Philosophy

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  • CFP: Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks

    Ethics Etc
    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 […]
  • Beyond Sovereignty

    Re-constructing Strategy
    saqib qureshi
    21 Jul 2014 | 2:14 pm
    The conventional wisdom is that the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 marked the ascendancy of the international political system of sovereign nation-states. It was then that the Roman Catholic church, so most historians suggest, lost its right to influence the internal machinations of Europe’s states… a maneuver which I can hardly imagine helped Pope Innocent X down his bacon and eggs. I of course assume he wasn’t lucky enough to get his hands on a bowl of Oatibix. At its core, the concept of national sovereignty has it that all countries are independent and autonomous in their physical…
  • It's a Wrap! The 2nd Annual PCPC

    The Philosophers' Cocoon
    Marcus Arvan
    21 Jul 2014 | 7:38 am
    The 2nd Annual Philosophers' Cocoon Philosophy Conference is now in the books, and I'm happy to report that it was a wonderful weekend. Great talks, great people, and all around great times. I'd also like to thank everyone who took part. It was wonderful to meet those of you I didn't already know, and to see again those of you I did. You all made the conference what it was.  Anyway, here are just a few pictures, so that those of you who didn't attend can see what you missed out on, and which will hopefully motivate you to submit a paper to next year's…
  • Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Jan Faye
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:31 pm
    [Revised entry by Jan Faye on July 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It enables physicists, chemists, and technicians to calculate and predict the outcome of a vast number of experiments and to create new and advanced technology based on the insight into the behavior of atomic objects. But it is also a theory that challenges our imagination. It seems to violate...
  • The Sharing Economy I: Regulation

    Talking Philosophy
    Mike LaBossiere
    23 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Airbnb logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The rising success of companies such as Airbnd and Uber have created considerable interest in what has been called the sharing economy. The core idea behind the sharing economy is an old one: people provide goods and services as individuals rather than acting as employees or businesses. One classic example of this is paying a neighborhood kid who mows lawns or babysits. Another classic example is paying a friend’s gas money for a ride to the airport. The new version of the sharing economy does make some changes to the traditional model. The fundamental…
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    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  • Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

    Jan Faye
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:31 pm
    [Revised entry by Jan Faye on July 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It enables physicists, chemists, and technicians to calculate and predict the outcome of a vast number of experiments and to create new and advanced technology based on the insight into the behavior of atomic objects. But it is also a theory that challenges our imagination. It seems to violate...
  • Giambattista Vico

    Timothy Costelloe
    23 Jul 2014 | 6:24 pm
    [Revised entry by Timothy Costelloe on July 23, 2014. Changes to: Bibliography] Giovanni Battista Vico (1668 - 1744) spent most of his professional life as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Naples. He was trained in jurisprudence, but read widely in Classics, philology, and philosophy, all of which informed his highly original views on history,...
  • Morality and Evolutionary Biology

    William FitzPatrick
    23 Jul 2014 | 6:12 pm
    [Revised entry by William FitzPatrick on July 23, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, natural-teleology-ethics.html, notes.html] A recent article in The Economist - sporting the provocative subtitle "Biology Invades a Field Philosophers Thought was Safely Theirs" - begins with the following rumination:...
  • Abilities

    John Maier
    23 Jul 2014 | 5:59 pm
    [Revised entry by John Maier on July 23, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In the accounts we give of one another, claims about our abilities appear to be indispensable. Some abilities are so widespread that many who have them take them for granted, such as the ability to walk, or to write one's name, or to tell a hawk from a...
  • Justice as a Virtue

    Michael Slote
    22 Jul 2014 | 7:28 pm
    [Revised entry by Michael Slote on July 22, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] When we speak of justice as a virtue, we are usually referring to a trait of individuals, even if we conceive the justice of individuals as having some (grounding) reference to social justice. But Rawls and others regard justice as "the first virtue of social institutions"...
 
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    Talking Philosophy

  • The Sharing Economy I: Regulation

    Mike LaBossiere
    23 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Airbnb logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The rising success of companies such as Airbnd and Uber have created considerable interest in what has been called the sharing economy. The core idea behind the sharing economy is an old one: people provide goods and services as individuals rather than acting as employees or businesses. One classic example of this is paying a neighborhood kid who mows lawns or babysits. Another classic example is paying a friend’s gas money for a ride to the airport. The new version of the sharing economy does make some changes to the traditional model. The fundamental…
  • Academic Freedom & State Schools

    Mike LaBossiere
    21 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Academic freedom is a longstanding and generally well-supported right. In terms of its underpinnings, the obvious foundation is freedom of expression—the right to express views and ideas without being silenced. In the case of academic freedom, the expression is (obviously enough) in an academic context. It is typically taken as being more than just protection regarding making specific claims in that it is supposed to provide fairly broad protection in such matters as selecting books, developing curriculum and so on. It is also supposed to protect professors…
  • Ethics & Free Will

    Mike LaBossiere
    18 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Conscience and law (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Azim Shariff and Kathleen Vohs recently had their article, “What Happens to a Society That Does Not Believe in Free Will”, published in Scientific American. This article considers the causal impact of a disbelief in free will with a specific focus on law and ethics. Philosophers have long addressed the general problem of free will as well as the specific connection between free will and ethics. Not surprisingly, studies conducted to determine the impact of disbelief in free will have the results that philosophers have long predicted. One impact…
  • Checking ‘Check Your Privilege”

    Mike LaBossiere
    16 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Privilege (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) As a philosopher, I became familiar with the notion of the modern political concept of privilege as a graduate student—sometimes in classes, but sometimes in being lectured by other students about the matter. Lest anyone think I was engaged in flaunting my privileges, the lectures were always about my general maleness and my general appearance of whiteness (I am actually only mostly white) as opposed to any specific misdeed I had committed as a white-appearing male. I was generally sympathetic to most criticisms of privilege, but I was not…
  • Paying College Athletes

