Online Philosophy Resources Weekly Update
Here’s the weekly report on new entries in online philosophical resources and new reviews of philosophy books.
Below is a list of recent updates, if there have been any, to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (NDPR), 1000-Word Philosophy, and Wireless Philosophy (Wi-Phi). There’s also a section listing recent reviews of philosophy books appearing in popular media.
- Translating and Interpreting Chinese Philosophy, by Henry Rosemont Jr.
- Word Meaning, by Luca Gasparri and Diego Marconi (Free University of Berlin).
- Religion and Morality, by John Hare (Yale).
- Emmanuel Levinas, by Bettina Bergo (Montreal).
- Moses Mendelssohn, by Daniel Dahlstrom (Boston University).
- God and Other Necessary Beings, by Matthew Davidson (Colorado State-San Bernardino).
- Special Obligations, by Diane Jeske (Iowa).
- The Philosophy of Neuroscience, by John Bickle (Missouri State), Peter Mandik (William Patterson University), and Anthony Landreth.
- Heidegger’s Aesthetics, by Iain Thomson (New Mexico).
- Edward Hanslick, by Christoph Landerer and Alexander Wilfing (Austrian Academy of Sciences).
- Amy M. Schmitter (Alberta) reviews Affects, Actions and Passions in Spinoza: The Unity of Body and Mind (Edinburgh), by Chantal Jaquet.
- David Phillips (Houston) reviews The Birth of Ethics: Reconstructing the Role and Nature of Morality (Oxford), by Philip Pettit.
- Marcus Arvan (Tampa) reviews A Defense of Simulated Experience: New Noble Lies (Routledge), by Mark Silcox.
- Chris Haufe (Case Western Reserve) reviews Speculation: Within and About Science (Oxford), by Peter Achinstein.
- T. Mullins (St Andrews) reviews Christian Philosophy: Conceptions, Continuations, and Challenges (Oxford), by J. Aaron Simmons (ed.).
- Anne-Lise Rey (Université Paris-Nanterre) reviews The Leibniz-Stahl Controversy (Yale), by G. W. Leibniz.
- Jennifer Matey (Southern Methodist) reviews Evaluative Perception (Oxford), by Anna Bergqvist and Robert Cowan (eds.).
- Douglas I. Thompson (South Carolina) reviews Must Politics Be War?: Restoring Our Trust in the Open Society (Oxford), by Kevin Vallier.
- Gary Kemp (Glasgow) reviews Quine, New Foundations, and the Philosophy of Set Theory (Cambridge), by Sean Morris.
Recent Philosophy Book Reviews in Non-Academic Media
- Julia McMichael reviews Zen: An Introduction, by Alan Watts, in the San Francisco Book Review.
- Jonathan Egid reviews Witcraft, by Jonathan Rée, at the Times Literary Supplement.
- James Miller reviews Karl Marx: Philosophy and Revolution, by Shlomo Avineri, at The New York Times.
Compiled by Michael Glawson.
I have two comments on two of the recently revised SEP entries, nos. 3 and 8 above:
(on John Hare’s entry) This entry is titled “Religion and Morality,” although the author notes it will not go beyond the confines of “Abrahamic faiths” and “Greek philosophy,” “since there are other entries on Eastern thought (see, for example, the entries on ‘Ethics in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism’ and ‘Chinese Ethics’).” But why does this entry deserve to be described more widely or generally as “religion and morality” while those other entries are explicitly circumscribed by their titles? This entry should, in other words, be titled “Greek Philosophy and Abrahamic Faiths” (or something along those lines)!
A more substantive complaint arises from reflection on the concluding paragraph:
“To conclude this entry, the revival of interest in divine command theory, when combined with the revival of natural law theory I already discussed, shows evidence that the attempt to connect morality closely to religion is undergoing a robust recovery within professional philosophy.”
While perhaps descriptively accurate, this is normatively disturbing in as much as we take seriously questions about what ethically hence socially responsible philosophers might be doing in our day. At a time when we need—as the Dalai Lama, some public intellectuals, and non-religious philosophers and ethicists have been arguing—a vigorous secular morality and ethics to take hold in the civic or public realms of would-be democratic polities (Rawls’s notion of ‘reasonable pluralism’ and an ‘overlapping consensus’ are apt here) if only to transcend otherwise intractable and passionate differences between worldviews (and individual ‘lifeworlds’ derived from same) that serve to preclude, impede, or exacerbate the difficulties intrinsic to the pursuit of the common welfare, well-being and fulfillment (or ‘happiness’), it is a bit disconcerting to learn that “the revival of interest in divine command theory, when combined with the revival of natural law theory … shows evidence that the attempt to connect morality closely to religion is undergoing a robust recovery within professional philosophy.” I have nothing, in principle, against philosophers who happen to be religious or even those who are not, explicating or exploring the role of morality within religious worldviews (that’s something I myself have done a bit, especially with regard to Christianity and Buddhism). But this “robust recovery” could not be taking place at a more inopportune time, as it can only add fuel to the fire of those who, wrongly, and I believe dangerously, loudly insist that morality or ethics is utterly dependent on religion, that morality or ethics cannot exist independent of religious worldviews. It is dangerous given the persistence of forms of “religious nationalism” around the world, be it in Myanmar or India, the U.S. or Poland, the Philippines or (the Canadian province of) Quebec, Saudi Arabia or Turkey, and so forth and so on. I think we would all be better served were philosophers to explain the necessity and urgency of secular ethics and to detail in democratically accessible rhetoric precisely why morality or ethics can and should be secular or non-religious, irrespective of religious ethics (this in no way need rule out or crowd out religious ethics for those who happen to be religious; those who think otherwise are psychologically, intellectually or morally insecure).
(on the revised philosophy of science entry) This is rather disappointing: the authors saw fit to omit the critical arguments found in M.R. Bennett and P.M.S. Hacker’s Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (Blackwell, 2003), hence it is not found in the bibliography (other works in this critical vein are missing as well). This reflects, in my judgment, the continuing power of scientism in philosophy. Neurophilosophy and neuroethics, for example, have, to date, proven rather disappointing (even if only assessed by the hopes and dreams, ambitions and claims of its practitioners) if not vapid. Of course I have nothing against neuroscience as such, it is just that too many of those in this field, in witting collaboration and unwitting (so to speak) complicity with philosophers, have sought scientific explanations (through rather extravagant reductions and with questionable presuppositions and assumptions; e.g., the mind just is the brain) of philosophical problems and topics not (as others have well argued) completely amenable to purely scientific comprehension. This is not philosophy OF neuroscience but philosophy (such as it is) FOR neuroscience (philosophical cheerleading).Report
erratum: (last paragraph, in parentheses) “philosophy of neuroscience”Report