Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen (GMU) asks, “has there been progress in philosophy?” His answer: “there is significant and ongoing progress in philosophy, we just don’t always name it as such.” (more…)
“What subjects are now being confronted at the frontiers of philosophical inquiry, breaking from the familiar philosophical concerns of canonical figures like Plato, Locke, and Descartes?” That was a question raised recently by the editors of “The Masthead,” a new member-based media program at The Atlantic.
By exerting their imaginations and their talent for coming up with pesky counterexamples, probe away at the conceptual boundaries of God, free will, morality, etc, and try to determine, by the power of thought experiments alone, just what is and isn’t possible, and what conclusions are the most reasonable. (more…)
When we dig beneath the neatly composed surface we find a great buzzing, blooming confusion of ideas, and we have a lot to learn about how mathematics channels these wellsprings of creativity into rigorous scientific discourse. But that requires doing hard work and getting our hands dirty. (more…)
“Phenomenology is one of the major strands of post Kantian philosophy. But it isn’t easy to pin down exactly what the name captures. Can you first sketch for us what you think is its core and whether there actually is a core—something some philosophers have disputed haven’t they?” (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..
Socrates is the favorite ancient philosopher of Stephanie Nordby, a recent philosophy PhD from the University of Oklahoma, because in his role as “gadfly” he represents two virtues of philosophy done well: “intellectual humility and profound intellectual courage.”
A recent study looks at whether perceptions about how “masculine” philosophy is can help explain the gender disparities in the field. (more…)
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…)
Happy World Philosophy Day! World Philosophy Day is the creation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It’s aims include recognizing the value of philosophy, encouraging philosophical work, and raising awareness of philosophy among the public. (more…)
Economists generally agree that protectionist policies (tariffs, subsidies, and other measures that shield domestic firms and laborers from foreign competition) are harmful to a nation’s overall economic well-being. Yet they continue to be implemented, in part because they sound good to an uninformed population susceptible to being swayed by nationalist rhetoric, an..
“How do you respond to those who wonder whether philosophy questions can ever be really answered once and for all and who therefore conclude it’s a waste of time?” (more…)
“One need no longer have recourse to magical means in order to master or implore the spirits, as did the savage, for whom such mysterious powers existed. Technical means and calculations perform the service. This above all is what intellectualization means.” (more…)
In light of some recent discussions here and elsewhere about demographic diversity in philosophy, I thought it might be helpful to set out one argument in favor of it that I haven’t seen made explicit. (more…)
Our histories of philosophy are astonishingly parochial. Across two and half millennia and a whole planet, there are basically only 9 historical figures you can write about without running the risk of marginalizing yourself as a young philosopher. (more…)
“But what I loved about philosophy, and what got me hooked in that intro course to begin with, was the sense that you could fail well. That you could think and think and think and never be assured of being right: that you could be good at philosophy and careful, indeed obsessive, and still end up being wrong.” (more…)
Mainstream philosophy in the so-called West is narrow-minded, unimaginative, and even xenophobic. I know I am leveling a serious charge. But how else can we explain the fact that the rich philosophical traditions of China, India, Africa, and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas are completely ignored by almost all philosophy departments in both Europe and the Engl..
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:
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…)
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..
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..
How do we decide whether a metaphysical system is the right one or not? Empirical evidence doesn’t seem to be decisive, and given that some metaphysicians have impossible worlds and Meinongian objects it seems anything might happen in such a system. Are all metaphysical issues undecidable—and extending this thought to philosophy generally do you agree with the tho..
Philosophy, of all disciplines, should never embrace dogmas—it is supposed to be the quintessentially critical subject—and yet now we’re full to the brim with them. You cannot criticize or even question the current orthodoxies regarding race, gender, or sexual orientation within the institutional framework of academic philosophy.
“My aim has been to remind philosophers that their subject, whether or not ‘handmaiden to the sciences’, ought to be handmaiden also to the humanities”
We ought hold ourselves to stricter argumentative standards than we often do, in our philosophical research manuscripts or public-forum presentations. (more…)