Jeff McMahan, currently Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, has accepted Oxford University’s offer of the White’s Chair in Moral Philosophy. He will take up the professorship, which was first endowed in 1621, around mid-October, 2015, in time for the start of Oxford’s Michaelmas term. McMahan is known for his work in theoretical and applied ethics, includ..
“Varieties of Understanding: Perspectives from Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology” is a project funded with $4.2 million from the Templeton Foundation, and which is lead by philosophers Stephen Grimm (Fordham), Michael Strevens (NYU), Gordon Graham (Princeton Theological Seminary), and others. They recently announced the winners of their grant competition, which i..
At present, the small gestures made toward greater inclusiveness can in fact lead only to somewhat more robust representation of people who are all already in most important respects members of the same society. It excludes at the outset the people whose way of life separates them from the institutions in which philosophy is practiced and transmitted.
Prisoners who are subjected to solitary confinement show symptoms and describe a phenomenology that is not equivalent to either autism or induced autism, but reflect similar motor problems, and often times more extensive and serious disruptions of experience. Guenther (2013), looking at the phenomenology associated with solitary confinement, describes it as becomin..
We face a situation where the A Level Philosophy may soon no longer exist such that we can continue to lament its supposed flaws and where the general perception of the subject amongst exam boards including but not limited to AQA is one of toxicity bordering on viciousness.
An article in The Philosophers Magazine details some of the problems facing the pre-universit..
1. Matthew Burstein has a blog, thought.o.matt, on “academia, media, philosophy, social institutions, teaching, and technology.” Included among the posts are his annotated syllabi for courses on queer theory, philosophy and film, and the moral dimensions of power.
2. Some updates on that class photo of Wittgenstein and Hitler (scroll down).
3. Chimps perform more rationally than humans in some game theory tests.
4. Duncan Richter goes in search of the prison cell of Socrates.
5. More on the philosopher who would be Argentina’s controversial “Secretary of Coordination of Strategic Planning for National Thought.” (previously)
6. The philosophers are playing Dungeons & Dragons and it is Ladies Night.
7. Could Facebook swing an election? Some new worries for political philosophers.
8. What’s the relationship between American Pragmatism and Chinese culture?
9. “We have a persistent subversion of female filmic stereotypes, particularly through drawing attention to the way in which they pervert male perspectives” — the philosophy of femme fatales in Christopher Nolan’s films.
10. The Lover’s Fallacy.
11. What is consciousness? “What is it? That’s not very hard. Well perhaps it is.” David Papineau on mind on the radio.
The sixth and final installment of The Conversation‘s “Biology and Blame” series is up, and it is on cognitive enhancement. Nicole Vincent (Georgia State) and Emma Jane (UNSW Australia) raise some worries.
In early March, Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen (Aalto University) was stabbed.
The attacker did not attempt to flee the crime scene after the knife had been wrestled out of his hands but remained there, in his own words, to talk about love and the contents of Saarinen’s lectures.
Not the kind of sharp questioning a philosopher typically looks forward to! The de..
1. Cosmological study concludes that there should be nothing, rather than something.
2. Those with episodic amnesia are not “stuck in time“, says Carl Craver (Washington U. in St.Louis).
3. Does a simulation of time-traveling photons help resolve the grandfather paradox?
4. Biology and politics: people are more likely to vote if they have low levels of cortisol, a s..
Louise Antony (UMass) and Ann Cudd (Kansas) are co-directing the 3rd Biennial Workshop for “The Mentoring Project for Pre-trenure Women Faculty in Philosophy”, to take place next year in June, 2015. “The Mentoring Project aims to build long-term mentoring relationships between eminent senior women and junior women in the field of philosophy.” Applications are not ye..
Update (6/20/14): Both Whiting and Malink have deferred deciding on their offers until Spring 2015. Meanwhile, Whiting will be a Visiting Professor at Pitt for Spring of 2015.
Unger declares not once, but twice during the interview that he “knew, but didn’t want to know” that Wittgenstein was right about philosophy. Yet, despite this, he went on “churning” out the papers. Unger does not say what this entails about the institution of professional philosophy with its incentives and privileges for those that don’t want to know; the silencing..
An article in Times Higher Education reports that the editorial board of the journal of Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, has threatened to resign. Why? The journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis, delayed the publication of a special issue of Prometheus on the topic of academic publishing and profits and made changes to the issue’s articles, including remov..
1. Charts and graphs may have their place in philosophy, but this is taking things too far.
2. An angel comes to the APA and offers to answer one question…
3. An audio illusion, via Lewis Powell, who reminds us of these words from Locke: “We are further to consider concerning perception, that the ideas we receive by sensation are often, in grown people, altered by the judgment, without our taking notice of it.”
4. The late Professor Emeritus Charles Magel, who founded the Philosophy Department at Minnesota State University Moorhead, bequeathed $800,000 to the university for scholarships.
5. A high school ethics and philosophy program received an award from the University of New Hampshire Board of Trustees earlier this month.
6. “Our modern societies, which claim to be secular, are, on the contrary, governed by secularised theological concepts, which act all the more powerfully because we are not conscious of their existence.” — an interview with Giorgio Agamben.
7. As background there’s the simulation argument; then there’s the study suggesting the universe ought not exist. What else might count as evidence that we are not really here? How about a news story that is too funny to be true? It is SFW, but it is about getting trapped in a giant vagina (via a source who does not wish her name to be forever linked on the internet with the words “giant vagina”).
