Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Fire at Harvard’s Philosophy Department

Emerson Hall, which houses the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University, caught fire last Friday. Owing to Thanksgiving Break, the building was reportedly empty at the time of the fire, and it caused no injuries. According to the Harvard Crimson, Acting Fire Chief Gerard E. Mahoney said that the fire began in a chimney-like shaft that runs up inside the building from a generator in the basement. The cause of the fire is unknown, however “construction workers performing a generator test reported just before noon that they smelled smoke in the building.” The Crimson says, “Firefighters had difficulty accessing the fire because of masonry surrounding the pipe chase. Using axes and power saws, crews made several holes in the roof to ventilate and let in water, Mahoney said. He said the damage from the fire was not extensive.” Philosophy Department chair Ned Hall reports that the damage from the fire and the water “was fairly contained.” Only a couple of offices, a bathroom, a classroom, and a wall in a hallway were damaged. It was “more than just cosmetic, certainly, but far from a major disaster,” he said, adding, “We were lucky it was caught in time.” The post Fire at Harvard’s Philosophy Department appeared first on Daily [More]

Which Video Games for Which Philosophical Lessons?

It’s not unusual to solicit books, movies, and television shows that might be particularly useful for teaching about certain philosophical problems. What about video games? We had a post about this nearly five years ago, but it did not get much uptake. In the interim, the video gaming industry has continued to grow, and so has the share of the population playing these games. According to one recent report, 65% of American adults play videogames, and according to another, nearly 80% of all gamers are 18 years old or older, with half of that group being over 36 years old. Katia Samoilova, an assistant professor of philosophy at California State University, Chico, recently created a “Philosophy and Video Games” introductory course. In a news item at the CSU Chico site, she says, “Nothing is better than a video game at immersing in an experience, and specifically, testing thought experiments,” adding that “video game content rivals in its richness other media, including much… philosophical literature.” Mass Effect and The Witcher are two examples of such games named in the article. It would be great to get some more examples of video games that could be effectively used in the teaching of philosophy, along with a brief explanation of their usefulness. Which particular games speak to which particular philosophical questions, problems, or topics? Related: “Virtual Worlds and Video Games in Philosophy Teaching“; “New: [More]

How to speak rugby

For the uninitiated, the commentary on a rugby game - foot-up, hand-off, head-up, put-in, knock-on – can make it sound more like a dance routine than the bruising sport it really is. If you don’t know your forwards from your backs, or have no idea why a player might opt to go blind, this guide is for you. The post How to speak rugby appeared first on [More]

How to talk to your political opponents

Imagine that you are having a heated political argument with a member of the “other” party over what the government should or should not do on various issues. You and your debate partner argue about what should be done about immigrants who want to come into the country. You argue about what should be done about the never-ending mass murder of people in schools, places of worship, and entertainment venues by killers using assault weapons. You argue about what should be done to improve employment and to improve the healthcare system. The post How to talk to your political opponents appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesWhy love endsWhy more democracy isn’t better democracyThe long trauma of revenge [More]

Frowe Wins Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy

Helen Frowe, professor of philosophy at Stockholm University and director of the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, has won the 2019 Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy. The prize is awarded by the Marc Sanders Foundation and is based on a competition of essays of “original research on central issues in political or social philosophy, such as moral issues relating to the state or the justification of force, authority, obligation, justice, freedom, rights, exploitation, oppression, etc.” It includes $5,000 and publication in Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. Professor Frowe won the prize for her essay, “The Duty to Save and the Duty to Minimise Harm.” Here’s the abstract: This paper defends the Limited Use View of our duties to save. This view holds that a claim to be saved is a claim to make use of another person (and her resources) for one’s own sake. But we have only limited claims to make use of others and their resources. We are not entitled to make use of others when doing so is either unreasonably costly for them or conflicts with their duties to others. Hence, our claims to be saved are limited. By the same token, our duties to save are also limited. We need not save when doing so is unreasonably costly for us or conflicts with our duties to others, since others have no claim to make use of us when doing so is unreasonably costly for us or conflicts with our duties to others. One upshot of the Limited Use View is that it can [More]

Australia’s New Institute of Philosophy Makes Several Hires

The new philosophical research center at Australian Catholic University created this past March continues to develop. It now has a name—the Dianoia Institute of Philosophy—and has hired a number of philosophers. Stephen Finlay, the director of Dianoia, wrote with the following information: So far in 2019 we have made 9 appointments (8 full time) to add to the 6 existing academic staff. With an ultimate goal of reaching 25-30 researchers in the next few years, we have two other offers out, and we are currently advertising at both junior and senior levels. He also provided a list of those hired just this year: Samuel Baron (philosophy of time, philosophy of mathematics, metaphilosophy) joins us as Senior Research Fellow in January 2020, coming from the University of Western Australia. Kyle Blumberg (philosophy of language, philosophy of mind) joins us as Research Fellow in March 2020. Kyle received his PhD from NYU in 2019, and is coming from a research fellowship at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Renée Bolinger (political philosophy) joins us as Research Fellow (part time) in January 2020. Renee is assistant professor in the Department of Politics and the Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and will be in Melbourne during the US summer months through 2021. Christina Dietz (philosophy of mind, epistemology) joins us as Research Fellow in March 2020. Christina completed her DPhil at Oxford in 2019, and is coming from a postdoctoral [More]

Time Management

I’m planning to run a workshop for graduate students on how to manage time, both the time when there’s never enough time and the stretches of time when there is all the time in the world (like a sabbatical). I’m still working on this, so let me run it by you all. Maybe you have … Continue reading Time [More]

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