Does philosophy make progress? Daniel Stoljar, professor of philosophy at Australia National University, thinks it does, and he defends that idea in his new book, Philosophical Progress: In Defence of a Reasonable Optimism. In the following guest post,* he presents one kind of argument for his view. (more…)
“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”
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..
“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…)
We ought hold ourselves to stricter argumentative standards than we often do, in our philosophical research manuscripts or public-forum presentations. (more…)
“My views about how to do metaphysics as a feminist are undergoing a radical transformation… chiefly because of the Hypatia affair.” (more…)
“The main thing is to be aware of how many of the students have only a very narrow background, and the pre-talk is a good opportunity for you to bring them up to speed on the existing literature,” .
“I don’t know any of the existing literature for this talk,” said the visitor, without a hint of embarrassment. (more…)
“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..
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…)
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..
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.
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…)
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..
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…)
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..
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..
Occasionally philosophers make claims about the benefits of teaching elementary and high school students philosophy. (more…)
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 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..
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…)
On Friday, June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the recognition and provision of same-sex marriage. It requires each of the 50 states in the US to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples seeking them, and to recognize legi..