Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Werner Herzog: Filmmaker and Philosopher

2019.08.17 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Richard Eldridge, Werner Herzog: Filmmaker and Philosopher, Bloomsbury, 2019, 221pp., $88.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781350091672. Reviewed by Christopher Hamilton, King's College London Werner Herzog is a major contemporary filmmaker who has produced a body of work of real importance. In this book, Richard Eldridge seeks to take Herzog seriously in philosophical terms. His approach is to read Herzog as exploring ways of finding meaning in what Adorno -- though Eldridge doesn't mention him -- calls our 'administered society'. After an introductory chapter in which he describes our world of 'education reduced to the development of skills needed by docile and reliable workers, ideological conceptions of freedom as escape and rich hedonistic consumption in the private sphere, empty clichés about the value of choice' (p.10), he suggests that 'poetic visions are needed in order to disclose possibilities of significance in life within the framework of contemporary... Read [More]

Frank Ramsey

[New Entry by Fraser MacBride, Mathieu Marion, María José Frápolli, Dorothy Edgington, Edward Elliott, Sebastian Lutz, and Jeffrey Paris on August 14, 2019.] Frank Plumpton Ramsey (1903 - 30) made seminal contributions to philosophy, mathematics and economics. Whilst he was acknowledged as a genius by his contemporaries, some of his most important ideas were not appreciated until decades later; now better appreciated, they continue to bear an influence upon contemporary philosophy. His historic significance was to usher in a new phase of analytic philosophy, which initially built upon the logical atomist doctrines of Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, raising their ideas to a new level of sophistication, but ultimately he became their successor rather [More]

What You Wish You Knew When You Started Teaching Philosophy

The fall term is almost upon us, so let’s talk teaching. Are there bits of teaching wisdom you’ve picked up over the years that you wish you knew when you were starting out? Please share them in the comments, and spare your colleagues (and their students) some missteps, misconceptions, and misery. Thank you. Relatedly, I thought it might be a good time to share some previous teaching posts: Small Changes to Improve Teaching Improve Your Philosophy Teaching With This One Weird Trick Philosophy Teaching Games Teaching Philosophy as the Search for Complication Teaching and the Philosophical Canon Diversity Reading List Site Updated Teaching As If Our Students Were Not Future Philosophers Why Students Aren’t Reading (Ought Experiment) Grade Anarchy & Student Learning Course Websites Empirical Support for a Method of Teaching Critical Thinking How To Write A Philosophy Paper: Online Guides A New Kind of Critical Thinking Text Remixing the Open Logic Text How to Teach (Philosophy): Readings Sought The post What You Wish You Knew When You Started Teaching Philosophy appeared first on Daily [More]

Flatterers and bletherskites

Almost exactly twelve years ago, on August 2, 2006 (see this post), when the world and this blog were much younger, I mentioned some problems pertaining to the etymology of the verb flatter. Since that time, I have written several posts on kl– and sl-words and discussed sound symbolism more than once. There is little […] The post Flatterers and bletherskites appeared first on [More]

Is Religion Necessarily Irrational?

Today liberal culture speaks of ‘the Enlightenment legacy’, as if we thought that reason suddenly sprang from nowhere in the Eighteenth Century. Equivalently, we think of religion and especially Christianity as a matter of emotion and faith which is extra-rational, if not downright irrational, and dangerously opposed to the rational ventures of scientific understanding.However, this is a very foreshortened perspective. Up till relatively recent times, few people thought of religion and reason as being in opposition to each other. This was primarily because they thought of reason itself as something essentially spiritual.They naturally thought this, because reasoning is something done by conscious minds, whose reality a merely material explanation is in principle unable to account for. Although we now deploy, in processes of computing, myriad mechanical equivalents for logical, mathematical and grammatical processes, there remains an absolute distinction between a rational connection [More]

Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory

2019.08.15 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tim Maudlin, Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory, Princeton University Press, 2019, 233pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780691183527. Reviewed by Antonio Vassallo, University of Barcelona When I was an undergraduate student in physics -- quite a while ago -- there was a running joke in the department that went something like this: quantum theory is the science of preparing systems in one state and detecting them in another state; everything that happens in between is philosophy. Tim Maudlin's book deals exactly with what "happens in between", and it does it with an attitude so direct and iconoclastic that it should have been subtitled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Quantum Theory (But Were Afraid to Ask)". In order to understand where and how Maudlin's introduction to quantum theory breaks with the traditional textbooks on the subject, we should very briefly (and non-rigorously) recall the basic... Read [More]