    Mike LaBossiere
    14 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia) One recurring dispute in college athletics has been over whether or not college athletes should be paid. I remember listening to debates over this when I was a college athlete and, decades later, I am still listening to them. One addition to the debate has been over licensing deals—for example, the NCAA has licensed the likeness of college athletes for use in video games and the players have received nothing for this. In fact, players are forbidden from receiving any specific compensation for such things. The obvious counter is that the college athletes who are in…
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    AskPhilosophers.org | "All"

  • Question about Art - Jonathan Westphal responds

    24 Jul 2014 | 10:30 am
    Can you name an attribute such that all the paintings which have this attribute are good paintings? Response from: Jonathan Westphal You might think that translucency is a good thing in a watercolor, but not in gouache. Versimilitude might be good in a portrait, but not in an expressionist landscape. And so on. On the other hand there is a logical (or with a stretch a "metaphysical") attribute that all good paintings have. They meet the criteria for excellence in paintings of that type. Helen Knight on the use of "good" in aesthetic connections is brilliant on this subject.
  • Question about Time - Allen Stairs responds

    24 Jul 2014 | 9:16 am
    I've read that as we go faster time dilates and so time slows down. So my question is that If suppose a person in a spacecraft accelerates to the speed of light. After sometime (in his prospective) he decides to decelerate finally to much much lower than the speed of light. Then during all of this how much time will have passed for everything outside? Will he be able to decelerate at all? I mean for an outside observer, who by some means, is able to see everything that is happening in the spaceship, will the person be frozen (in time) and therefore not able to push the button that decelerates…
  • Question about Philosophers, Religion - Stephen Maitzen responds

    19 Jul 2014 | 10:18 am
    Hello there. Some contemporary philosophers say that Aquinas' arguments for the existence of God are good arguments (eg John Haldane), whilst others think they are no good. Lots and lots of philosophers and philosophy books seem to not understand the arguments properly (I can remember being taught the arguments in the philosophy department of one of the most prominent universities in my country where, looking back, with hindsight I am pretty sure the teacher did not understand the arguments well at all). So who to believe?? Any suggestions would be interesting! Thank you in advance. Response…
  • Question about Philosophers, Religion - Charles Taliaferro responds

    19 Jul 2014 | 10:18 am
    Hello there. Some contemporary philosophers say that Aquinas' arguments for the existence of God are good arguments (eg John Haldane), whilst others think they are no good. Lots and lots of philosophers and philosophy books seem to not understand the arguments properly (I can remember being taught the arguments in the philosophy department of one of the most prominent universities in my country where, looking back, with hindsight I am pretty sure the teacher did not understand the arguments well at all). So who to believe?? Any suggestions would be interesting! Thank you in advance. Response…
  • Question about Justice - Oliver Leaman responds

    17 Jul 2014 | 1:42 pm
    Some have suggested that Iraq can never exist as a state unless people identify first as Iraqi citizens, thus providing a point of unity for a population otherwise split by ethnic and religious differences. But citizenship, it seems to me, is incompatible with traditions like certain forms of Islam that conceive of politics and governance as functions of religious law. That is, one's allegiance is always with religion/sect and not a secular state or institutions, which are considered inherently illegitimate or subordinate. How would a political philosopher frame an argument for religious…
 
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    Ethics Etc

  • 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 […]
  • Tasioulas Takes Up the Yeoh Chair of Politics, Philosophy & Law at KCL

    S. Matthew Liao
    9 Jul 2014 | 12:28 pm
    Many congratulations to Professor John Tasioulas who will be joining The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London on 1 September 2014 as the inaugural Yeoh Chair of Politics, Philosophy & Law and founding Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law! John is a leading international figure in […]
  • CFP: Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics

    S. Matthew Liao
    7 Jul 2014 | 9:43 am
    Helsinki 11-13 November 2014 Confirmed speakers: John Broome (University of Oxford) John O’Neill (University of Manchester) The debates around climate change have renewed the interest in the relation between ethics and economics. The most recent indication of this is the Working Group III report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which takes the […]
  • McMahan Accepts the White’s Chair of Moral Philosophy at Oxford

    S. Matthew Liao
    30 Jun 2014 | 10:34 pm
    Many congratulations to Professor Jeff McMahan on taking up the White’s Chair of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. I couldn’t be happier for Jeff and for Oxford.
 
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    European Journal of Philosophy

  • Kierkegaard's Phenomenology of Spirit

    Ulrika Carlsson
    7 Jul 2014 | 7:27 pm
    Abstract Kierkegaard's preoccupation with a separation between the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ runs through his work and is widely thought to belong to his rejection of Hegel's idealist monism. Focusing on The Concept of Irony and Either/Or, I argue that although Kierkegaard believes in various metaphysical distinctions between inside and outside (the inwardness of faith and the outwardness of ethics and language; the inwardness of emotion and the outwardness of behavior), he nonetheless understands the task of the philosopher as that of making outside and inside converge in a…
  • Darwall on Second-Personal Ethics

    Robert Stern
    16 Jun 2014 | 1:47 am
  • Heidegger the Metaphysician: Modes-of-Being and Grundbegriffe

    Howard D. Kelly
    13 Jun 2014 | 9:55 pm
    Abstract Modes-of-being (Seinsarten) figure centrally in Heidegger's masterwork Being and Time. Testimony to this is Heidegger's characterisation of two of his most celebrated enquiries—the Existential analytic and the Zeug analysis—as investigations into the respective modes-of-being of the entities concerned. Yet despite the importance of this concept, commentators disagree widely about what a mode-of-being is. In this paper, I systematically outline and defend a novel and exegetically grounded interpretation of this concept. Strongly opposed to Kantian readings, such as those advocated…
  • Whistling in 1929: Ramsey and Wittgenstein on the Infinite

