How is it that analytic philosophy came to be the dominant philosophical style in the 20th Century in the United States? From inside the practice, the answer seems to be, “because it is a particularly good way of doing philosophy.” But “that it seemed good to them at the time” is not much of an historical explanation. For any other historical development, we’d want ..
What passages of philosophy are worth thinking about today, January 20th, the day that Donald Trump is to be sworn-in as president of the United States of America? I imagine that there will be a diversity of suggestions. (more…)
I was attracted to philosophy because it is the most minimalistic art I can think of. To express ideas, you use only the most minimal, the most reduced resources: no body (as in theatre), no figures (as in pictorial art), no voice or sound (as in music), no story (as in literature)—just thoughts. They are ordered, ideally crystal-clear and sharp, but they are just..
The following is a guest post* by Katja Grace, a researcher at Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) and philosophy PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University. It first appeared at her blog, Meteuphoric. (more…)
A persistent challenge to philosophy is whether it is rendered obsolete by science. Consider this exchange on the philosophy of mind:
Cognitive scientists are working to understand many issues raised by Kant—do you think the scientists are going to get conclusive answers to the question about consciousness and the mind—and other minds—and if they are, doesn..
Peter Adamson, professor of philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and creator of the podcast History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, has put together a list of 20 rules or “suggestions of best practice” for doing the history of philosophy. (more…)
Philosophy has what could best be described as an adversarial disciplinary culture, something that manifests itself most clearly in how the Q&A goes after a research talk. Basically, after people present their philosophical views, the audience members try to tear them apart. Every question is a variation on “here’s why I think you’re wrong…” It is not supportive. Al..
In her interview at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? (a part of which we discussed here), Sally Haslanger (MIT) draws attention to three problematic tendencies in philosophers. The first concerns the idea of multiple intelligences:
To be honest, I think most philosophers are pretty limited in their intelligences. They may be amazing along a certain dimension ..
A conversation about Continental philosophy between Fordham University philosophy professor Babette Babich and game-designer and “outsider philosopher” Chris Bateman is being published in parts on Bateman’s blog, Only a Game (part one, part two).
Bateman attributes to Babich the view that “the art of continental philosophy is dying out.” Babich, who works in Cont..
Every once in a while I read something that brings to the fore both how strange analytic philosophy can be and how useful it is that we’re accustomed to its strangeness. The latest, this morning, was in an interview with Sarah Moss (University of Michigan) at 3:AM Magazine. Interviewer Richard Marshall asks her about four-dimensionalism. Moss replies: (more…)
Ethics: an International Journal of Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy, one of the discipline’s leading journals, is seeking a new editor-in-chief. (more…)
When asked whether some of the work in experimental philosophy would be better characterized as psychology, Joshua Knobe (Yale) tells Pendaran Roberts (Warwick):
First off, it should be emphasised that analogous issues arise for just about any area of philosophy that pursues interdisciplinary research. (more…)
Does your philosophical view have a flag? If you’re a utilitarian, it does now. Johan E. Gustafsson, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of York, has designed a flag for utilitarianism. Here it is: (more…)
It’s Halloween, and philosophers everywhere are dressing up as obscure ideas and concepts that they’ll have to spend too much time explaining. Costumes are fun, but let’s not forget the horror, shall we? (more…)
Pathologies of Philosophers
an incomplete list
Enthymemalysis – the inability to proceed with a conversation because one’s interlocutor has neglected to explicitly state a step in their thinking that any normal listener would have automatically filled in. (more…)
In yet another excellent interview at 3AM: Magazine, Richard Marshall talks with Elliott Sober (Wisconsin). There is a lot of interesting material in this interview, including Sober’s takes on the criticisms of evolutionary theory by Jerry Fodor (Rutgers) and Thomas Nagel (NYU).
On Nagel, he says:
Nagel thinks that “remarkable facts” can’t have low probabiliti..
At least not as a helpful label:
So I have a provocative proposal of my own: intellectually speaking, the more valid distinction is not between ‘European’ and ‘non-European’ philosophy, but between philosophical cultures that respond to Greek thought (however indirectly), and those that do not. (more…)
A list of scholars and writers, including several philosophers, have placed their names on a website beneath the statement, “Given our choices in the presidential election, we believe that Donald Trump is the candidate most likely to restore the promise of America, and we urge you to support him as we do.” (more…)
Last week I wrote about the Great Academic Absorption and asked about the ideas it left unabsorbed, or squeezed out. At the time, I wrote: “Since this is a blog largely for academic philosophers, let’s limit answers to our area of expertise: philosophy (as broadly construed as you’d like). Which philosophical or philosophy-related ideas are students not being expose..
My current work on racial inequality and social justice—and to a lesser extent my earlier work—takes me into areas of knowledge outside of what we teach and learn in philosophy classrooms. In the last six years or so I have co-authored multiple works and grant proposals with an economist, sociologist, social psychologist, lawyer, and a historian. I have written wi..
Daniel Dennett (Tufts) does seem to say that, but the real topic of this post is the good question he raises about how to figure out whether the kind of philosophy you’re doing is worth doing. We’ll get to that. But first, check out the following, from what might be the most clickbait-titled-but-just-for-academic-philosophers-article-ever-to-appear-on-a-mainstream-w..
The word “intuition” has been deployed with increasing frequency in philosophy over the past 100 years. This may be owed to an increase in philosophers’ explicit reliance on intuitions, but also to the increasing critical scrutiny that philosophers’ reliance on intuitions has been facing for 3 to 4 decades now. Here’s Richard Brandt in A Theory of the Good and the R..
Over at Electric Agora, Daniel A. Kaufman (Missouri State) takes up what may be analytic philosophy’s most notorious argument: G.E. Moore’s proof of an external world. As Kaufman says,
If you were to pinch the nearest analytically trained philosopher and ask him for the worst, most obviously fallacious argument in his tradition, he might very well tell you that i..
In an entertaining and interesting interview, Barbara Gail Montero, associate professor of philosophy at CUNY and former professional ballet dancer, discusses, among other things, the role of conscious thought in the activities of experts. On one view (notably advanced by Hubert Dreyfuss and John McDowell ), experts get into the “flow” and act in a “nonminded” way:..
Occasionally a comment makes its way onto Daily Nous, or into the Daily Nous inbox, along the following lines: “I find it strange that no one seems to be discussing some important topic or defending some important thesis, T. Is it because the majority of philosophers, P, find T philosophically uninteresting? Or is the moderator censoring T? Or is it because P is too..
I suppose there are moments in everyone’s life during which they are forced to believe something that they don’t want to believe or don’t think they should have to believe, but I would venture a guess that this happens more frequently, and in regards to more abstract beliefs, to philosophers. Consider the following: (more…)
Do philosophers fail to make use of the tools best-suited to their inquiries? Do they even fail to learn how to use these tools? That’s one of the claims made by Jerry Gaus (University of Arizona) in a rich and wide-ranging interview at 3:AM Magazine. He says: (more…)