Tag Archives: conservatism

C. D. Broad

Another apparent paradox in McTaggart’s opinions was that he was as strongly ‘liberal’ in university politics as he was ‘conservative’ in national politics. He was, e.g. a strong feminist in the matter of the admission of women to full membership of the university. This paradox, however, depends largely on the usage of words. There is no essential connexion between liberalism and the view that men and women should be educated together, or between conservatism and the view that they shoud be educated separately. Nor is there any essential connexion between liberalism and the view that the colleges should be subordinated to the university, or between conservatism and the view that the university should be subordinated to the colleges. Yet those who hold the first alternative on these two subjects are called ‘academic liberals’, whilst those who hold the second are called ‘academic coonservatives’. There is thus no kind of inconsistency between academic liberalism and political conservatism, or between academic conservatism and political liberalism. If there were more men like McTaggart, who considered each question on its merits instead of dressing himself in a complete suit of ready-made opinions, such combinations would be more frequent than they are, to the great benefit of both academic and national politics.

C. D. Broad, ‘John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart, 1866-1925’, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 13 (1927), pp. 307-334

Daniel Dennett

In most sciences, there are few things more prized than a counterintuitive result. It shows something surprising and forces us to reconsider our often tacit assumptions. In philosophy of mind a counterintuitive ‘result’ (for example, a mind-boggling implication of somebody’s ‘theory’ of perception, memory, consciousness or whatever) is typically taken as tantamount to a refutation. This affection for one’s current intuitions […] installs deep conservatism in the methods of philosophers.

Daniel Dennett, Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005, p. 34