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Showing posts from August, 2011

Questions for Humeira Iqtidar

[EDIT: For my current views on Humeira Iqtidar's work, see my article 'Are Islamists secularising society?' The views expressed in the post below were, I believe, based on some misconceptions and have undergone significant change.]

This post is in response to this article by Humeira Iqtidar on Guardian. Quotes are excerpts.
Is it possible that groups such as the Islamists who oppose secularism may be, inadvertently perhaps, facilitating secularisation?
Let us assume that Islamists may inadvertently be facilitating secularisation to a degree. So? What does it suggest? That those who desire secularisation of society should now be encouraging Islamisation? That secularists should make peace with Islamists, and let them carry on with their work of radicalization, content with the comfortable knowledge that this radicalization is ultimately going to secularize the society anyway?
The general understanding about the relationship between secularism and secularisation is based on …

Muslims

Some Muslims make morality their Islam and some Muslims make Islam their morality.
The former are troubled by the backwardness of the latter and the latter are troubled by the modernity of the former. Both blame each other for ignorance of Islam. The former blame the latter for ignorance of the 'spirit' of religion and the latter blame the former for ignorance of scripture and sunnah.

Burka Feminism

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Aati: Just for laughs, I imagine a burka clad feminist is a bit like a person sitting in a cage, telling on lookers 'How can you say I'm not the who's free?' I get the feeling it's like in their mind, they are in a cage but everyone else is in a bigger cage around their smaller one. That somehow makes them 'free' because 'at least we are not in that bigger cage!'.
Me: How much of this do you think applies to hijab?
Aati: The hijab is marginally less repressive, but more insidiously stubborn form of the same thing. Say, it's a cage on wheels :P 'I can go anywhere, I do anything, how can you say I'm not free?!' Pata hai Awais, I don't think burka-clad and feminist are paradoxical terms. A woman conditioned to live within a burka -- physical, social, and often mental -- still has the potential to realize the need for equality, and the capacity to struggle for it. Mujhe masla uss se hai jiska feminism hota hee usskay burkay main hai.

Utilitarianism and Psychopathy

"The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas" by Bartels and Pizarro is a thought-provoking study which reveals how psychological aspects of a person may underlie the sort of moral philosophical framework he prefers. The study specifically deals with antisocial personality traits and utilitarianism.
This is the abstract:
"Researchers have recently argued that utilitarianism is the appropriate framework by which to evaluate moral judgment, and that individuals who endorse non-utilitarian solutions to moral dilemmas (involving active vs. passive harm) are committing an error. We report a study in which participants responded to a battery of personality assessments and a set of dilemmas that pit utilitarian and non-utilitarian options against each other. Participants who indicated greater endorsement of utilitarian solutions had higher scores on measures of Psychopathy, machiavellianism, and life meaninglessness. Th…

Jinnah ka Pakistan

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Who knew the Euthyphro argument could have such far reaching applications!

Nagel in God's Court

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And in case you haven't read his paper, you should: Moral Luck, Thomas Nagel.

A Pakistan That Is Yet To Be Built

Pakistan needs no resurrection. It doesn't need a lesson in history, already repeated ad nauseum, neatly divided up into right-wing and left-wing versions. Forget the two nation theory, forget whether Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, forget whether Partition was a bloody mistake. It's done. Forget the visions of Iqbal. Forget even what Jinnah wanted. The solution is not in sifting through the past, important though it no doubt is. What Pakistan should be has nothing to do with why it was created. The solution is in looking forward. The solution is in new beginnings. The solution is a liberal, secular Pakistan. The solution is toleration of diversity. The solution is in opposing extremism and fanaticism. The solution is in fighting terrorism. The solution is in a democratic culture sensitive to safeguarding human rights. The solution is in modern education and critical thinking. The solution is in our hands, the youth and those who know better, of a Pakistan that is y…

A Personal Gulag

This was sent to me by Iris during an email exchange, and I felt it needed to be shared.

Excerpt from The Gulag Archipelago:
"It was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between social classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, through all human hearts. That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: "Bless you, prison!" I … have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: "Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!"
(This is so similar to Sri Aurobindo's experience too. This sentiment of being grateful to prison life which was responsible for a great awakening in life.)
This is needed. Much needed. A dread. A terror. The suffocation. That rises from a…

xkcd: How Islamic Sects Proliferate

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My spin on xkcd: Standards... how Islamic sects proliferate!

Moral Philosophy's Third Way

How to avoid moral relativism without falling into moral absolutism:
Moral philosophy’s third way