    S. J. Methven
    5 May 2014 | 6:32 pm
    Abstract Cora Diamond has recently criticised as mere legend the interpretation of a quip of Ramsey's, contained in the epigraph below, which takes him to be objecting to or rejecting Wittgenstein's Tractarian distinction between saying and showing. Whilst I agree with Diamond's discussion of the legend, I argue that her interpretation of the quip has little evidential support, and runs foul of a criticism sometimes made against intuitionism. Rather than seeing Ramsey as making a claim about the nature of propositions, as Diamond does, we should understand him as making a claim about the…
  • Historicism and Critique in Herder's Another Philosophy of History: Some Hermeneutic Reflections

    Kurt C. M. Mertel
    21 Apr 2014 | 6:18 pm
    Abstract In Another Philosophy of History, J.G. Herder claims that his aim is not to compare and judge different cultures, but merely to describe and explain how each came into being and thus to adopt the standpoint of an impartial observer. I argue, however, that there is a tension between Herder's understanding of his own project—his stated doctrine of historicism and cultural relativism—and the way in which it is actually put into practice. That is, despite Herder's stated aims, he is nevertheless unable to avoid justifying premodern forms of life and making context-transcending…
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    Feminist Philosophers

  • Feminists and sharks (or bees)

    axiothea
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:44 am
    Here’s some fine comic relief from the Bloggess, and her post: “Women who are ambivalent about women against women against feminism”. With Patrick Stewart on violence against women as a bonus (at the end of the post).
  • Female genital mutilation Fatwa in Northern Irak

    axiothea
    24 Jul 2014 | 5:46 am
    As if things weren’t bad enough in Northern Irak, ISIS has issued a Fatwa ordering the genital mutilation of all girls and women in and around Mosul, the city they took in early June. Until now, genital mutilation in Northern Irak affected 8% of girls aged 15-29, compared to 36% in the 29 African and Middle East countries in which it is most common. According to the UN co-ordinator in Irak, Jacqueline Badcock, 4 million girls and women are at risk if the Fatwa is carried out.
  • Rewards and punishment for hiring those unlike oneself

    Jender
    23 Jul 2014 | 7:14 pm
    When women advocated for other women, they were seen as colder, and when people of color advocated for people like them, they were seen as less competent. “People are perceived as selfish when they advocate for someone who looks like them, unless they’re a white man,” said David Hekman, one of the study’s authors. For more, go here.
  • A great model from STEM

    Lady Day
    22 Jul 2014 | 7:52 pm
    When UC Davis biologist Jonathan Eisen was invited to give a prestigious named lecture, he was flattered. Then, he consulted the list of previous lecturers in the series and discovered that women researchers had been all but omitted. He wrote to the organizers and declined the invite on the grounds that he did not want to participate in a series with such skewed gender representation. The response from organizers with thoughtful and constructive. The conversation Eisen sparked and that his inviters took up is a great model for all of us. Here‘s Eisen’s blog post about it. Make…
  • The Ethics of In-Vitro Flesh and Enhanced Animals

    annejjacobson
    22 Jul 2014 | 6:56 am
    Abstracts and call for participation: The Ethics of In-Vitro Flesh and Enhanced Animals (sponsored by the Wellcome Trust) When will this conference take place? 18-19 September 2014 Where will the conference be held? Rothbury, Northumberland, England The conference will take place at the Rothbury Golf Club, starting at 9.00 hrs on Thursday and finishing at 17.00 hrs on Friday. Call for participation Everyone who is willing to discuss the conference themes is invited to participate. As places are limited, early booking is advisable. Speakers will generally present papers in 30 mins, followed by…
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    In Socrates' Wake

  • 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…
  • A non-policy electronic device policy?

    Michael Cholbi
    9 Jun 2014 | 7:00 am
    The evidence that (a) we simply cannot multitask, and (b) in-class electronic devices probably hurt students as learners more than they help them, continues to mount. This is an issue we've addressed before. What options are there besides an outright ban on devices? One position: "it's you're funeral". Some require students to post their electronic notes. Others try to turn the technology to their advantage, allowing students to send questions electronically.I'd like to share what I tried this term (and which seemed to work, based on my unsystematic observation):I don't think I can…
  • A Chance to Try Again

    Jennifer M Morton
    9 May 2014 | 6:15 am
    This semester I asked students in my classes to give presentations on their papers. I've been very generous in grading these presentations. And I realized that part of the reason I was being so generous was because I was only giving them a chance to present once. In the past, when I've had students present I give them a chance to do it twice and I am much more critical in my grading. This made me think that I operate under the following grading policy: Only grade a particular assignment harshly if students had a chance to try that kind of assignment before. So, for example, if you are going…
  • 2014 Lenssen Prize winners

    Michael Cholbi
    14 Apr 2014 | 6:42 pm
    Let's extend congratulations to Ann Cahill and Stephen Bloch-Schulman. Their article, "Argumentation step-by-step: Learning critical thinking through deliberative practice," Teaching Philosophy v. 35, no. 1 (2012), pp. 41-62 is the winner of the biennial Lenssen Prize for the best article on the teaching of philosophy. Congratulations to Ann and Stephen!
 
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    Philosophy by the Way

  • 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…
  • Killing in war: Does it happen?

