Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dueling bloggers

History professor and blogger Hugo Schwyzer is a colleague of mine at Pasadena City College. He is the son of the late philosopher Hubert Schwyzer, a fondly-remembered professor of mine at UC Santa Barbara. Hugo’s wife, like mine, recently gave birth. Each of us suffers from caffeine dependency. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, since Hugo is about as far to the left as I am to the right (which is saying something). Hugo once described me as “an absolutely delightful colleague with absolutely appalling views,” and I’m happy to return the compliment.

Hugo replies here to my recent post on the shooting of George Tiller. He had earlier presented his own views on the subject here and here. Take a look. Hugo warns his readers that they might find what I say infuriating, and I suppose I’d better say that most of the readers of this blog will find Hugo’s own views absolutely jaw-dropping.


  1. Ed,

    Has he ever used Frasier Crane's famous line:

    "Himmler without the whimsy."?

  2. "Absolutely jaw dropping" doesn't even begin to cover it.

  3. An absurdly uncomprehending cooptation/arrogation of Bonhoeffer's dictum, prising the words apart from their depth and then assigning them to another, unintended sense entirely: an arrogation and cooptation only.

    I'm not a huge or fanatical pro-lifer, but late term abortions are positively Molochian, certainly so the post-birth abortions, and to cloak such acts in an impregnable rhetoric does not serve moral coherence and comprehensions, moral clarity, in the least. Hence, even from a purely intellectual perspective, the analysis is trite and boorish, it takes on the character of "I'm right, you're wrong, go away" and little more. It reflects a sentimentality and a rationalization, not rational and moral coherence/cogency.

  4. Guess you have to know the guy in person. From his blog, the impression one gets is that his intellect is corrupted to such an extent that willful malice must be involved. I mean really - he says that if he had medical training he would perform Tiller style third trimester abortions. Those are not the words of an innocently ignorant man. Those are the words of an evil man. IMO, it's beyond the point where you can say, "Great guy, but he's just got some whacked out opinions."

  5. Dear Professor Feser:

    I am a Pasadena City College student. I have taken Dr. Schwyzer's classes but not yours. I am very much in the middle between your two positions on abortion. I left a comment on his blog proposing a public debate between the two of you. Since you get along so well but disagree so much, it would be perfect. And very educational, I think.


    Carlos Castillo

  6. Carlos Castillo,
    No offense.... but don't you think it kind of odd to bait two other people into a debate?

    Maybe Dr. Feser will be cool with it.

    But, ultimately it should be something decided by the two people themselves. Someone playing the role of 'instigator' is kind of annoying.

  7. Hello Carlos,

    I would be willing in principle, but Hugo seems to approach these things more from an intuitive point of view than a philosophical/argumentational one, so I don't know how useful such a debate would be. Anyway, the question is moot, since Hugo has already declined over at his blog.

    But the idea of an abortion debate is nevertheless a good one -- in fact I've considered proposing the idea before as a possible subject for the Philosopher-Citizen public policy events that are occasionally held at PCC. So we'll see.