Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Russell’s Paradox

[Revised entry by Andrew David Irvine and Harry Deutsch on October 12, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Russell's paradox is the most famous of the logical or set-theoretical paradoxes. Also known as the Russell-Zermelo paradox, the paradox arises within naive set theory by considering the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set appears to be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself. Hence the [More]

Aristotle’s Psychology

[Revised entry by Christopher Shields on October 12, 2020. Changes to: Bibliography, method.html] Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) was born in Macedon, in what is now northern Greece, but spent most of his adult life in Athens. His life in Athens divides into two periods, first as a member of Plato's Academy (367 - 347) and later as director of his own school, the Lyceum (334 - 323). The intervening years were spent mainly in Assos and Lesbos, and briefly back in Macedon. His years away from Athens were predominantly taken up with biological research and writing. Judged [More]

Can we Predict Collapses Before they Happen? What we Learned from the Pandemic

  My 2019 book "Before the Collapse." In it, I examined several scenarios of the future of humankind. Was I able to predict the current pandemic? Of course not in the details, but I think that I did note an important facet of the story: epidemics are never very deadly when they come alone. They become true killers only when they are associated famines.  In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, the human population is not so badly debilitated by famines that we should have expected disasters comparable to those caused by ancient epidemics. So, we could have been better prepared if we had paid more attention to history. But the main thing we learn from history is that people never learn from history. And so it goes. This post includes a review of the book written by Daniel Ruiz.  After nearly one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, we can say that, at the very least, we learned a lot from it. One lesson was that we should be much more careful about "model hubris", to think that because a model is complex and detailed, it can predict the future. This problem is well described in a recent paper by Saltelli et al. in a recent paper in "Nature." But perhaps the most important lesson we learned was how easy the future can surprise us and how our perception of it can be remote from reality. We tend to judge on the basis of our past experience, but our mental models are often poorly calibrated. When the COVID-19 started diffusing [More]

What we Learned from the Pandemic. Can we Predict Collapses Before they Happen?

 My 2019 book "Before the Collapse." In it, I examined several scenarios of the future of humankind. Was I able to predict the current pandemic? Of course not, that took everyone by surprise. But I think I did note an important facet of the story: epidemics are never very deadly when they come alone. They become true killers only when they are associated (typically following) famines. In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, the human population is not so badly debilitated by famines that we may expect a disaster of the size of ancient epidemics.   After nearly one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, we can say that, at the very least, we learned a lot from it. One lesson learned was that we should be much more careful about "model hubris", to think that because a model is complex and detailed, it can predict the future. This problem is well described in a recent paper by Saltelli et al. in a recent paper in "Nature." But perhaps the most important lesson we learned was how easy the future can surprise us and how our perception of it can be remote from reality: We tend to judge from the past, but our mental models are often poorly calibrated. When the COVID-19 started diffusing in the West, many people panicked, some seemed to think that it really was the end of the world. Maybe they had in mind the great plague of the Middle Ages, an image that has been with us for centuries. Now we can see that the coronavirus [More]

Assistant Professor in Ethics

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  Technical University of Eindhoven Town:  Eindhoven Country:  Netherlands Job Description:  The Philosophy and Ethics department at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is seeking an assistant professor for a full-time, tenure-track position. In exceptional cases, the candidate could be hired directly at the tenured associate-professor level. Candidates will have earned a PhD in philosophy by the date of application and demonstrate evidence of excellence in both teaching and research. The candidate is expected to contribute to teaching engineering students (BSc and MSc levels), [More]

83 - Privacy is Power

Are you being watched, tracked and traced every minute of the day? Probably. The digital world thrives on surveillance. What should we do about this? My guest today is Carissa Véliz. Carissa is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Institute of Ethics in AI at Oxford University. She is also a Tutorial Fellow at Hertford College Oxford. She works on privacy, technology, moral and political philosophy and public policy. She has also been a guest on this podcast on two previous occasions. Today, we’ll be talking about her recently published book Privacy is Power. 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 Notes Topics discussed in this show include: The most surprising examples of digital surveillanceThe nature of privacyIs privacy dead?Privacy as an intrinsic and instrumental valueThe relationship between privacy and autonomyDoes surveillance help with security and health?The problem with mass surveillanceThe phenomenon of toxic dataHow surveillance undermines democracy and freedomAre we willing to trade privacy for convenient services?And much more Relevant Links Carissa's WebpagePrivacy is Power by CarissaSummary of Privacy is Power in AeonReview of Privacy is Power in The Guardian Carissa's Twitter feed (a treasure trove of links about privacy and surveillance)Views on Privacy: [More]

Why do humans have property?

Property is a rather old subject. We’ve been writing about it since at least the time of the Sumerian tablets, in part, because after four and a half millennia we still haven’t settled on what property is, who has it, how we get it, or even what it’s for. The post Why do humans have property? appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesUS journalism’s complicity in democratic backslidingIs it rational to condemn an artwork for an artist’s personal immorality?Six leadership practices that create an agile [More]