    13 Jul 2014 | 4:44 pm
    Caterpillar Cemetery, Longueval, FranceOnly yet a few weeks to go and the commemorations of the centennial of the First World War will begin. When one thinks of war, one thinks of at least two opposing parties and one thinks of killing. Both are essential for what one calls war: There is no reason for fighting, if two parties do not disagree, and killing is the ultimate and often not so ultimate means for getting the other on his knees if he doesn’t give way. It is not difficult to find both elements in World War One. The immediate cause was a conflict between two countries (Austria and…
  • How to make perfect photos

    6 Jul 2014 | 4:08 pm
    My exhibition in the Capitainerie in Stenay, Meuse, France“Nobody is perfect”. It’s a well-known saying. Implicitly it says that perfection is the norm. It’s something we have to strive for. And so we do, at least often, or at least many of us. In our work. When we educate our children. Advertisements tell us what the best products are for looking great, ... and we buy them. Some writers tend to work infinitely on a book, for as long as it is not perfect they do not want to publish it. Look around and you’ll see plenty of instances in which perfection is the goal or where it is…
  • Trust (2)

    29 Jun 2014 | 4:49 pm
    Actually I thought it had become old-fashioned, like privacy has in the days of the Internet since it has become increasingly easier to intrude into another person’s life. Even in cases that it is explicitly illegal, privacy is violated, as we all know from recent publications in the media. For what is possible is done, in spite of any laws prohibiting it. I thought that trust had gone as well.Trust is relying on the reliability of another, for example that she or he will do what s/he says, without having any explicit guarantee that the other will really carry out what s/he is expected to…
  • Privacy and public photos

    22 Jun 2014 | 5:04 pm
    Privacy is an important part of our life. Maybe it hasn’t been always so for in premodern times and certainly in prehistoric times, people lived in small communities and it was difficult to keep anything secret for your environment (and I don’t mean your family, who actually belong to your private life, but the people in your hamlet, village or even little town). But societies and values change so today privacy is considered important by most people, although one can wonder whether there isn’t a difference between what people say and what they actually do. Time and again I am surprised…
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    The Brooks Blog

  • Immigration to an independent Scotland - fact sheet

    17 Jul 2014 | 5:34 am
    . . . can be found in my latest Durham Law School briefing available HERE. It attempts to clarify the known knowns, known unknowns...and unknown unknowns.
  • Customs at Gretna Green? Neither side is telling the whole truth on this one

    14 Jul 2014 | 8:03 am
    . . . is my latest piece for The Conversation - here focusing on the implications for immigration law and policy if Scotland votes for independence. The essay can be found here.
  • Paper-hungry courts to go on a digital diet

    4 Jul 2014 | 6:09 am
    . . . piece found here remains as true now as when published originally.
  • Labour to support devolved hubs

    1 Jul 2014 | 1:37 am
    Today we see the news that the Labour Party will transferring greater powers - and money - to English cities creating new hubs (see here). I'm delighted by this - and called for a shift in this direction in my submission to Your Britain, the Labour Party's policy consultation.Devolution has created certain problems, but also presents new opportunities. Devolution has worked well in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While voters in England (by far the most populated part of the UK) have shown no appetite for an English Parliament or regional assemblies, the idea of devolving greater powers…
  • What is wrong about the "criminal mind"?

    17 Jun 2014 | 2:12 am
    . . . is my latest piece forthcoming in Northern Ireland Law Quarterly and available here. The abstract:Retributivists argue for a strong link between a criminal’s mind-set at the time of an offence and our community’s response through punishment. This view claims that punishment can be justified depending on the possession of a criminal mind which can be affected by factors that may affect culpability, such as mitigating factors. Retributivism is a powerful influence on our sentencing practices reflected in policy. This article argues it is based on a mistake about what makes the…
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    In Living Color

  • 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
  • Gender Gaps

    7 Jul 2014 | 7:33 am
    There's a lot of worry in philosophy about the gender gap: Why does it exist? What should we do about it?  I sometimes wonder why this is thought to be so vexing and urgent, compared to other gender gaps.  The person who fixes our air conditioning is always a man. The people who mow our lawn are 100% male.  The folks who service our car are all male.  The people who try to sell you a car are
  • Borderline Cases

    24 Jun 2014 | 9:36 am
    Anne Fausto-Sterling's books are informative and fascinating.  She writes in an exploratory, non-dogmatic way that I really appreciate.  She is hard to pin down and I (often) like authors who are hard to pin down. But one argument she seems to make in her books does not convince me much -- the argument that sex must be socially constructed, based on there being intersex individuals who wind up
  • Knowing Your Gender

    20 Jun 2014 | 8:08 am
    I just raced through John Colapinto's fascinating book As Nature Made Him and now I'm reading Anne Fausto-Sterling's Sexing the Body, so my head is filled with intersex states and genital accidents. But also with some curious questions about how we know our own gender.  Colapinto's book is about David Reimer, a man who started life as one of identical twin boys and then lost his penis in a
  • Had to take down a post

    17 Jun 2014 | 10:07 am
    I had to take down the recent post "Campus Rape Statistics" because certain links in it were creating strange problems in other posts--a sentence linking to another website kept floating on top of other posts.  After an hour of trying to fix the problem I gave up!  Sorry, especially to those who left comments.
 
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    Stephen Law

  • 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.
  • I'm on at Cheltenham Science Festival June 7th

    9 Apr 2014 | 5:11 am
    CHELTENHAM SCIENCE FESTIVALEvent Title:S109 DOES SOCIETY NEED RELIGION?Time:16:00Venue:Pillar RoomDate:Saturday 7 June 2014What is the role of religion?Religion has been helping us find our place in the world for millennia. But with the scientific understanding we now have, could we be growing out of a need for religion? Without its guidance and moral teachings would society collapse? Author of The Young Atheist's Handbook Alom Shaha leads a discussion, with philosopher Stephen Law and sociologist Linda Woodhead, about the role of religion in modern society.
  • The argument from minimal facts for extraordinary/miraculous events

    1 Apr 2014 | 3:35 am
    Here is a template for an argument from the minimal facts used for example, to argue for the resurrection (see Gary Habermas here for example). 1)      These facts are agreed on as our starting point.2)      There is a variety of explanations of these facts, including the explanation that [insert preferred extraordinary and/or miraculous event E] happened3)      All of these explanations fail to have the explanatory scope or power for all of the facts, apart from the explanation that [E]…
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    Alexander Pruss's Blog

