Philosophy

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  • Metaphysics

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Peter van Inwagen and Meghan Sullivan
    31 Oct 2014 | 5:43 pm
    [Revised entry by Peter van Inwagen and Meghan Sullivan on October 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] It is not easy to say what metaphysics is. Ancient and Medieval philosophers might have said that metaphysics was, like chemistry or astrology, to be defined by its subject matter: metaphysics was the "science" that studied "being as such" or "the first causes of things" or "things that do not change". It is no longer possible to define metaphysics that...
  • Graphic on history of philosophy

    In Socrates' Wake
    Michael Cholbi
    6 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    Merrill Cook has created this very attractive graphic charting the history of philosophy. Do feel free to display and disseminate.
  • Dedekind's Abstract Concepts: Models and Mappings

    Philosophia Mathematica - Advance Access
    Sieg, W., Schlimm, D.
    18 Sep 2014 | 10:33 pm
    Dedekind's mathematical work is integral to the transformation of mathematics in the nineteenth century and crucial for the emergence of structuralist mathematics in the twentieth century. We investigate the essential components of what Emmy Noether called, his ‘axiomatic standpoint’: abstract concepts (for systems of mathematical objects), models (systems satisfying such concepts), and mappings (connecting models in a structure-preserving way).
  • Congrats to the Philosophers' Cocoon blog...

    Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog
    Brian Leiter
    31 Oct 2014 | 4:21 am
    ...which passed the 500,000 visitor mark last week.
  • Beauty Is Not Simplicity: An Analysis of Mathematicians' Proof Appraisals

    Philosophia Mathematica - Advance Access
    Inglis, M., Aberdein, A.
    25 Jul 2014 | 11:12 pm
    What do mathematicians mean when they use terms such as ‘deep’, ‘elegant’, and ‘beautiful’? By applying empirical methods developed by social psychologists, we demonstrate that mathematicians' appraisals of proofs vary on four dimensions: aesthetics, intricacy, utility, and precision. We pay particular attention to mathematical beauty and show that, contrary to the classical view, beauty and simplicity are almost entirely unrelated in mathematics.
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    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  • Metaphysics

    Peter van Inwagen and Meghan Sullivan
    31 Oct 2014 | 5:43 pm
    [Revised entry by Peter van Inwagen and Meghan Sullivan on October 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] It is not easy to say what metaphysics is. Ancient and Medieval philosophers might have said that metaphysics was, like chemistry or astrology, to be defined by its subject matter: metaphysics was the "science" that studied "being as such" or "the first causes of things" or "things that do not change". It is no longer possible to define metaphysics that...
  • Pythagoreanism

    Carl Huffman
    31 Oct 2014 | 5:01 pm
    [Revised entry by Carl Huffman on October 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Pythagoreanism can be defined in a number of ways....
  • Structuralism in Physics

    Heinz-Juergen Schmidt
    27 Oct 2014 | 7:19 pm
    [Revised entry by Heinz-Juergen Schmidt on October 27, 2014. Changes to: Main text] Under the heading of "structuralism in physics" there are three different but closely related research programs in philosophy of science and, in particular, in philosophy of physics. These programs were initiated by the work of Joseph Sneed, Gunther Ludwig, and...
  • Law and Ideology

    Christine Sypnowich
    24 Oct 2014 | 1:49 am
    [Revised entry by Christine Sypnowich on October 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] If law is a system of enforceable rules governing social relations and legislated by a political system, it might seem obvious that law is connected to ideology. Ideology refers, in a general sense, to a system of political ideas, and law and politics seem inextricably intertwined....
  • Charlie Dunbar Broad

    Kent Gustavsson
    23 Oct 2014 | 4:39 pm
    [Revised entry by Kent Gustavsson on October 23, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887 - 1971) was an English philosopher who for the most part of his life was associated with Trinity College, Cambridge. Broad's early interests were in science and mathematics. Despite being successful in these he came to believe that...
 
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    Talking Philosophy

  • Ebola, Ethics & Safety

    Mike LaBossiere
    31 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    English: Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles. Polski: Mikrofotografia elektronowa cząsteczek wirusa Ebola w fałszywych kolorach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Kaci Hickox, a nurse from my home state of Maine, returned to the United States after serving as a health care worker in the Ebola outbreak. Rather than being greeted as a hero, she was confined to an unheated tent with a box for a toilet and no shower. She did not have any symptoms and tested negative for Ebola. After threatening a lawsuit, she was released and allowed to return to Maine. After arriving home, she…
  • Factions & Fallacies

    Mike LaBossiere
    29 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/151367815 In general, human beings readily commit to factions and then engage in very predictable behavior: they regard their own factions as right, good and truthful while casting opposing factions as wrong, evil and deceitful. While the best known factions tend to be political or religious, people can form factions around almost anything, ranging from sports teams to video game consoles. While there can be rational reasons to form and support a faction, factionalism tends to be fed and watered by cognitive biases and fallacies. The core cognitive bias of…
  • 42 Fallacies for Free in Portuguese

    Mike LaBossiere
    28 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    Thanks to Laércio Lameira my 42 Fallacies is available in Portuguese as a free PDF. 42 Falacias My Amazon Author Page My Paizo Page My DriveThru RPG Page
  • Medbots, Autodocs & Telemedicine

    Mike LaBossiere
    27 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/481844255 In science fiction stories, movies and games automated medical services are quite common. Some take the form of autodocs—essentially an autonomous robotic pod that treats the patient within its confines. Medbots, as distinct from the autodoc, are robots that do not enclose the patient, but do their work in a way similar to a traditional doctor or medic. There are also non-robotic options using remote-controlled machines—this would be an advanced form of telemedicine in which the patient can actually be treated remotely. Naturally, robots can be…
  • Lessons from Ebola

    Mike LaBossiere
    24 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    English: Biosafety level 4 hazmat suit: researcher is working with the Ebola virus (Photo credit: Wikipedia) While Ebola outbreaks are not new, the latest outbreak has provided some important lessons. These lessons are actually nothing new, but the outbreak does provide a focus for discussing them. The first lesson is that most people are very bad at risk assessment. In the Ebola hot spots it is reasonable to be worried about catching Ebola. It is also reasonable to be concerned about the situation in general. However, many politicians, pundits and citizens in the United States are greatly…
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    AskPhilosophers.org | "All"

  • Question about Ethics, Sex - Charles Taliaferro responds

    31 Oct 2014 | 9:56 am
    Is kissing a person on the lips other than one's spouse cheating? What about not on the lips? Does location really matter when it comes to kissing? I don't think it does, and even when it comes to major slip ups as much as penetrative sex, I don't think that's cheating either because promises are but a CONDITIONED vow of not doing any of those things. Because promises between a couple are usually not very precise unless lawyers are involved, I think the greater subject of importance is whether the other person FEELS betrayed and whether there are romantic feelings beyond sexual ones. A…
  • Question about Mind - Allen Stairs responds

