Generally speaking I have little time for analysis of trends and prospects, whether forward or backward looking. However, reading someone else's blog recently which concerned trends in that blog's coverage did alert me to some issues of importance and it is possible that if I summarize here some of the key trends in last year's postings on this blog that this will similarly alert a reader to some issues of significance so here goes:
Last year opened with a series of postings on ethics, including, perhaps most importantly a piece on ethics and teleology that laid out some of the problems in thinking through the notion that an ethical position was "teleological", a concern that I have had for some time and which continues to exercise me.
Contained a mixture of postings, some on political developments internationally and others on ethics. Perhaps the key posting of the month, and certainly by far and away the most viewed of the year was the piece on W.D. Ross and prima facie duties and the concern to respond to intuitionism in general was a feature of some of the key postings both of January and February. Look out for the return of this topic at some point this year.
A mixture of topics in this month, from considerations about the relationship between morality and rationality to an extended treatment of the nature of heterosexism. Connecting the general topics to the specific political problems addressed during the month was a piece on Kant, objectification and feminism.
Some general postings on philosophy and its relation to the humanities featured alongside analyses of the three main British political parties' election manifestoes, in the run-up to last year's general election. Also began responding to the threat (in the process now of being realised) to close Middlesex University's philosophy department. Of the pieces of the month that gave most philosophical interest however, was likely the piece on cosmopolitanism, coercion and immigration, part of an extended discussion with Tim Waligore.
More news postings on the battle at Middlesex plus some initial responses to the inconclusive British general election but, more importantly than any of those, was the extensive report on the XIth International Kant Congress that was held in Pisa last year and was a fascinating event.
Postings on Rawls and non-ideal theory were made as were pieces on Apple's failed attempts at censorship but the follow-up second piece on ethics and teleology was the most significant, correcting, as it did, a certain impression formed of my book on Kant's practical philosophy.
The month with fewest postings due to holiday commitments last year but which still featured postings on the Rawlsian distinction between ideal and non-ideal theory in addition to a piece on philosophy and authority and an extended report on a workshop in Amsterdam on the Critique of Judgment.
Began some postings on the relationship between Kant and Salomon Maimon and some others on Wilfrid Sellars' response to Kant in the first chapter of Science and Metaphysics. There was also a report on a conference on Maimon and a posting on the phenomenon of epistemic egalitarianism.
For the second year running the month in which most postings were made. Included a great variety of topics from further responses to W.D. Ross on the notion of common sense morality to continuing thoughts on the Rawlsian distinction between ideal and non-ideal theory. The posting on the relationship between the notion of contradiction in the will and the universal law of nature formula of the categorical imperative proved, however, one of the more visited postings and presented some of the most distinctive thoughts.
The publication of the Browne report on higher education funding required a serious and prolonged response as did the beginning of political agitation against the government's move to implement its principal recommendations here in the UK. Controversy with Brian Leiter over a "spoof" of Derrida also produced some lively to-and-fro. However the reading of an early Rawls piece on the nature of rules was a more philosophically important posting.
A further set of postings on the political battle over education cuts appeared alongside continuing pieces on Wilfrid Sellars' reading of Kant and on Salmon Maimon's Essay on Transcendental Philosophy. The piece reflecting on the meaning of respect for persons was, however, more on the mainline of concentration on Kantian ethics.
The first half of the month's postings again concentrated on the agitation in the UK over education cuts culminating with a piece on the vote to raise tuition fees that named and shamed the Liberal Democrat members of parliaments who either voted in favour or refused, at any rate, to vote against. The postings in the second half turned back to questions about the nature of practical reason and normativity with the piece on incentives, intelligence and the nature of reason receiving particularly high viewing and making a case for seeing Korsgaard's view as requiring there to be a maxim-like structure in "instincts".
Putting it all together the concentration of this blog last year on a set of topics is perhaps clearer than was always apparent at the time. Happy reading to anyone who visits the above postings whether to look again or to review their understanding and/or response to them. Postings in 2011 should further concentration on some of the above topics.