A couple of months ago, while promoting her superb TV-movie Temple Grandin on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, star Claire Danes happened to mention that her father-in-law is a professor of philosophy specializing in moral particularism.
Well, Ferguson’s reaction was as though he’d just discovered a new world he wanted to explore immediately. He asked Danes if she thought this man, Jonathan Dancy, would appear on his show. She said she’d ask.
True to his desire, Ferguson hosted a segment with Dancy last night. May I say that I not only found it a more entertaining segment than the one that had preceded it — someone named Robin Williams was the first guest — but that I want to take a class with Professor Darcy right now?
Dancy is a very big cheese in his field. A Brit who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin (yet another reason I want to take his class — love Austin!), Dancy (Hugh Dancy’s father, obviously) came very close to making a dunderhead like me understand what he was getting at in making distinctions between right and wrong and the context in which such terms have meaning.
If, say, PBS still stood for what it used to (that is, educational programming for the good of the nation rather than a few good shows sprinkled into a schedule of antiquing and repair series), Jonathan Dancy would be doing for moral particularism what Robert Hughes once did for modern art in “>The Shock of the New: teaching us via vivid language and examples.
I found Prof. Dancy exhilarating. How about you?