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Monthly Archives:

July 2014

1. “The fact you are unwilling to examine the philosophical foundations of what you do does not mean those foundations are not there; it just means they are unexamined.” Physicist George Ellis is interviewed at Scientific American’s site.
2. The researchers behind a study (previously) that concluded that students would rather self-administer shocks than spend time alone with their thoughts do not appear to have spent enough time with their thoughts. (via Bryce Huebner)
3. Reports about the findings from a study that purported to show that “children exposed to religion have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction” have come under scrutiny from philosopher Helen de Cruz (Oxford).
4. The leader of the Ukrainian rebels, Alexander Borodai, has a degree in philosophy from Moscow State University. He is the son of Yury Borodai, who is also a philosopher. Borodai the elder argues that humans evolved from apes through masturbation. Or at least so says an article in the Moscow Times, which notes that Borodai the junior “is not known to have a girlfriend.”
5. Teresa Marques, a philosopher at the University of Lisbon, critiques the Portguese Science and Technology Foundation’s employment of the European Science Foundation to review the country’s research institutes, arguing that it could lead to “disaster.”
6. Art and the philosophy and history of science come together in an exhibition called “Inventing Temperature” at the Korean Cultural Centre in London.
7. “Our actions in the concrete world and the manner in which we inquire into the world is premised on our concepts.  And this is precisely why philosophy matters,” says Levi R. Bryant (Collins College), at his blog, Larval Subjects.
8. The Independent has a series called “Book of a Lifetime.” A.C. Grayling reveals his pick here.
9. Debate continues over “Confucius Institutes.”
10. Socrates makes Buzzfeed… for seven times he was a total douchebag — like “when he invented the entire Socratic method.”

Update: oh, and 11 & 12: Two from around the philosoblogosphere: Martha Bolton’s remarks from the inaugural meeting of the Society for Modern Philosophy, at The Mod Squad; and Bas Van Der Vossen on “Why Philosophers Should Stay Out of Politics,” at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.


Digitizing the Geometry of Spinoza’s Ethics

Torin Doppelt, a PhD candidate in philosophy at Queen’s University, has created Spinoza’s Ethics 2.0, a an interesting digital humanities project that “provides a representation of the structure of the geometrical demonstrations of Spinoza’s Ethics” (via Philosophy Matters). I asked him if he could say a little more about the project for Daily Nous readers. He write..


Whose Problem Is It? (Guest Post by Heidi Lockwood)

Heidi Lockwood is associate professor of philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University, where she focuses on questions in logic, metaphysics, and epistemology. She also works on issues in the philosophy profession, particularly regarding the treatment of women (see this post for example). She kindly authored the following guest post* on the issue of whose resp..


Official Word on Ludlow from Rutgers

Following up on an earlier post, according to an official spokesperson at Rutgers, Peter Ludlow will not be joining the Rutgers faculty.

“When Rutgers learned of allegations against Professor Ludlow at Northwestern, the university requested relevant information from Professor Ludlow and his attorney,” spokesman Greg Trevor said in a statement. “This information w..


1. NPR’s Tamara Keith, a philosophy major, tells her “it doesn’t hurt to ask” story.
2. Someone who sounds a bit like Carly Rae Jepsen sings “Call Me Nietzsche” (press ►)
3. Susannah Kate Devitt (Queensland University of Technology) makes use of a few different metrics to provide a ranking of philosophy journals.
4. Chris Bertram discusses Rousseau’s moral psychology with Nigel Warburton at Philosophy Bites.
5. PBS’s Nova discusses science, religion, and philosophy with Gregg Caruso (Corning Community College).
6. Those working in bioethics or philosophy of medicine or rule consequentialism may be interested in this piece by economist Emily Oster (Chicago) on whether “doctors stick to the rules too much.”
7. Now if they could only make one of these that’s activated when you haven’t typed enough words.
8. Laurentian University is starting up a School of the Environment, headed by philosopher Brett Buchanan.
9. “Too many scholars keep too much to themselves” — D.E. Wittkower (Old Dominion), Evan Selinger (RIT), and Lucinda Rush (Old Dominion) discuss academics’ lack of public engagement (and also have a piece in which they focus on the problem in philosophy of technology).
10. The Victoria & Albert Museum is hunting for an edition of Plato’s works that was owned by 18th Century actor and playwright David Garrick (a student of Samuel Johnson). Do you have it?

Late Entry:
11. Is this the earliest “drowning kid” example?