    30 Oct 2014 | 10:15 am
    Hello, My name is Kyle, I'm a physics student. I have zero training in philosophy, save for an introductory philosophy course in my freshman year. I've been thinking about something quite frequently, and would like to hear an opinion from somebody who is knowledgable in the subject; The mind and the ego is a construct of the brain( at least as far as I know), and it's experiences. And I think it's fair to say that the brain is a clever organization of atoms, in what is essentially a computer. It has memories, which I think forms the ego, in a seemingly contiguous storyline. The hardware of…
  • Question about Profession - Allen Stairs responds

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:54 am
    Should philosophers be able to speak as well as they write? For most people, speech is a more common form of communication in day to day life than the printed text so it bothers me whenever I watch online philosophy talks or even live philosophy lectures just how boring many philosophers deliver their material. There are exceptions of course (John Searle comes to mind) but is this because philosophers think being charismatic or funny somehow detracts from the material itself? Response from: Allen Stairs "Should" is a bit strong here. Some people have a talent for public speaking; some don't.
  • Question about Religion - Stephen Maitzen responds

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:45 am
    There is this theistic meta-ethical view according to which there can be evils in the world only if there is an orthodoxly conceived monotheistic god that is the ‘ground’ for the distinction between good and evil. On this theistic meta-ethical view, doesn't it seem that there is something incoherent in the attempt to argue from the relevant premises in arguments from evil to the conclusion that there is no orthodoxly conceived monotheistic god? Asserting "evil exists" seems to prove the existence of god and make the problem of evil self-refuting. Response from: Stephen Maitzen If the…
  • Question about Ethics - Charles Taliaferro responds

    26 Oct 2014 | 3:29 pm
    Some time ago I came to know about two horrible stories that happened in my city, one leading to the death of a young child, the other about a 12-year old raped by a 16-year old. Of course, events like these happen everywhere, all the time. We know about major wars and famines, but horrible suffering is happening somewhere at any time. My question is how should we (people who have more or less privileged lives) live with it? I'm not interested in religious answers or worldviews. I guess trying not to think about other people's suffering is not an acceptable response. The other extreme…
 
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    Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog

  • New Books in October

    Brian Leiter
    31 Oct 2014 | 9:41 am
    Authors and/or publishers sent me the following new books this month: Xunzi: the Complete Text, trans. and with an introduction by Eric L. Hutton (Princeton University Press, 2014). Manipulation: Theory and Practice edited by Christian Coons & Michael Weber (Oxford...
  • "The war on teacher tenure"

    Brian Leiter
    31 Oct 2014 | 5:02 am
    The neoliberal assault (orchestrated by the idle rich) is currently on public school teachers, but they will get to university teachers before long, especially if successful in the first round of the assault. (Thanks to Robert McGarvey for the pointer.)
  • "Religion is like a penis"

    Brian Leiter
    31 Oct 2014 | 4:34 am
    Thanks to Pierre Brunet for the pointer to this funny item.
  • Congrats to the Philosophers' Cocoon blog...

    Brian Leiter
    31 Oct 2014 | 4:21 am
    ...which passed the 500,000 visitor mark last week.
  • CUNY's Iakovos Vasiliou interviewed...

    Brian Leiter
    31 Oct 2014 | 3:49 am
    ...at 3AM. UPDATE: Prof. Vasiliou writes to point out that the photo accompanying the interview is not of him! I imagine this will get fixed, though perhaps not until Monday.
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    Ethics Etc

  • Experimental Philosophy of the Self at NYU

    S. Matthew Liao
    26 Oct 2014 | 10:23 pm
    Date: Saturday December 13, 2014 Time: 9:30am to 5pm Location: Tisch Hall (40 W 4th Street), Room LC-11, New York University Over the past several years there have been exciting empirical discoveries about the self. At the same time, there have been important developments in the philosophy of the self and personal identity. To foster […]
  • Program for NYU Conference on Measuring Borderline States of Consciousness

    S. Matthew Liao
    20 Oct 2014 | 2:13 pm
    The final program is now available for this week’s conference on “Measuring Borderline States of Consciousness”, co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness and the NYU Center for Bioethics. The conference will be held on Friday October 24 and Saturday October 25 at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, 53 […]
  • CFA: Dominating Speech at UConn

    S. Matthew Liao
    14 Oct 2014 | 9:14 pm
    Update: Registration is now open for this workshop. Please register at http://injustice.philosophy.uconn.edu. Registration will close on November 14th. 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: […]
  • UChicago Conference: Is Health Care A Human Right?

    S. Matthew Liao
    2 Oct 2014 | 3:34 pm
    Friday, October 10 – Saturday, October 11, 2014 The Quadrangle Club, Library 1155 E 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 RSVP using the form at the bottom of this webpage. This two-day symposium, presented by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, will bring interdisciplinary scholars together to […]
  • NYU Conference on Measuring Borderline States of Consciousness

    S. Matthew Liao
    19 Sep 2014 | 5:09 pm
    Friday, October 24th – Saturday, October 25th 53 Washington Square South, 1st Floor Auditorium, New York On October 24-25, the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness and the NYU Center for Bioethics will host a conference on Measuring Borderline States of Consciousness. There are famous difficulties in measuring subjective states of consciousness. Nevertheless, a […]
 
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    Feminist Philosophers

  • Weight discrimination is costly for women

    philodaria
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:35 pm
    From the Guardian: Being thin, it seems, is an unspoken requirement if you’re after a fatter paycheck. And the thinner you are, the better you fare, financially speaking. If you are deemed to be heavy, on the other hand, you suffer, as a 2011 study made clear. Heavy women earned $9,000 less than their average-weight counterparts; very heavy women earned $19,000 less. Very thin women, on the other hand, earned $22,000 more than those who were merely average. And yes, those results are far more visible on women’s earnings than on those of men. You may also struggle for promotion. It turns…
  • The patchwork quilt of achievement

    Heg
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:20 pm
    This is just wonderful, the wonderful Athene Donald reflecting on Mary Catherine Bateson: Consider the following sentence: ‘We see achievement as purposeful and monolithic, like sculpting of a massive tree trunk that has first to be brought from the forest and then shaped by long labor to assert the artist’s vision, rather than something crafted from odds and ends, like a patchwork quilt, and lovingly used to warm different nights and bodies.’ [Bateson's] sympathies are all with the crafting of a life from bits and pieces rather than those (few?) who simply move from A to B, knowing…
  • Happy Halloween, ya’ll

    magicalersatz
    31 Oct 2014 | 9:22 am
    The Chronicle of Higher Education gives us, in festive mood, A Brief History of Academics Writing Seriously About Zombies. Unsurprisingly, philosophy takes center stage: In philosophy, zombies are confined safely to the theoretical realm. Contemporary philosophers use thought experiments involving zombies to “illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world,” according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, whose entry on “zombies” includes priceless passages such as this: “Suppose a population of tiny people disable your brain…
  • CFP: New Encounters in French and Italian Thought

    Sam B
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:15 am
    20th Annual Conference Sponsored by the Philosophy Graduate Student Union (PGSU) March 13-14, 2015 Villanova University New Encounters in French and Italian Thought Keynote: Jason E. Smith The negotiation between French and Italian activists and intellectuals in the mid-twentieth century opened a field of theoretical experimentation, the effects of which pose a challenge for contemporary politics. This encounter materialized through various collectives, traversing the neat intellectual and practical boundaries of the academy. Whether through the images of intellectuals in the streets, or…
  • Sexy Regalia?

