The Guardian University Guide for 2011 has just come out. UEA has leapt 16
places to Number 19
which makes mine a top 20 institution.
And philosophy as a subject has moved up 9 places from 23 to 14
which makes mine a top 20 department.
My latest article, published in Saturday’s EDP:
Let me explain…
Future generations – future people – are collectively our children. We give birth to them. They are even more powerless than the newest new-born baby. They cannot entreat, nor even scream, let alone return our gaze. They are dependent upon us for every aspect of their life-chances. For we cause them of course to come into being; but moreover, and ever-increasingly, we cause theirconditions to be what they are, too.
What is fair is decided in a negotiation, or in a court. In the course of the negotiation or case, one deploys principles to make one’s case. These principles, ideally, secure a reasonable agreement. But, there is no fairness, no genuine equity, between two utter unequals. Treating one’s baby merely ‘fairly’ is abominable. Dividing food,warmth or shelter ‘fairly’, in such a circumstance; doing this ought to be a matter of profound shame. Such ‘fairness’ is an invitation to bad faith; because there is no actual ‘contract’ here, no agreement, no negotiation; just whatever you decide ‘is’ fair.
So: fairness is not what is most to the point, here.We need to rely on something stronger.
Well, one mustlove one’s newborn child. It must be second-nature to treat it as generously as one can. Or, to treat it as not separate from oneself at all.
The very same is true of future people. The analogy is so direct, it is barely worth calling an analogy: future generationsare our children. The case is stronger still: if it is true that we must love our new-borns, then it’s even more obvious that we must love our descendants, the future ones. Because they are still more profoundly our dependents (our children) than our own dependents (our children) are, for they are nothing without our love and care. Without that care, they will in many cases not even get the chance to exist…
There is no real chance of our descendants inheriting a planet habitable for civilisation, unless we love them. It isnot enough to seek to be fair/just. We are going to have to open our hearts to the people of the future as we open our hearts to a new-born. We are going to actually have to care about them enough, for instance, to be genuinely willing to sacrifice the fripperies that decorate our dwellings, our lives, etc., and which are being produced at the cost of the future. It would be truly terrible not to do this, as (on a business-as-usual model) seems likely.
It may be very demanding, to demand love. It may leave us with little hope that we can do enough. But it’s better to try to do something that would be enough than not even to try.
Let us give our all for our descendants, our collective children. For us not to be myopic,they need to bereal to us. In short: let us love them.
That’s the answer to the question which forms my title. It’s not enough to try to do right by future generations merely by trying to do them justice, or merely to be ‘fair’ to them. We should give up, and admit that we do not love and do not really care, and consign them to their terrible fate –or we should love them.
I recommend the latter course.
The resignation of Prof Brian Wynne last week from the Food Standards Authority due to concerns about the proposed ‘dialogue’ with the public and other stakeholders is highly-concerning.
In his letter of resignation from the Dialogue Steering Committee, Professor Brian Wynne reaches the conclusion that the FSA ‘is intrinsically pro-GM’ He is also critical of the dismissal of the public as ‘anti-science’ when the issues around GM are much wider.
‘…. even if wider positions are heard, if no one challenges the institutional dogma which afflicts FSA and it seems other government bodies, that the issues are scientific and the only perspective which can be properly used to assess these is (so-called) ‘sound science’, then these wider frameworks will be doomed to dismissal before they have even been properly heard, since some of them at least are saying that a (so-called) ‘sound science’ perspective cannot possibly accommodate, understand and assess some of the key issues over global food and its food-chains (including GM), and their resilience, sustainability and justice.’
‘What is at issue, indeed what I have been forced to conclude is compromised, is the integrity of the very policy process in which we as the dialogue steering group had become a key component. I am not prepared by default to aid and abet this kind of systematic failure of institutional integrity in what is a crucial public arena, involving deep questions of science and public good.’
|Check this link to see Israel’s tactics and that of the commandos:
OPPOSITE THE FORUM, MILLENNIUM PLAIN, NORWICH.
_ISRAELI TERROR ON THE HIGH SEAS_
This action has been called by Norwich Palestine Solidarity Campaign and
Norwich Stop the War Coalition and is supported by many other local
organisations. There will be speakers from these organisations at the
protest. Among the speakers will be Peter Offord, President of Norwich
Stop the War Coalition and a Green councillor, who visited Gaza in
December and January 2010 on the anniversary of the attack on the Gaza
Strip. Many of the aid workers attacked early this morning were people
Peter met on that visit.
PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ATTEND THIS EVENT.