Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Philosopher Spotlight: Eden Lin

I'm delighted that Eden Lin agreed to contribute the following post to my "philosopher spotlight" series.  Enjoy!* * *Most of my work has focused on the normative ethics of well-beingor welfare, which investigates (i) what counts as a life that is going well or badly for the individual whose life it is, (ii) what determines how well or badly someone’s life is going, and (iii) what things are good or bad for individuals in the most basic way.Theories of well-being typically purport to identify the basic goods and bads—the kinds of things that it is ultimately in or against an individual’s interests to possess and whose presence in a life makes it go well or badly. Pluralistictheories of well-being, on which there are either a plurality of basic goods or a plurality of basic bads, have been a recurring theme in my work. I argue that the correct theory of well-being is a pluralistic theory in “Pluralism about Well-Being” (Philosophical Perspectives, 2014), and I propose a particular way of understanding the distinction between pluralistic and monistic theories in “Monism and Pluralism” (The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being, 2016). In “The Subjective List Theory of Well-Being” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2016), I argue that subjectivistsabout welfare, who claim that how well things are going for someone is entirely a matter of how satisfied their favorable attitudes are, have good reasons to abandon the monistic theories that they have [More]

Playing to lose: transhumanism, autonomy, and liberal democracy [long read]

[long read] Transhumanists insist that their vision of the “radical” bioenhancement of human capacities is light-years removed from prior eugenics, which was state managed. This reassuring, empowering picture is undercut by transhumanists’ own arguments, which offer incompatible pictures of personal autonomy in relation to decisions about the use of bioenhancement technologies. The post Playing to lose: transhumanism, autonomy, and liberal democracy [long read] appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesImpressionism’s sibling rivalryWas the dog-demon of Ephesus a werewolf?The economic and environmental case for electric [More]

The Deification of Emperor Trump: Following Caligula's Path

Jake Angeli, high priest of the growing cult of Emperor Donald Trump, dressed as a manifestation of the horned God Cernunnos. The deification of Emperor Trump in Washington, yesterday, didn't go so well, but we are moving along a path that the Romans already followed during the decline of their empire, including the deification of emperors, starting with Caligula. So, comparing Roman history to our current conditions may tell us something about the future. I already speculated on what kind of Roman Emperor Donald Trump could have been, just after he was elected. I concluded that he might have been the equivalent of Hadrian. The comparison turned out to be not very appropriate. Clearly, Trump was no Hadrian (a successful emperor, by all means). But, after four years, and after the recent events in Washington, I think Trump may be seen as a reasonably good equivalent of Caligula, or Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who also reigned for 4 years, from 37 to 41 AD. Caligula was the prototypical mad emperor -- you probably heard that he nominated his horse consul. And he was not just mad, he was said to be a cruel, homicidal psychopath, and a sexual pervert to boot. In addition, he tried to present himself as a living god and pretended to be worshipped. He even claimed to have waged a war against the Sea God Poseidon, and having won it!But, really, we know little about Caligula's reign, and most of what was written about him was written by people who had plenty of reasons to [More]

Hugo Grotius

[Revised entry by Jon Miller on January 8, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Hugo Grotius (1583 - 1645) [Hugo, Huigh or Hugeianus de Groot] was a towering figure in philosophy, political theory, law and associated fields during the seventeenth century and for hundreds of years afterwards. His work ranged over a wide array of topics, though he is best known to philosophers today for his contributions to the natural law theories of normativity which emerged in the later medieval and early modern periods. This article will attempt to explain his views on the law of nature and related issues while simultaneously [More]

Presupposition

[Revised entry by David I. Beaver, Bart Geurts, and Kristie Denlinger on January 7, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] We discuss presupposition, the phenomenon whereby speakers mark linguistically information as being taken for granted, rather than being part of the main propositional content of a speech act. Expressions and constructions carrying presuppositions are called "presupposition triggers", forming a large class including definites and factive verbs. The article first introduces a sample of triggers, the basic properties of presuppositions such as projection and cancellability, and the diagnostic tests used to identify [More]