  • EEG of me blogging vs. feeding/cleaning

    24 Jul 2014 | 7:50 am
    I recently acquired a MindFlex EEG-based toy (on ebay, for a total of $21 with shipping), which is based on a NeuroSky ThinkGear ASIC chip.  if you solder wires to the transmit and ground pins, and hook it up to a TTL-level serial port, you can read the data off it.  By default the data comes processed into a bunch of frequency domains (presumably by running an FFT on the raw potentials), though if you attach your serial port to the receive pin (I ended up shorting that pin to another and had to cut through the blog carefully afterwards; I'm not good at soldering), you can switch to…
  • From necessary abstracta to a necessary concrete being

    24 Jul 2014 | 7:05 am
    Start with the Aristotelian thought that abstract entities are grounded in concrete ones. Add this principle: If x is grounded only in the ys, then it is impossible for x exist without at least some of the ys existing. Consider now a necessarily existing abstract entity, x, that is grounded only in concrete entities. (Some abstract entities may be grounded in other abstract entities, but we want to avoid circularity or regress.) Thus: x is a necessarily existing abstract entity. Add this premise: There is a possible world in which none of the actual world's contingent concrete entities exist.
  • Presentism and referring to past individuals

    23 Jul 2014 | 9:57 am
    It seems to me that the presentist can only de re refer to past (or future—but that's less of a problem) individuals if there are haecceities or the identity of indiscernibles is true.
  • Meaning

    22 Jul 2014 | 6:35 am
    Every meaning derives from components to which intelligent beings have assigned a meaning. Some things that have a meaning that does not derive from components to which earthly beings have assigned a meaning. Therefore, there is a non-earthly intelligent being. I suggest two examples for premise (2). Life: Life has a meaning. But a meaning of life that derives from our assignments is not a meaning that matters to us. What we have assigned meaning to, we could reassign meaning to. If the meaning of life were merely a matter of human assignment, then humanity's search for meaning would be a…
  • What is a material object?

    19 Jul 2014 | 8:37 am
    I've found the notion of a material object very puzzling. Here is something that would render it less puzzling to me: x is a material object if and only if x has limited location. There would then be three ways for an object y to be immaterial: There are locations and y has no location. There are no locations. There are locations and y is unlimited in location. It would now be plausible that a perfect being would be necessarily immaterial. A perfect being doesn't need anything other than itself, so it could exist in worlds where there are no locations, in which worlds it would have type 2…
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    The Splintered Mind

  • Wildcard Skepticism

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    23 Jul 2014 | 3:08 pm
    Might there be excellent reasons to embrace radical skepticism, of which we are entirely unaware? You know brain-in-a-vat skepticism -- the view that maybe last night while I was sleeping, alien superscientists removed my brain, envatted it, and are now stimulating it to create the false impression that I'm still living a normal life. I see no reason to regard that scenario as at all likely. Somewhat more likely, I argue -- not very likely, but I think reasonably drawing a wee smidgen of doubt -- are dream skepticism (might I now be asleep and dreaming?), simulation skepticism (might I be an…
  • Eric Kaplan's Blog

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    23 Jul 2014 | 10:15 am
    Eric Kaplan, who overlapped with me in grad school at Berkeley but who is now much more famous as a comedy writer for Big Bang Theory, Futurama, and several other shows, has been cooking up weird philosophical-comical blog posts since March at his Wordpress blog here. Check it out!
  • Tononi's Exclusion Postulate Would Make Consciousness (Nearly) Irrelevant

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    16 Jul 2014 | 4:39 pm
    One of the most prominent theories of consciousness is Guilio Tononi's Integrated Information Theory. The theory is elegant and interesting, if a bit strange. Strangeness is not necessarily a defeater if, as I argue, something strange must be true about consciousness. One of its stranger features is what Tononi calls the Exclusion Postulate. The Exclusion Postulate appears to render the presence or absence of consciousness almost irrelevant to a system's behavior. Here's one statement of the Exclusion Postulate: The conceptual structure specified by the system must be singular: the one that…
  • Confessional Philosophy (repost)

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    10 Jul 2014 | 11:21 am
    I'm in Florida with glitchy internet and a 102-degree fever, so now seems like a good day to fall back on the old blogger's privilege of a repost from the past (Sept 15, 2009). -------------------------------- Usually, philosophy is advocacy. Sometimes it's disruption without a positive thesis in mind. More rarely, it's confession. The aim of the confessional philosopher is not the same as that of someone who confesses to a spouse or priest, nor quite the same (though perhaps closer) as that of a confessional poet. It is rather this: to display oneself as a model of a certain sort of…
  • SpaceTimeMind Podcasts: Alien and Machine Minds, Death and Logic

    Eric Schwitzgebel
    30 Jun 2014 | 9:14 pm
    A couple of months ago, I had some great fun chatting with Richard Brown and Pete Mandik at SpaceTimeMind. Pete has now edited our conversation into two podcasts in their engaging, energetic style: Part One: Death and LogicPart Two: Alien and Machine Minds The episodes are free-standing, so if the topic of Part Two interests you more, feel free to skip straight to it. There will be a few quick references back to our Part One discussion of modality and hypotheticals, but nothing essential. Although I think Part Two is a very interesting conversation, I do have one regret about it: It took me…
 
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    In the Space of Reasons

  • 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…
  • Philosophers' Rally 2014 short video

    30 May 2014 | 1:01 am
    There is short pop video of a few moments from this year's Rally here. Sorry it seems to have gone. I'll re-link if it returns.
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    Freemason Information

  • A Secret History of the Civil War

    Greg Stewart
    20 Jul 2014 | 8:03 am
    The origins of the Knights of the Golden Circle can be traced to Cincinnati con man George Bickley. University of Cincinnati Civil War historian, Mark Lause, has a new book out titled A Secret Society History of the Civil War (University of Illinois Press). It’s a look at secret societies (societies similar to the Freemasons) that were active in the years leading up to and during the Civil War. KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE: JOHN WILKES BOOTH WAS A MEMBER That secret society, the Knights of the Golden Circle, was the brainchild of a Cincinnati con man named George Bickley. He…
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology to Develop Knights Templar Eye Foundation Pediatric Ophthalmology Education Center

