Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Logic of Information: A Theory of Philosophy as Conceptual Design

2019.12.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Luciano Floridi, The Logic of Information: A Theory of Philosophy as Conceptual Design, Oxford University Press, 2019, 240pp., $39.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780198833635. Reviewed by Carlo Penco, University of Genoa, and Margherita Benzi, University of Eastern Piedmont Luciano Floridi elucidated and popularized the ideas of Infosphere, Philosophy of information, The Ethics of Information and Fourth Revolution. The present book has a more ambitious program then the previous ones: a proposed new foundation for philosophy. With Descartes and Kant, epistemology became central replacing the old Aristotelian metaphysics. With Frege's and Wittgenstein's linguistic turn, logic, in the form of a theory of meaning, became central as Dummett and Davidson suggested. With Williamson, metaphysics was again central. Floridi suggests abandoning any representationalist view in order to develop a philosophy of information as conceptual design. Is this a real revolution or just proposing old ideas in a new form? Actually, Rorty had already attacked the centrality of the "representational view" of philosophy in Philosophy... Read [More]

Etymology gleanings for 2019

I agree: no voice should be silenced, but it does not follow that every voice deserves equal respect. I called the previous two posts “Etymology and Delusion” and deliberately did not emphasize such words as madness, lunacy, and derangement, for perfectly normal people can also be deluded. In etymology, the line separating amateurs from professionals is in most cases easy to draw. The post Etymology gleanings for 2019 appeared first on [More]

How to address the enigmas of everyday life

Here are some hard questions: Is the value of human life absolute? Should we conform to the prevalent values? The questions are hard because each has reasonable but conflicting answers. When circumstances force us to face them, we are ambivalent. We realize that there are compelling reasons for both of the conflicting answers. This is not an abstract problem, but a predicament we encounter when we have to make difficult decisions whose consequences affect how we live, our relationships, and our attitude to the society in which we live. The post How to address the enigmas of everyday life appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesOur souls make us who we arePhilosopher of the Month – A 2019 ReviewHow hip hop and diplomacy made an unlikely [More]

Increase in Hiring of Liberal Arts Majors Predicted for 2020

“The biggest workplace gaps throughout technology evolution will rely on the soft skills that are cultivated by a liberal arts education instead of technical expertise.” That’s the assessment of Dan Schwabel, business consultant, author, and entrepreneur, in this year’s edition of his “Top 10 Workplace Trends” column, published at LinkedIn. His selection of the top trends is based on “hundreds of conversations with executives and workers, a series of national and global online surveys, and secondary research from more than 450 different research sources, including colleges, consulting firms, non-profits, the government and trade associations.” Number 6 on his list of trends for 2020 is “the return of the liberal arts major.” Here’s Schwabel’s elaboration on this particular trend: AI will automate technical skills and drive the demand for soft skills like creativity, communicate and empathy. While there’s been such a focus on recruiting STEM over the past several years, those majors will continue to lose relevance, while liberal arts majors will become more valuable to companies moving forward. Since 2009, it was believed that STEM degree recipients would have job stability, and command high salaries, while liberal arts majors would be unemployable. The fact is that while liberal arts majors have lower starting salaries, their salaries rise much quicker over the course of their lives than STEM [More]

The Bloomsbury Companion to Bertrand Russell

2019.12.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Russell Wahl (ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Bertrand Russell, Bloomsbury, 2019, 428pp., $170.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781474278058. Reviewed by Nikolay Milkov, University of Paderborn Sixteen years after the appearance of The Cambridge Companion to Bertrand Russell (ed. Nicholas Griffin, 2003), we now have a second companion to Bertrand Russell, arguably the founding father of analytic philosophy. While the Cambridge Companion is largely an encyclopedic sourcebook of scholarship on Russell's theoretical philosophy, the Bloomsbury volume, edited by Russell Wahl, collects essays that represent a broad spectrum of recent trends in Russell studies. He differentiates this new collection, explaining that the Bloomsbury volume "strives to add something new to [the] body of literature, and so does not attempt to provide a comprehensive treatment to all of the issues involved with Russell's philosophy." (p. 5) This approach is fully warranted given the proliferation of Russell scholarship in the years since... Read [More]

Ken Taylor (1954-2019) (updated)

Kenneth Taylor, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, has died. Professor Taylor was known for his work in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, as well as serving as one of the co-hosts of the long-running radio show and podcast, Philosophy Talk. Professor Taylor taught at Stanford since 1995. Prior to that, he worked at Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, Wesleyan University, the University of North Carolina, and Middlebury College. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and his bachelor’s at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Taylor’s death, announced earlier today, was unexpected. Just yesterday he shared with friends on social media that he had nearly completed his next book, Referring to the World. You can read a detailed interview with Professor Taylor here. UPDATE (12/3/19): Krista Lawlor, chair of the Department of Philosophy at Stanford, shares the following: We are profoundly sad to announce that our colleague Ken Taylor died suddenly at his home yesterday evening. Ken was a beloved and important presence in the Stanford Philosophy Department for many years. Plans for a memorial will be announced on the department website. The post Ken Taylor (1954-2019) (updated) appeared first on Daily [More]

Ken Taylor (1954-2019)

Kenneth Taylor, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, has died. Professor Taylor was known for his work in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, as well as serving as one of the co-hosts of the long-running radio show and podcast, Philosophy Talk. Professor Taylor taught at Stanford since 1995. Prior to that, he worked at Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, Wesleyan University, the University of North Carolina, and Middlebury College. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and his bachelor’s at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Taylor’s death, announced earlier today, was unexpected. Just yesterday he shared with friends on social media that he had nearly completed his next book, Referring to the World. You can read a detailed interview with Professor Taylor here. The post Ken Taylor (1954-2019) appeared first on Daily [More]

Does ‘Mental Illness’ Exist?

Does ‘mental illness’ exist? I have taken as my title one of my least favourite questions. Although often posed to critics of psychiatric practice like myself, it actually makes very little sense. In unpicking it, I hope to show that we have better ways forward than the current, largely unchallenged understandings of emotional distress which do not reflect reality – either in terms of the evidence, or in terms of people’s lives.The concept of ‘mental illness’ obviously exists, as do the concepts of witches, ghosts and God – but the idea that the very real experiences subsumed under this term are best explained as medical disorders has never had any evidence to support it.The question really needs re-phrasing in two parts. If we framed the first part as ‘Do people really experience extreme forms of distress such as suicidal despair, hearing hostile voices, crippling anxiety and mood swings?’ then of course the answer is yes. As a clinical psychologist who has worked in the field of [More]