Welcome to the fourth issue of the University of Queensland’s student philosophy magazine, Exordium. It is with great pleasure that I take over the reins as Editor in Chief from Rosie Trappes, who will continue to write to us from her quaint European cottage in Holland.
Since our last edition, several key philosophical questions have been raised in the West. Perhaps the most pertinent questions concern human equality. In Syria we are seeing one of the most horrific civil wars in modern history. As a western society, what should our moral and ethical obligations be regarding the resettlement of those who have have been displaced from their homes due to this conflict. Religious division and geopolitical instability has created a system that seeks to embargo those who may pose a specific threat to Western ideology due to the contentious correlation between the Muslim faith and the radicalisation of Islam. Should millions suffer at the hands of a few?
We have also witnessed increasing anger and civil unrest in the United States, the UK, and Australia, as millions have protested for the equal rights of women and minorities including African Americans, homosexuals and a growing list of groups who feel marginalised by the current system. Two significant counterpoints have arisen from the indignation: should free speech be unreservedly protected? And what are the ethical ramifications that transpire from repressive laws pertaining to political correctness? These questions have incontrovertibly contributed to the rise of political ideologies like Nationalism and Popularism in the West, which seek to expunge these social issues from the realm of government responsibility, and move toward a system grounded by libertarian philosophy.
As philosophers, how should we approach these problems? And how do we go about sifting through the fallacious rubble so we may excavate reality? In a ‘post-truth’, Orwellian world, this task is becoming increasingly difficult, but not impossible.
In this edition of Exordium we explore the notion of a virtuous suicide through the lens of Baruch Spinoza, and we also delve into the ethical considerations surrounding euthanasia in Queensland. Regular exordium contributor, Taylor Redwood, examines whether or not the culture industry is deceiving us, and in turn oppressing the human race. We also discuss lesbianism and the idea of universalising the perspective of a minority, along with a short story about magic mushrooms, and several other great philosophical essays from our UQ students.
Editor in chief