Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Get Parfit's Ethics Free (till May 3)

Cambridge University Press is offering free PDF downloads of Parfit's Ethics until May 3. (After that, you can always access the pre-print from PhilPapers, which has the same essential content but differs wildly in pagination and doesn't reflect subsequent copyediting.)At just 55 pages of main text, it's the most concise introduction you'll find to Parfit's wide-ranging ethical thought. Perfect for grad seminars, or anyone interested in highlights from the greatest moral philosopher of the past century (or, indeed, ever).There's a lot of content packed into those few pages:1. Introduction2. Rationality and Objectivity - A simple summary of Parfit's arguments against Rational Egoism and Normative Subjectivism.  Briefly evaluates the arguments against Parfit's non-naturalist normative realism.3. Distributive Justice - Explains Parfit's priority view, and suggests a way to improve upon it (that basic goods or welfare contributors, rather than welfare itself, might have diminishing marginal value).  Explains away the arguments of anti-aggregationists.  Summarizes Parfit's views on "moral mathematics" and collective harm.4. Character and Consequence - Explains "rational irrationality", and extends it to critique Parfit's understanding of "blameless wrongdoing" (or virtuously-acquired viciousness). Defends self-effacing moral theories.  Assesses Parfit's argument that common-sense morality is directly self-defeating.5. The Triple [More]

The UK/British Variant

As the virus behind COVID remains active in large populations, it mutates and produces new strains. This is one reason why continuing to follow safe practices until herd immunity is reached is so important. If the “freedom” to serve as mutant incubators persist widely and long enough, the current vaccines will be reduced in effectiveness [More]

Politics and Negation: For an Affirmative Philosophy

2021.04.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Roberto Esposito, Politics and Negation: For an Affirmative Philosophy, Zakiya Hanafi (tr.), Polity, 2019, 237pp., $24.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781509536627. Reviewed by Gregory Fried, Boston College Who would have dared contradict Johnny Mercer, who sang that You've got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative Latch on to the affirmative Don't mess with Mr. In-Between No, don't mess with Mr. In-Between Well, Roberto Esposito has dared to contradict this seemingly prudent advice. In the book, translated fluently from the Italian by Zakiya Hanafi, Esposito argues that the "mess" that the western tradition now finds itself in, both philosophically and politically, is one brought on by a mistaken relation to the negative, most especially by the conception that, in Mercer's words, "You've got to . . . eliminate the negative." Esposito contends that we must learn "the ways of understanding and practicing the 'affirmativity' of... Read [More]

Imagining and Knowing: The Shape of Fiction

2021.04.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Gregory Currie, Imagining and Knowing: The Shape of Fiction, Oxford University Press, 2020, 240pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199656615. Reviewed by Peter Lamarque, University of York, UK Few would dispute that, all things considered, some exposure to works of imaginative literature (novels, plays, poems) as part of a rounded education is better than no such exposure. Beyond that, disagreements are rife. Culture wars loom, with anxieties over curriculum choice, gender and racial bias, elitism, contested pedagogic methods, and a disconcerting vagueness about aims sought. In this important and polemical book, Gregory Currie sidesteps direct engagement with these heated controversies at the frontline of educational policy but nevertheless shines a penetrating, for some disturbing, light on one of the most prominent lines of defence for a humanistic, literary education, the thought that we can learn from works of fiction in substantial ways: that reading fiction can make us better... Read [More]

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