The Unveiled Public Square

In the Wall Street Journal today, My friend Peter Berkowitz offers a defense of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempt to ban the full veiling of Muslim women in France. “Restrictions on liberty in a free society are always suspect and in need of justification,” Peter wisely . . . . Continue Reading »

Now They Tell Us

Remember all the outrage about the claim that health-care reform would result in diminished medicine and death panels to decide what care to withhold? Comes now the New York Times to tell us that, well, actually, yes— that’s what the reform needs : health reform will fail if we . . . . Continue Reading »

Rousseau’s Aunt Rodie

Last year I discovered, much to my surprise, that the tune to Go Tell Aunt Rodie, played by every young violin student of the Suzuki method, was composed by none other than Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the Presbyterian Church of Canada’s Book of Praise the tune is called ROUSSEAU, while . . . . Continue Reading »

Noetic Noah and the Fluffy Hermeneutic

This started as a reply about hermeneutic in the context of the flood on my personal blog. Do we take the flood literally or not. My interlocutor was exasperated exclaiming that to not take the text literally implies words have no meaning. This is exactly backwords. Here is my response to him.Yes, . . . . Continue Reading »

How and Why We Should Listen to the French

The next stop on the BUILDING BETTER THAN THEY KNEW TOUR is Assumption College in Worcester, MASS. I’ll be giving a conference keynote talk Friday night at 7:30 in the auditorium of La Maison. The next day will feature presentations by some genuinely legendary figures—such as Dan . . . . Continue Reading »

Keep Philosophy Away From the Barricades

Among contemporary American philosophers, Martha Nussbaum has long represented the best and the worst of the urgent liberal conscience. One feels the moral seriousness of her work—and one worries (at least I do) that intellectual corners are being cut and complexities set aside so that her . . . . Continue Reading »