Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy


Philosophy News image
Image Credit While the term “fascism” has been around quite some time, it has enjoyed a resurgence proportional to the attention given to the alt right. Since the term has a strong negative connotation it is used across the American political spectrum in attempts to cast opponents in a negative light. Both Bush and Obama were called fascists. Trump’s detractors and supporters now regularly use the term on each other. But what is fascism? One obvious philosophical problem, as noted by John Locke, is that “people can apply sounds to what ideas he thinks fit, and change them as they please.” The problem is that this can lead to unintentional confusion and intentional misuses. Locke’s solution was practical: when making inquiries “we must determine what we mean and thus determine when it is and is not the same.” Honest people have excellent reason to agree on the meanings of terms (or at least lay out the boundaries of the discussion), deceivers have excellent reasons to shift meanings as they wish. As such, those interested in an honest consideration of fascism can disagree but will at least endeavor to be consistent and clear in their usage of the term. I can also use a stop sign analogy. While the American stop sign is a red octagon with “stop” in white letters, this could be changed to a purple square with the symbol of a hand in the center. Or an orange circle. Or almost anything. But we did to agree on what the sign will be in order to afford traffic accidents. The same holds for defining terms. One obvious place to seek the meaning of “fascism” is to look at what paradigm fascists and fascist thinkers assert it to be. As such, Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile provide a good starting point. I am obviously open to good faith disagreement. One aspect of classic fascism is the rejection of peace. As the classic fascist sees it, perpetual peace is impossible. If it were possible, it would be undesirable. War is seen as good because it energizes. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus