• Most Topular Stories

  • Have blogs been good for the philosophy profession?

    Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog
    Brian Leiter
    30 Aug 2014 | 8:16 am
    A graduate student writes: I get the impression that blogs are on the whole having a deleterious effect on the balance of power in the profession. The opinionated know-nothings (and insincere posturers) that we now have to pay attention to...
  • Question about Religion - Stephen Maitzen responds | "All"
    22 Aug 2014 | 6:32 am
    If there is no god, why do people behave in a moral and ethical manner? One answer might be long-term self-interest: if you never tell a lie, for example, you will develop a favorable reputation among other people which will allow you to participate in all sorts of activities of which you would never be a part otherwise. Another answer might be "big picture" self-interest: people usually achieve more and have higher standards of living when they collaborate compared to when they compete: "competition" only works as a motivator when embedded in a broader collaborative structure first (i.e., if…
  • The Argument For Indirect Realism

    Recent Articles
    Alistair Robinson
    8 Jan 2013 | 4:00 pm
    It seems also evident, that, when men follow this blind and powerful instinct of nature, they always suppose the very images, presented by the senses, to be the external objects, and never entertain any suspicion, that the one are nothing but representations of the other. This very table, which we see white, and which we feel hard, is believed to exist, independent of our perception, and to be something external to our mind, which perceives it. Our presence bestows not being on it: our absence does not annihilate it. It preserves its existence uniform and entire, independent of the situation…
  • Perceptions of Abrasiveness in Tech by Gender

    Feminist Philosophers
    Stacey Goguen
    30 Aug 2014 | 9:26 am
    Fortune published an article this week on a small study about people’s performance reviews in tech companies, and whether the tone of such reviews differed based on the employee’s gender. Spoiler: it did. You can read it here. (NB: The numbers are not percentages. It took me a moment to realize that.) Not only did negative criticism show up more in reviews of women, but also women also received much more negative criticism regarding their personality and tone. “This kind of negative personality criticism—watch your tone! step back! stop being so judgmental!—shows up…
  • Notes on Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty”, Part 8

    Recent Articles
    Alistair Robinson
    5 Feb 2013 | 4:00 pm
    Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 236. If someone said “The earth has not long been…” what would he be impugning? Do I know? Would it have to be what is called a scientific belief? Might it not be a mystical one? Is there any absolute necessity for him to be contradicting historical facts? or even geographical ones? 237. If I say “an hour ago this table didn’t exist”, I probably mean that it was only made later on. If I say “this mountain didn’t exist then”, I presumably mean that it was only formed later on – perhaps…
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    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  • Feminist Environmental Philosophy

    Karen Warren
    29 Aug 2014 | 5:44 pm
    [New Entry by Karen Warren on August 29, 2014.] Early positions of "feminist environmental philosophy" focused on mostly ethical positions and perspectives on interconnections among women, nonhuman animals, and nature (e.g., Carol Adams 1990; Deborah Slicer 1991). As it matured, references to feminist environmental philosophy became what it is now - an...
  • Innateness and Contemporary Theories of Cognition

    Jerry Samet and Deborah Zaitchik
    29 Aug 2014 | 5:01 pm
    [Revised entry by Jerry Samet and Deborah Zaitchik on August 29, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Nativism and Empiricism are rival approaches to questions about the origins of knowledge. Roughly speaking, Nativists hold that important elements of our understanding of the world are innate, that they are part of our initial condition, and thus do not have to be learned from experience. Empiricists deny this, claiming that all knowledge is...
  • Prisoner's Dilemma

    Steven Kuhn
    29 Aug 2014 | 2:58 pm
    [Revised entry by Steven Kuhn on August 29, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Tanya and Cinque have been arrested for robbing the Hibernia Savings Bank and placed in separate isolation cells. Both care much more about their personal freedom than about the welfare of their accomplice. A clever prosecutor makes the following offer to each. "You may choose to confess or remain silent. If you confess and your accomplice...
  • Events

    Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi
    27 Aug 2014 | 7:46 pm
    [Revised entry by Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi on August 27, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Smiles, walks, dances, weddings, explosions, hiccups, hand-waves, arrivals and departures, births and deaths, thunder and lightning: the variety of the world seems to lie not only in the assortment of its ordinary citizens - animals and physical objects, and perhaps...
  • Justice, Inequality, and Health

    Gopal Sreenivasan
    27 Aug 2014 | 4:23 pm
    [Revised entry by Gopal Sreenivasan on August 27, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Among American men, there is a 15.4 year difference in life expectancy between Asians and high-risk urban blacks, where these groups constitute, respectively, the best-off and worst-off groups of men in the 'eight Americas' analysis of mortality in the United States by Murray and colleagues (2006). Among American women, the corresponding difference in life expectancy is 12.8 years,...
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    Talking Philosophy

  • The Worst Thing

    Mike LaBossiere
    29 Aug 2014 | 5:00 am
    Anselm of Canterbury (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It waits somewhere in the dark infinity of time. Perhaps the past. Perhaps the future. Perhaps now. The worst thing. Whenever something bad happens to me, such as a full quadriceps tendon tear, people always helpfully remark that “it could have been worse.” Some years ago, after that tendon tear, I wrote an essay about this matter which focused on possibility and necessity. That is, whether it could be worse or not. While the tendon tear was perhaps the worst thing to happen to me (as of this writing), I did have some bad things happen this…
  • Terraforming Ethics

    Mike LaBossiere
    27 Aug 2014 | 5:00 am
    J’atorg struggled along on his motile pods, wheezing badly as his air sacs fought with the new air. He cursed the humans, invoking the gods of his people. Reflecting, he cursed the humans by invoking their gods. The gods of his people had proven weak: the bipeds had come and were transforming his world into an environment more suitable for themselves, showing their gods were stronger. The humans said it would take a long time for the world to fully change, but J’atorg could already see, taste and smell the differences. He did not know who he hated more: the hard-eyed humans who were…
  • Police, Protests & Rights

    Mike LaBossiere
    25 Aug 2014 | 5:00 am
    “Citizens protest police terror”: Demonstration against police brutality in Oppenheimer Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson sparked a series of protests in the town. Not surprisingly, these protests led to additional incidents involving conflicts between the citizens and the police. Initially, the local police met the protestors like an invading army: many of the officers were in military grade combat gear and backed up by armored vehicles. As noted in my previous essay, this sort of approach is based on a common philosophy of order held…
  • Ferguson, Police & Race

    Mike LaBossiere
    22 Aug 2014 | 5:00 am
     (Photo credit: Wikipedia) On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson. Repeating an all too common pattern, Brown was unarmed when he was killed. While some claim that Brown was murdered, others claim that the shooting was justified because Brown was attacking the officer. While this might strike some as implausible, unarmed people do attack police officers and, though this might seem odd to some, an officer can be morally justified in using lethal force against an unarmed attacker. As this is being written, the facts of the matter have not been…
  • Automation & Ethics

    Mike LaBossiere
    18 Aug 2014 | 5:00 am
    Suomi: Heronin aeolipiili Türkçe: Yunanlı mühendis Hero’nun yaptığı ilk örnek türbin (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Hero of Alexandria (born around 10 AD) is credited with developing the first steam engine, the first vending machine and the first known wind powered machine (a wind powered musical organ). Given the revolutionary impact of the steam engine centuries later, it might be wondered why the Greeks did not make use of these inventions in their economy. While some claim that the Greeks simply did not see the implications, others claim that the decision was based on concerns about…
  • add this feed to my.Alltop | "All"

  • Question about Mathematics - Allen Stairs responds

    28 Aug 2014 | 11:41 am
    Are positive numbers in some way more basic than negative numbers? Response from: Allen Stairs In more than one way, the answer is yes. It's clear that psychologically, as it were, positive numbers are more basic; we learn to count before we learn to subtract, for instances, and even when we learn to subtract, the idea of a negative number takes longer to catch onto. Also, the non-negative numbers were part of mathematics long before the full set of integers were. (In fact, treating zero as a number came later than treating 1, 2, 3... as numbers.Also, we can start with the positive numbers…
  • Question about Religion - Gordon Marino responds

    22 Aug 2014 | 6:32 am
    If there is no god, why do people behave in a moral and ethical manner? One answer might be long-term self-interest: if you never tell a lie, for example, you will develop a favorable reputation among other people which will allow you to participate in all sorts of activities of which you would never be a part otherwise. Another answer might be "big picture" self-interest: people usually achieve more and have higher standards of living when they collaborate compared to when they compete: "competition" only works as a motivator when embedded in a broader collaborative structure first (i.e., if…
  • Question about Religion - Stephen Maitzen responds

    22 Aug 2014 | 6:32 am
    If there is no god, why do people behave in a moral and ethical manner? One answer might be long-term self-interest: if you never tell a lie, for example, you will develop a favorable reputation among other people which will allow you to participate in all sorts of activities of which you would never be a part otherwise. Another answer might be "big picture" self-interest: people usually achieve more and have higher standards of living when they collaborate compared to when they compete: "competition" only works as a motivator when embedded in a broader collaborative structure first (i.e., if…
  • Question about Knowledge - Charles Taliaferro responds

    21 Aug 2014 | 1:15 pm
    I want ask about our trust to others, how we can thoroughly trust to others? How we know that we trust to right people? Why we must trust to others and what impact if we hard to give a trust to others? Response from: Charles Taliaferro The topic of trust is very, very important on all sorts of levels, from everyday exchanges, to contributing to this website, to ordering food at a restaurant, signing a loan to buy a car....In fact, it may be that TRUST of some kind, even if it is the minimal sense of having to trust your own thinking, may play an important role in virtually all our waking…
  • Question about Logic - Charles Taliaferro responds

    21 Aug 2014 | 10:00 am
    Someone deliberately advances a fallacious argument in an attempt to advance a cause she considers just. For example, she may treat contraries as if they are contradictories and thus commit a fallacy of false alternatives. Are there any living philosophers who defend the use of "noble fallacies" or "noble fallacious arguments" (and is there a better term for this kind of thing)? And are there any contemporary philosophers who criticize or condemn the practice, including when it is practiced by people who are on "their side" regarding social and political issues? Response from: Charles…
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    Ethics Etc

  • Human Rights as Fundamental Conditions for a Good Life

    S. Matthew Liao
    20 Aug 2014 | 9:06 pm
    A number of important philosophical books and articles on the topic of human rights have appeared in recent years including James Nickel’s Making Sense of Human Rights, James Griffin’s On Human Rights, Charles R. Beitz’s The Idea of Human Rights, Martha Nussbaum’s Creating Capabilities, Allen Buchanan’s Heart of Human Rights, and John Tasioulas’s various articles […]
  • Conference Announcement: Illuminating Reasons, University of Arizona

    Julia Driver
    18 Aug 2014 | 10:55 am
    A conference, Illuminating Reasons: An Inquiry into the Phenomenology of Moral Experience, will take place October 16-18, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona, featuring prominent scholars from the fields of philosophy and psychology. The conference is part of a project being conducted by Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons of the University of Arizona, funded by a grant […]
  • CFA: Dominating Speech at UConn

    S. Matthew Liao
    31 Jul 2014 | 9:14 pm
    Dominating Speech Conference at UConn November 21-23, 2014 Keynotes: Ishani Maitra (Michigan) Jason Stanley (Yale) The Injustice League in the Philosophy Department at the University of Connecticut seeks abstracts on topics related to the conference theme. Suggested topics include: hate speech, slurs, propaganda, slut-shaming, bragging, and gossip. Philosophical work from a variety of subfields, including: […]
  • Special Issue on Frances Kamm in Journal of Moral Philosophy

    S. Matthew Liao
    23 Jul 2014 | 11:00 am
    The Journal of Moral Philosophy has just published a special issue on Frances Kamm’s book, Ethics for Enemies. Commentators include Professors Caspar Hare, Suzanne Uniacke, Tom Hurka, Jeff McMahan, Gabriella Blum and John C. P. Goldberg. Professor Kamm als provides a Précis and Responses to the Commentators. Here’s the content of the issue: Summary of […]
  • CFP: Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks

    S. Matthew Liao
    23 Jul 2014 | 10:39 am
    Submission Deadline: August 1, 2014 The second annual Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks (AGENT) will take place on October 10-11, 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Ruth Chang (Rutgers) will give this year’s keynote address. Submissions of high-quality papers from graduate students in any area of philosophy related to normativity and […]
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    Feminist Philosophers

  • A first for domestic abuse victims seeking asylum in the U.S.

    31 Aug 2014 | 1:13 pm
    From the NYT: The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States. The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from Guatemala resolved nearly two decades of hard-fought legal battles over whether such women could be considered victims of persecution. The ruling could slow the pace of deportations from the Southwest border, because it creates new legal grounds for women from Central America caught…
  • Yes means yes bill in California

    30 Aug 2014 | 6:22 pm
    From the Daily Beast: On Thursday, the California state legislature voted to replace the “no means no” standard for sexual consent on college campuses with the affirmative “yes means yes” definition. Under this standard, silence or lack of resistance is not considered a legally acceptable way to convey consent. Inebriation will also not be considered an acceptable defense. Gov. Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign the bill. If he does, all colleges receiving state funding would have to adhere to “yes means yes.” Campus assault advocates have been pushing for such reform,…
  • Perceptions of Abrasiveness in Tech by Gender

    Stacey Goguen
    30 Aug 2014 | 9:26 am
    Fortune published an article this week on a small study about people’s performance reviews in tech companies, and whether the tone of such reviews differed based on the employee’s gender. Spoiler: it did. You can read it here. (NB: The numbers are not percentages. It took me a moment to realize that.) Not only did negative criticism show up more in reviews of women, but also women also received much more negative criticism regarding their personality and tone. “This kind of negative personality criticism—watch your tone! step back! stop being so judgmental!—shows up…
  • AAP Gender Statement

    29 Aug 2014 | 9:52 pm
    The Australasian Association of Philosophy has published what it describes as ‘the first of a series of notes that will collectively make up an AAP statement on gender’. It is available here.
  • Important observations on (lack of) diversity and boundary policing in philosophy

    29 Aug 2014 | 12:16 pm
    From Eric Schliesser and Bryce Huebner. Eric: Blacks make up just 1.32 percent of the total number of people professionally affiliated (as grad students or faculty) with U.S. philosophy departments. Approximately 0.88 percent of U.S. philosophy Ph.D. students are black. Approximately 4.3 percent of U.S. tenured philosophy professors are black. Of black philosophy Ph.D. students in the U.S., half are female. That is about double the rate of the U.S. philosophy Ph.D. student population as a whole. The distribution of black female Ph.D. students across philosophy Ph.D. programs is much lower…
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    The Prosblogion

  • Call for Papers-Logos 2015: Religious Experience

    Michael Rea
    6 Aug 2014 | 7:01 am
    May 7-9, 2015 at the University of Notre Dame Religious experience is central to religious faith and practice. It often serves as evidence for belief; it contributes to the development of doctrine; and it, or the desire for it, is often a major motivator for church attendance, meditation, commitment to spiritual disciplines, and other religious practices. Religious experience has received a great deal of attention within both philosophy and theology; but important questions remain unanswered. What is the nature of religious experience? What, exactly is (or should be) its relationship to…
  • Two 3-Yr. Post-Docs on the Nature and Value of Faith

    Jon Kvanvig
    19 Dec 2013 | 7:11 am
    Housed at Baylor University's Philosophy Department, and supported by a grant from Templeton. The three-year project is co-directed by Jon Kvanvig, Dan Howard-Snyder, and Trent Dougherty. These post-docs are 3-year positions, and the deadline for application is February 1. I'll put the ad below the fold. Two Post-Doctoral Fellowship Positions Department of Philosophy, Baylor University On The Nature and Value of Faith Funded by a grant from the Templeton Foundation Applications are solicited for two three-year fellowships to work as part of a team of scholars, led by Jonathan L. Kvanvig,…
  • Research Fellowship in Philosophy of Religion, Ryerson University

    Yujin Nagasawa
    28 Oct 2013 | 1:53 pm
    On behalf of Klaas Kraay: Dear Colleagues, I am writing to solicit applications for a Research Fellowship in the Philosophy of Religion to be held during the 2014-2015 academic year. This fellowship is funded by a generous research grant (from the John Templeton Foundation) entitled "Theism: An Axiological Investigation". The successful applicant will either receive a stipend/salary of $45,000 CAD, or funds for teaching release. Junior, mid-career, and senior philosophers are all welcome to apply. For details, please visit the project website:…
  • Is Religious Belief Reasonable?

    Robert Gressis
    19 Oct 2013 | 9:52 pm
    Over at Philosophy, et cetera, Richard Yetter-Chappell claims that religious belief is not reasonable. Here is Yetter-Chappell's rationale behind his reasoning: 1. At most, the cosmological and fine-tuning arguments support minimal deism. (I'm not sure what minimal deism is; is it simply the claim that something outside of the universe is causally responsible for either the universe's existence or for its order? Or is it the stronger claim that some kind of powerful, intelligent agent is causally responsible for either the universe's existence or its order?) 2. The ontological argument is…
  • RFP: Science Beyond Scientism

    Jeroen de Ridder
    17 Oct 2013 | 6:44 am
    The Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and Religion under the direction of René van Woudenberg welcomes proposals to investigate scientism and its manifestations in research into free will, moral belief formation and moral character, rational decision-making, and religious belief. The research project Science beyond Scientism is embedded in the research of the Theoretical Philosophy section of the Department of Philosophy at VU University Amsterdam. VU University Amsterdam is an accredited research university with excellent library and other research facilities. Project description Scientism…
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    In Socrates' Wake

  • Intro courses specifically for majors?

    Michael Cholbi
    21 Aug 2014 | 1:29 pm
    My department is revamping its curriculum and is considering adding an intro course specifically for philosophy majors. (This need not be an 'intro' course on either the historical survey or topical smorgasbord model — we'd be open to a seminar for new majors, for instance.) Does anyone out there know of departments that have done this, and what the courses look like?Thanks!
  • Quotable teacher, installment 21

    Michael Cholbi
    17 Aug 2014 | 6:21 pm
    Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being "with it," yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.— Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society
  • Call for proposals on inclusive philosophy pedagogy

    Michael Cholbi
    11 Aug 2014 | 9:40 am
    The American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT) and the American Philosophical Association (APA) Committee on Inclusiveness in the Profession seek proposals for 25-minute presentations to be included in two complementary joint panels to be held at the 2015 APA Central Division meeting, which will occur February 18–21 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark in St. Louis, Missouri.The sessions, "Inclusive Philosophy Pedagogy: What Is It and How Do We Achieve It?,” are intended both to theorize (and perhaps problematize) the very notion of inclusive philosophy pedagogy and to provide…
  • Newest issue of Teaching Philosophy

    Michael Cholbi
    22 Jul 2014 | 10:50 am
    Here she is, in all its summertime glory: Teaching Philosophy, vol. 37, no. 3:(A reminder: The journal is always looking for excellent contributions on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Submit your manuscript here!) Vanessa CarbonellHow to Put Prescription Drug Ads on Your SyllabusThe purpose of this essay is to make the case that the ethical issues raised by the current U.S. practice of direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising are worthy of study in philosophy courses, and to provide instructors with some ideas for how they might approach teaching the topic, despite the…
  • Is it possible to give too much feedback?

    Michael Cholbi
    2 Jul 2014 | 8:20 am
    Recently, in the course of a presentation I was giving, I made a statement that is evidently controversial:Many conscientious instructors give too much feedback to students on their work.(I'm thinking mainly about student essays here.) Several audience members were taken aback (and this post at Philosophers' Cocoon suggests that at least some philosophers share such sentiments). But in my own defense, here's my rationale.That students respond positively to, appreciate, etc., extensive feedback on their work doesn't entail that this helps them learn. I don't doubt that many students like…
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    Philosophy by the Way

  • Confusing mind and brain

    31 Aug 2014 | 3:42 pm
    The Meuse near Charny, Meuse, FranceA single water molecule doesn’t stream but a river does. Nevertheless a river consists of a countless number of water molecules. Also the countless number of water molecules as such don’t stream. So if we want to study fluvial processes like erosion, the velocity of the flow, the friction between the current and the riverbed and so on, we do not study the movements of the water molecules but we study the river. We don’t say that the molecules erode the landscape but that the river does. Or, a different example, we do not say that the water molecules…
  • Of custom

    24 Aug 2014 | 3:40 pm
    “And freely to speak my thoughts, it argues a strange self-love and great presumption to be so fond of one’s own opinions, that a public peace must be overthrown to establish them, and to introduce so many inevitable mischiefs, and so dreadful a corruption of manners, as a civil war and the mutations of state consequent to it, always bring in their train, and to introduce them, in a thing of so high concern, into the bowels of one's own country.” Montaigne, Essays, Book I, chapter 23.Montaigne lived in a time of civil war. One religious war after another followed in France since the…
  • What are we fighting for? A cynical comment on war

    17 Aug 2014 | 4:35 pm
    The daily ceremony at the Menin Gate for the British and Commonwealth soldiers killed near Ypres during World War I and whose graves are unknown attracts always many spectatorsThese days it is hundred years ago that the First World War broke out. Especially the countries involved in this war, like France, Belgium, Britain and Germany, will commemorate it and all the events that followed till the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 that ended this war. Recently I was in France for my photo exhibition there and for my summer holiday and everywhere I saw preparations for the coming commemorations and…
  • Escalation

    8 Aug 2014 | 1:56 pm
    I think you know the situation: Two children are playing around as children often do. Let’s say that they are a bit boxing or something like that. One gives a blow to the other. “Don’t beat me that hard”, the other says and strikes back. Then the first one says: “I dont beat hard. You do!” And before you know it, they are really fighting. We call this escalation. Why did this happen?In an article by Suparna Choudhury and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore I found an interesting explanation of this phenomenon, which they derived from a study by S.S. Shergill et al.: “... just as happens when…
  • Criticism

    20 Jul 2014 | 4:03 pm
    Pyrrho van ElisLast week I bought a book by Antoine Compagnon on Montaigne and I immediately started to read it. Compagnon is an authority on Montaigne and he has published several books and articles on this philosopher. The book I bought is titled “Un été avec Montaigne” (A summer with Montaigne). It contains mini-essays like my present blogs are. Originally the pieces had been broadcast on the radio for a broad public. I can recommend everybody to read the book, also if you have read already a lot on and by Montaigne. Montaigne’s Essays are so rich in content that any book on…
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    The Brooks Blog

  • The Brooks Blog reaches 500,000 page views

    31 Aug 2014 | 10:03 am
    . . . and 505,397 to be exact with over 450,000 visitors since I launched this blog June 15, 2006. The most read blogposts are:1. "We are sorry for any inconvenience caused" (8 October 2010) - 23,179 views2. "Journal rankings for philosophy" (29 September 2011) - 22,987 views3. "The top philosophy journals: initial results" (18 January 2011) - 17,902 views4. "Why publish journal articles?" (4 January 2011) -  6,670 views5. "Hegel's philosophy attacked by Australia's opposition parties, or "The Politics of What?!" (6 September 2013) - 3,362 views6. "Equality: the ticket to…
  • Join Progress

    30 Aug 2014 | 1:28 pm
    Go on. Join Progress, the New Labour pressure group promoting progressive politics in the UK. Tell them I sent you.
  • Progress strategy board elections

    29 Aug 2014 | 5:13 am
    I'm running for a place on the strategy board of Progress, a New Labour pressure group which aims to promote a radical and progressive politics for the 21st century founded in 1996.My statement is:I’m standing for election because I believe that I can promote Progress effectively to the Labour Party and wider electorate with new ideas. I am a proud member of both and believe that a strong Progress can strengthen Labour. I am an effective, award winning media commentator with frequent television, radio and newspaper interviews well placed to defend our message and make the case for…
  • Durham ranked #1 and again at #1

    26 Aug 2014 | 7:38 am
    Durham University was voted to have the number 1 most beautiful university building in the UK, with its University College (also known as Durham Castle), by Times Higher Education. The Castle is Norman and built by a cousin (I believe...) of William the Conqueror. It is the oldest continually used higher education building in the world.Durham University's new Law School building is voted the number 1 most impressive Law School building in the world(!).So two more reasons why Durham University is the place to be...
  • Another reason to love SSRN (Social Science Research Network)

    21 Aug 2014 | 1:15 am
    There are a great many reasons to love the SSRN. First, it's the best online library of fabulous, first-class research I've seen in the subject matters I love most (law, philosophy, political science) and beyond (economics, etc.). Secondly, I know of no better website to get one's work "out there" and available for others to read. I have lost count of the number of colleagues that have well and truly transformed -- always for the better -- my work published online which has made a significant difference to improving the formal, final drafts I've published.But a third is the insightful data…
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    Continental Philosophy

  • No New Wars, No To Nato – Week-Long Protest of Nato Summit 2014 – 30 August – 5 September

    James Luchte
    30 Aug 2014 | 2:40 am
    60 world leaders, including Barack Obama, meet in the UK for the NATO Summit on 4-5 September to plan their war on the world. From 30 August protesters will flock to South Wales for international actions including a national demonstration, counter summit, and week-long peace camp. Stop the War and CND have organised NO TO NATO – NO NEW WARS protests from 30 August to 5 September. See the timetable of action and events below. Transport to the national demonstration 30 August… Saturday 30 August: Mass demonstration March through central Newport. Assembles 1pm at the Civic Centre Car…
  • The Many Dimensions of Herbert Marcuse – October 1-2, 2014 – Brandeis University

    James Luchte
    19 Aug 2014 | 8:20 pm
    The Many Dimensions of Herbert Marcuse Join us for this two-day conference that will explore the critical theory of Herbert Marcuse. The conference coincides with the 50th anniversary of the publication of Marcuse’s most famous book, “One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society,” and our recent discovery of an early draft of this book that was given to Brandeis by Marcuse himself. All conference talks will be held in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall in Brandeis’ Goldfarb Library. Registration for the conference is free. Lunch will be provided…
  • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Refrains of Freedom – International Conference, Athens, Greece, 24-26 April 2015

    James Luchte
    18 Aug 2014 | 2:09 pm
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Refrains of Freedom International Conference, Athens, Greece, 24-26 April 2015 The Philosophy Department and the Graduate Programme for Theory, Politics and Culture of Trent University in Ontario, Canada, in co-operation with the Sector of Philosophy of the Department of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology of the University of Athens, the Department of Social Anthropology and the Department of Political Science and History of Panteion University in Athens, the Sector of Philosophy of the Department of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology of the University of…
  • Counter-Multilateralism. How New Coalitions Challenge International Institutions (Video)

    James Luchte
    17 Aug 2014 | 10:15 pm
    Counter-Multilateralism. How New Coalitions Challenge International Institutions (Video) WZB Distinguished Lecture in Social Sciences by Robert Keohane (Princeton University) Videomitschnitt Kontakt: Patricia Löffler mail: “Counter-multilateralism” is an apt phrase to describe a pervasive contemporary phenomenon: the strategic use of multilateral institutions to challenge the rules, practices, or missions of multilateral institutions. States and non-state actors, intergovernmental organizations or non-governmental organizations form coalitions that respond to…
  • Diverse Lineages of Existentialism Conference – June 19-21, 2014 – Report

    James Luchte
    16 Aug 2014 | 5:21 pm
    Diverse Lineages of Existentialism   On June 19-21, 2014, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, hosted the first-ever “Diverse Lineages of Existentialism” conference. Hailed by many participants as an historic conference, it brought together hundreds of scholars from every continent (save Antarctica), who work in existentialism, phenomenology, and a variety of other approaches to philosophy and thought from Africana, feminist, Latino, Continental, Marxist and global perspectives. This conference, conceived and co-organized by committee chair Margaret A. Simons to…
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    In Living Color

  • Taboo Questions

    27 Aug 2014 | 7:47 am
    I've been working forever on one chapter of my manuscript/book on parenthood--the chapter on gender.  I think I know part of the reason why it's been so hard and time consuming to get this done.  In other chapters I've felt free to philosophically explore, even if the issues are controversial, but there are a lot more constraints here.  Certain views, and even certain questions, are politically
  • Against empathy?

    27 Aug 2014 | 6:59 am
    When I have time to read this I think I'm going to enjoy it!
  • "Socially constructed"

    16 Aug 2014 | 9:34 am I've been thinking and reading about the idea that sex and/or gender are "socially constructed."  This is often asserted by feminists who have a debunking and liberatory agenda.  The idea is that sex and gender "binaries" are not written into the nature of things, but results of choices, perceptions, customs, cultural assumptions, etc. You couldn't abandon
  • Ethics in Gaza

    6 Aug 2014 | 7:07 am Philosophers have been writing a lot lately about Israel's military campaign in Gaza.  Francis Kamm writes on proportionality in the Boston Review; Peter Singer is critical of Israel in this essay; and Jeff McMahan also discusses proportionality in Prospect magazine.   I find Singer's essay
  • Leiter and Pollitt on Hobby Lobby

    10 Jul 2014 | 10:33 am
    I've been busy with this and that, so haven't had time to read the Hobby Lobby decision myself.  For those trying to get a grip, Brian Leiter's interview on Point of Inquiry is illuminating and so is Katha Pollitt in The Nation. They both do a good, careful job of articulating why, despite the good of religious freedom, we should be bothered by this decision, especially as women, or on behalf of
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    Stephen Law

  • The Mirror Puzzle

    11 Aug 2014 | 5:54 am
    4. The Mirror Puzzle (This is a chapter I wrote for a children's philosophy book called The Outer Limits (now part of The Complete Philosophy Files). This chapter was thought too abstract by the editors, and was not included).Sometimes it is the things that are most familiar to us that turn out to be the most deeply puzzling. Take mirrors, for example. How many times do you see yourself reflected in a mirror each day?1.ILLUSTRATE: BOY LOOKING INTO A MIRRORAt least ten or twenty times, I should think. Most of us never stop to think about what we see. But, as you are about to discover,…
  • Religion and Philosophy in Schools

    4 Aug 2014 | 4:02 am
    Religion and philosophy in schoolsStephen LawIs philosophy in schools a good idea? The extent to which early exposure to a little philosophical thinking is of educational benefit is, of course, largely an empirical question. As a philosopher, that sort of empirical study is not really my area of expertise.But of course there is also a philosophical dimension to this question. As a philosopher, conceptual clarification and the analysis of the logic of the arguments on either side certainly is my field. That is where I hope to make a contribution here.This essay is in two parts. In the first, I…
  • Appealing to mystery

    27 Jun 2014 | 2:38 am
    It is sometimes temptingtoappeal to mystery to get oneself out of intellectual hot water. Suppose a scientist offers a science-based criticism of Mary’s paranormal beliefs. In response Mary might say something like this: ‘Ah, but this is beyond the ability of science and reason to decide. You, Dr Scientist, are guilty of scientism, of assuming science can answer every question.’ Mary might follow this response up with a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet: ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’.   Of course, most scientists…
  • My thoughts on Religious Discrimination in the UK (and the supposed gay rights vs religious rights clash)

    7 Jun 2014 | 2:34 am
    SHIFTS IN THE MORAL AND LEGAL LANDSCAPE (This is from a conference atttended by John Finnis and Chris McCrudden, and responds specifically to their comments on my peiece at the end (you might especially enjoy the endnote where I discuss Finnis's accusation that I am guilty of anti-Catholic sentiment.) The plan is for it to appear in an OUP collection. As there's no movement in that direction I am posting here in the meantime.The UK has seen a revolution in its moral and legal attitudes over the last couple of centuries, particularly with regard to discrimination.One of the earliest…
  • Draft paper on sceptical theism - part 1 for comments

    26 Apr 2014 | 8:04 am
    Sceptical Theism and Divine Deception1. Sceptical TheismEvidential arguments from evil oftentake something like the following form:If God exists, gratuitous evil does not exist.Gratuitous evil exists.Therefore, God does not existGod is a being that is omnipotent, omniscient and supremely good. Gratuitous evil is evil there is no adequate reason for God, if he exists, to permit (the evil is not necessary to secure some compensating good or to prevent some equally bad or worse evil). Why suppose the second premise is true? A no so-called ‘noseeum’ inference has been offered in its support.
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    gonepublic: philosophy, politics, & public life

  • Open Rank Position in African-American Philosophy at Emory

    Noelle McAfee
    22 Aug 2014 | 8:08 am
    EMORY UNIVERSITY, ATLANTA, GA. AOS: African-American Philosophy. AOC:  Africana philosophy, philosophy of race, and ability to deepen existing strengths in American philosophy/philosophy of the Americas.  Rank: Open (Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor, tenure-track or tenured), beginning Fall 2015. Four courses/year, beginning undergraduate to graduate level. Usual advising, committee, and other non-teaching duties. Ph.D. required by beginning of appointment. Review of applications begins October 20, 2014. Applications received up to 30 days after review begins will be given full…
  • Lefteris Kretsos on the crisis in Greece

    Noelle McAfee
    29 Jul 2014 | 4:57 pm
    Noelle McAfee:So it has been a long while since my traumatic post of Spring 2014 on being incarcerated. That unfortunate experience has led to much interest in our totally fucked up incareral state, which I’ll blog about soon. But also I am currently very interested and worried about the neoliberal austerity measures that are destroying much of southern europe, including my own country of Greece. I’m writng about this and have recently been in correspondence with the social scientist Lefteris Kretsos. Hence this reblog. Originally posted on Marketization in Europe: Over the past…
  • My New Year’s Day in Jail

