Collateral Damage

  • Philip Andrew QuadrioEmail author
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 21)


After unpacking the notion of collateral damage and contrasting it with the notion of double effect this paper moves to a discussion of the normative boundaries that ought to contain the contributions of public intellectuals to public discourse. With this apparatus in place the paper makes a case that due to its polemical nature and a surprisingly blasé attitude to facts and accuracy much New Atheist discourse not only fails to inform the public it addresses but distorts and clouds that discourse. As such they risk misinforming their readers or leading them to hold views based on distorted or inaccurate claims. The paper suggests that this is not simply an unfortunate and unintended side-effect of New Atheists pursuing their polemical cultural-political agenda but best described as collateral damage produced due to a disregard for proper intellectual standards in the prosecution of their polemics.


Ethics Collateral damage Double effect Public discourse Public intellectuals Politics 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney School of LawUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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