    Sam B
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:02 am
    Yes, you read that right. Amazon is selling–alongside the equally plausible “Sexy Nemo” and “Sexy T-Rex,” the “Delicious Women’s Phd Darling Sexy Costume.” Just in time for Halloween! And for once, read the reviews. This is just one: First things first, I am a lady Ph.D. Like all lady Ph.D’s, I frequently ask myself: “How could I be sexier?” Delicious costumes has come to my rescue! I can now lecture in my 5 inch gold spiked heels and “barely there” regalia while giving nary a thought to the male gaze and it’s…
 
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    In Socrates' Wake

  • New issue of Teaching Philosophy

    Michael Cholbi
    30 Oct 2014 | 3:45 pm
    The latest issue of Teaching Philosophy (volume 37, no. 4) is out. Detailed contents below the fold. Patricia CaltonTeaching Business Ethics as Innovative Problem SolvingTeaching business ethics offers an opportunity to encourage students to use ethical theory to develop critical thinking skills and to use these skills to practice creative, ethical problem solving that will serve them well in the course of their professional lives. In the first part of this article, I detail how the disciplined use of ethical theory not only develops students’ moral perceptions but also gives them the…
  • EngagedPhilosophy.com: Using Civic Engagement in Philosophy Classes

    Nathan Nobis
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:24 am
    EngagedPhilosophy.com: Resources for Using Civic Engagement in Philosophy ClassesEngagedPhilosophy.com, launched with a grant from the American Philosophical Association, provides tools for faculty and students to implement activist or service projects in philosophy classes. It includes assignment guidelines, many sample projects, student testimonials, and data supporting use of civic engagement in philosophy classes. Founders Ramona Ilea, Susan Hawthorne, and Monica Janzen, of Pacific University Oregon, St. Catherine University, and Hennepin Technical College, respectively, support…
  • New in Teaching Philosophy: 'Team teaching the theism-atheism debate'

    Michael Cholbi
    6 Oct 2014 | 9:04 am
    Here:Wesley D. Cray, Steven G. BrownTeam-Teaching the Atheism-Theism DebateIn this paper, we discuss a team-taught, debate-style Philosophy of Religion course we designed and taught at The Ohio State University. Rather than tackling the breadth of topics traditionally subsumed under the umbrella of Philosophy of Religion, this course focused exclusively on the nuances of the atheism-theism debate, with the instructors openly identifying as atheist or theist, respectively. After discussing the motivations for designing and teaching such a course, we go on to detail its content and structure.
  • Graphic on history of philosophy

    Michael Cholbi
    6 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    Merrill Cook has created this very attractive graphic charting the history of philosophy. Do feel free to display and disseminate.
  • Teaching Philosophy seeks trustee

    Michael Cholbi
    12 Sep 2014 | 7:44 am
    The Board of Trustees of the Teaching Philosophy Association, Inc. would like you to know about an opportunity to have an impact on the journal.  Teaching Philosophy Association, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that oversees the business of the journal Teaching Philosophy.  The Board is responsible for:         evaluation of and strategic planning for the journal;         authorizing and carrying out special projects;         appointing and providing guidance to…
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    Philosophy by the Way

  • “All things have their season” (2)

    25 Oct 2014 | 6:33 pm
    Once I decided to grow apples. So I read about how to cultivate them, about what is important when choosing apple varieties and a few things more. When I knew everything about growing apples and had chosen the varieties I wanted to have, I went to a fruit tree nursery and bought three young trees and planted them in my garden. It was a feast for the eye to see them growing and I liked it very much to look after them and to prune them. Since my garden is small, I trained the trees as espaliers. So I was very happy that after a few years I could eat fruit from my own garden. I had chosen the…
  • Joint commitment

    12 Oct 2014 | 4:24 pm
    A central concept in the philosophy of Margaret Gilbert is “joint commitment”. It refers to the obligations people have towards others when they agree to do something together. Then each is bound to do what s/he said to do, unless the other or others relieve this person of the obligations agreed on. Gilbert uses the concept of joint commitment for understanding group action. Studying group action is about what small groups do and about what the individual members of small groups do as group members. Group action has to be distinguished from the behaviour (or actions, if you like) of…
  • Free will and the two levels of reality

    5 Oct 2014 | 4:11 pm
    In my last blog I showed that Prinz distinguishes two levels of representing reality. The direct representation of the world is done on a non-conscious level and the indirect representation or the perceiving of the direct representation is done on a conscious level. Prinz uses this “dual representation model” for explaining what free will is. However, for making this clear, I prefer not to follow Prinz, but to turn to the view of Shaun Gallagher. Both views are basically the same, albeit not in detail.Gallagher distinguishes also two levels, but he doesn’t talk of levels of…
  • Two levels of reality

    28 Sep 2014 | 4:05 pm
    In his article “Free will as a social institution”, Wolfgang Prinz defends the thesis of dual representation of reality. On the one hand, the thesis says, we have a direct representation of what is going on and what is present around us in the world (we can say that we have an “image” of it, if we take this notion not too literally). This representation exists on an unconscious level, which I want to call “level 1”. This level-1-representation is the basis of our doings. On a conscious level we can experience this level-1-representation and have a conscious representation of it.
  • How to write my blogs (2)

    21 Sep 2014 | 4:30 pm
    Creative walkWhen I write these weekly blogs, I am always sitting in the armchair in my study and I write them with my laptop. I told you that several times before, if I remember well. Is it the right method? I always thought so, until I discovered that it would be better to write my blogs by hand, at least the draft. Not so long ago I explained to you why (see my blog dated June 16, 2014). But like most human beings here on earth, I stick to my habits and I still write my blogs with a computer. In view of the positive comments I sometimes receive, they are not that bad, although – you…
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    The Brooks Blog

  • CFP: Northwestern University conference on ethics and political philosophy

    31 Oct 2014 | 1:39 am
    CFP re: faculty and students - keynote speakers are Frances Kamm and Joseph Raz Submission Guidelines We welcome submissions from faculty and graduate students, as some sessions will be reserved for student presentations.  Please submit an essay of approximately 4000 words.  Essay topics in all areas of ethical theory and political philosophy will be considered, although some priority will be given to essays that take up themes from the work of Frances Kamm and Joseph Raz, such as authority, death and dying, duties, freedom, law, moral status, normativity, permissible harm…
  • Durham University - Research Fellowships

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:17 am
    NOTE: Interested readers should contact me about these opportunities. Durham University is delighted to announce its 2015/16 International Fellowship Scheme, designed to attract the most talented researchers in Europe and beyond, and to build international networks of scholars with a common passion for today’s most important research challenges. 2015/16 Junior Research Fellowships   Up to 21 Junior Research Fellowships are available (REF: 4076) starting salary will be in the range £31,324 – £35,256 p.a. The closing date is 05 December 2014. Details can be found at:…
  • Beyond Retribution - in Think

    29 Oct 2014 | 4:12 am
    My article "Beyond Retribution" is in the current issue of Think and can be found here. The abstract:Retribution enjoys an unwarranted appeal from the public and its politicians. This is because it is impractical and perhaps even incoherent. This does not mean that we should reject the importance of morality for criminal justice nor should we reject the link between desert and proportionality. Nevertheless, we can reject the way retribution has understood these ideas in defense of a more plausible and compelling alternative.
  • UKIP must adapt - or it will die

    26 Oct 2014 | 5:02 am
    My latest piece for Newcastle's The Journal which can be found HERE.
  • In Defence of Punishment and the Unified Theory of Punishment: A Reply

    22 Oct 2014 | 5:19 am
    . . . can be found here at SSRN to download. The abstract:Punishment is a major contribution to contemporary debates concerning the philosophy of punishment. The book advances three overlapping aims. The first is to provide the most comprehensive coverage of this fast moving field. While there are several excellent introductions available, they have become dated without substantive coverage of recent work on communicative theories of punishment or restorative justice, for example. A second aim of the book is to advance a new theory—the ‘unified theory’ of punishment—as a distinctive…
 
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    Jon Cogburn's Blog

  • new entry in The Philosophical Lexicon - Au Gratton

    Jon Cogburn
    31 Oct 2014 | 10:12 am
    Au Gratton, adj. adv. used post-nominally or post-verbally as in French. When a critical discussion (via presentation or blog post) of a philosopher is sprinkled liberally with unargued claims that the philosopher under discussion is weak precisely where s/he is correctly perceived to be strongest by charitable, informed readers. To work requires not only that the audience is unfamiliar with the philosopher whose work is being presented Au Gratton, but also that the presenter have innate facility with this kind of misrepresentation. Examples- adj. Professor Gerbenfeister did yet another post…
  • Emily's Pretty Cool Blog - Fiction Time

    Jon Cogburn
    31 Oct 2014 | 9:07 am
    Nice post here about the manner in which good fictional dialogue radically misrepresents the actual words exchanged by interlocutors. Her example is the original publication of the Nixon tapes, which led many people to wrongly assume that the Nixon administration was populated by subliterates. Linguists earned their pay in the 70s explaining to a bemused populace that we don't actually talk very much like we write at all, especially the way we write about our own talking. I think it's much too quick to just say that this is just one of the ways that fiction misrepresents the actual…
  • Hegel versus the zombies

    Jon Cogburn
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:18 am
    I wonder the extent to which Hegelianism only makes sense in a world without widespread vaccination and anti-biotics, the two things that (up till now) have done the most to increase life expectancy in the West. In a world where most people pass away before late middle age, and nobody lives into what we now regard as old age,* it is probably much easier to think of development as matter becoming spirit. But in late middle age the gross matter of one's own body reasserts itself with a vengeance. Then if you live long enough you get to face dementia, as bits of your body revolt the…
  • Two nice object-oriented philosophy posts, with a few thoughts about Tristan Garcia

    Jon Cogburn
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:33 am
    Mathew David Segall has a great post on process versus object oriented ontologies here. The post makes me really excited about reading Steven Shaviro's new book. I find myself sympathetic both to Whitehead's variant of pan-psychism and Harman's anti-relationism and hope there is some way to make the two consistent. Tristan Garcia might be read as presenting the start of a way out of this. For Garcia, objects are relational, as he expresses his anti-reductionism in terms an object being the difference between what it comprehends and that which comprehends it. Like Whitehead's…
  • Life is(n't) Junior High School

    Jon Cogburn
    30 Oct 2014 | 6:03 am
    Here's a not unrepresentative story from junior high school. A friend of mine's father was dying of cancer. Money was also really tight, so his Mom had to work at the same time. It was pretty rough emotionally for him. During the same time period the bullying (faggot! geek!) of the other kids in junior high kept getting worse and worse. The shell-shock from his Dad's dying, combined with the fact that my friend had an overbite so bad as to be disfiguring (he's since gotten corrective surgery), made him a pretty obvious target. As a result of all of this my friend was able to…
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    Continental Philosophy

  • ISBP: Buddhist Phenomenologies (APA-Pacific)

    James Luchte
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:23 pm
    April 1, 2015 – April 5, 2015 American Philosophical Association Vancouver Canada View the Call For Papers Organisers: Christian Coseru College of Charleston Eric S. Nelson UML / HKUST   Details (No details have been provided for this event.) http://mailmanlist.net/pipermail/h-buddhism-mail/2014-August/000103.html
  • Society for Phenomenology and Media 17th Annual Conference

    James Luchte
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:18 pm
    March 25, 2015 – March 29, 2015 National University, United States La Jolla United States View the Call For Papers   Details The Society for Phenomenology and Media (SPM) is pleased to receive abstracts (200 words maximum) for consideration of inclusion in its 17th annual international conference. The conference will be sponsored and hosted by National University in La Jolla (San Diego), California, U.S.A. Proposals for 3-person panels are now also being accepted. These should be organized around specific media—for example: film, the Internet, mobile communication,…
  • CFP: The Great Phenomenological Schism: Reactions to Husserl’s Transcendental Idealism

    James Luchte
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:16 pm
    Submission deadline: February 20, 2015 Conference date(s): June 3, 2015 – June 6, 2015 Go to the conference’s page Conference Venue: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Mexico City, Mexico Details The North American Society for Early Phenomenology The Great Phenomenological Schism: Reactions to Husserl’s Transcendental Idealism Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City June 3-6th, 2015 Keynote speakers: Hanne Jacobs (Loyola University, Chicago) Burt Hopkins (Seattle University) Workshops with: Sebastian Luft (Marquette University) Antonio Zirión…
  • Thinking Through Deleuze: Nomadic Subjects, Global Citizenship and Posthumanism

    James Luchte
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:12 pm
    February 6, 2015 – February 8, 2015 Brock University St. Catharines Canada View the Call For Papers Details “Thinking Through Deleuze: Nomadic Subjects, Global Citizenship and Posthumanism” is a transdisciplinary conference that seeks to explore the multitude of ethical and social problems posed by capitalism and its global political order. This global order has marked a shift to what some have called a network society (Castells), a society of control (Deleuze and Foucault), and a new order of Empire (Hardt and Negri). Globalization has radically changed how we understand social…
  • Phenomenology and the Problem of Meaning in Human Life and History

    James Luchte
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:05 pm
    December 7, 2014 – December 12, 2014 Murdoch University Perth Australia View the Call For Papers   Details It is my pleasure to announce that the 5th OPO Meeting Phenomenology and the Problem of Meaning in Human Life and History in 2014 will be held at Murdoch University, Western Australia from Monday 8 Dec until Friday 12 Dec 2014.The key-note speakers are: Babette BABICH (Fordham University, Philosophy, Faculty Member) Chan-fai CHEUNG (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) Ivan CHVATÍK (Centre for Theoretical Studies, Prague) Burt HOPKINS (Seatle University, Philosophy) Dermot…
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    In Search of Enlightenment