    Noelle McAfee
    22 May 2014 | 5:49 pm
    On New Year’s Day 2014, before I’d had a chance to settle on my resolutions, I was thrown in jail. The day began full of resolve: by noon I had gotten in an hour of research on my new book, a quick workout, and started the dinner we were serving to homeless youth that evening for my son’s volunteer project (quiche I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, Greek roasted potatoes, black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day, green salad with a lemon vinaigrette, rolls, and maybe a dessert I’d pick up somewhere in the afternoon). Shortly after noon I headed out in my morning…
  • Feminist Political Philosophy in the SEP

    Noelle McAfee
    1 Apr 2014 | 7:04 pm
    My newly revised entry on feminist political philosophy has just been published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  This version has more on the history of feminism and a new taxonomy that expands on difference feminisms, diversity and postcolonial feminism (though it could still use much more on the latter), and a much expanded section on what I am calling performative feminism. Many thanks to Mary G. Dietz, Ann Garry, Bonnie Honig, Eva Kittay, Carole Pateman, R. Claire Snyder-Hall, Shay Welch, and Ewa Ziarek for their suggestions for this revision.
  • Kristeva Circle 2014

    Noelle McAfee
    1 Apr 2014 | 6:55 pm
    Julia Kristeva skyped in to the Kristeva Circle meeting at Vanderbilt this past Sunday to give a brief talk and take questions for over an hour. For a Skype session, it was amazingly intimate and personal, a great way to end an amazing meeting organized by Kelly Oliver and Rebecca Tuvel. I had the pleasure of being part of a panel on Saturday on Concepts of Women, Visions of Feminism. I talked about Kristeva’s recent article published in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
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    Alexander Pruss's Blog

  • Preemption of laws of nature

    30 Aug 2014 | 5:21 am
    I've been thinking about cases of preemption of laws of nature. Normally, an instance of a law is explained by the law. Let's say some dose of cyanide is lethal to chickens within minutes. Then it seems it's a law that a chicken is dead ten minutes after ingesting that dose (take "that dose" to be an abbreviation for the actual dose) of cyanide. Normally, then, if a chicken ingested the cyanide more than ten minutes ago and now is dead, that's because of the law. But what if the law is preempted? Suppose that a few seconds after taking the cyanide, the chicken is eaten by an unfortunate fox.
  • How impossible can we get?

    29 Aug 2014 | 7:15 am
    I've been thinking about a framework for really impossible worlds. The first framework I think of is this. A world w is a mapping (basically, a function, except that the propositions don't form a set) from propositions to truth values. Thus, if w0 is the actual world, w0(<the sky is blue>)=T and w0(<2+2=5>)=F. But there will be a world w with all sorts of weird truth assignments, for instance where the conjunction is true but the conjuncts are false, or where p is false but its negation is also false. But I then wondered if this captures the full range of alethic impossibilities.
  • A very impossible world?

    28 Aug 2014 | 1:37 pm
    In a criticism of the Pearce-Pruss account of omnipotence, Scott Hill considers an interesting impossible situation: Every necessary truth is false. While the criticism of the Pearce-Pruss account is interesting, I am more interested in a claim that Hill makes that illustrates an interesting fallacy in reasoning about impossible worlds. Hill takes it that a world at which (1) holds is a world very alien from ours, a world at which there are "infinitely many" "false necessary truths". But that's a fallacious inference from: (∀p(Lp→(p is false))) is true at w (where Lp says that p is…
  • A better way to run Kalaam arguments?

    27 Aug 2014 | 11:25 am
    Crucial to the Kalaam argument is showing that the universe has only a finite past. A standard approach is: If the universe has an infinite past, there is an actual infinite. If an actual infinite is possible, Hilbert's Hotel is possible. Hilbert's Hotel is impossible. So, the universe doesn't have an infinite past. Apart from the real challenge, which is defending (3), there are at least three distracting difficulties here. First, one needs to defend the often not very clear distinction between a potential infinite and an actual infinite. Second, holding on to the argument while believing in…
  • Upscaling baud rates

    26 Aug 2014 | 3:32 pm
    There is almost no philosophy here. :-) Suppose I want to send some data to a device that runs at baud rate a from a serial device that runs at a different baud rate b.  If a > b, I am out of luck.  Probably likewise I'm out of luck if they're close.  But if a is much smaller than b, then I can emulate the lower baud rate a from the higher baud rate device, by rescaling the bit data, taking into account mark and stop bits.  Unfortunately, required mark and stop bits will introduce some problems into the bit stream--but if you're lucky, your receiving device…
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    The Splintered Mind

  • Brilliant Piece on Empathy by the Ever-Engaging Paul Bloom

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    27 Aug 2014 | 12:47 pm
    here. I can't wait for the book. Bloom argues against giving empathy a central role in normative moral psychology. But by defining "empathy" somewhat narrowly, he perhaps makes his thesis a little easier to defend, and less radical, than if he were to come out against strong feelings of compassion generally.
  • On the Boycott of Urbana-Champaign

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    26 Aug 2014 | 9:04 am
    I rarely post on hot political topics (unless quantitative analysis of philosophers' lack of diversity counts), but one hot political topic has been very much in my mind this week: the boycott of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I've been forced to consider the issue especially carefully because I was scheduled to give a talk to the Philosophy Department there in December, and UIUC was starting to invite speakers for a proposed mini-conference on experimental philosophy the next day, where I would give the keynote address. The boycott arose after Steven Salaita, who had been…
  • The Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    19 Aug 2014 | 5:57 pm
    ... in the English language, at least as implied by certain awards nominations and "best of" placements. Okay, I'm a dork. I want to apologize right away for this list, for two reasons, but then also excuse myself for two reasons. First apology: It's a little weird for me to occupy space in a philosophy blog with talk about science fiction magazines. I know! Excuse: I've come to think that science fiction, and other types of "speculative fiction" (e.g., Borges), is an interesting and valuable way to explore the metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological dimensions of various "what-if"…
  • Why Don't We* Know Our Chinese Philosophy?

