Sunday, 11 November 2007

Geras vs. Kamm on Blogging

Further to my post on New stories and Blogs, Norman Geras (who writes in defence of blogs) has kindly posted an article on Aquinas on blogging which gives a link to various posts in which he defends blogs (political blogging in particular):

I'm with Norm on this one, his arguments are much more persuasive. Kamm uses a political blog to put forward his arguments, so one can assume that the arguments he uses against political blogging do not apply to him - very much a case of special pleading. If my assumption is false, why does Kamm write on a political blog? [Note: Kamm is not against all blogs, he makes this clear in an update at the end of this article.]

This isn't to say that Kamm's views are totally off beam - I think there are instances where (as Geras points out) the behaviour of some bloggers and commentators to blog is nothing short of appalling (e.g. an anti-Semitic post on Cif which I will not link to even if I had time to find it again). Norm points out that this is a failure not so much of blogging, but the standard of behaviour expected on them (a lot less than say a public meeting).

But isn't this an argument of free speech? If an argument on a blog is poor, relying on poor or no evidence, can we not use a blog to shoot it down? I quote Geras "And no one is forced to be a consumer" - you are free to ignore blogs.

More links to this issue:

Footnote: the post was in response to is Philosophy good for the soul?, which is where the reference to Thomas Aquinas in Norms blog comes from.

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