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What is the most dangerous idea in contemporary philosophy, and why?


The most dangerous idea in philosophy is that there can be political solutions to biologically or culturally rooted problems. People on the right are aware of these problems and try to side-step them with winks and nods about ‘law and order’ (which they implement and which backfires horribly) and ‘small government’ (which they do not implement, despite their obviously false assertions to the contrary). People on the left hold that extensions of government will solve the problem, which they sometimes do but sometimes don’t.

What is striking, however, is that there is practically no system of government that has not worked at certain junctures and that also hasn’t failed at others, calling into question the whole legitimacy of the discipline of political philosophy and, indeed, of the very concept of the ‘proposition’ state.

There is only so far political systems can go in the way of contravening biological facts (e.g. differences between genders) without imperiling their own viability, and the most dangerous question of contemporary philosophy is what those limits are. Academic philosophers are not likely to be aware of the significance of that question, and they have proven totally incapable of answering even their own artificial questions. But a lot of good work, by people of all ideological stripes and backgrounds, has been done on it.

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