An obvious area of interest for the new utopians is criminality, and Tallis has fun with the advocates of biological justice. The idea that criminals are in thrall to their amygdala (the seat of aggression, it seems) is no more, he says, than a materialist updating of demonic possession. And instead of justice taking an understanding view of offenders, logically they should be given longer sentences, because nothing can change them. When Zeno whipped him, a thieving slave protested: "But I was fated to steal." "Yes, and be whipped for it too," the philosopher replied. Getting a moral grip on oneself is possible, Tallis believes, but that cannot be the view of those who insist there is no "self" to grip, or do the gripping.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Science or scientism?
George Walden offers some excellent observations on science and its sometimes overly ambitious practitioners. For example: