This explains the appeal of those later thinkers—Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Richard Rorty—who owe their intellectual eminence not to their arguments (of which they have precious few) but to their role in giving authority to the rejection of authority, and to their absolute commitment to the impossibility of absolute commitments. In each of them you find the view that truth, objectivity, value, and meaning are chimerical, and that all we can have, and all we need to have, is the warm security of our own opinion.
So when people have a big question, especially now since the decline of the orthodox religions, they don’t turn to philosophy for the answer but try to formulate it in whatever technical words have been bequeathed to them, and when a scientist comes along and says “I have the answer”, or even “there is no question”, they think “this guy knows what he’s talking about, I’d better lean on him”.
Scruton parece ser el filósofo de referencia del conservadurismo moderno, pero:
UPDATE: My esteemed What’s Wrong with the World co-blogger Lydia McGrew has reminded me of something about which I had completely forgotten: that Scruton, while he opposes creating a legal right to assisted suicide, has taken the view that there are cases where a doctor who intentionally hastens a terminal patient’s death (e.g. via an overdose of morphine) should not be prosecuted and – Scruton seems to think – has even done something admirable. (See chapter 4 of his book A Political Philosophy.) Says Lydia: “I do think that pro-life, contemporary, Christian conservative writers should moderate their raptures about Scruton somewhat in light of such views.” And she is absolutely right. Such views are – in my judgment no less than Lydia’s – gravely immoral, and I regret having overlooked this unhappy side of Scruton’s work.
Recuerda (o recuerdan a) Edward Feser. (Negritas añadidas.)
Could one meaningfully refer to the current period of Western civilisation as part of a ‘decline’?
Of course we are living in a period of decline – decline of the old forms of legal order, the old religions, the old forms of culture and knowledge. The only question is whether something is rising to replace them. It is always dangerous to be pessimistic about this: you can too easily fall in love with the idea of decline, like Oswald Spengler did; but still, the message of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring stilll needs to be taken to heart:
‘alles, was ist, endet’.
The European countries are governed by a political class that can escape from accountability behind the closed doors of the European institutions. Those institutions deliver an unending flow of laws and regulations covering all aspects of life, from the hours of work to the rights of sexual minorities. Everywhere in the European Union a regime of political correctness makes it difficult either to maintain, or to live by, precepts that violate the state-imposed orthodoxies. Non-discrimination laws force many religious people to go against the teachings of their faith in the matters of homosexuality, public preaching, and the display of religious symbols. Activists in the European Parliament seek to impose on all states of the Union, regardless of culture, faith, or sovereignty, an unqualified right to abortion, together with forms of “sex education” calculated to prepare young people as commodities in the sexual market, rather than as responsible adults seeking commitment and love.
The title of [Peter] Singer‘s book conceals a philosophical thesis for which he never argues: namely that the freedom of animals is the same kind of thing as human freedom, and that they, like us, are moral subjects who are fulfilled only when free. The book contains little or no argument, but much exhortation, backed up by harrowing accounts of the dreadful things that people do to animals. It had the good effect of drawing attention to unacceptable and avoidable suffering – and, in particular, to the evils of industrialised farming. But it had the bad effect of convincing people that a philosopher had at last solved the moral question posed by animals when, in fact, he had scarcely addressed it.
[…] For Singer, however, morality is a vast speculation, an unreal computation of costs and benefits, extended over unknowable domains. His defence of the “moral expert” is really an apology for armchair moralising and self-appointed sainthood. It has been said of him, as he indelicately reminds us in the preface, that he is “the most influential living philosopher”, and this is perhaps true. But the influence has been purchased at the cost of the philosophy. After all, there was a sense in which Mao was the most influential living poet, and Hitler the most influential living painter.
Out of this feeling there comes the celebrity culture. The illusion arises that someone, somewhere, must be having real fun, not just the illusory fun that fizzles out as soon as it is lit. And we turn our eyes to those places where this real fun seems to be most evident — places where fame, wealth, good looks and sexual excitement abound. And we are filled with envy. Here is the meaning of life, and it is they, not I, who possess it. Hence people in the grip of ‘celebrititis’ begin to hate the people who obsess them.
Roger Scruton, Celebrity fun vs scared joy.
The British Humanist Association is currently running a campaign against religious faith. It has bought advertising space on our city buses, which now patrol the streets declaring that "There probably is no God; so stop worrying and enjoy life." My parents would have been appalled at such a declaration. From a true premise, they would have said, it derives a false and pernicious conclusion. Had they wished to announce their beliefs—and it was part of their humanism to think that you don’t announce your beliefs but live them—they would have expressed them thus: "There probably is no God; so start worrying, and remember that self-discipline is up to you." The British Humanist Association sees nothing wrong with the reference to enjoyment; it seems to have no consciousness of what is clearly announced between the lines of the text, namely that there are no ideals higher than pleasure.
Se conoce que el humanismo es un tanto menos estable de lo que solíamos pensar. Escribe Roger Scruton.