My alma mater jumps the shark

It was bad enough that an ACLU talk on free speech at The College of William and Mary (my school, class of 1971) was just shouted down by members of Black Lives Matter, and the College President made pious mutterings about free speech but does nothing. (He hasn’t yet answered my letter.) But that injury is compounded by this conference, which, as the site says, is “supported by generous funding from William and Mary’s philosophy department, Theresa Thompson ‘67, William and Mary Arts and Sciences, and the Carswell Fund of the Wake Forest University Philosophy Department.”  Supported by the philosophy department? That’s where I began learning philosophy!

And seriously, the conference is to “help inspire more good work in this area”? More good work? Where’s the past good work?

Look at the topics. Here we truly have, as Dan Barker says about theology, “A subject without an object.”  Now I have no doubt that at least one reader will endeavor to defend this as a worthwhile subject, but that reader would be wrong.

14 Comments

  1. Posted October 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    “Aikin banzo.” Hausa for worthless work.

  2. Claudia Baker
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph! (as the catholics say: “Divine command and divine will”, “God and natural law”, “moral arguments for a theistic being”, “divine action”?! Ffs, what is happening in U.S. universities?

  3. Claudia Baker
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    OY – need to edit more carefully.

    …say).

  4. Jay Baldwin
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Theistic ethics begins with the divorce of truth from reality. Freed from such limitations, participants will ponder the “God said so” hypothesis.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Theistic ethics is one of the terms where the adjective actually detracts from the noun, like social justice.

  6. davidintoronto
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    If you can’t get to William & Mary, I’d recommend PBS’s “Crash Course Philosophy.” It’s probably no worse.

    🙂

  7. Randy schenck
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad the got Logistics in there, however, I don’t know how they define it other than, they really mean itinerary.

  8. Posted October 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Too bad the Euthyphro dilemma isn’t the first theme. After that, the other themes won’t matter much.

  9. Liz
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    “Moral arguments for a theistic being” are what exactly? This would be interesting to go and observe. Maybe chime in a little. See who’s there.

  10. mordacious1
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Theistic Ethics?
    Is this a workshop on teaching oxymorons?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      That is almost exactly what I was going to write. Theistic ethics is an oxymoron. What, exactly, is ethical about theism? The whole idea of teaching that gods are real is unethical to begin with.

      How can you even begin to discuss a subject like Divine Command Theory in an ethical way? The idea is disgusting. I suppose they’ll be going on about God telling us to do good things. Who decides what is good? What happens when the good thing is flying a plane into a building?

      There is no God. Therefore “God told me to do it” is never a valid reason, good or bad. End of. To teach anything else is unethical.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Well they are saying that theistic ethics is to be ” construed broadly” but the focus is heavily on classical Western Catholic Thomist ideas, with little mention of Sikh or Hindu approaches to ethics.
    Easily the best theistic ethical philosopher, Reinhold Niebuhr, inspired a Harvard faculty discussion group called “Atheists for Niebuhr”, whose basic idea should be obvious from the name. It is unlikely that Martin Luther King would be on board with much here (although I disagree with Hitchens cllain he was really a humanist), nor would generic theists like Ralph Waldo Emerson.
    Although the Jewish philosopher Maimonides somewhat influenced Thomas Aquinas, there remains enormous basic rifts between Jewish and classical Christian ethics just in terms of concepts and methods.

  12. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I actually breathed a sigh of relief when I read further and found it was only religious nonsense and not Pomocrap. 😎

    cr

  13. Posted October 7, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Could these worthies be undertaking this odious event for job security reasons? I read a well-reasoned book that argued that all theology academic departments be terminated as being worthless (as well as Jesus Studies, Bible Studies, and Biblical Archeology).

    On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 2:30 PM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “It was bad enough that an ACLU talk on free > speech at The College of William and Mary (my school, class of 1971) was > just shouted down by members of Black Lives Matter, and the College > President made pious mutterings about free speech but does nothing. (H” >


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