Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Is motion an illusion of the senses?

According to Aristotle, Zeno of Elea (ca. 490 – ca. 430 BCE) said, “Nothing moves because what is traveling must first reach the half-way point before it reaches the end.” One interpretation of the paradox is this. To begin a trip of a certain distance (say 1 meter), a traveler must travel the first half of it (the first 1/2 m), but before he does that he must travel half of the first half (1/4 m), and in fact half of that (1/8 m), ad infinitum. The post Is motion an illusion of the senses? appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesIs motion an illusion of the senses?There’s no vaccine for the sea level risingAccept death to promote [More]

Public health and Georges Canguilhem’s philosophy of medicine

Born in Castelnaudary in France 4 June 1904, Georges Canguilhem was a highly influential 20th century French philosopher of medicine. He took particular interest in the evolution of medical philosophy, the philosophy of science, epistemology, and biological philosophy. After serving in the military for a short period he taught in secondary schools, before becoming editor for Libres […] The post Public health and Georges Canguilhem’s philosophy of medicine appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesHow we can understand ourselves through gamesJohn Dewey’s aesthetic philosophyIndia Cooper and the art of [More]

Freedom, Action, and Motivation in Spinoza's Ethics

2020.06.29 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Noa Naaman-Zauderer (ed.), Freedom, Action, and Motivation in Spinoza's Ethics, Routledge, 2020, 255pp., $140.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780367362249. Reviewed by Andrew Youpa, Southern Illinois University This is a collection of original essays by ten scholars, with an in-depth introduction by the editor, Noa Naaman-Zauderer. Its title is apt: all ten essays deal with issues related to Spinoza's views on freedom, action, and motivation. The essays focus, as would be expected, on philosophical and interpretive issues that arise in Parts 3, 4, and 5 of the Ethics. It is not the volume's aim to provide an overview of Spinoza's views. As Naaman-Zauderer notes: "The main objective is thus neither to offer a comprehensive survey of Spinoza's view of freedom and activity in general . . . nor to refer to all aspects of his Ethics" (p. 3). Rather, each author addresses an issue or set of issues connected to... Read [More]

How catalytic events change the course of history: From the 9/11 attacks to the coronavirus pandemic

The 9/11 attacks of 2001 are classic examples of  "catalytic events" that change the course of history. They can be seen as triggers for "Seneca Collapses," sudden and catastrophic, they are well described by Seneca's words, "the way to ruin is rapid." It is the way history moves: never smoothly but always in bumps. The most recent example of a catalytic effect of this kind is the current epidemic of coronavirus.If you are a chemist, you know very well how catalysts work small miracles: you had been trying for some time to have a reaction occur without success, then you add a little pinch of something and things go "bang." In no time, the reaction is complete. Then, of course, as a chemist you know that catalysts don't really work miracles: all they can do is to accelerate reaction that would occur anyway. But that may be mightily useful, sometimes. The concept of catalysis can be used also outside chemistry, for instance in politics. Let's go back to the year 2000, when the group of American neoconservatives identifying themselves as the "Project for a New American Century" (PNAC) issued a document titled "Rebuilding American Defenses." In that document, they argued that the American public could be led to accept a major shift of the available resources to military purposes only by means of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."Surely, the PNAC members were highly successful with their plans, perhaps more than they themselves would have [More]

Nietzsche's Moral Psychology

2020.03.09 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Mark Alfano, Nietzsche's Moral Psychology, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 299pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781107074156. Reviewed by Mattia Riccardi, University of Porto After decades of neglect, work on Nietzsche's philosophical psychology in general, and on his moral psychology in particular, has been flourishing. Mark Alfano's monograph is an important contribution to that ongoing debate. More specifically, Alfano can (and does) claim originality for systematically adopting a digital humanities approach, on the one hand, and for putting forward a distinctive virtue-theoretic reading of Nietzsche's moral psychology, on the other hand. In fact, a semantic approach is not entirely new to Nietzsche scholarship: the (sadly interrupted) Nietzsche-Wörterbuch project was based on a similar methodology (see Van Tongeren et al. 2004). A collaborator on that project also produced a virtue-theoretic reading of Nietzsche's mature philosophy (see Zibis 2007, which Alfano, unfortunately, does not discuss). This seems to suggest that... Read [More]

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