1. The Good Society jounal is providing open access to its new special issue, “Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration,” with articles by Elizabeth Anderson (Michigan), Christopher Bennett (Sheffield), and a number of political theorists and law professors.
2. Philosophy of extra-terrestrialsCarol Cleland (Colorado), Iris Fry (Technion), and Clément Vidal (Free University of Brussels) are three philosophers who will be taking part in an upcoming symposium organized by NASA and the Library of Congress on encountering alien cultures.
3. Colin Ward’s book, Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction, is now available as a free download.
4. Slate on peer-review’s problems, and a suggested solution.
5.  Should we genetically engineer humans in order to save the environment? Matthew Liao (NYU) is featured in a story about that at the BBC’s site.
6. John Searle lecture: “Consciousness as a Problem in Philosophy and Neurobiology” (video).
7. “There are plenty of situations when random chance really is your best option. And those situations might be far more prevalent in our modern lives than we generally admit.”
8. “What’s So Funny?” Mary Beard talks about theories of humor in The Chronicle.
9. Laura D’Olimpio (Notre Dame Australia), Michael Levine (Univ. Western Australia), and Mairead Phillips (Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy) discuss philosophy and film.
10. Check your Bat-Privilege.


Non-Academic Philosophers in The Atlantic

The Atlantic has a short piece on Helen De Cruz’s interviews with non-academic philosophers, which were posted at NewApps in three parts (1, 2, 3). The article ends with a telling quote from Carl Baker, who is now a statistical researcher at the House of Commons Library:

If I had to highlight one weakness in my postgraduate training it would be the lack of discussio..


Philosophy Tag

In the last round, University of British Columbia’s Roberta Ballarin tagged University of Georgia’s Anthony Shiver, and man, he is a fast it. Let’s see who he has tagged.

“A whole is nothing over and above its parts.” Taken at face value, this claim seems to imply that some individuals (i.e., complex wholes) are several things. But this is puzzling: how can w..


1. Advocates of the “open carry” of firearms sometimes enter stores, restaurants, and other establishments, proudly and openly carrying their guns. What is the rational thing to do in this situation? Jack Russell Weinstein (North Dakota) has an answer: GTFO. Wonkette has the story.
2. The mechanism by which the brain reinforces learning has a side-effect that causes you to value the option you chose over equivalent non-chosen options. I’m sure this has no bearing on how philosophy is done.
4. Simon Blackburn (Cambridge), John Haldane (St. Andrews), and Melissa Lane (Princeton) discuss the philosophy of solitude, together, on BBC Radio 4.
5. “Scientists rarely have the opportunity or support to step back from their research and ask how it connects with other work on similar topics. I see one role of philosophers of science as the provision of that larger, interpretive picture.” Helen Longino (Stanford) answers some questions about her last book, Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality.
6. Michael Sandel (Harvard) is a guest on the latest episode of The Partially Examined Life discussing what should and should not be sold. (via Dirk Felleman)
7. Pierre Bourdieu, while a soldier in the French army, took thousands of photos of the Algerian people during the Algerian War (1954-1962). Columbia University press has posted some on their blog. They have been published as Picturing Algeria.
8. Kudos to Minnesota Monthly for interviewing Valerie Tiberius (Minnesota) for its special issue on happiness, and kudos to Professor Tiberius for being able to put some of her ideas out there in such a Minnesota Monthly-reader-friendly way.
9. Aaron James (UC Irvine), the author of Assholes: A Theory, is one of the guests on a recent episode of CBC Radio’s show, “How To Do It?” The topic: how to deal with people you hate.
10. In case you missed it the first time around: “Psychologists search philosophical mind for bullshit detector, find ‘friendship deterrence system’ instead.”


1. You have just 10 minutes until your next meeting? Write. 15 minutes between classes? Write. 8 minutes before that advisee comes knocking? Write, dammit.
2. Early risers are less moral at night, compared with night owls.
3. An interview with Corey Mohler, the man behind Existentialist Comics. (via Philosophy Matters)
4. “Conspiracy theorists ruin the whole game for great academics like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. Radio hosts… who prop up wild theories… effectively make the public uneasy about trusting people who take the more nuanced approach toward investigating the ills of the world.”
5. This sounds interesting: a book in which the chapters alternate between a novel in which a philosophy professor is coming to terms with his changing views, and the philosophical manuscript the professor is writing. It’s called The Thinker Artist and is by Mark Anderson (Belmont).
6. An article describing and assessing Bertrand Russell’s pacifism and its value, with supporting roles by D.H. Lawrence and Wittgenstein.
7. Newcomb’s Problem + AI + Simulation = the philosophical equivalent of The Ring? Meet Roko’s Basilisk. (via Cristin Chall)
8. Regret (via George Felis).