Stephen J. Gallagher – USA

Linked with Council for secular Humanism, and with the Institute for the Secularization of the Islamic Society.

Stephen Gallagher is a philosopher and writer who lives and works in North Carolina. He recently addressed the International Philosophers for Peace conference on the history of religiously based prison discourse in America … (full text).

He says: “Quality is not a thing. It is an event … It is the event at which the subject becomes aware of the object…Quality is the event at which awareness of both subjects and objects is made possible … This means that Quality is not just the result of a collision of subject and object. The very existence of subject and object themselves is deduced from the Quality event. The Quality event is the cause of the subjects and objects”. (full text).

Stephen J. Gallagher’s favorite links.


Stephen J. Gallagher – USA

He writes: … At the moment I’m juggling several balls in the air:

  • Wrapping up a review of Barry Lynn’s book, “Piety and Politics”,
  • Fleshing out an essay tentatively titled “Forgetting Guantanomo”,
  • Reworking a short play I wrote into format suitable for a radio play,
  • Last but not least, the big kahuna on my list of To Do’s, I’m working on a book tentatively titled “Leaps of Faith: When Mania Meets Modernity”.

Yep, I’m a busy guy … (full text).

He writes also: … Even in a period when the fallibility of the death penalty has been repeatedly exposed, roughly two out of three Americans still support it. In Texas, current United States president George W. Bush personally supervised the executions of 152 people – and he is proud of that fact. That the blood of this slow-motion massacre on the president’s hands is a political asset says everything about current U.S. values. As the civilized world goes in one direction on this question, the United States goes in another. Proudly. If the whole, long, desperate struggle of rational thought is to have any meaning, then I must renounce my all-too-human craving for revenge and blood. We all must. (full text).

His conferences.

And he says: “The experience of the suicide bomber has a coherent and rational connection to the rest of his (and, increasingly, her) life, concerns, and values, and general sense of how the world works. One key motivator is a profound dissatisfaction with, and alienation from, contemporary secular society. What little research there is (it’s tough to find subjects, since most of them blow themselves to bits) suggests that these suicide bombers have no appreciable psychopathology and are at least as well-off and well-educated as the surrounding populations. The suicide bomber tends to be older, better-educated, more widely traveled and well-read, and more sophisticated than those populations” … (full text).

He writes also: I was born in the usual manner in Jersey City, New Jersey, a bucolic little village across the harbor from Manhattan. I found it unremarkable that I could look out my living room and see up past the Ming The Merciless spires of midtown Manhattan all the way to the distant smudge of the George Washington bridge. I found it of no interest that I could look out my bedroom window any morning and see the ominous Kronos rectangles of the Twin Towers being constructed. As a native New Yorker, I was utterly blasé about growing up in the most exciting city in the world in the most exciting era in American history. How lucky for me that I eventually outgrew such melodramatic ennui. At least, I think I did. Maybe not. At the age of 14 I sat in the cavernous dark of the Stanley Theatre in Journal Square, waiting for a movie to begin. I liked sci-fi movies, so I figured this movie with the odd title would be a mindless way to waste an afternoon. Slowly I became aware of a strange, deep bass rumble coming from the enormous Dolby speakers on the walls. The floor itself seemed to be vibrating. On the screen the camera was panning up over the dark side of the moon. Three brass notes were sounded, rising; the music suggested infinite distance and enormous possibility. On the screen, Earth broke over the top of the moon and an enormous orchestral outburst slammed me back into my seat. As the opening fanfare continued, something happened that I’ve never experienced before or since: the hairs on my arms and on the back of my neck stood up. I had to know what this music was, and what it meant. The subject was not open for discussion. It was an obsession, you understand. My investigations took me to the King Kullen record store in one of the seedier parts of midtown Manhattan, where I bought the soundtrack album for 2001: A Space Odyssey. (full text, Volume 26, Issue 1 of Free Inquiry, 2008, by Council for Secular Humanism).


Jessica Lynch, Simulacrum;

The journal of Contemporary Thought, 2004, Collapse into Silence.

Comments are closed.