Much of philosophy simply changes the subject when it brings the world under its analysis.
When we write about pornography we risk not writing about any phenomenon that tracks the experience of or..
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…)
The rhetoric that describes philosophy as a kind of special calling has always struck me as smuggling in much overdetermined sociology. The most irritating version of this to me is the claim that one ought not pursue philosophy unless “one cannot imagine any other satisfying or worthwhile life for oneself.” (more…)
Joseph Raz, professor of philosophy and law at Columbia University and Kings College, London, has written reflections on his well-known and nearly 30 year-old The Morality of Freedom for a collection of critical essays by others on it, forthcoming in the Jersualem Review of Legal Studies. Rather than engage point-by-point with the criticisms the other contributors ..
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…)
The following guest post* is by Thomas Ferguson and Graham Priest (both of CUNY) and appears here via a special arrangement with Oxford University Press and the OUP Blog, at which it is also posted. (more…)
How many effective altruists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None. There are better uses of their time.
How many critics of effective altruism does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Who knows? They’re still waiting for structural reform to take care of it.*
A few years back, the movement known as “effective altruism” began to make a splash, and over the..
This is the third in a series of guest posts* by Elijah Millgram (Utah) based on themes from his new book, The Great Endarkenment: Philosophy for an Age of Hyperspecialization. Earlier posts are here and here.
Doing It All by Yourself
by Elijah Millgram
Every now and again I troll my friends’ children, telling them that I have superpowers: I can fly, make my..
Historians of philosophy and experimental philosophers have teamed up to determine why there has been so little progress in philosophy. “Socrates asked ‘what is the nature of the good life?’ a couple of thousand years ago,” says Jeffrey McDonough (Harvard), “and now, in 2015, my department is stuffed full of people still—supposedly—working on this question and o..
Some thoughts on how “applied ethics” has changed over the years:
hen I was in grad school, ‘applied ethics’ was an embarrassment. It basically involved feeding concocted, simplistic, depoliticized case studies mechanistically through static, caricatured versions of ethical theories. It was also completely ghettoized, and no one else in philosophy paid the slight..
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..
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…)
The Great Endarkenment: Philosophy for an Age of Hyperspecialization is a new book by Elijah Millgram (Utah). In the book, Professor Millgram looks at the implications of our becoming, more and more, “a society of specialists” in which “communication across the barriers between the professions and disciplines is our own very pressing problem,” a problem that “threat..
Just going to put this on the table:
Question: You work in the field of the philosophy of religion. Are you a religious person and do you think philosophy of religion can be done by people who aren’t?
Answer: Let me take your questions in order. I am a Christian; I was brought up in a Christian family; and I’ve never really wavered from that worldview. I defin..
There’s an interesting post at NewApps by Roberta Millstein (UC Davis) on criticisms of philosophy of science that prompted a useful exchange between her and a critic. Professor Millstein writes:
Why is this philosophy? Most philosophers of science have been on the receiving end of this question at one time or another. A friend of mine recently called it a type o..
In a Facebook discussion about yesterday’s “Traits of the Greats” post, Liam Kofi Bright, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University, offers the following take on what is conducive to success in academic philosophy: (more…)
L. A. Paul (UNC) is working with Tomer Ullman and John McCoy (both in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT) on issues related to “modality, time, and self.” They are seeking philosophers to answer a few questions. (more…)
Nakul Krishna, a graduate student at Oxford, has written a beautiful essay at The Point called “Add Your Own Egg.” Go read it, and we can talk about it here, if you’d like.
The essay originates from the feeling that something is missing from contemporary philosophical practice. It is not a piece of simple declinism that romanticizes the past. Rather, it wonders whe..
A reader asks:
Was wondering if you could write a post asking for people’s favorite philosophy articles/books of the year.
People, what were your favorite philosophy articles or books published in or around 2015?
Now it’s your turn, people…
Academic philosophers in Anglophone Ph.D.-granting departments tend to have a narrow conception of what counts as valuable philosophical work. Hiring, tenure, promotion, and prestige turn mainly on one’s ability to write an essay in a particular theoretical, abstract style, normally in reaction to the work of a small group of canonical historical and 20th century fi..
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 ..
Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect was acquitted. This reasoning sounds counterintuitive, but the legislators of the time had noticed that unanimous agreement often indicates the presence of systemic error in the judicial process, even if the exact nature of the error is yet to be discovered. ..
Adversarialism, eh? Alright then, to start I want to point out that philosophers have been pushing this macho schtick from the beginning. Socrates is indeed their hero; if only they could do what he does, whether it be reducing their debating partners to silence or, even better, extracting succinct concessions to their intellectual superiority: “Yes, Socrates,” “You..
I’m often asked—by non-academics, natch—if anything in my philosophical education has been of value to me in the conduct of my lived life. I have found this question hard to answer in the terms my interlocutors demand, largely because is because posed to me in what I call ‘lock-key’ form: is there a lock you have been able to open with a philosophical key? The l..
Did you know that Wikipedia has a “List of Unsolved Problems in Philosophy” page? It lists only 20 problems (philosophy’s doing better than I thought!) including: “the problem of the criterion,” “the mind-body problem,” “the hard problem of consciousness,” and “the problem of induction.” Ironically, mereology and universals are left off of the list. (Admittedly, it ..
This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has three pieces on protecting philosophy departments from budget cuts. All currently paywalled, they include an interview with Amy E. Ferrer, Executive Director of the American Philosophical Association (APA), an article on “how to help your department avoid the ax,” and some tips on supporting philosophy on campus. (more…)..
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..