Contemporary western philosophy is degenerate

When I was 30 credits into a philosophy major at a small northeastern private college, it dawned on me, during a class on ecofeminism, that Western philosophy had largely become degenerate. At that time, it also stuck me as odd that many of my Nietzsche quoting colleagues failed to see this. Since, I’ve watched the degeneration progress on pace. What originally riffed me was the growing hegemony of liberal thought. And the unwillingness give justice to counter-positions. Witkerk, well captures the current state of affairs:

The Philosophy Department Looks at Immigration

<a href="Cole is at pains to refute the family of arguments developed within liberal theory that claim to show that immigration restrictions exercised by liberal nation-states are ethically justifiable.

[M]y aim is to show that these arguments fail to be ethically consistent with liberal theory’s own central moral principles.

No doubt such an argument can easily succeed on its own terms. As Professor Cole says, the central principles of liberalism are equality and universality. The very existence of nation-states is a violation of these principles: nation-states by definition must distinguish between insiders and outsiders, and treat the two groups differently. To cut to the chase, Professor Cole is mainly concerned with what he calls “exclusion based on racism.” He takes an extremely dim view of “racism”—kind of like Professor Wellman and the Nazis—and he is confident that all readers will concur with him:

Racism as an issue is more or less absent from philosophical discussions of immigration controls, probably because all of the participants are strongly antiracist. [My emphasis.-MW]

Professor Cole offers a brief history of what he considers to have been “exclusions based on racism,” including the Chinese Exclusion Act, the White Australia Policy, the United Kingdom’s Aliens Act (1905), as well as restrictive legislation in the history of Canada, New Zealand and Natal (South Africa). If by “racism” Professor Cole means attention to ancestry, I am happy to concur with him: a great deal of immigration policy has been, and still is, motivated by such concerns. Are you thinking of applying for citizenship in India? It helps to be Indian. If you have China or Taiwan in your sights, best to be Chinese. South Korea gives preference to Koreans. Liberia and Haiti have both imposed constitutional requirements that citizens be of African ancestry. Is this regard for the ancestry of immigrants “racism?” Professor Cole doesn’t say. All his examples of “racist” immigration law involve white countries excluding various swarthy peoples. Professor Wellman’s views on this issue are also dubious, although at one point he explicitly holds that Norway belongs to the Norwegians. Yet elsewhere he makes this revealing remark:

It seems to me that there must be something wrong with a country’s denying admission on the basis of race. I must confess, however, that I find it surprisingly difficult to provide an entirely satisfying argument for this conclusion.

Recall that Professor Cole similarly refused to argue against “racism” on the grounds that everybody already agreed with him.

What might explain such strongly-held but rationally unsupported convictions on the part of these two learned philosophers?”

There is often little interest in providing rational defenses of PC positions contra serious criticism. And frequently opposition views are simply dismissed on specious grounds. Why is less than obvious. While Philosophy is largely an act of rationalizing and justifying normative positions, traditionally it has also been, and equally so, an act of critique and destruction. As Bruce Charlton has noted, one would expect some clever philosophers to come and, in the spirit of agon, in a demonstration adroitness, demolish the numerous indefensible or unsupported positions.

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3 Responses to Contemporary western philosophy is degenerate

  1. Kiwiguy says:

    Have you read Michael Levin’s Why Race Matters? I was thinking about getting it on kindle. Levin is highly regarded as a philosopher so it would be interesting to see his treatment of the subject of race.

  2. Kiwiguy says:

    I just posted this on Charleton’s site (it probably explains your banning from rational skeptism):

    I think Jonathan Haidt’s work on sacredness provides a partial explanation.

    “The fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology have long attracted liberals, but they became more exclusive after the 1960s, according to Dr. Haidt. “The fight for civil rights and against racism became the sacred cause unifying the left throughout American society, and within the academy,” he said, arguing that this shared morality both “binds and blinds.”

    “If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.” It’s easy for social scientists to observe this process in other communities, like the fundamentalist Christians who embrace “intelligent design” while rejecting Darwinism. But academics can be selective, too, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan found in 1965 when he warned about the rise of unmarried parenthood and welfare dependency among blacks — violating the taboo against criticizing victims of racism.

    “Moynihan was shunned by many of his colleagues at Harvard as racist,” Dr. Haidt said. “Open-minded inquiry into the problems of the black family was shut down for decades, precisely the decades in which it was most urgently needed. Only in the last few years have liberal sociologists begun to acknowledge that Moynihan was right all along.”

    Similarly, Larry Summers, then president of Harvard, was ostracized in 2005 for wondering publicly whether the preponderance of male professors in some top math and science departments might be due partly to the larger variance in I.Q. scores among men (meaning there are more men at the very high and very low ends). “This was not a permissible hypothesis,” Dr. Haidt said. “It blamed the victims rather than the powerful. The outrage ultimately led to his resignation. We psychologists should have been outraged by the outrage. We should have defended his right to think freely.”


  3. Steve Sailer says:

    Like giant turtles, it’s all “Who? Whom?” all the way down.

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