A Defence of Extremism

August 22, 2023, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Deakin University

C2.05 Burwood Campus
Deakin Burwood Campus

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Deakin University

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Title: A Defence of Extremism

Abstract: Extremism is widely held to be a bad thing. Conventional wisdom holds that there is a growing problem of political extremism. There is now a large body of literature in psychology, social science, and philosophy , addressing the causes of this so-called problem, and suggesting ways to solve it. I argue that all of this is misguided. The bien pensant view, which pervades our political culture, according to which the term ‘extremist’ refers to something objectionable, is not only mistaken; it is also extremely harmful, since it directs our attention away from what should matter – the content of people’s beliefs, rather than their position on a spectrum of social acceptability.

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