Philosophers may be forgiven for doing a double take at this headline at The Atlantic: “The New Science of How to Argue—Constructively“. New??? Hello there? Perhaps you’ve heard of… philosophy?
Suppose that instead of one shepherd boy, there are a few dozen. They are tired of the villagers dismissing their complaints about less threatening creatures like stray dogs and coyotes. One of them proposes a plan: they will start using the word “wolf” to refer to all menacing animals. They agree and the new usage catches on. For a while, the villagers are indeed m..
Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Chicago, is using some of her Berggruen Prize winnings to fund a series of roundtable discussions at her school on controversial and challenging issues. (more…)
“My trouble is usually… that I don’t entirely know what I think. And not knowing what to think is itself sometimes cast as shameful.”
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..
In introductory college courses in the sciences and social sciences, and even some humanities disciplines like history, the material taught largely consists of basic claims, findings, and ideas that most of those in the discipline agree upon. Could there be such a course in philosophy? (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..
Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and Cornel R. West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard Divinity School have jointly authored “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression,” a public statement in favor of civil discourse and respectful disagreement on u..
Last weekend, the Society for Analytical Feminism (SAF) held its 2016 conference. This weekend, the Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP) held its 2016 Midwest conference. I did not attend either of these conferences, but I did hear about them. As one might expect, they had a lot in common with other conferences: a fair amount of anticipation in advance, a mix of ..
Virtually everyone in the United States, and indeed throughout the developed world, is familiar with toilets. A typical flush toilet has a ceramic bowl filled with water. When the handle is depressed, or the button pushed, the water—and everything that’s been deposited in it—gets sucked into a pipe and from there into the sewage system. But how does this actuall..
The following is a guest post* by Joshua A. Miller (Loyola University Maryland). It is slightly edited version of a post originally published at his blog, Another Panacea, partly in response to the post here by Nomy Arpaly (Brown), “Is Polite Philosophical Conversation Possible?“
Joseph Heath (Toronto) describes an obstacle to inquiry:
The problem is that, when you’re studying your own oppression, and you’re obviously a member of the oppressed group in question, people who are basically sympathetic to your situation, but who disagree with your specific claims, are going to be extremely hesitant to challenge you, because they don’t want to..
We’ve seen the following: the questioning of a professor’s ability to teach well because of the effect on his or her students of the professor’s expression of a controversial opinion. This was one element of the debate surrounding Steven Salaita’s tweets. For example, he wrote on Twitter, “If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being.” Concerns ..
Imagine two people arguing about free will. One of them, let’s call her Olga the Optimist, has just heard about compatibilism and happily accepts the view that of course she has free will—after all, if she wants to raise her arm she raises her arm and if she doesn’t she does not. The other one, let’s call him Paul the Pessimist, points out to her that she hasn’t c..