Quote of the week
'..The friends we have lost do not repose under the ground...they are buried deep in our hearts. It has been thus ordained that they may always accompany us...'- Alexandre Dumas - Diaspora
Julian Baggini: Hume and the genteel racism of British philosophy

Baggini has written a piece in Prospect magazine ‘   Is the University of Edinburgh right to “cancel” David Hume?’ 15 Sep 2020. He is seeking to defend Hume from accusations of racism while accepting his ‘unfortunate’ statements. He writes: ‘Hume was both a product of his time and like people of every time, had his blind spots.’ This statement implies that Hume’s views were uncontroversial during his time. This is completely untrue. His views were seriously challenged and…

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Fear and trembling in UK Philosophy departments – the case of Dr Liam Kofi Bright

It is with some hesitation that we address this issue and mention names. It does seem to be both important and implausible without naming names. With the insurgency of BLM  Dr Kofi Bright may be able  to find some cover.  On 8 November 2019 in London Dr Bright, assistant professor in philosophy at London school of Economics, gave a public lecture on ‘Why do scientists lie?’ for the Royal Institute of Philosophy. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNs1sumAT68&t=774s)  Only the formal lecture is presented…

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Skidelsky – Is Economics color blind?

Skidelsky writes on 20 July 2020 in Project Syndicate: ‘I still regard economics’ detachment from culture as a serious shortcoming in understanding human behavior. But I now see considerable merit in this cultural neutrality, because it provides a “safe space” for thinking amid the culture wars that currently convulse the non-scientific intelligentsia and about which journalists love to pontificate.’ and later: ‘Another point in favor of economics is its valid claim to be color- and gender-blind. ‘ Skidelsky, R….

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Cornel West – prophet or turncoat?
Prof Cornel West

Cornel West was once considered part of a triptych including  Skip Gates, and Anthony Appiah, representing the Black Academy. This triptych can be viewed as  either the leading edge of the Black Academy or a rogue’s gallery. Let us put this in context so as to understand the connection with Trump.  We need to understand the historical dynamics that generated this context.  For several decades ‘the conservative moment’  involved suppressing dissent of both left and right  by denying it…

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Failure of US journalism

After the widespread diffusion of the video of the assault on George Floyd rioting broke out in US cities  calling for the arrest and charging of the police officers involved.  There was considerable expressed surprise that when the demands were met the riots escalated.  ‘The turmoil was on display a short distance from the White House, where President Trump had called earlier in the day for his supporters to rally. Instead, hundreds of protesters mobilized on the streets of…

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President Trump to Hong Kong police: ‘start shooting!’

We are not among those who take a default position that President Trump is racist. We take him at his word until we cannot . In this case Trump has said on Twitter on 29 May 2020: “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you.” Clearly these statements are made with a concern for safety and the rule of law. We have all seen the images of violence and looting…

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Coming collapse of US cultural dominance:

At the present time the world dominance of US culture seems uncontestable. However closer scrutiny would show that the world is a far more complex place and the apparent dominance can be less than it seems. First, we can begin with the humorous. I remember listening to an American in the 1980’s describe the coming world dominance of US culture as  inevitable and universal and as a proof and precursor he pointed to the ubiquity of the  ‘Walkman’. It…

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Tariffs and why china might say ‘bring it on’

Tariffs have a tendency to be symmetrical. US tariffs could cause China immediate disruption but what would be the long run ? If China weans itself of the USA market then US producers will have to relocate to China. Since many chinese goods are intermediate the cost could be borne by US producers. However large the US market is today it cannot compete with the future Chinese market. Foreign competitors will seek to steal US lunch. If the US…

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Angus Deaton on US poverty – E pur si muove!

It is certainly welcome news to be able to write a positive follow up. Without mentioning either Adam Smith or neo-classical economics by name, Deaton  has put a huge dagger into their backs in an op-ed article in New York Times (Note 1).  He categorically states ‘…it is time to stop thinking that only non-Americans are truly poor.’ Trickle down and work incentives simply do not prevent extreme poverty and if they do not prevent it in US they…

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Scott Adams, CNN and apologies for racism

There has been quite a bit of fallout from Trump’s recent remarks referring to Haiti and African  countries as ‘s****holes’. (Note 3 Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment is his new rock bottom – CNNPolitics) Recently Scott Adams was on CNN today, 13 Jan 2018, explaining that Trump is unlikely to be a racist because years ago on a TV show  he said he would choose Oprah as VP if he ever ran for President. This is a silent and deadly distortion…

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