On Public Intellectuals

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A host of British public intellectuals have sounded off on the question of public intellectuals… again. For some reason this topic has become something of a refrain for the British (the Americans as well). We are meant to think there is some tremendous mystery to be solved: the French, we are told, love their intellectuals – fête them even – but the British hate their intellectuals; they look at them cock-eyed, or askance, or sometimes even askew. The journalists ask: why this difference? John Naughton, for example, has reviewed some books that return to this depressing cliché, dragged out every so often and wheeled around like the sad, emaciated final elephant of a bankrupt travelling circus. The fact that the whole theory is a giant pile of garbage does not prevent it from being meticulously picked through, over and over, usually concluding with the staggering revelation that it is, in fact, garbage. Continue reading “On Public Intellectuals”

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‘After the Catholic Church’ – more MacIntyre for everyone

The US, Ireland and Germany are the countries that now openly struggle with the Catholic Church and the Pope and are trying to understand what went wrong in the institution Church. Child abuse cases in this particular institution should just not happen. And the Pope is coming to Great Britain and many Catholics seem not to know what to think of that. It becomes apparent that the scandals in the Catholic Church lead to questions regarding moral behavior. For a long time religion supplied most people with a moral code. The Catholic Church however is not able to provide this moral code anymore, because too many of those working within the Church did not adhere to it. It lost its believability and hence the code lost its usefulness. A moral code only makes sense if basically all people use it as the premise for moral behavior. The contemporary philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre proposes a solution for the problem, and he did so long before the Church lost hers. Continue reading “‘After the Catholic Church’ – more MacIntyre for everyone”

If you don’t vote for one, you vote for all!

The election campaign here in Britain has started and the battle between the parties is fierce. The problems of the last decade, but especially of the last year are immense. In the next couple of weeks and month it will be looked closely at how the NHS has coped with Swine flu and how the Government has coped with the financial crisis. Those who will do the close looking are the so-called political analysts, and they will try to explain why the one or the other party is better. Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will try to explain why they are the best choice for the country at the present state. But whom are they explaining all this to? It seems as if the media is the only addressee of all the information. But actually the addressee are WE. Continue reading “If you don’t vote for one, you vote for all!”

Swine flu – a new case for Evidence Based Medicine

CDC-11215-swine-fluIt is winter now in Australia and what is feared will be happening in the northern hemisphere when winter arrives, is already the case in the southern hemisphere. Swine flu is becoming more virulent and the necessity to test the vaccines that have been developed since the outbreak of swine flu becomes more urgent. Two pharmaceutical companies in Australia have begun human trials and many volunteers have signed up. Among the volunteers are 400 children, some of them under one year old. It seems logical to test the vaccine on children, since they proved to be one of the most vulnerable groups. The question however is, if it is ethical to involve children in such a trial? Continue reading “Swine flu – a new case for Evidence Based Medicine”