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    18 Aug 2014 | 11:04 am
    (* "we" U.S.-based philosophy professors) In 2001, I published a piece in the American Philosophical Association's Newsletter on the Status of Asian & Asian-American Philosophers & Philosophies. In light of my recent reflections about the visibility of non-Western philosophy and philosophers, and especially this remarkable piece from an Asian-American who left philosophy, I thought I'd reproduce a revised version of the essay here. I've appended two new substantive notes at the end. ----------------------------------------------------- Why Don't We Know Our Chinese Philosophy?APA…
  • SEP Citation Analysis Continued: Jewish, Non-Anglophone, Queer, and Disabled Philosophers

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    14 Aug 2014 | 2:37 pm
    Last week, I created a list of the 267 most-cited philosophers in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I analyzed this group by gender and ethnicity, finding only 10% women and 3% ethnic minority. I've done some further analyses, but several people have urged me also to look at some other groups that might suffer prejudice, to see how they show on the list. Before getting into that, let me emphasize: I regard this list as a rough metric of a sociological phenomenon, mainstream visibility in recent Anglophone/analytic philosophy. I do not regard it as a metric of objective quality or…
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    In the Space of Reasons

  • Draft abstract for Amsterdam workshop this month

    7 Aug 2014 | 6:36 am
    Draft abstract for Amsterdam workshop this monthTitle: Anti-reductionist normativism: a price worth paying.Key words: Causal explanation, intelligibility, normativity and reductionismAbstract: There is momentum in the philosophy of psychiatry away from a picture of reductionism based on a well ordered hierarchy of levels of explanation and towards either cross level interaction or scepticism about the very idea of levels of explanation. This is a move towards explanatory pluralism and pragmatism and away from a metaphysical picture that can seem to be the unjustified imposition a priori…
  • On failing to read Lee Braver's Groundless Grounds

    9 Jul 2014 | 12:33 am
    I hope that this will not seem like much of a criticism of Lee Braver's Groundless Grounds. I cannot offer a philosophical engagement with it because, although I have turned every page and, as much as ever, read every word (with the usual re-reading of particularly tricky, pithy passages) I don't think that I have actually read it.So first a rough sketch of that thought and then, second, a brief suggestion as to why.What do I think when I think that I have read a book in the, I guess, normatively charged sense of the word I am trying to deploy? Something like this: I have grasped sufficient…
  • Rough airport thoughts on craft versus science

    8 Jul 2014 | 6:33 am
    In the last presentation of the conference I've been to, Tom Burns, Oxford Psychiatry, put forward a distinction to help to ward off anti-psychiatric criticism of psychiatric diagnosis. He suggested that anti-psychiatric commentators often helped themselves to an unfair characterisation of psychiatry in order to help support their own comments. But, he suggested, it was unfair to claim that psychiatric diagnosis failed tests of good science (one such accusation) because psychiatry was a craft not a science. Evidence for this was the very length of medical education, its connection to…
  • DSM-5 and the future of psychiatric diagnosis

    7 Jul 2014 | 5:34 am
    I am in Geneva at a Brocher Symposium on DSM-5 organised by Matthew Smith. It is an interdisciplinary session with philosophers, historians, anthropologists and clinicians. My own contribution was to be a discussant for a paper by Vicky Long on the history of the the diagnosis of occupationally caused mental illnesses. Playing that role reminded me of the difficulty of commenting on one discipline from within another: the worry that one is simply missing the point. For example, if a paper charts the history of actual happenings, is it at all relevant to ask normative questions about whether…
  • Eulogy for my mother, Mij Thornton

    18 Jun 2014 | 2:14 pm
    "My brother and I wanted to say something about my mother Mij’s friendships. She had a great capacity for making friends which, perhaps, she didn’t share with the male members of her family, sadly. She really enjoyed her friendships. But in thinking about what I would say about this, I realised how partial anything I might say would be. It is partial in two senses. Nothing a son says about his mother at her funeral would be anything other than biased. This is not the time for an objective view of a life. It is partial, however, for a second reason. I experienced, directly, only a very…
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    Philosophy News

  • Obedient intellectuals

    31 Aug 2014 | 7:28 pm
    Dear intellectuals: You have a responsibility to speak truth and expose lies. You are failing. You are docile, cowed, and impotent. Best, Fred Inglis… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
  • Instructions for intoxication

    31 Aug 2014 | 7:28 pm
    Winemaking has been revolutionized. Most everything being bottled is clean, fruity, smooth, easy to drink, and completely boring… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
  • Latitudes of Acceptance

    31 Aug 2014 | 7:27 pm
    The scientific mood has soured. The emphasis is on taking down other scholars and falsifying results, not generating constructive ideas… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
  • Buffalo Annual Experimental Philosophy Conference Program 2014

    30 Aug 2014 | 12:33 pm
    Buffalo Annual Experimental Philosophy Conference 2014Sept. 19th & 20th, 20145th Floor, Clininal and Translational Research Center, University at Buffalo875 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NYKeynote Speakers:Jennifer Nagel (Toronto), "On the Boundary Between Philosophy and Psychology" John Turri (Waterloo), "A New Paradigm for Epistemology"Full ProgramFull Program with AbstractsInquiries: jakemona@buffalo.eduContinue reading . . . News source: Experimental Philosophy
  • What is the Parthenon telling us?

    29 Aug 2014 | 7:20 pm
    Horses and riders, youths and elders, men and women, animals being led to sacrifice: What is the Parthenon’s frieze telling us?… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
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    Philosophy Walk

  • Virtue Ethics (R.D. Coste)
    25 Aug 2014 | 2:26 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast For a person who follows virtue ethics it is their goal to identify, develop, and achieve desirable virtues. Anything less would translate to a less virtuous life and a loss of potential. The post Virtue Ethics appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Deontology with Hobbes, Locke, and Kant (R.D. Coste)
    18 Aug 2014 | 3:06 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast In our pursuit of what we ought to do when faced with any particular situation we started off with Normative ethics. Particular the category of Normative ethics knows as Deontology. In the last episode we were introduced to the Divine Command Theory, a flavor of Deontology that looks towards God for the answer. Today we are going to take a slightly different approach and ask Hobbes, Locke, and Kant what they think we should do. The post Deontology with Hobbes, Locke, and Kant appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Deontology and Divine Command Theory (R.D. Coste)
    11 Aug 2014 | 3:12 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast Looking towards God for the answer as to what we should or should not do is a form of deontology called 'Divine Command Theory'. This idea that God's commands provides us with a moral compass has attracted the attention of some big names in philosophy. Rene Descartes is one such adherent, as is William of Ockham - the man credited with creating Ockham's Razor. The post Deontology and Divine Command Theory appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Backward Causality (R.D. Coste)
    4 Aug 2014 | 2:14 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast As far back as we can go, our beliefs have always been based on one simple maxim. If this then that. As much as we want to... we can't change the past. So why fret about? Life is all about cause and effect. Could it be that what we perceive as a universe based on causality is just an illusion? With a little help from physics we may have a clue to solving this very question and it isn't what you'd expect. The post Backward Causality appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Aesthetically Speaking (R.D. Coste)
    28 Jul 2014 | 3:49 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that asks the hard questions when it comes to art. Not only what art is, but also why we find certain things beautiful? Are judgements about art objective or subjective statements? Can those statements or judgements be modified with training, education, or experience? Or does the appreciation of art speak to our cultural values? The post Aesthetically Speaking appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
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    Recent Articles

