Philosophy Tag

Philosophy Tag

Hey, remember Philosophy Tag? It died down in the middle of last year—it’s okay, things happen—but I think it’s a good way to draw attention to interesting or useful philosophical work, so I am reviving it.

For those who don’t recall, here is how it works. Like any game of tag, there’s an it.  When you’re it, you have two weeks to do the following: choose an article by another living philosopher, that you’ve read and liked; write up your “tag,” including bibliographic information and a description of what the article says and why you like it (keep it brief, like 2-5 sentences), and send that to me. When I publish it here, the author of that article is thereby tagged and becomes it, and the game begins again. (I will refrain from contacting the newly tagged for a while, but if you know the person who has been tagged, feel free to let them know.) Credit for the idea of Philosophy Tag goes to Dana Howard.

So this week, I am it. Let’s see who I’ve tagged…

I’m interested in aspects of humanity that philosophers tend to think of as defects: disagreement, irrationality, internal conflict. Here’s an interesting example of the latter: identifying with attitudes you take to be unreasonable, and believing you have a reason to act in accordance with these attitudes, despite their unreasonability, because this is a way of being true to yourself. Suzy Killmister (University of Connecticut) calls instances of this “Woody Allen Cases” and sketches a theory of autonomy that makes the distinctions needed to recognize them, something she argues other theories cannot do. Our theories of human action, she claims, should accept that “reasonableness does not exhaust what’s reason-giving.” The paper, “The Woody Allen Puzzle: How ‘Authentic Alienation’ Complicates Autonomy” (Noûs 49(4):729-747), loses points for making me want to eat a twinkie, but nonetheless wins on taking up in a sophisticated fashion one of the messy aspects of human psychology. An ungated version is here. Suzy Killmister, you’re it.

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8 years ago

I’m really liking this. It’s a great way to introduce good papers. A suggestion to those who are tagged: if it’s not too much trouble, could ungated copies of the article be provided? It would be very helpful for students who more or less lack institutional access.