Monday, March 17, 2008

Notetaking from Colin McGinn's blog again (see March 13th):
American "experts" are little better on the issues in the middle east than the amateurs, but the experts think they have reason on their side, and are unwilling to admit that their logic and their pathologies go hand in hand. On the subject of Zionism Steven Weinberg, an atheist (but self-confessed Platonist[?]) is irrational, and a Christian (a Quaker) among others is not.

Arguing that an "unprejudiced and altruistic" demos is central to democracy is absurd: an argument not from the history of the world but from the history of a dream.
The failure of this country is a failure to respect the formalisms of representative democracy and law. The legislature does not stand in defense of its prerogatives, and the press does not do the same for its own. The people cower before experts whose expertise is not questioned. Arguments from authority are everywhere, stated as arguments from reason. Do you understand the moral pessimism that lies at the foundation of the rule of law and of divided government? Do you know how far the legislature now lags behind the desires of the people... to get out of Iraq? to fund a national health service? The list goes on.
You criticize a form of order you do not understand and want to undermine it by the application of one you do. Your "logic" is founded in ignorance.

Colin McGinn: "Seth, I've warned you repeatedly about ad hominem remarks. I must now ask to desist from contributing to this blog (see Blog Guidelines)."

McGinn on Honderich
This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad. It is painful to read, poorly thought out, and uninformed.
...Is there anything of merit in On Consciousness? Honderich does occasionally show glimmers of understanding that the problem of consciousness is difficult and that most of our ideas about it fall short of the mark. His instincts, at least, are not always wrong. It is a pity that his own efforts here are so shoddy, inept, and disastrous (to use a term he is fond of applying to the views of others).
In my first comment I asked McGinn if he was stupid. The post was offensive, but that insult was unnecessary.

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