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What’s Wrong With Blasphemy?


In his article in NYT of 9/25, Andrew F. March offers a compelling argument for not regarding the controversy around blasphemy in terms of a conflict between the value of free speech and that of Muslim sensitivity to it . There is no relation-independent wrong in such speech. That is to say, you will only refrain from […]

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ye kahan a gaey hum…


When you find yourself in a situation where you must vigorously defend something, militancy becomes the dominant trope whether you like it or not. In what is being called the war on our speech, folks are being pushed to assume the subject positions of defenders who are defending their values against an aggressor who is hell bent on destroying those […]

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This is not about the Film 02…


Apparently, the societies that made education universal and/or upgraded it to a, sort of, right, did not do it because they somehow suddenly became committed to the moral good inherent in universal education. It was always a political imperative and decisions about what to be taught, how, to whom and by whom were always deeply […]

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Powers of Freedom…


Freedom to speak his mind freely wasn’t a thing of this world that Cotton Mather could acquire after defeating his stutters.  Soon he realised that in order to set his speech truly free he had to tame it. In order to use speech to produce the desired effects on his audience, it had to be sharpened, […]

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Free Speech in the Youtube era…


Among other things, the reactions to the offensive movie also signify gaps in mutual understanding of how different societies are organised to deal with the power of offensive speech. In the United States, the ability to restrict speech is restricted by law as the range of the so-called protected speech has greatly expanded over time.  Apart from legalese […]

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Governing the Speech 02


The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate […]

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Governing the tongue…


Cotton Mather, the famous 17th century Puritan minister from New England used to stutter in his early years and overcame this impediment to speech through a great deal of effort in his early twenties. When he discovered that his efforts had bore fruit and he no longer stuttered, he was exuberant. He had found the ‘freedom of […]

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Reading Tariq Ramadan: Political Liberalism, Islam, and “Overlapping Consensus” [Full Text]


Political liberalism allows for a wide range of disagreement on moral matters and does not insist on Muslim assimilation to all aspects of liberal culture. If it is true that the liberalism of most modern European and North American societies is more “Rawlsian” (pluralistic and neutral between conceptions of the good) than “Voltairean” (committed to […]

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Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech


I have just started reading this fascinating conversation between Talal Asad and Judith Butler among others. The title of the book is Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech. The begins with a contribution from Talal Asad, followed by Saba Mahmood and response from Judith Butler followed by replies from TA and SM to JB. A snippet below of TA’s contribution from Wendy […]

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Self-governing as doubling?


The assumption of ‘self governing’ requires a doubling of sorts.  Must it be built on a splitting of the self into its governing and the governed elements, into subject and object, into soul as separate from the body.  To become an ethical subject capable of governing me as an ethical object, I should be able to step away from myself. Rhetorical consistency requires […]

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