    Greg Stewart
    18 Jul 2014 | 6:28 am
    First-of-its-kind online medical resource to provide ophthalmologists globally with the latest clinical information for treating children’s eye diseases and disorders Knights Templar Eye Foundation A Masonic Charity The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced a new partnership with the Knights Templar Eye Foundation (KTEF) to establish the first online medical resource center dedicated to children’s eye care. Made possible through a generous grant from KTEF, the virtual skills transfer center will provide ophthalmologists globally with the latest clinical information for…
  • Joseph James – Teller of Masonic Murder Mysteries on Freemasonry and the Cinema

    Greg Stewart
    14 Jul 2014 | 6:45 am
    Joseph James is an actor and filmmaker with a long list of projects with an eye towards the fraternity. Having already produced several films with overt Masonic tones including The Masonic Map and Templar Nation, James is on the cusp of his latest release with his film The Freemason, taking us again into the mysteries upon the silver screen. In this installment of Sojourners, James gives us an insider’s look at the making of his latest Masonic feature, The Freemason, replete with all the tinsel the fraternity can bring to it. Of all his skill and craft, James brings an earnestness to…
  • The Last Degree

    Fred Milliken
    13 Jul 2014 | 8:30 am
    As I entered the Lodge room sightless I heard the most beautiful music I had ever heard.  It was not a music I was familiar with nor was whatever produced the music, instruments that I could identify. But it was oh so peaceful, piercing my soul and creating a sense of harmony and accord throughout. I was energy dragged or conducted in thought around the Lodge to this music in what seemed like a haphazard pattern but after eight repetitions I was able to discern that there were four repeats of two separate maneuvers, one being a circle and the other being a triangle.  The repetition of…
  • I Had a Dream

    Fred Milliken
    13 Jul 2014 | 8:28 am
    I had a dream not long ago.  And in that dream I passed to the Celestial Lodge above where I found myself just outside the Pearly Gates.  There was no St. Peter there to greet me but rather a Wayfaring man with shillelagh and lantern dressed in a cowled robe or tunic with the hood pulled up over his head.  So hunched over was he that I could barely see his eyes nor his lips move. “You are a traveling man,” he said with a raspy voice. “Yes I am and I guess I have traveled a long way,” I retorted. “Can you prove it?” rasped the Wayfaring man. “I am…
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    Philosophy News

  • Question about Art - Jonathan Westphal responds

    24 Jul 2014 | 10:32 am
    Can you name an attribute such that all the paintings which have this attribute are good paintings? Response from: Jonathan Westphal You might think that translucency is a good thing in a watercolor, but not in gouache. Versimilitude might be good in a portrait, but not in an expressionist landscape. And so on. On the other hand there is a logical (or with a stretch a "metaphysical") attribute that all good paintings have. They meet the criteria for excellence in paintings of that type. Helen Knight on the use of "good" in aesthetic connections is brilliant on this subject.Continue reading .
  • Question about Time - Allen Stairs responds

    24 Jul 2014 | 9:31 am
    I've read that as we go faster time dilates and so time slows down. So my question is that If suppose a person in a spacecraft accelerates to the speed of light. After sometime (in his prospective) he decides to decelerate finally to much much lower than the speed of light. Then during all of this how much time will have passed for everything outside? Will he be able to decelerate at all? I mean for an outside observer, who by some means, is able to see everything that is happening in the spaceship, will the person be frozen (in time) and therefore not able to push the button that decelerates…
  • Do children with a religious background have difficulties distinguishing fiction from reality?

    24 Jul 2014 | 2:24 am
    Here I will analyze a recent paper by Kathleen Corriveau et al., published in Cognitive Science that has been heralded as evidence that “Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction.” First, I will look at what the researchers say the study says, then look at what the media claims the study finds,…Continue reading . . . News source: The Prosblogion
  • Showing, Sensing, and Seeming: Distinctively Sensory Representations and Their Contents

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:50 pm
    2014.07.30 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Dominic Gregory, Showing, Sensing, and Seeming: Distinctively Sensory Representations and Their Contents, Oxford University Press, 2013, 230pp., $55.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199653737. Reviewed by Angela Mendelovici, University of Western Ontario In this book, Dominic Gregory's aim is to provide a theory of the contents of distinctively sensory representations. The introduction and Chapters 1-4 provide the basic theory, while Chapters 5-8 discuss applications. This review focuses on the theory. Gregory's target is distinctively…
  • Ghosts in Sunlight

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:19 pm
    An artist’s memory is a dangerous, necessary thing. To turn experience into art, to make something out of remembering, is like “watching ghosts in sunlight”… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
 
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    The Mindful Word

  • THE MIDDLE PATH: How our desires and aversions make us suffer

    editor-er
    23 Jul 2014 | 2:44 pm
    What if spirituality could be reduced to the knowledge of a pair of simple rules promulgated by nature itself? To live by these rules would lead to […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
  • SPARK OF THE SOUL: The wisdom of mystic Meister Eckhart

    editor
    22 Jul 2014 | 3:12 pm
    Meister Eckhart was a late-thirteenth- and early-fourteenth-century preacher and mystic, yet like Rumi and Hafiz, he remains relevant today. He speaks to so many and […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
  • SHARE THE LAND: Garden sharing transforms urban lawns

    Cindy McMann
    20 Jul 2014 | 6:25 am
    Local, organic food might be the most environmentally sustainable option in terms of feeding the planet, but for many people it means either paying more […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
  • ROAD TRIP! 4 ways to practice mindful driving

    Cindy McMann
    18 Jul 2014 | 11:30 am
    Summer offers a wealth of opportunities to incorporate meditation into daily activities. Most of these are enjoyable, such as cycling or hiking, but it’s also possible […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
  • OPTIMIST OR PESSIMIST: Which is better… or just trust in Being

    editor
    14 Jul 2014 | 12:59 pm
    In the mid-1960s researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered a phenomenon they termed learned helplessness. Learned helplessness occurs when an animal is repeatedly subjected […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
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    Philosophy Walk

