Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Philosophy Graduate Program Application Information Spreadsheet

Someone created a useful tool for students applying to graduate programs in philosophy: an admissions and application spreadsheet. It lists many* programs (from North America) along with information about deadlines, test requirements, language requirements, and so on, and provides links to the various graduate programs’ websites. It was created by a graduate student who initially posted it at The Grad Cafe. You can access the spreadsheet directly here. *Not all. For example, the University of South Carolina is missing from the list. Information about that program is here. Feel free to list information about other programs not currently on the spreadsheet in the comments. The post Philosophy Graduate Program Application Information Spreadsheet appeared first on Daily [More]

Philosopher of the Month – A 2019 Review

As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at the philosophers who have featured in our monthly Philosopher of the Month posts and their significant contribution to philosophy and the history of intellectual thought. The post Philosopher of the Month – A 2019 Review appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesThomas Kuhn and the paradigm shift – Philosopher of the MonthMary Astell on female education and the sorrow of marriage (philosopher of the month)Eight things you didn’t know about George [More]

Five Modes of Scepticism: Sextus Empiricus and the Agrippan Modes

2019.12.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Stefan Sienkiewicz, Five Modes of Scepticism: Sextus Empiricus and the Agrippan Modes, Oxford University Press, 2019, 204pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198798361. Reviewed by Richard Bett, Johns Hopkins University The Modes are standardized forms of argument employed by the Pyrrhonian skeptics to induce suspension of judgment. The Five Modes are the most general of these, and have excited a fair amount of interest among contemporary epistemologists -- often under the heading The Agrippan Trilemma (focusing on the three most important ones). They are mentioned both by Diogenes Laertius, who ascribes them to the otherwise unknown Agrippa, and by Sextus Empiricus. But the treatment in Diogenes is extremely sketchy, whereas Sextus not only introduces them, but frequently uses them in discussing particular topics. Hence, not surprisingly, Sextus' treatment is generally seen as much the more philosophically interesting. As far as I know, this is the first book-length examination of them for almost 30... Read [More]

Symposium on Michel and Morales, “Minority Reports: Consciousness and the Prefrontal Cortex”

I’m very pleased to announce our latest Mind & Language symposium on Matthias Michel and Jorge Morales’ forthcoming “Minority Reports: Consciousness and the Prefrontal Cortex.” Our outstanding commentators on the target article include Liz Irvine (Cardiff), Benjamin Kozuch (Alabama), and Michael Pitts with Kevin Ortego (Reed College).  *** A great deal of [More]

Free Philosophy Book for Swedish Students

All third-year high school students in Sweden can claim a free copy of Alternative facts: On Knowledge and Its Enemies, by Stockholm University philosophy professor Åsa Wikforss. The book (in Swedish: Alternativa fakta. Om kunskapen och dess fiender) was published in 2017, and addresses questions in epistemology with an eye towards critical thinking, knowledge resistance, the media, disinformation, and propaganda. The publisher, Fri Tanke, explains why it is offering students free copies of the book: Threats to knowledge are a growing problem in large parts of the world, even in Sweden. After the 2016 US presidential election, many caught the eye of how dangerous and effective it can be to use fake news and to highlight “alternative facts”. To base our perception of reality on facts is crucial and when knowledge is threatened it has consequences. We see how the measles spread again as a result of vaccine resistance, how climate deniers delay important efforts to counter global warming, and how the new technology is used to spread propaganda and undermine democratic society. The book, Alternative Facts, can be a tool for tackling development and helping students discern lies from truth.  The book is not party-political at all. It takes a stand for knowledge, facts and objective truth. It takes a stand against post-truth, ignorance, disinformation and propaganda. The initiative is funded by the publisher along with two of its executives, banker Sven Hagströmer [More]

White Philosophers: It’s Time to Stop Using Digital Blackface

by Savannah Pearlman The origins of blackface date from the early 19th century minstrel shows, in which white actors blackened their faces to take up racist, exaggerated and stereotypical black personas. White actors appropriated and distorted the identity performance of black individuals, portraying them as lazy, promiscuous, jolly, or idiotic—all for the enjoyment of (predominantly) [More]

Philosophical Intuitions and Demographic Differences

Philosophers are disagreeing over what lessons should be learned from the growing body of work on the interplay between demographics and philosophical intuitions. In a recent article in Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, Joshua Knobe (Yale) argues that philosophical intuitions are “robust across demographic differences”: Work in experimental philosophy is often concerned with intuitions about seemingly abstruse issues, such as the nature of the true self or whether the universe is governed by deterministic laws. There was every reason to expect that such intuitions would differ radically between demographic groups. Yet actual research on the topic has yielded a surprising result. Again and again, studies find that effects observed within one demographic group can also be found in a variety of others. He acknowledges that some differences of philosophical intuitions have been shown across different demographic groups, but then goes over some of the studies to show “the shocking degree to which demographic factors do not impact people’s philosophical intuitions.” Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh) and Stephen Stich (Rutgers), who are co-principal investigators (with H. Clark Barrett of UCLA) of the Geography of Philosophy Project, have written a reply to Professor Knobe. They argue, among other things, that his conclusion is based on a selective sample of the existing literature, and that a look at more studies shows that the main lesson of them [More]

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]