Friday, October 1, 2010

A model of restraint

Moralizing is a perilous business. It's all too easy to convey not just a moral point, but a sense of moral superiority or self-righteousness also. Perhaps I'm oversensitive to these things and see smugness where there is none, but I do react negatively to most moralizers, especially (for some reason) when they happen to be philosophy professors. (Peter Singer comes to mind.)

I was reminded of these issues when I read a recent article by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Any response that I might make would tend to sarcasm. By contrast, Norman Geras remains dispassionate. His critique of Appiah's article is a model of conciseness, clarity and restraint.