Author Archives: Lorna Finlayson

Ethics for the down-and-out?

A couple of weeks ago, I (perhaps unwisely) posted a sarcastic and hastily written note in response to a news story about the crime-fighting adventures of ethicist Jonathan Glover [original post now removed].  It turns out that I didn’t make my intent clear enough, and that at least some people read it as an attack on Professor Glover’s conduct or personal character.  Fortunately, Glover himself seems to be an unusually forgiving and generous-spirited soul, and despite his initial displeasure at the note (which might have had others threatening legal action), an email exchange between us quickly turned into a friendly correspondence between philosophers interested in similar themes.  For the record, I really did not mean to imply anything about this philosopher’s personal qualities, about his handling of an attempt to defraud him, or about how he came by whatever wealth he may possess (by buying a house a very long time ago, as he tells me). Sure, there is a sense in which I do think that people like Jonathan Glover – and, for that matter, people like me – shouldn’t exist (and are fair game for a certain amount of satire or vitriol).  In any even minimally acceptable society, there just would not be neighbourhoods where the average house costs in the region of £3 million, sat alongside areas of crushing poverty, with tens of thousands of people who cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads at all.  Which is also to say, of course, that the homeless and destitute wouldn’t exist either (as George Bernard Shaw put it: “I hate the poor and look forward to their extermination.”) – but I’ll leave it to the right-wing press and the Bullingdon Club boys who populate our Government (speaking of categories of people that shouldn’t exist) to poke fun and sneer at the poor and the working class.  There also wouldn’t be people like me swanning around Oxbridge colleges eating pheasant and wearing gowns, while the higher education system (along with all the other major public services) crumbles around us.

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New statement by philosophers and political theorists calls for boycott of Israel

Back the Boycott is an initiative by academics and graduate students in philosophy and political theory who wish to express solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli aggression and occupation by means of a boycott of Israel. Those interested in signing the statement can do so here:

http://backtheboycott.com/sign-the-statement/

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