I struggled to decide on which of my pages to put this fascinating list of the American Journal of Bioethics Editors’ Blog “Top 20 Essays of 2008″. Bioethics criss-crosses disciplines and pushed the edge of thinking in science, health, reproductive rights, public policy–you name it.
Whatever, these articles are important enough that attention should be paid. Will monkey cloning, done successfully in Oregon, lead to exciting medical discoveries or straight to cloning humans? Should Jill sell her eggs? How many, how, and for how much? Organ donation, stem cells, gene therapy, medical research protocols, and that pregnant transgender father. Talk about the personal meeting up with the political.
So it’s no wonder that one of the blogpost cites scholarly theories about the role of political pundits as the philosophers of our day. Citing this article from the Sacramento Bee about Jason Holt’s work on philosophy and the Daily Show:
Just as Socrates‘ and Diogenes’ reason-over-emotion doctrines served as an antidote to the sophists and rhetoricians of their day, Stewart’s nightly reports combat the dissembling of politicians and the blathering of mainstream media’s so-called “chattering class.” At least, that’s Holt’s thesis.
Diogenes once lived in a bathtub to show citizens the folly of the pursuit of wealth and comfort. And Socrates was known for comically feigning ignorance – “I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing” – to dissect an opponent’s argument.
Jason Holt, assistant professor at Acadia University in Canada, compiled a book of essays called “The Daily Show and Philosophy”, its title both tongue in cheek and serious.
For his part, Holt says that Stewart can show current philosophers and “public intellectuals,” such as himself, a thing or two.
“Intellectuals in the past used to do a lot more public engagement, reaching out behind the walls of the ivory tower,” Holt says. “Now, many have not taken this challenge up, and they’ve left a gap in the culture. A lot of pundits have taken over.