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Radical Suffering Reduction & Virtual Killings

The Foundational Research Institute says that it “brings together researchers from diverse fields to examine how humanity can best reduce suffering in the future. We draw on insights from artificial intelligence, technology, anthropic reasoning, international relations, sociology, public policy, ethics, and many other disciplines.” Its website seems to be mainly the..


A Library of Well-Reasoned Arguments

Joshua Frankel wrote in to share a new collaborative opensource website project he and others are developing called Whysaurus. The idea is to

create a repository of the best arguments for any idea, where emotional manipulation and flowery rhetoric are removed, leaving only the core statements, arranged in a network. So the next time a discussion touches a difficult i..


Anthony Brueckner (1953-2014)

Anthony Brueckner, a professor of philosophy at UC Santa Barbara, has died. Professor Brueckner worked mainly in epistemology. He is the author of Essays on Skepticism and many articles (I recall a time when it seemed like every issue of Analysis had at least one article by him in it). Those interested may care to read an article Brueckner wrote with John Martin Fis..


From Nous to Mousse

A recent argument from David Killoren (Coastal Carolina) has convinced me to shift the direction of the blog. He writes:

Case 1: You’re looking at the Daily Nous banner logo. Case 2: You’re looking at a hair salon’s logo circa 1986. How can you distinguish these experiences? A skeptical problem.

I have tangled privately with this for some time, but now it is time to..


When Do You Write?

This informative and well-designed poster illustrates the work habits and daily routines of a number of famous “creatives,” including Kant. If it is to be believed, Kant wrote from 6-7am.  Wait, what? One hour a day?  Well if you add up enough days…

How about philosophers today? When do you typically get your writing done? Answer in the poll below, picking the on..


1. A philosophy undergrad reflects on anxiety and racial stereotypes in philosophy teaching (via Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, who shares her thoughts on the post here.)

2. At North Idaho College, the philosophy club arranged an event at which “impassioned students met with faculty to discuss the possibility of adding three classes into the curriculum.” The meeting and some of the issues surrounding it are reported in this article in the student newspaper. The article is nothing special, written with the kind of focused earnestness that is used as a comical device in publications like The Onion, and on the face of it this is a story that seems like it would be of interest only to the people who are mentioned in it. But there are some elements here that suggest there is a larger cultural story to be told. First, the students care enough about the philosophy curriculum to put on a meeting about it with the faculty. Second, where is this happening? Not at the kind of institution of higher learning you likely would imagine, but at a regional community college, which certainly cuts against stereotype! Third, there is the question of the relationship between 2- and 4-year institutions and the extent to which the latter should accept credit for philosophy coursework at the former.

3. But if it can wait, isn’t it in the future, and so…?

4. Daniel Fincke, the former philosophy adjunct who left academia to start his own philosophy enterprise, provides a lengthy response to God Is Not Dead, the new movie starring Kevin Sorbo as a caricature of a philosophy professor, set in an alternative world in which theists are oppressed for their beliefs. David Kyle Johnson, a philosopher at King’s College, provides another review of the movie in Psychology Today.

5. Product design gone wrong. Or, a visual lesson in how to appreciate the ordinary. I love the wine glass. And the broom.

6. A defense of studying philosophy in The Wall Street Journal, which you probably cannot access because it is currently behind a paywall and you are a philosopher.

7. Reflections on creativity, loneliness, power, and cooperation–in Minecraft and other video games.

8. This week’s best headline with the word “philosophy” in it: “Star Horse Trainer of ‘Walking Dead’ Fame Brings His Philosophy to North Georgia Ranch“.

9. Listen to Nietzsche’s music.


When Others Philosophize in Public

Today’s column by economist Gregory Mankiw in the New York Times provides an occasion to reflect on a problem for public philosophy. In the column, Mankiw contrasts a rudimentary form of utilitarianism with a thoughtless version of the precautionary principle. Even if you agree with the policy prescriptions that he concocts from this mix of ingredients, no philosoph..


Philosophy v. Common Sense

Speaking of philosophical methodologies (and there is of course a lot that falls under that heading), one longstanding issue is the extent to which philosophy must ultimately conform with common sense. Of course there have been countless counterintuitive theses defended in the history of philosophy, but the dominant view today seems to be that philosophy is indeed i..