Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Why Face Masks may be Here to Stay

 Wearing a mask is a burden but, in some cases, also an advantage, especially for women in a patriarchal society. Traditionally, a mask allowed a certain anonymity and a chance for occasional sexual license. Could it be that the current diffusion of the habit of wearing face masks is a reaction to the more and more invasive "surveillance state" in the West? In this post, I explore this issue also in relation to the biblical story of Tamar and Judah  (above, Tamar and Judah in a painting of the Rembrandt school) (Reposted from "Chimeras")  The fashion of wearing face masks in the West is surprising, especially after that the epidemic has practically vanished from Western Europe. Yet, Westerners cling to their masks as if their life depended on them, even in conditions when they are not needed, for instance in the open air.  The new fashion of face masks in the West is all the more surprising if you consider that practically no known society in history has ever enforced wearing face masks or veils for everyone, except in areas where protection is needed against sand blown by the wind. In the standard Western iconography, someone who wears a mask is a criminal or an outlaw. Who would need to hide his face if not for some evil purpose? True, sometimes a mask is worn by good characters in fiction, such as Batman, but there is always a dark side to the story. The only exception to the rule is the veil worn by married women. It [More]

Why Face Masks may be Here to Stay Forever

 Wearing a mask may be a burden but, in some cases, also an advantage, especially for women in a patriarchal society. Traditionally, a mask allowed a certain anonymity and a chance for occasional sexual license. Could it be that the current diffusion of the habit of wearing face masks is a reaction to the more and more invasive "surveillance state" in the West? In this post, I explore this issue also in relation to the biblical story of Tamar and Judah  (above, Tamar and Judah in a painting of the Rembrandt school)  (Reposted from "Chimeras")  The fashion of wearing face masks in the West is surprising, especially after that the epidemic has practically vanished from Western Europe. Yet, Westerners cling to their masks as if their life depended on them, even in conditions when they are not needed, for instance in the open air.  The new fashion of face masks in the West is all the more surprising if you consider that practically no known society in history has ever enforced wearing face masks or veils for everyone, except in areas where protection is needed against sand blown by the wind. In the standard Western iconography, someone who wears a mask is a criminal or an outlaw. Who would need to hide his face if not for some evil purpose? True, sometimes a mask is worn by good characters in fiction, such as Batman, but there is always a dark side to the story.The only exception to the rule is the veil worn by married women. [More]

Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones

[Revised entry by Gary Ostertag on August 7, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones (1848 - 1922), a contemporary of Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore at Cambridge University, worked primarily in philosophical logic and ethics. Her most significant contribution to the former area is her application of the intension-extension distinction to singular terms, anticipating Frege's related distinction between sense and reference and Russell's pre-"On Denoting" distinction between meaning and denotation. Widely regarded as an authority [More]

Voting Guide: Joe vs. Donald

The legitimacy of a democratic state (broadly defined) rests on the consent of the governed and this is expressed through voting. As such, you should vote and should support (or at least not oppose) efforts to ensure that all citizens can vote without facing an undue burden. In terms of who you should vote for [More]

79 - Is There A Techno-Responsibility Gap?

 What happens if an autonomous machine does something wrong? Who, if anyone, should be held responsible for the machine's actions? That's the topic I discuss in this episode with Daniel Tigard. Daniel Tigard is a Senior Research Associate in the Institute for History & Ethics of Medicine, at the Technical University of Munich. His current work addresses issues of moral responsibility in emerging technology. He is the author of several papers on moral distress and responsibility in medical ethics as well as, more recently, papers on moral responsibility and autonomous systems. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).          Show NotesTopics discussed include:  What is responsibility? Why is it so complex? The three faces of responsibility: attribution, accountability and answerability Why are people so worried about responsibility gaps for autonomous systems? What are some of the alleged solutions to the "gap" problem? Who are the techno-pessimists and who are the techno-optimists? Why does Daniel think that there is no techno-responsibility gap? Is our application of responsibility concepts to machines overly metaphorical?  Relevant Links Daniel's ResearchGATE profile Daniel's papers on Philpapers "There is no Techno-Responsibility Gap" by Daniel "Artificial [More]

2 x PostDoc (24 months), philosophy of science, theory (re)construction in the social sciences

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  Warsaw University of Technology Town:  Warsaw Country:  Poland Job Description:  The positions are financed under the research project 2019/35/B/HS1/03281 (NCN, Poland), Theory Construction and the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (TESBS). PI: Dr. Frank Zenker. A detailed project description can be found here. Each position is scheduled for 24 months. Gross salary: 120 thousand PLN per [More]