Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Pilkington responds

Philip Pilkington sent me a response to my reply to his American Postliberal article. I thank him for it and am happy to post it here:

Feser's response to my piece is a welcome effort at clarification. We need such clarification if postliberalism and related thought is to move from the abstract to the concrete. Here I will address the key points, as best I can.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Postliberalism, economics, and culture

I commend to you economist Philip Pilkington’s fine essay “Towards a Postliberal Political Economy,” at The American Postliberal.  It is in part a response to my recent Postliberal Order article “In Defense of Culture War.”  It seems to me that we are essentially in agreement, and that for the most part the essays complement rather than contradict one another.  But there might be some differences over details, or at least of emphasis.  Let’s take a look.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

In defense of culture war

From Marxists on the left to former House Speaker Paul Ryan on the right, many voices in the political discussion assure us that the “culture war” is a distraction and that what matter most are economic issues.  But economic order has cultural prerequisites, and indeed economic phenomena themselves cannot even be conceptualized apart from cultural presuppositions.  I make the case for the priority of culture to economics in my essay “In Defense of Culture War,” which appears this week at Postliberal Order.

Monday, June 12, 2023

The associationist mindset

When Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophers say that human beings are by nature rational animals, they don’t mean that human beings always reason logically (which, of course, is obviously not the case).  They mean that human beings by nature have the capacity for reason, unlike other animals.  Whether they exercise that capacity well is another question.  Human beings are often irrational, but you have to have the capacity for reason to be irrational.  A dog or a tree doesn’t even rise to the level of irrationality.  They are non-rational, not irrational.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Reconsidering corporal punishment

Debates about crime and punishment today typically concern disagreements about the death penalty, or about the length, and in some cases the appropriateness, of prison sentences.  Largely neglected is the topic of corporal punishment – the infliction of bodily pain as a penalty for an offense.  No doubt many will regard the very idea as a relic of a less enlightened age.  But that is not a view shared universally.  And the practice made headlines in the West within living memory, when, in 1994, the American teenager Michael Fay was caned in Singapore for vandalism (specifically, for stealing road signs and damaging a number of cars).