  • Framing One's Worldview

    14 Oct 2014 | 5:09 am
    I posted this on my FB and any academics currently not FB friends that wish to send along their answers can email me. thanksNon-scientific poll for philosophers and theorists who teach on topics like global justice, equality, democracy, freedom, etc.Question #1.When you reflect upon the way you frame with subject matter you teach, is there an apparent "Negative Worldview" (humanity is heading towards the dumps) or "Positive Worldview" (humanity's prospects are improving and will likely continue to do so) perspective that you have?Question #2.If you answered "yes" to number 1, please briefly…
  • The Problem

    10 Oct 2014 | 6:39 am
    Humanity faces a major problem (what I refer to here simply as the Problem) this century. And given the nature of the Problem it will most likely be a significant problem for all future generations as well, unless we seriously tackle this problem. The Problem is one of the most significant problems we have ever faced. Sadly not very many people realize how big of a problem the Problem is, and few believe there is anything we can do to remedy the Problem. Thus people do not pressure their governments to take action to address the Problem. There is an extremely strong scientific consensus…
  • Canadian Attitudes Towards Radical Life Extension

    9 Oct 2014 | 6:15 am
    In my "Science and Justice" seminar this afternoon we will be discussing this paper which found some interesting things about Canadian attitudes towards radical life extension. For example, Science Negativity (“Science and technology make our way of life change too fast”) and a Declinist Worldview (“Modern civilization has reached its peak and is in decline.”) were associated with less support for life extension. Whereas higher levels of Bio-Literacy (knowledge of biological science), General Health and being male were associated with being more pro-life extension.Cheers, Colin
  • End of Sabbatical

    22 Sep 2014 | 10:41 am
    This blog has been very quiet for the past 12 months or so as I was away on sabbatical (and I joined FB, where I post almost daily). As such I thought I should post a few remarks here.While I am sad that the extra research time afforded by the sabbatical has come to an end, I am happy to have full-time teaching return as a regular part of my responsibilities. I find teaching helps stimulate thought and balances what can be an otherwise hermit-like existence (my research tends to be very solitary).What did I accomplish on the sabbatical? I spent the Fall term teaching in the School of Public…
  • Ideas for New Paper

    19 Mar 2014 | 6:18 am
    This blog post is posted on my FB page with comments open. If you are a political philosopher who wishes to comment please send me a FB friend request. In the coming weeks I hope to develop some ideas that I have been mulling over for a few years now on methodological issues in normative political philosophy into a coherent paper tentatively titled “Justice by Earthlings” or "Psychology Constrains Political Philosophy". I thought I would try something new for me and invite FB friends interested in ideal/non-ideal theory to offer comments, suggestions, etc. as I work through these ideas…
 
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    In Living Color

  • Sending affluence, receiving pestilence

    20 Oct 2014 | 8:31 am
    Peter Singer makes a very persuasive case that we ought to spend money to alleviate extreme poverty rather than buying the latest luxuries   But what if what is needed is not sending away our affluence but letting in disease?  Allowing travel to and from west Africa might increase the number of cases of Ebola in the US and slow the epidemic there;  closing borders could both protect us here and
  • Harvard's Sexual Misconduct Policy

    17 Oct 2014 | 8:29 am
    Harvard has a new and more victim-friendly sexual misconduct policy as of this fall, and 28 professors in the law school have complained about it (out of a total of 110).  It sounds to me as if they have some legitimate worries but I'm puzzled by one of the complaints. The faculty members, including emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz, said the policy should be retracted because it denies the
  • The Accidental Mixed Race Baby

    6 Oct 2014 | 10:08 am
    It's all over the news:  a lesbian couple used a sperm bank to create their baby girl and now they're suing, because the bank used sperm vial 330 (from a black man) when they had selected sperm vial 380 (from a white man).  They love their daughter, but they're claiming they've somehow been damaged by the mix up.  One thing's for sure, this legal wrangle should have been conducted
  • Moral Mediocrity

    3 Oct 2014 | 7:12 am
    Interesting post here by Eric Schwitzgebel, with a lot of relevance to the fact that very few people succeed at being perfect or even near-perfect vegans.
  • Self Preservation

    2 Oct 2014 | 7:32 am
    I wonder about some choices made by Thomas Duncan, the Ebola patient who's being treated at a hospital in Dallas, and may have infected other people here.  The New York Times reports that on Sept. 15 Duncan helped carry a pregnant, 19 year old Ebola victim from a taxi to her home, where she died hours later (the hospital wouldn't admit her).  Four days later he few from Liberia to Brussels, from
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    Stephen Law

  • "But it Fits!' Douglas Adams' puddle and Ken Ham's creationism. How it all 'fits'! My latest blog post at CFI here.

    25 Oct 2014 | 7:02 am
    "But it Fits!' Douglas Adams' puddle and Ken Ham's creationism. How it all 'fits'! My latest blog post at CFI here.
  • Open Letter to Karen Armstrong on 'The Myth of Religious Violence'

    29 Sep 2014 | 6:49 am
    An open letter to Karen Armstrong on her Guardian article ‘The Myth of Religious Violence’. I invite Karen to either come out as a Secularist with a capital 'S', or come up with a better argument. Go here to CFI logs for my post.
  • 'But is it art?' Wittgenstein on family resemblance concepts - explained!

    21 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    But is it Art? From my The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking. This introduces Wittgenstein on 'family resemblance' and the idea of 'necessary and sufficient conditions'.Philosophy Gym category: Warm upMediumMore challengingI mean they’d gone and fucking installed the work without me even being here. That’s just not on. This is my bed. If someone else installs it, it’s just dirty linen. If I do it, it’s art. Tracey Emin (artist), Evening Standard, 12/9/00.Today it seems almost anything can be classified as a work of art: Damien Hirst’s pickled shark or Tracey Emin’s…
  • Follow my CFI blog: The Outer Limits

    10 Sep 2014 | 1:01 am
    Just posted my first blog post for CFI here as part of their Free Thinking site. I will be posting exclusive Humanist/Skepticism related article there regularly - at least once a month. Do please follow!My CFI blog is called The Outer Limits. They made me a nice banner - have a look.This blog will of course continue. In particular I'll put more academic posts here (e.g. drafts of papers for discussion, etc.), plus news of events (CFI UK especially, which I organize) and other interests. Skeptical/humanism related posts here will usually also appear over at The Secular Outpost.
  • Werewolves, Vampires and Witches sceptically investigated by CFI UK, 18 October

    9 Sep 2014 | 2:55 am
    Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall Ethical Society present: Deborah Hyde, Jessica Monteith, and Owen Davies speaking on vampires, werewolves, and witches. Register here.   Deborah Hyde, Jessica Monteith, and Owen Davies introduce us to the myth and the reality regarding some of the most horrific creatures imaginable. A skeptical inquiry into some of the most terrifying creatures imaginable. Come and be terrified and informed.Note that even if you have heard e.g. Hyde on vampires before, she is talking about werewolves at this event. Organised and chaired by Stephen Law Date:…
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    gonepublic: philosophy, politics, & public life

  • So just how much do you want to study philosophy?

