. Maybe I'm just not in the right frame of mind to read this right now, but I found it to be almost entirely bullshit. I might need to revisit it later.

  2. It is complete bullshit.

    The piece is hard to bear but I eventually made it all the way through. It's the same old god-sustains-everything argument e.g., without a god, how would we know right from wrong.

    Once again, a theocentric point of view. It's hard to break from the bubble and join us here in humanity land.

  3. I... don't think that's what it was saying AT all. But maybe I'm taking it wrong or otherwise prone to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I don't think it was trying to make any particular theocratic point at all. I think point was rather that, even removed from the idea of a "God", liberal democracies require the sacralization of something. A lot of modern philosophers have talked about this. In our sort of typical concept of a democracy and government and social contract what is sacralized is "rights" and individual human liberty and the social contract itself. Now, from most of our points of view this is obviously an enormous improvement over the Great Sky God. That seems pretty clear.

    I took his point to ultimately be the point of many people who examine the idea of meta-narratives. That, at least in our experiences with modern liberal democracies, the form of government still requires an enshrined ideal which is taken to be beyond reproach and self-justifying. We see a direct example of this in our conception of discipline and punishment for example, in the modern penal system. A crime against an individual is taken to be a crime against society, and criminals owe a "debt to society". The laws themselves are taken to be existent determinate things which have a prescriptive force. This is only one example of a way in which the principles on which our democracy rests are taken to have an external (and eternal) existence and value.

    Take his last paragraph, I think his point is well-taken when he says that "or, if one is non-religious, the secular values most conducive to human flourishing." I took this to be him saying that, even in the absence of "religion", the philosophy and form that government takes requires a sort of assumed telelogical ideal.

    But again, I'm not familiar with this guy or his work, so I may be reading into it, or giving too much credit where it is not due. It's hard to get a lot of context without knowing his other work.

  4. Well, if "the secular values most conducive to human flourishing" include freedom from religion in the public sphere, isn't teleology irrelevant?