8. The creators of South Park animated some brief snippets of lectures from Eastern philosophy populizer Alan Watts.
9. There is a series of mystery novels featuring a detective, Nicolaos, who happens to be the brother of Socrates and (spoiler alert!) is engaged to Diotima.
10. A long rant on the whether philosophy has “access to the information it needs to solve the kind of problems it purports to solve.”
11. I dare you to watch this entire video. Is there a lesson here for teachers?
Peter Unger’s new book and recent interview have been in the philosonews a lot lately. Meanwhile, in a nearby possible world…
To start things off, could you say a bit about your book Empty Ideas, and what it’s about?
Scientists easily get the idea that somehow or other, just by considering things about the world that they glean from observation and experiment..
Philosophy professor Sharon Kaye (John Carroll University) is featured in this Inside Higher Ed article on using thought experiments in the classroom.
Hasan Azad, a PhD student in religious studies at Columbia, takes to the pages of Al Jazeera to ask, “why are there no Muslim philosophers?” Or rather, “To what extent can Muslims think as Muslims within the academy without being deemed too Muslim, and to what extent must their thought be made to conform to Western paradigms of thought?”
I submit that the unifying core, the essence of jerkitude in the moral sense, is this: the jerk culpably fails to appreciate the perspectives of others around him, treating them as tools to be manipulated or idiots to be dealt with rather than as moral an..
1. Tonight, some PBS television stations will be airing a documentary on Grace Lee Boggs, a 98-year-old social activist who holds a PhD in philosophy from Bryn Mawr.
2. Some of Jeremy Bentham’s writings on sex, which fit with the characteristically progressive program of early utilitarianism, have been published under the title Of Sexual Irregularities, and Other Writings on Sexual Morality, and you can read about it in The Guardian.
3. A press release provides a little more information on what the principals of The Experience Project grant are interested in learning about.
4. “These arguments have injected new life into a deterministic (as opposed to probabilistic) theory of the microscopic world first proposed, and rejected, at the birth of quantum mechanics.” Have we been wrong about quantum mechanics all along?
5. Unger explains what he means by “concretely empty ideas, whose emptiness owes to their analyticity.”
6. “The IRB might plausibly have decided that since the subjects’ environments, like those of all Facebook users, are constantly being manipulated by Facebook, the study’s risks were no greater than what the subjects experience in daily life as regular Facebook users, and so the study posed no more than “minimal risk” to them.”
7. The German professor who tweets philosophically as @NeinQuarterly is quitting academia.
Hey, remember Philosophy Tag? Someone got called home for dinner or something in the middle of the last game and that was that for a while, but now it is back, courtesy of Sara Bernstein (Duke). Let’s see who she has tagged…
Consider the following case, Battlefield: You are at the battlefield and see that some of your soldiers are about to be slaughtered by..
An office block from the 1950s built atop David Hume’s house is being demolished, and historians are hoping to find Hume’s wine cellar underneath. “He was a famous chef and prided himself on his cooking and he had a famous wine cellar,” historian Mike Turnbull says. Who knows what else will be, uh, exhumed from the site?
Except when offering perfectly parochial ideas, mainstream philosophy still offers hardly anything except for just so many concretely empty ideas.
Peter Unger has a new book coming out entitled Empty Ideas: A Critique of Analytic Philosophy. You can get a sense of what he means by “concretely empty idea” from the blurb on about the book on his website. You can also ..
Normally, self-affirmation is reserved for instances in which identity is threatened in direct ways: race, gender, age, weight, and the like. Here, Nyhan decided to apply it in an unrelated context: Could recalling a time when you felt good about yourself make you more broad-minded about highly politicized issues, like the Iraq surge or global warming? As it turns o..
In dismissing philosophy as an antiquated relic of our prescientific past, the scientist is making a very large and dubious assumption: that the abstract methods of philosophy, despite the discipline’s string of successes over recent centuries, have nothing more to contribute to our developing understanding of the world. Perhaps scientists think they already have th..
Atomicity is the thesis that everything is ultimately composed of atoms, entities that lack proper parts. Atomicity is standardly defined as “for every x there is a y such that y is an atom and y is a part of x”, i.e. ever..
1. Don’t call your college students “kids,” says Sean A. Valles (Michigan State).
2. Jakob Hohwy (Monash), who works in philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology, and is the author of The Predictive Mind, is guest-blogging at Brains this week.
3. A thought experiment shows that the psychological arrow of time hooks up with the thermodynamic arrow of time and provides a useful definition of a memory, to boot.
4. Africa Must Be Modern, writes Nigerian philosopher Olúfémi Táíwò.
5. Can we learn anything from imagining what it is like to be a tick?
6. “Doping expresses the spirit of sport” — Savulescu on why we should allow performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
7. Brief report from the 6th Annual Wittgenstein Conference is good PR but it might be called “journalism goes on holiday.”
8. Four professors apply to share the job of university president.
9. Performance art: “Plato’s Porno Cave” — no, they don’t really mean porn, they mean, er, “fantastical idealized version of relations between human beings.” And no they don’t really mean Plato either, it seems (SFW, BTW).
Gary Gutting.: You obviously don’t see scientific cosmology as supporting any case for theism. You also think that it refutes theistic religions’ claiming that the primary purpose of God’s creation is the existence of human beings. What, finally, is your view about the minimal theistic view that the universe was created by an intelligent being (regardless of its pur..
No one has reason to accept a scheme of cooperation that places their lives under the control of others, that deprives them of meaningful political participation, that deprives their children of the opportunity to qualify for better jobs, and that deprives them of a share in the wealth they help to produce.
T.M. Scanlon has a brief TED essay sharing some contractual..