  • The Matrix Rebooted Act 2

    rick@rdcoste.com (R.D. Coste)
    21 Jul 2014 | 1:55 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast In our search for as yet undiscovered laws of nature we often turn to simulations ourselves. In Act 2 of "The Matrix Rebooted" we are going to slightly deeper look into what science is doing to test the bounds of reality and consciousness. The post The Matrix Rebooted Act 2 appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • The Matrix Rebooted

    rick@rdcoste.com (R.D. Coste)
    14 Jul 2014 | 2:13 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast In a sequel to the episode "Is This A Simulation" we once again look at the Matrix. It was in 2003 that philosopher Nick Bostrom presented his paper "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation". What if this is true, and is science doing anything about it? The post The Matrix Rebooted appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Panpsychism

    rick@rdcoste.com (R.D. Coste)
    7 Jul 2014 | 1:58 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast The theory of the mind has many philosophers banging their heads against the wall.  Especially physicalists who face the problem that, if everything in the universe is physical, then how does one explain mental cognition? Or qualia?  The experience we feel when we bite into an apple? Something extraordinary that can’t be explained by looking at […] The post Panpsychism appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Kant, Hume, and the Self

    rick@rdcoste.com (R.D. Coste)
    30 Jun 2014 | 2:01 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast According to David Hume there is no "self" and we are just a bundle of perceptions at any given moment. Immanuel Kant disagreed with this and outlined his concept of a persistent self. The post Kant, Hume, and the Self appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
  • Does Wyoming Have Something Against Philosophy?

    rick@rdcoste.com (R.D. Coste)
    25 Jun 2014 | 8:21 am
    Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast Out of curiosity this morning I pulled up some listener stats for the podcast.  While 115 countries are currently enjoying the show the report indicated there was one state here in the US that wasn’t listening.  So I pulled up the accompanying map and this is what I found…   Surely there is someone in […] The post Does Wyoming Have Something Against Philosophy? appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
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    The Philosophers' Cocoon

  • "Moon" and some musings on moral education

    Marcus Arvan
    24 Jul 2014 | 7:44 am
    It is really striking to me, as a moral philosopher, that while many people in our culture place (or claim to place) a very high value on education, there are few formal or informal structures in our society--besides parenting, school rules, etc.--for moral education. This is disturbing to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that one good predictor of moral behavior (e.g. concern for the welfare of others, anti-discrimination, etc.)--empathy--has been observed to be on a strong downward trajectory in college-aged students. Here's the study's "money…
  • Should philosophers stay out of politics?

    Marcus Arvan
    21 Jul 2014 | 2:53 pm
    My friend Bas van der Vossen has an interesting paper, "In Defense of the Ivory Tower: Why Philosophers Should Stay Out of Politics", forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology. I'm curious to see what people think of it. I'm inclined to think that premise (2) of his argument ("The task of political philosophers is to seek the truth about political issues") is false. Seeking the truth is certainly one of our tasks, but must it dominate all other considerations? What would be wrong with balancing truth-seeking against making the world a better place? Bas briefly…
  • It's a Wrap! The 2nd Annual PCPC

    Marcus Arvan
    21 Jul 2014 | 7:38 am
    The 2nd Annual Philosophers' Cocoon Philosophy Conference is now in the books, and I'm happy to report that it was a wonderful weekend. Great talks, great people, and all around great times. I'd also like to thank everyone who took part. It was wonderful to meet those of you I didn't already know, and to see again those of you I did. You all made the conference what it was.  Anyway, here are just a few pictures, so that those of you who didn't attend can see what you missed out on, and which will hopefully motivate you to submit a paper to next year's…
  • SpaceTimeMind: Episode 9

    Marcus Arvan
    15 Jul 2014 | 5:44 am
    Richard Brown and Pete Mandik have posted Episode 9 of SpaceTimeMind, "A Journey to the Edge of Hypertime." Here is the episode's capsule-summary: This is the first of several episodes of the SpaceTimeMind podcast wherein amateur chrononauts Richard Brown and Pete Mandik tackle topics in the physics and metaphysics of time. In this episode, one of the main ideas we kick around is whether any moments exist beyond the present moment. Additionally, we tackle the issue of whether it makes any more sense to say that time flows than it does to say that space moves. If time flows at…
  • The Book of Rankings

    Martin Shuster
    15 Jul 2014 | 5:24 am
    And in the 2500 eons of time before ranked time, there was formlessness. Apart from The Academy and The Lyceum, one knew not where a department stood, nor how deeply one might plant one's feet. One's judgment was clouded by the gossip of the philosophers and the void created by opinion and argument. And one wandered often as in a trance, sometimes lost, sometimes uncertain, but sometimes also in such a fervor of happiness and jouissance that one clung to unranked time. But, then, out of the darkness of unranked time, came The Lighter. The Lighter paved the way, first with the early…
 
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    Re-constructing Strategy

