New philosophy-related links…

  1. When it comes to re-opening schools, “the well-being of members of one group depends upon the suffering, and perhaps even death, of the members of another group” — a possible way out of this stalemate, from Matthew Noah Smith (Northeastern)
  2. The kinds of activities associated with “canceling” may be part of “the best way to bring about well-functioning marketplace of ideas” — Justin Khoo (MIT) on the “messy and unprincipled” processes of figuring out “which positions are deserving of serious discussion”
  3. Masks and mistakes in moral mathematics — Daniel Muñoz (Monash) applies Parfitian insights to pandemic problems
  4. “Have you felt a sense of friendship, or at any rate, a sense of fellow-feeling with philosophers in the past?” — Helen De Cruz (SLU) on philosophy “stans”
  5. In rationing scarce medical resources, should we give priority to people who are parents? — Moti Gorin (Colorado State University) discusses this idea in an interview conducted by Katrien Devolder (Oxford)
  6. “We all have philosophical love stories” — here’s one from Fleur Jongepier (Radboud), along with some more general thoughts about philosophical love
  7. A poetry contest for children aimed at celebrating the work of Mary Midgley — from In Parenthesis, a project of Rachael Wiseman (Liverpool) and Clare MacCumhaill (Durham)

Mini-Heap posts appear when 7 or so new items accumulate in the Heap of Links, the ever-growing collection of items from around the web that may be of interest to philosophers. Discussion welcome.

The Heap of Links consists partly of suggestions from readers; if you find something online that you think would be of interest to the philosophical community, please send it in for consideration for the Heap. Thanks!

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 months ago

From 1: “The promising Moderna vaccine will likely require two injections, spaced about 4 weeks apart. This poses a problem for disadvantaged communities. Members of these communities, who are the hardest hit by the current pandemic, face significant structural hurdles to receiving both injections. They typically lack both time off work for health care and easy transportation access to health care facilities. So, these communities are also most likely not to have sufficient vaccination levels to produce herd immunity.”

While I don’t expect that this admonition will find many friendly ears, I would ask everyone to beware of the subtle racism embedded in passages like this. As we continue to write about race from our comparatively privileged standpoint as academics, we should avoid speaking of persons from disadvantaged communities as though they were stupid, irrational, or somehow entirely constrained by structural forces (i.e. as non-agents). Now, think about what Prof. Smith is actually suggesting here: in virtue of working harder jobs, having to take public transit, having more childcare burdens, etc, disadvantaged persons will as a rule not find the time to go and get vaccinated twice in 4 weeks against the deadliest pandemic in a century, a pandemic that has been ravaging their communities, killing their parents and grandparents, and keeping their children away from school and daycare. A little reflection will reveal that this claim is in fact an insult dressed up as flag-waving concern for the underprivileged, since only a very unintelligent, reckless or otherwise irrational person wouldn’t figure out how to make the time for something this important. Structural racism is a real thing. But so are communities who fight through it every day and get important stuff done.Report

Reply to  Avalonian
8 months ago

I’m a graduate student, and I don’t make enough with my TA ship to pay my bills ( I’m a grad in the Bay Area). It will be very difficult for me to take time off of both jobs to make two trips to the doctor’s. Because of COVID, my second job is short staffed, and management has become brutish. Failure to show up for work or requesting too much time off can result in “your resignation”. I imagine that other people in my position and in worse positions will experience similar hurdles. I appreciate that Smith is pointing this out.