  • Notes on Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty”, Part 9

    Alistair Robinson
    27 Aug 2014 | 5:00 pm
    251. Doesn’t this mean: I shall proceed according to this belief unconditionally, and not let anything confuse me? 252. But it isn’t just that I believe in this way that I have two hands, but that every reasonable person does. 253. At the foundation of well-founded belief lies belief that is not founded. 254. Any 'reasonable’ person behaves like this. 255. Doubting has certain characteristic manifestations, but they are only characteristic of it in particular circumstances. If someone said that he doubted the existence of his hands, kept looking at them from all sides, tried…
  • Notes on Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty”, Part 8

    Alistair Robinson
    5 Feb 2013 | 4:00 pm
    Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 236. If someone said “The earth has not long been…” what would he be impugning? Do I know? Would it have to be what is called a scientific belief? Might it not be a mystical one? Is there any absolute necessity for him to be contradicting historical facts? or even geographical ones? 237. If I say “an hour ago this table didn’t exist”, I probably mean that it was only made later on. If I say “this mountain didn’t exist then”, I presumably mean that it was only formed later on – perhaps…
  • The Argument For Indirect Realism

    Alistair Robinson
    8 Jan 2013 | 4:00 pm
    It seems also evident, that, when men follow this blind and powerful instinct of nature, they always suppose the very images, presented by the senses, to be the external objects, and never entertain any suspicion, that the one are nothing but representations of the other. This very table, which we see white, and which we feel hard, is believed to exist, independent of our perception, and to be something external to our mind, which perceives it. Our presence bestows not being on it: our absence does not annihilate it. It preserves its existence uniform and entire, independent of the situation…
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    The Philosophers' Cocoon

  • Reader submission: experiences interviewing candidates

    Marcus Arvan
    26 Aug 2014 | 12:29 pm
    One of our readers, who recently submitted this post sharing their impressions of job-candidates' "cover materials" (i.e. cover letter and CV) as a search-committee member, emailed me the following impressions on interviewing: I recently interviewed candidates for a position (research assistant, not in philosophy), at a research-intensive European university. I found this a really interesting experience, starting from reading the cover letters (which I found to weigh unexpectedly heavily in my decision) to the final process. As is the custom in European universities, we went…
  • New Contributor

    Marcus Arvan
    26 Aug 2014 | 7:07 am
    I am happy to welcome our newest contributor, Shelley Tremain, to the Philosophers' Cocoon. Shelley earned a PhD in philosophy from York University and specializes in philosophy of disability. Shelley has published in the Philosophers' Magazine, Hypatia, International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Disability Studies Quarterly, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Social Theory and Practice, as well as through the University of Michigan Press. Welcome!
  • Reflexivism in Indian Philosophy

    Elisa Freschi
    26 Aug 2014 | 6:07 am
    A comment by Marcus on my last post made me realise that I should have given you some background to the debate. The basic question we should start with is: How are cognitions cognised? Philosophers of the Nyāya school (ca. 1st c. BCE--today, sic!) maintain that cognitions are not aware of themselves at the moment they arise. They are, instead, only aware of their object. However, at a later time the subject can act as a synthetiser and perform a higher order perception (henceforth HOP), which is a sort of apperception and makes the subject aware of the fact that he or she has cognised…
  • Philosophy of Mind and Buddhism: A discussion on reflexivism

    Elisa Freschi
    24 Aug 2014 | 8:25 am
    I am just back from the one-week IABS conference and I thought that the following panel should be of interest also for scholars not specialising on Buddhist philosophy. Within the panel, Mark Siderits talked about what Indian scholars call svaprakāśa- and paraprakāśavāda, equating them with reflexivism and not reflexivism. These answer the problem of how are cognitions cognised. According to the Indian philosophical school of Nyāya, they are cognised through a higher order perception, which they call anuvyavasāya, so that for each cognition a cognition of it is possible: M (object:…
  • Silvermint on Grad Traps!

    Marcus Arvan
    21 Aug 2014 | 12:52 pm
    My one-time fellow grad at Arizona, Daniel Silvermint, has posted a great list of "grad traps" (i.e. things not to do in grad school) over at Daily Nous.  For some of my own "lessons", see here, here, here, here!
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  • Eggs: To Freeze or Not to Freeze?

    Serena Kutchinsky
    26 Aug 2014 | 9:34 am
    I just celebrated my 35th birthday, which according to my tenuous 20-something life plan was when I would be married and about to embark upon baby making. I won’t go into the various reasons why this hasn’t happened. It’s complicated, but in one sense it’s also perfectly simple – I’ve been progressing in life, ticking some boxes, leaving others expectantly empty because, as we are constantly told, we can’t expect to have it all. And yet, biology hasn’t yet caught up with the requirements of the modern woman lifestyle. As a result, the question of “to freeze or not to…
  • Justice Beyond Privacy

    Steve Fuller
    26 Aug 2014 | 9:08 am
    Justice has been always about modes of interconnectivity. Retributive justice – ‘eye for an eye’ stuff – recalls an age when kinship was how we related to each other. In the modern era, courtesy of the nation-state, bonds have been forged in terms of common laws, common language, common education, common roads, etc. The internet, understood as a global information and communication infrastructure, is both enhancing and replacing these bonds, resulting in new senses of what counts as ‘mine’, ‘yours’, ‘theirs’ and ‘ours’ – the building blocks of a just society. That…
  • The XX Factor

    Alison Wolf
    26 Aug 2014 | 8:59 am
    Following an opinion piece by Labour MP Austin Mitchell in the Daily Mail, the role of women in politics is once again under scrutiny. “More amenable and leadable" is how Mitchell described women MPs. Meanwhile, a new study claims that female bosses earn 35% less than their male counterparts – over forty years after the Equal Pay Act was designed to put an end to such discrepancies. Have things changed since the labour market of the 1920s and ‘30s? Or is there still much to be done? We spoke to labour market expert and Professor of Public Sector Management, Alison Wolf about gender…
  • One Culture for Science

    Lewis Wolpert
    26 Aug 2014 | 8:46 am
    In his now famous 1959 lecture, The Two Cultures, CP Snow said that the gulf between the sciences and humanities had created a significant barrier to solving the world’s problems. This prompted a debate that still rages today. On the one hand, the sciences and the humanities seem as segregated as they have ever been – especially within schools. But recent years have also seen a growing number of projects in which artists and scientists have worked together successfully. While some see this as a positive development in overcoming the barrier identified by CP Snow, others, such as Lewis…
  • The End of Psychology?

    Steven Rose
    26 Aug 2014 | 8:17 am
    The end of psychology? Perhaps not quite yet, but there is a serious message behind The Onion’s fantasy about the American Psychology Association (APA). Over the past decades, psychology has been increasingly overtaken by neuroscience. Two multi-billion euro/dollar initiatives – one European, one American – were launched in 2012 with the avowed objectives of “solving the brain” and, in the EU’s case, incorporating the solution into novel “neuromorphic” computers. Hard-line reductionists speak of “molecular and cellular cognition” and dismiss the mind as an epiphenomenal…
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