  • Beyond Sovereignty

    saqib qureshi
    21 Jul 2014 | 2:14 pm
    The conventional wisdom is that the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 marked the ascendancy of the international political system of sovereign nation-states. It was then that the Roman Catholic church, so most historians suggest, lost its right to influence the internal machinations of Europe’s states… a maneuver which I can hardly imagine helped Pope Innocent X down his bacon and eggs. I of course assume he wasn’t lucky enough to get his hands on a bowl of Oatibix. At its core, the concept of national sovereignty has it that all countries are independent and autonomous in their physical…
  • The Israeli – Palestinian Conflict: The Real Bad Guys

    saqib qureshi
    13 Jul 2014 | 5:44 pm
    There are few crimes as disturbing as the killing of innocent people en masse. The recent massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, brought into our palms by social media, have been a particularly nauseous episode in the conflict’s troubled past. At the time of writing, more than 170 Palestinians were killed and a further 17,000 have sought refuge with UN agencies. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters have all been ripped to shreds by the Israeli bombardment. The Muslim and Arab response has been to demonize all things Jewish and Israeli. Hitler has suddenly become quite popular…
  • The Madness of Wimbledon

    saqib qureshi
    6 Jul 2014 | 2:51 pm
    Since 2007, the Championships tennis tournament at Wimbledon has awarded the gentlemen’s and ladies’ champion respectively equal prize money. This year Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova each won £1.76m for jobs well done. I am fasting because it’s Ramadan but even then this equality doesn’t quite stack up. Neither brain cell in my skull is firing any cylinders. What specifically is it that seems out of place? For a start, the ladies game only extends to a maximum of three sets, which contrasts the gentlemen’s maximum of five sets. The average ladies’ match lasts a couple of hours…
  • Is Islam Inherently Anti-Semitic?

    saqib qureshi
    29 Jun 2014 | 12:55 pm
    That was indeed the question posed to me this week by a political scientist from the University of Toronto. I was half tempted to respond with my usual vitriol about the epistemological and ontological bankruptcy of the political science industry in North America. I resisted the temptation and instead engaged the question. And as I responded, I thought it might be a good thing to float my response on my blog. First, it’s hard for a religion founded by a Semite, initially dominated by Semites and with more Semites in its ranks than has any other religion to somehow be anti-Semitic. Mohammed…
  • The World Cup

    saqib qureshi
    22 Jun 2014 | 6:30 am
    We’ve seen some shocks, a few surprises and plenty of fancy footwork in recent days. There’s been nothing yet as comparable to either of Maradona’s goals against England in 1986. Nor for that matter have we seen incidents to the tune of Zinedine Zidane’s head butt of 2006. It is however early days and I am of course referring to the World Cup tournament in Brazil. In some parts of the world, it is indeed difficult to get away from the carnival. Even in Toronto, where I live, there’s a buzz that not even the Stanley Cup generates. Cars are decorated in national colours. Parties are…
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    iai.tv news RSS feed

  • Climate Change: a Rhetoric of Risk

    Benny Peiser
    16 Jul 2014 | 8:49 am
    Benny Peiser is a social anthropologist best known for his work on the portrayal of climate change. The founder of CCNet, a leading climate policy network, Peiser is co-editor of the journal Energy and Environment and director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Following the BBC's recent decision to uphold a complaint against comments made by climate change sceptic Lord Lawson on the Today programme, we spoke to Peiser about scientific consensus and climate change in the media.   The BBC's head of editorial complaint recently said that Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by any…
  • High Irony

    Joanna Kavenna
    16 Jul 2014 | 8:40 am
    Winner of the Orange First Novel prize for Inglorious, Joanna Kavenna's other works include The Ice Museum. Her journalism has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Guardian, and the New York Times. Here she tells Vassili Christodoulou about the problem of differentiating between reality and unreality in works of fiction, and how high irony can save writers and readers from the tyranny of reality.   In your talk on IAI TV, you describe the novel as “a field guide to reality”. You give a very clear definition of a field guide, but what do you mean by reality? Well precisely! What a…
  • The Quest for Understanding

    Peter Atkins
    16 Jul 2014 | 8:34 am
    Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, Peter Atkins is one of the world's foremost physical chemists, and the author of Galileo's Finger. Here, we spoke to Atkins about the problems of religion, the future of the Human Brain Project and why the power of the scientific method has no limits. It is clear that science is a passion for you. Was there perhaps a theory or an idea that had a particularly profound impact? No [laughs]. I think science is such a conglomeration of ideas that you immediately become aware of its explanatory power, and through that, the deepening of…
  • In Praise of Sci-Fi

    Adam Roberts
    16 Jul 2014 | 8:24 am
    Professor of Literature at Royal Holloway University, science fiction writer and critic, Adam Roberts is the author of numerous award-winning books, including Anticopernicus and New Model Army. Interviewed here by Vassili Christodoulou, Roberts speaks about the role of anarchist science in science fiction, how 1950s youth culture became today's mainstream culture and why Ballard shouldn't be remembered as a dystopian writer.   Twenty Trillion Leagues is your second novel using Verne as a heuristic. Verne famously disagreed with Welles as to the liberties an author of scientific romance…
  • Silence Reigns

    Penny Rimbaud
    16 Jul 2014 | 8:18 am
    Founding member of the anarchist punk group Crass, Penny Rimbaud is a musician, poet, author and activist. His works include This Crippled Flesh. We spoke to him about meditation, materiality and the power of silence.   Wittgenstein said “that of which we cannot speak thereof we must be silent”. Are there things we can only speak of with silence? I would say that true love, true unconditional love, is expressed through silence. There is no need, there is no want, therefore silence is the appropriate expression. In that sense I can’t say more than that, I think. And can someone know you…
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    The Universe Inside My Head

  • What is the Meaning of Life?

    Dracomega1
    2 Jul 2014 | 12:08 pm
    Since the dawn of humanity, we have always had one question in the back of our minds. Why are we …Continue reading →
  • The Sound of Silence

    Dracomega1
    27 Jun 2014 | 1:16 pm
    We’re all so busy these days. Too often, we find ourselves hung up in the endless routine of life. You …Continue reading →
  • The Case for Space

    Dracomega1
    23 Jun 2014 | 5:50 pm
    The age of space is rapidly approaching; that is a fact. The question is whether we will recognize that fact …Continue reading →
  • Why Do We Learn History?

    Dracomega1
    19 Jun 2014 | 1:25 pm
    We’ve all been there, sitting in a classroom while the teacher drones on about the interregnum after the death of …Continue reading →
  • Failure is an Option

    Dracomega1
    17 Jun 2014 | 7:08 pm
    Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Sometimes, the world seems to …Continue reading →
 
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