    Noelle McAfee
    17 Oct 2014 | 4:29 pm
    Hannah Arendt to Mary McCarthy, August 20, 1954 At the moment, translating the old book [The Origins of Totalitarianism] into German, I am unhappy and impatient to get back to what I really want to do [likely her reflections on labor, work, and action]—if I can do it. But that is minor, I mean whether or not I am capable of doing what I want to do. Heinrich [Blücher] has a wonderful advice to give to his students when they talk about studying philosophy: he tells them you can do it only if you know that the most important thing in your life would be to succeed in this and the second most…
  • Infograph on the History of Philosophy

    Noelle McAfee
    2 Oct 2014 | 11:20 am
    This cool infographic was created by Merrill Cook and posted on superscholar.org. But, umm, couldn’t we get some of the women in the picture? Check out Kate Lindemann’s page for a good helping of that. Source: SuperScholar.org/
  • Documenting the meltdown on Leiter and bad tactics in rankings

    Noelle McAfee
    30 Sep 2014 | 8:12 pm
    If you are a philosopher in the English speaking world, you no doubt know that the old self-appointed emperor has lost his clothes. As of this writing, more than 520 philosophers (including the original signatories at the top) have signed a statement that they will decline to support his Philosophical Gourmet Report so long as he’s running it.  Twenty-four members of his board have asked him to relinquish management. Since I’ve been one of the characters in this tale, I’ve been keeping up with all the talk in the philosophy blogosphere.  For those interested in…
  • Sign on to the September Statement

    Noelle McAfee
    26 Sep 2014 | 6:04 pm
    The list of philosophers unwilling to take part in the Philosophical Gourmet Report so long as Brian Leiter is editing it keeps growing: https://sites.google.com/site/septemberstatement/ .  Any philosophy professor with an academic appointment is invited to join the list.  You need not be someone who would have been likely to be an evaluator. If you wish to add your name to those declining for these reasons to volunteer their services to the PGR while under the control of Brian Leiter, please email septemberstatement@gmail.com with your name and affiliation. Please use your verifiable…
  • A Search Engine for Philosophy

    Noelle McAfee
    26 Sep 2014 | 1:54 pm
    I made this proposal the other day over at Daily Nous (which just got a nod from the Daily Nous editor Justin Weinberg here) for an alternative to the PGR and other rankings: a 21st century tool that students could use to get information on graduate programs. The APA has been collecting data from philosophy PhD programs for a few years now for its Guide to Programs on placement rates, etc. What if more information were collected, such as numbers of books published with university presses, faculty citation and Google Scholar analytics, peer-reviewed conference papers, faculty areas of…
 
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    Alexander Pruss's Blog

  • Antipresentism

    31 Oct 2014 | 8:47 am
    Presentists think that the past and future are unreal but the present is real. I was going to do a tongue-in-cheek post about an opposed view where we have the past and future but no present. But as I thought about it, the position grew a little on me philosophically, at some expense of the tongueincheekness. Still, please take all I say below in good fun. If you get a plausible philosophical view out of it, that's great, but it's really just an exercise in philosophical imagination.One way to think about antipresentism is to imagine the eternalist's four-dimensional universe, but then to…
  • How to make an infinite fair lottery out of infinitely many coin flips

    29 Oct 2014 | 7:27 am
    This is a technical post arising from a question Rob Koons asked me. An infinite sequence of fair and independent coin flips determines a sequence of zeroes and ones (e.g., zero = tails, one = heads). Let Ω be the set of all infinite sequences of zero/one sequences, equipped with the probability measure P corresponding to the fair and independent coin flips. Notice an invariance property capturing at least part of the independence and fairness assumption. If ρn is the operation of flipping the nth element in the sequence, and ρnA for a subset A of Ω is the set obtained by applying ρn to…
  • A divine command and an open future

    28 Oct 2014 | 10:04 am
    I'm piling on to the argument here. Suppose God creates Adam and Eve, and gives them eternal life. He then commands them that: They freely pray for at least a minute on each of the infinitely many Sabbaths starting with day t7 (the day after their creation). This seems a reasonable command. But it is unreasonable to command something that the agent cannot ever make true. And on open future views, it is impossible for (1) ever to be true. For at any time, (1) depends on future free choices. So on open future views, the command (1) is unreasonable. And that's a problem for open future views.
  • Yet another infinite population problem

    27 Oct 2014 | 2:24 pm
    There are infinitely many people in existence, unable to communicate with one another. An angel makes it known to all that if, and only if, infinitely many of them make some minor sacrifice, he will give them all a great benefit far outweighing the sacrifice. (Maybe the minor sacrifice is the payment of a dollar and the great benefit is eternal bliss for all of them.) You are one of the people. It seems you can reason: We are making our decisions independently. Either infinitely many people other than me make the sacrifice or not. If they do, then there is no gain for anyone to my making…
  • Aristotelian propositions, promises and an open future

    27 Oct 2014 | 9:13 am
    Aristotelian propositions are "tensed propositions" that are supposed to be able to change their truth value. If I say "It is sunny", this is supposed to express an Aristotelian proposition p such that p is true today, but p was false on cloudy days.Now, a necessary condition for me to have fulfilled a promise is that the proposition that was the object of the promise is true. Suppose yesterday—i.e., on Sunday—I promised: Tomorrow, I will do a blog post on Aristotelian propositions. And I do make such a post today, i.e., on Monday, but I won't make another one on Tuesday. If the…
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    The Splintered Mind

  • Why I Will Be Contributing Rankings to the Gourmet Report

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:18 am
    I have been asked to be an evaluator for the 2014-2015 edition of the Philosophical Gourmet Report. Contrary to what seems to be a widespread sentiment in the philosophical blogosphere, I support the rankings and will participate. The PGR rankings have at least three related downsides:1. They perpetuate privilege, including the privilege of people with social power in the discipline, the privilege of people in PhD-granting institutions over other types of institutions, and the general privilege of Anglophone philosophy and philosophers.2. They reinforce mainstream ("Gourmet ecology")…
  • Philosophical SF: Ninth Batch of Lists (Nichols, Wittkower, Brophy, and Yap)

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    27 Oct 2014 | 3:04 pm
    A couple of months ago, I started asking professional philosophers for their recommendations of some personal favorites among philosophically interesting science fiction or "speculative fiction" (SF) more broadly construed. Every contributor was to list ten works along with brief "pitches" pointing toward the works' interest. Thirty-six philosophers have sent in their lists, which I've been spinning out four at a time. This is the ninth and final list. (Or rather I should say, final for now. If more contributions come in, I will post them in small batches.) Soon, I'll merge everything into a…
  • Philosophical SF: Eighth Batch of Lists (Sullivan, Clarke, Oppenheimer, Bernstein)

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    24 Oct 2014 | 8:03 am
    Here is the eighth set of science fiction / speculative fiction recommendations from professional philosophers, out of a projected nine sets. If all goes according to plan, I should have the final list up next Monday, and then I'll start merging them into a mega-list and doing some analysis. A general description of the project, plus the first four lists, from Dever, Powell, Kind, and Horst. Second set: Mandik, E. Kaplan, Evnine, De Cruz. Third set: De Smedt, Bakker, J. Kaplan, Weinberg. Fourth set: Frankish, Blumson, Cash, Keeley. Fifth set: Jollimore, Chalmers, Palma, Schneider. Sixth set:…
  • Why Is It So Fun to Condemn People on Facebook?

