The debate about pornography has been a debate about censorship as a way of reducing circulation. Three waves of anti-pornography thinking have reached for censorship. The First Wave invoked the Family Values familiar from religious rhetoric, the Second and Third Waves were both were motivated by feminist considerations. All thought they could justify the imposition of censorship. But even if such an imposition could be justified, should we want censorship anyway? I argue that censorship does not reduce the circulation of (...) pornography. Instead, I propose developing an alternative, informed by the Second and Third Waves, which relies on educating consumers in order to reduce the circulation of pornography. This could be the basis for a Fourth, truly effective, Wave. (shrink)
The Identity of Indiscernibles seems like a good enough way to define identity. Roughly it simply says that if x and y have all and only the same properties, these will be the same object. However the principle has come under attack using a series of thought experiments employing the idea of radical symmetry. I follow the history of the debate including its theological origins to assess the contemporary arguments against the Identity of Indiscernibles. I argue that the principle is (...) viable as a logical truth, and so can be put to work in our idea of objects. (shrink)
Many artists who identify as politically committed are suspicious of art due to the Situationist argument that revolutionary art is impossible. If right, the argument also rules out a future artistic avant-garde. I believe that, by concentrating on the truthtelling possibilities of art, we can meet the Situationist argument. To do so, it is necessary to change the relationship art has to everyday life. We can then speculate on the form of a future avant-garde.
Automation may be able to completely eliminate the need for labour. But how should we use the freed-up time? In his proposal for a future urbanism, New Babylon, Constant Nieuwenhuys thought people would engage in nonstop free play, remaking surroundings. I argue that at the core of New Babylon is an intuition about a satisfying life, that of Homo ludens. This intuition had a broad appeal in the 1960s. New Babylon is an intuition pump, not a utopia, and Constant wants (...) Homo ludens to be possible and desirable. Possibility can today be most urgently equated with sustainability.I will argue that New Babylon is not sustainable. I will also argue Homo ludens is not desirable, and 1960s intuitions about the good life have dated. Constant forecloses on creative activity such as we might find in improving science and technology. (shrink)
I briefly chart the position Einstein came to on nuclear weapons. Then I defend that position against Matchett's idea that Einstein behaved as a pop scientist and intervened ignorantly on an issue of wider concern.