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Monthly Archives:

September 2014

Hacking Wins 2014 Balzan Prize

Ian Hacking (Toronto) has won the 2014 Balzan Prize for Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. The prize includes 750,000 Swiss Francs (€620,000; $800,000 £490,000). Half of the amount must be designated by the winners to research projects. Hacking was selected

for his fundamental and pioneering contributions to philosophy and the history of social and natural scien..


1. “Something as ‘mundane’ as coffee tasting generates one of the most challenging philosophical questions…” Anna Marmadoro (Oxford) on Aristotle on perception.
2. The mayor of Sao Paolo, Brazil, who has a PhD in philosophy, has been trying to implement progressive transportation policies in his city. He “has succeeded so far in unifying voters: They want him out.
3. A psychologist discusses the relationship between happiness and being focused on others, at Big Questions Online.
4. The Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry has a new blog.
5. Peter Singer is interviewed about the animal rights movement, “4 decades after he started it.”
6. True Detective continues to get the philosophical treatment at The Critique, with a post on the show’s ethical outlook. Previous entries in this series are here and here.
7. Joe Cole (Guilford College) has authored a bilingual “heartwarming parable of perseverance” for children called I Built My House on a Volcano. A brief article about how the book came about is here.
8. Alex Byrne (MIT), along with Wi-Phi and Kahn Academy, have put together a video about mind-body dualism.
9. Ezekiel Emanuel, director of clinical bioethics at the NIH, explains why he hopes to die at age 75. Related.
10. Thanks so much for your criticism!


1. Coseru on Pigliucci on Priest, i.e., what does Buddhism really have to say about contradictions?
2. A guide to Plato’s early and middle dialogues, with outlines, interpretive essays, and other supplementary material, has been created by Mark Anderson and Ginger Osborn (Belmont University), and is available for free here.
3. “Exercise. I’m sorry, you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve as you watch the human movement mob winding their way through the miniature traffic cones of their existence. You are wrong and they are right. Well you’re half right. You think, therefore you are, but also you jog, therefore you sleep, therefore you’re not overwhelmed by existential angst… Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run, whatever, but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly 100… and this long luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed. But don’t despair. There is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise. Do it.” That’s Tim Minchin at the 2013 University of Western Australia graduation, in a funny address that ranges from the meaning of life to luck to power to learning and, well, exercise.
4. Speaking of philosophy and exercise, ancient philosophy is part of the training regimen at Saracens Rugby Club.
5. Moral philosophy is now part of the curriculum in New South Wales, Australia, according to a post at The Conversation.
6. Philosophy blogosphere news: Jon Cogburn (LSU) has quit NewAPPS and is now back to blogging solo, following a controversial post about ableist language, which appeared to be a reaction to, among other things, a complaint about ableism in the comments on a post about the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” protests following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
7. “Philosophers should listen to punk rock,” says Jesse Prinz (CUNY).
8. Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein (1993), starring Karl Johnson and Tilda Swinton, is available for viewing, free, on YouTube.
9. Daniel Dennett (Tufts) is interviewed about atheism on the Friendly Atheist podcast.
10. Relatedly, someone is very happy to have a surprising new follower.


Six Month Status Report

Daily Nous began on the first Friday in March, and now it is the first Friday in September. It’s six months old, so still a baby, but nonetheless this seems like a good enough occasion to bore you with some blogging about the blog.

1. First things first.
THANK YOU! Daily Nous is still alive, and doing pretty well, as you’ll see, and of course that is owed to you: t..


1. “Sometimes a deepening of a view may go so deep as to change its character without actually changing its letter,” says Joseph Raz (King’s College, London), in a wide-ranging interview at 3am Magazine.
2. Huw Price (Cambridge) is part of “The scientific A-Team saving the world from killer viruses, rogue AI and the paperclip apocalypse.”
3. A Time Travel Dialogue by John Carroll (NC State) is a new release from Open Book Publishers, which makes freely accessible online versions of all of its publications. An article about the book, which Carroll wrote with his students, is here.
4. “After death, nobody’s life should be off limits to researchers,” says history and science writer Jack El-Hai.
5. Do we really live in a two-dimensional hologram?
6. “Finnish avant garde composer and musician M.A. Numminen… caused a stir in the 60s by setting sex guides to music” and recently “took it upon himself to do the same for many of the Tractatus’s propositions.”
7. “I’m making this animation about a philosophy book, and by the way it has nine directors attached to it, they all have different styles, nothing looks the same, and it’s 2D. But don’t worry because the author is Lebanese,” says Salma Hayek.
8. “Man the killer ape versus man the benign, noble savage.” David Livingstone Smith (University of New England) is interviewed for the documentary Man’s First War.
9Peter Momtchiloff, who has been the philosophy editor at Oxford University Press for over 20 years, is interviewed at Aesthetics for Birds.
10. Luciano Floridi (Oxford) on the value of uncertainty.
11. Students, are your parents upset by your liberal arts degree? This chart may be of help.
12. What would a philosopher king really be like?

BONUS UPDATE: “What Mary Didn’t Know” — Dorian Electra & the Electrodes rock out to Frank Jackson’s famous thought experiment. (via David Chalmers)


Retaliation and the Ketland Case (Guest Post by Heidi Lockwood)

Heidi Lockwood is associate professor of philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University. She works on topics in logic, metaphysics, and epistemology, and has also done quite a lot of work, both written and behind the scenes, on issues related to sexual misconduct in the academy. She has guest posted* at Daily Nous before. In the following open letter she addres..


1. Simon Blackburn gives us his version of a “kids, these days, let me tell you” cranky rant about selfies, which he saves only by saying we should respond to the vanity and conceit and narcissism encouraged in today’s society with mockery. Seems to me, though, that only someone completely full of himself would attempt such a sweeping characterization of contemporary culture (ba dum dum). But seriously, inferring increased vanity amongst a population because they now have the technology to quickly take and widely share photos of themselves, and so take and share those photos, is like inferring increased hunger amongst a population because they now have food to eat, and eat it. Oy, what am I doing? Sorry–just look at me spout off. No seriously, look at me. Look at me! Or look at a review of Blackburn’s new book, Mirror, Mirror, in The Chronicle.