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    22 Oct 2014 | 1:06 pm
    I'm not hatin' on hatin'. I want to be clear about that up front. Condemning rotten behavior is a crucial moral activity, and Facebook is a powerful means of doing so. My friends' Facebook condemnations of sexism and racism and ableism, for example, have increased my awareness of those issues. And yet... condemning people's bad behavior on Facebook is almost too fun, in a way that niggles at me somehow. Why is it so fun, and what do its pleasures reveal about it? Clearly part of the fun is that you're on a team. You and your friends get to be on the team of the righteous, aligned together…
  • Sci Phi Journal Call for Papers

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:09 pm
    Jason Rennie at Sci Phi Journal writes: I'm looking for articles and short fiction for upcoming issues of Sci Phi Journal. The papers need to be at a relativly popular level and need to connect with or explore philosophy through the lens of science fiction or fantasy. I pay 5c a word for submissions that are published and there is a bonus 5c a word if the issue gets to 5000 sales. The articles or stories should be in the 2 – 4k word range but that isn't a strict limit. I do buy reprints but at a lower rate. There is no deadline for submissions, but for any particular issue the deadline is…
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    In the Space of Reasons

  • Robert Audi against doxasticism

    27 Oct 2014 | 11:56 am
    I caught a talk by Robert Audi at the end of last week (the sort of thing that just seems to happen in Durham). Since I am giving a talk on a related subject a little later in the term I will try to summarise very briefly the motivations for some of what philosophers think about in this area in pretty basic terms (not that my own understanding rises much above the basic).First, though, his abstract.Doxasticism: Belief and the Information - Responsiveness of MindOur beliefs are a map of our world. They shape our hopes, direct our desires and intentions, and structure our values. They are as…
  • 'Autonomy and the End of Life' one-day conference

    27 Oct 2014 | 8:51 am
    "A one-day conference exploring the philosophical and ethical implications of end of life decisions.Thursday 23rd April 2015Venue: University of Essex, Southend CampusThe conference is free to attend, but seating is limited, so advance registration is required. To register please go to: http://autonomy.essex.ac.uk/autonomy-and-the-end-of-lifeDeveloping as a Compassionate PractitionerThis new CPD course has been developed by colleagues in the School of Health and Human Sciences.Following the publication of the Francis Report (Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust 2010) concern about the…
  • My brother's eulogy for my father: Grahame Thornton

    25 Oct 2014 | 8:45 am
    It may seem odd to put my brother, Simon’s funeral oration for my father on my, albeit merely approximately, philosophical blog. But there are two reasons. First, I simply want it by me now*. But second, and more of a general rationale, this: The negotiation of our experience of the death of those we love through reflection on them seems to me to be one of the highest expressions of our broader rationality. It is one of the trickiest things we are called on to think and feel our way through in the space of reasons. My brother's eulogy for my father: Grahame Thornton“I would like to say a…
  • Abstract on transcultural psychiatry

    20 Oct 2014 | 1:50 pm
    For personal reasons, my mind is fogged at the moment and whole draft papers, approaching completion, seem to be stuttering towards their ends. And hence I think I need to write a series of fresh abstracts to help me tighten and commit to them. So here is the first for a chapter on transcultural psychiatry.DSM-5 introduces an emphasis on non-Western cultural idioms of mental distress but without making explicit the relation between these and the psychiatric scientific aspirations, such as for their reliability and validity, of the rest of the taxonomy. This paper outlines three possible views…
  • Causality, Teleology and Explanation in Social Sciences

    16 Oct 2014 | 4:13 am
    I came across a seminar given by Prof Ricardo Crespo (IAE Universidad Austral) in the IAS building last night organised by the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) on Causality, Teleology and Explanation in Social Sciences.The abstract ran:This paper argues that four analytical levels may be found in social sciences, including economics –namely, a) a statistical descriptive level, b) a causal explanatory level, c) a teleological explicative level and d) a prescriptive teleological level. Typically, social sciences only consider levels a) and b). The exclusion of level…
 
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    Freemason Information

  • All Hallows’ Eve as a Hermetic Holiday

    Greg Stewart
    26 Oct 2014 | 9:22 am
    Little ground exists between Halloween and Freemasonry. Here and there a costume ball or an orange crepe paper centerpiece marks the passing of the season, but that is probably the extent of any connectivity. For me, the holiday has always been an important one even as my own little goblins have forsaken the quest for candy for more adult like pursuits. This is the first year of a house devoid of pint sized celebrants leaving me to reorient myself to the signs of the season. Few could argue that the air itself reminds us that it is autumn – it comes from the harvest; the slow…
  • WORKING FOR GOONS

    TimBryce
    17 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    BRYCE ON SOCIETY - Making the work environment unbearable. (Click for AUDIO VERSION)To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request. One of the reasons Scott Adams’ cartoon, “Dilbert,” is so successful is because it hits close to home in depicting office life. Corporate management is one of Adams’ favorite targets in which they are shown as bumbling idiots. They are very determined in controlling all activities of the business. Their approach is predictably wrong, and they embrace every management fad that comes along. Because of their strong…
  • Who is the better Mason?

    TimBryce
    2 Oct 2014 | 7:54 am
    BRYCE ON FREEMASONRY - The individual or a Lodge officer? I have been wrestling with a conundrum lately regarding Freemasonry: Who is the better Mason, the person who is properly initiated, passed and raised a Master Mason and disappears shortly thereafter, or the Mason who becomes an officer of the Lodge? Let me give you my spin on it. There may be many reasons why a Mason drops out of sight; first, his occupation may require him to work difficult hours or to cause him to move to another locale. As Americans, it is not uncommon for workers to move throughout the country. In my case, I have…
  • WHO HAS GOT YOUR BACK?

    TimBryce
    29 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    BRYCE ON BUSINESS - A lesson of loyalty in the workplace, and in life. (Click for AUDIO VERSION) To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request. In the office, we like to believe our fellow co-workers will back us up when push comes to shove. Actually, we’re being quite naive when this occurs. To illustrate, there was a systems manager in Chicago who had grown weary of the petty politics practiced by his boss, the I.T. Director. Projects were late, none of the systems were integrated, end-users were unhappy, and they found themselves in a constant fire-fighting…
  • NONSENSE SONGS

    TimBryce
    26 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    BRYCE ON MUSIC - It is interesting what we remember. (Click for AUDIO VERSION) To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request. Ever drive along in a car and suddenly an old tune comes to your lips, perhaps something from your childhood? Recently, I found myself blurting out, “Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!” Frankly, I couldn’t remember the name of the song, which I found rather irritating. This caused me to look it up through an Internet search engine. Remarkably, it was: “Three Little Fishes” (click for Lyrics) This was…
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    Philosophy News

  • Metaphysics

    31 Oct 2014 | 9:59 am
    [Revised entry by Peter van Inwagen and Meghan Sullivan on October 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] It is not easy to say what metaphysics is. Ancient and Medieval philosophers might have said that metaphysics was, like chemistry or astrology, to be defined by its subject matter: metaphysics was the "science" that studied "being as such" or "the first causes of things" or "things that do not change". It is no longer possible to define metaphysics that...Continue reading . . . News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Pythagoreanism

