We behave, by and large, as if we are operating in an efficient market in philosophical ideas, insights, and arguments. This state of affairs is, while intelligible and even rational in some sense, just bizarre.
In the new Oxford Review of Books, Daniel Kodsi, an apparently remarkably well-read Oxford undergraduate, conducts a wide-ranging three-part interview (I, II, III) with Kwame Anthony Appiah (NYU). Here’s an excerpt from Part II:
Christia Mercer (Columbia), writing in “The Stone” at The New York Times:
René Descartes has long been credited with the near-single-handed creation of modern philosophy. Generations of students have read, and continue to read, his famous “Meditations” as the rejection of medieval ways of thinking and the invention of the modern self. They learned that he doubted..
Occasionally philosophers make claims about the benefits of teaching elementary and high school students philosophy. (more…)
Every society has a population that loves trashy, glittery entertainment; porn; gambling… and it would be foolish to despoil some beautiful area with it. Plunk it in the middle of some otherwise irredeemably inhospitable and infertile desert—concentrate the glitz and sleaze in one place where it can be indulged in with a minimal impact on the rest of the world. ..
“Feminist philosophy should be an essential resource for all philosophers, whatever their views about its political agenda,” says Gary Gutting (Notre Dame), in his latest column in “The Stone” at The New York Times.
Changes, including the rising popularity of feminist philosophy, as well as the increased number of institutional roles women are occupying (e.g., a..
Q: How do you feel about Trump’s performance thus far? Is this what you expected?
A: I’m very pleased with his performance. (more…)
People like me, who have been trying to do philosophy for more than forty years, do in due course learn, if they’re lucky, how to do what they’ve been trying to do: that is, they do learn how to do philosophy. But although I’ve learned how to do philosophy, nobody ever told me how do it, and, so far as I would guess, nobody will have told you how to do it, or is lik..
In a recent interview, Shalom Chalson, an undergraduate studying philosophy at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) asks Frank Jackson (ANU; currently visiting at NUS) about the prospects for change in philosophy: (more…)
Bas van Fraassen (Princeton) is interviewed by Richard Marshall at 3:AM Magazine. The whole interview is chock full of interestingness. Here are three brief and possibly provocative passages from the interview. (more…)
A commonly recognized form of intellectual achievement is the correct answering of questions. This kind of achievement is not a matter of mere quantity—one doesn’t get much credit for answering easy questions or trivial ones—but also quality. What counts is providing answers that add to the store of human understanding, understood broadly. (more…)
In “The Intellectual Achievement of Creating Questions,” I explained why I thought it would be a good idea for the profession to have a timeline of the creation of philosophical questions. (more…)
Question: lots of people think that continental and analytic philosophy are in opposition to each other, but you seem to reject that view. What does each school get wrong, you think? (more…)
What can we learn from constructing semantic networks of familiar works in the history of philosophy? A fair amount, according to Mark Alfano, a philosopher at Delft University of Technology and Australian Catholic University, as he explains in the following guest post*—such as which concepts tend to get more attention from readers than might seem appropriate give..
Recently, mainstream philosophy journals have tended to implement more and more stringent forms of peer review (e.g., from double-anonymous to triple-anonymous), probably in an attempt to prevent editorial decisions that are based on factors other than quality. Against this trend, we propose that journals should relax their standards of acceptance, as well as be les..
I used to teach a course in critical thinking at Ghent University. As behooves a good skeptic, I first presented my students with the usual laundry list of fallacies, after which I invited them to put the theory into practice. Take a popular piece from the newspaper or watch a political debate, and try to spot the fallacies.
I no longer give that assignment. (m..
There’s another great interview up at What Is It Like To Be a Philosopher?—this time with Graham Priest (CUNY). Interviewer Clifford Sosis (Coastal Carolina) asks Professor Priest about a his life, education, work, and the philosophical world. (more…)
“Since science took its modern form in the seventeenth century, it has been one long success story.” By contrast, we philosophers “don’t seem to have progressed much in the two and a half millennia since Plato wrote his dialogues.” That’s the conventional wisdom, as described by David Papineau (King’s College London) in The Times Literary Supplement. But if there’s ..
I can only speak for myself, but being trained by a philosopher, I often feel I was exposed to an expectation of argumentative rigor that, to be perfectly frank, I can’t say I always find in the field of political theory proper. But this can result in drawbacks. Philosophers sometimes look at the rest of the humanities in the way that social scientists look at socia..
…I expect there will be deep and lasting tensions going forward among feminist philosophers. Most of the tensions have to do with perceptions of harm: harm to the author, the journal, communities of people who are marginalized and threatened, and to feminist philosophy. I hope feminist philosophers will explore and critically discuss questions about the harms caus..
It is standard operating procedure at the University of St. Thomas (Houston) for faculty to receive and return their renewal contracts for the following academic year by May 15th. May 15th has come and gone, and not one of the 11 members of the university’s Department of Philosophy has received their contract (neither has anyone in the English Department there). (mo..
Many of my philosophical friends are puzzled by my interest in Anglo-American philosophy… If Anglophone philosophers—especially those who have studied in the U.S.—have done anything important, anything that matters, they tell me, surely there would be evidence in the other humanities, in the architecture and ambitions of the great universities, or in the visib..
What are the virtues of a philosopher?
I won’t pretend this is an uncontroversial question, but I leave aside the tasks of defending it and arguing for particular specifications of its concepts. What I have in mind are aspects of character in virtue of which philosophers are able to do whatever it is they are supposed to do, well—especially in light of the fact..
Below is a list of assorted commentaries on the ongoing Hypatia controversy, mostly lifted from one of the updates on the original post on the story. Recent additions at time of posting include: (more…)
Here’s a… hypothesis for why many habits of philosophical thinking might not come naturally. The hypothesis is that some tools for critical evaluation run counter to another valuable set of tools: our tools for effective social engagement. These tools help us make sense of what someone is saying by encouraging us to interpret underspecified claims in the most posi..