Redding is one of the recipients of an ARC grant which was ridiculed by the Coalition in the week before the election.
At the same time, the Coalition announced it would be redirecting research funding away from fields it considered “wasteful”, and would consider terminating grants already in progress. As Education Minister, Brendan Nelson vetoed 9 Australian Research Council grants. This is another order entirely – cutting off funds for work already in progress, and determining in advance what can be funded based on political perceptions of what has value. It will be difficult to see how an already eroded academic freedom can continue in being.
Ironically, at the same time, Christopher Pyne has been complaining that “Western Civ” has been overlooked in the history national curriculum for schools. I know there are multiple debates around a contested concept, but in his own terms, it’s hard to see how Pyne could fail to acknowledge that Hegel and Kant are central to the Western philosophical tradition. Perhaps Western Civilisation – qua Anzac – is just the history of wars in the mind of the Coalition.
Redding’s piece has a sting in its tail:
The discipline of philosophy developed in ancient Greece in opposition to a rival discipline popular, then and now, with politicians: rhetoric. The philosophers saw as mere rhetoric language used just to achieve a desired result – to trigger an immediate response rather than a reasoned one. A contemporary term for this, “dog-whistling”, captures the picture well. Dogs react to mere sounds, they don’t act on the basis of concepts expressed in words. The word “ridiculous”, unaccompanied by reasons, is really just a whistle.