    31 Oct 2014 | 9:28 am
    [Revised entry by Carl Huffman on October 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Pythagoreanism can be defined in a number of ways....Continue reading . . . News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Ebola, Ethics & Safety

    31 Oct 2014 | 5:24 am
    English: Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles. Polski: Mikrofotografia elektronowa cząsteczek wirusa Ebola w fałszywych kolorach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Kaci Hickox, a nurse from my home state of Maine, returned to the United States after serving as a health care worker in the Ebola outbreak. Rather than being greeted as a hero, she was confined to an unheated tent with a box for a toilet and no shower. She did not have any symptoms and tested negative for Ebola. After threatening a lawsuit, she was released and allowed to return to Maine. After arriving home, she…
  • Religious Pluralism and Values in the Public Sphere

    30 Oct 2014 | 7:44 pm
    2014.10.32 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Lenn E. Goodman, Religious Pluralism and Values in the Public Sphere, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 221pp., $28.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781107658059. Reviewed by Maeve Cooke, University College Dublin Lenn Goodman makes a powerful plea for a cultural pluralism that finds its ideal in an on-going conversation among cultures in all their richness and individuals in all their uniqueness. His vision of pluralism starts from the dignity of the human person, is rooted in an idea of openness to others and emphasizes the importance of…
  • The Chapter: A History

    30 Oct 2014 | 6:12 pm
    Chapters: They organize our books and provide a metaphor for our lives. Where did they come from? A befuddled 15th-century scholar… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
 
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    TheYoungSocrates

  • Interest cannot be created. It can only be discovered

    Rob
    31 Oct 2014 | 3:13 am
    You have to discover what you find interesting ‘Are you interested in the stock market?’ I asked a colleague of mine, who works as a economics editor at a newspaper, and hence has to write about stocks, markets etc. ‘I have to’, he said, ‘It is part of my job’. ‘You cannot have to be interested in something. You either are or you are not interested. Period.’ I replied. ‘You can get used to something, but you cannot become interested in something.’ He smiled at me, and walked away; I think he agreed. Intrinsic There is a huge difference between interests and skills: while…
  • The Difference between What You Get and What You Earn

    Rob
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:29 am
    In economic theory, it is claimed that if a market would function perfectly, people would get for their products and services whatever it is they contribute in terms of value. And the same goes the other way: people would pay whatever they find a product or service worthy of. But when you take a look at the real world markets, and all the actors in these real world markets, this principle doesn’t seem to hold. Not at all. I want to show this by giving one example. That of the banker, and the hacker. A banker invents all kinds of ingenious derivative constructs, futures and other financial…
  • ‘Moral Logic': a Guide for Political Decision Making?

    Rob
    27 Oct 2014 | 3:34 am
    Modal logic is – as far as I am concerned – all about what might possibly be the case (alethic logic), or about what we know (epistemic logic) etc. But not about what we should or should not do. That is, ethics seems not to be grounded in modal logic – or any logic for that matter. And that’s a pity, for I believe that logic can play a valuable role in moral decision making. Especially in politics. Let me illustrate this via an example: Let’s say that a politician proposes a policy A (‘Taxes are increased’). Let’s say that it is common knowledge that A leads to B…
  • Sex ever more present in Pop Music: problematic or not?

    Rob
    14 Sep 2014 | 8:32 am
    The prevalence of ‘sex’ in pop music Look at the video clip of Miley Cyrus’s song Wrecking Ball. Now tell me: what do you think? Probably something along the lines of: why is she naked pretty much all time? But while Cyrus’s clip is ‘shocking’, it seems like we have hit a new peak in the prevalence of sex in pop-music. This peak is called Anaconda and its singer Nicki Minaj. The facts It is not only old people who say that today’s music is all about sex. There are data to back up this claim. Psychology professor Dawn R. Hobbs shows in Evolutionary…
  • Top Universities, Reputation and Employers

    Rob
    25 Jun 2014 | 10:18 am
    The University of Cambridge: one of the top universities It is a fact that some universities are more popular among employers than others. See this link for a ranking of the top 10 universities in the world — according to employers in 2013/2014. There are hardly any surprises in this top 10. As always, the University of Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard are included. The question I ask in this post is: based on what criteria does an employer prefer one university to an other? And how reasonable is it for a company to base its preference on these criteria? Admission standards It seems fair…
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    The Philosophers' Cocoon

  • Sara Protasi on ESL Philosophers

    Moti Mizrahi
    30 Oct 2014 | 7:19 am
    As I reported on the Cocoon before, Gabriele Contessa has been trying to raise awareness about the underrepresentation of non-native English speakers in Philosophy (or ESL philosophers). In an attempt to raise awareness about this issue, Contessa proposed what he calls the “Languaged Conference Campaign,” which is modeled on the Gendered Conference Campaign. To his surprise, his proposal met with resistance. Responding to Contessa’s LCC, Sara Protasi claims that the underrepresentation of ESL philosophers is "unfortunate" but not "unjust." As far as I can tell, her…
  • Philosophers and intuitions: they go way back

    Moti Mizrahi
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:02 am
    Over at New APPS, Catarina Dutilh Novaes has an interesting post about a project she is working on with her graduate students. The project is about the origins of analytic philosophy in general and the history of the use of intuitions as evidence in philosophy in particular. One question Catarina and her students are trying to answer is the following: "when and how did the term ‘intuitions’ begin to be used in the philosophical literature in its current sense(s)?" In comments, Catarina reports a suggestion "that philosophers adopted the intuitions-terminology under the…
  • Funding your research projects: some data

    Elisa Freschi
    27 Oct 2014 | 1:58 am
    (This post is a continuation of my post of last week and gives some better grounded data.) As already hinted at, if you are a scholar active in Europe, you will most probably depend on funding for your projects in order to survive, given that surviving out of teaching alone is infrequent and a tenure is not foreseeable. Thus, it becomes essential to know what one's chances are. A short comparison shows that among European countries, Switzerland is the one in which more money for research is granted (total amount/number of inhabitants): 88,5 E pro inhabitant each year Finnland is the next one:…
  • On What Reasoning Might Be, Part I

    Markos Valaris
    26 Oct 2014 | 9:57 am
    As explained in my earlier posts, the unifying thread in my work has been a concern with agency, and especially cognitive agency. In my first post I sketched some ideas about the sense in which judgment, even if it is not the outcome of explicit reasoning, can count as an exercise of agency on our part. But, of course, explicit reasoning is probably the most easily recognizable example of cognitive agency. In my final two posts as FA for the cocoon I want to say a few things on this topic, which is also one that I am actively working on right now. Now, the terms “reasoning” and…
  • Another Small Milestone

    Marcus Arvan
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:53 am
    I'm happy to report that the Philosophers' Cocoon surpassed 500,000 visitors today, and would like to thank everyone--contributors and readers alike--for helping to make the Cocoon such a great community. We are now averaging between 800-1,500 visits per day, and, with an ever-expanding list of contributors and our new Featured Author series, I for one am very encouraged by the way the Cocoon is developing! 
 
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