Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Philosophers and Petitions

Numbers generate a pressure to believe that isn’t grounded in explanatory force, because having more and more adherents to a view doesn’t give rise to better and better accounts of why the view is correct… Philosophers ought to be especially sensitive to introducing this element of belief imposition into our culture. As a philosopher, I want my influence to be philosophical, which is to say, I want to bring people to believe only what they, by their own lights, can see to be justified; I don’t want them to believe something because (I am one of the) many people who think it. That’s Agnes Callard (Chicago), writing in The New York Times, on why “petitions, regardless of their content, compromise core values of intellectual inquiry” and why their use “constitutes a kind of philosophical malpractice.” Her central focus is on petitions and open letters directed at academics. I get what she’s saying. In regard to an academic petition from a couple of years ago, I urged that “in conducting our academic work we should try as much as possible to rely on the exchange of evidence and arguments, not (directly) on the numbers of people who agree with us, or the strength of their agreement” and cautioned against activities that push us towards “a version of academia in which, in the contest of ideas, when expertise bumps up against popularity, the latter is more likely to win.” In her column, Callard writes: We’d never [More]

2019 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest Results

The American Philosophical Association (APA) has announced the winners of its 2019 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest. The contest, run by the APA’s Committee on Public Philosophy, aims to recognize “up to five standout pieces that successfully blend philosophical argumentation with an op-ed writing style. Winning submissions will call public attention, either directly or indirectly, to the value of philosophical thinking. The pieces will be judged in terms of their success as examples of public philosophy, and should be accessible to the general public, focused on important topics of public concern, and characterized by sound reasoning,” according to the APA. The winners this year are: Brendan de Kenessey (University of Toronto) for “People are dying because we misunderstand how those with addiction think” at Vox.com. Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin (Sam Houston State University) for “The Mirror Test and the Problem of Understanding Other Minds” at Psychology Today Amia Srinivasan (St. John’s College, Oxford) for “Does anyone have the right to sex?” at The London Review of Books Bryan Van Norden (Vassar College) for “The Ignorant Do Not Have a Right to an Audience” at The Stone (The New York Times) Karina Vold (University of Cambridge) for “Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?” at Aeon Magazine You can learn more about the prize and see the list of previous winners here. The post 2019 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest Results appeared [More]

New Site for Experimental Philosophical Bioethics

BioXphi aims to be an online hub for experimental philosophical bioethics. What is experimental philosophical bioethics? It’s an emerging field that will use traditional research methods of experimental philosophy and the empirical social and psychological sciences to investigate key premises in the arguments of various positions in theoretical bioethics. Though bioethicists have occasionally drawn on empirical data to supplement arguments and normative bioethical analysis, bioXphi by contrast seeks to uniquely probe the intuitions of patients and possible stakeholders in order to extrapolate—and make explicit wherever possible—the underlying cognitive and psychological processes that inform their responses. In this way, a major purpose of bioXphi is to make bioethical theorizing increasingly responsive to empirical insights in the formulation of clinical practice, institutional policy, and ongoing theoretical debate. As an interdisciplinary line of research, bioXphi can be thought of as advancing at least two types of inquiry: descriptive questions about the psychology and mechanism of bioethical decision-making, and prescriptive questions that constitute the core of bioethics. The site, developed by Brian Earp (Yale, Oxford), contains a bibliography of work in and related to experimental philosophical bioethics, information about an upcoming conference, and a blog. The post New Site for Experimental Philosophical Bioethics appeared first on Daily [More]

Rachel Podger in conversation

I didn’t mention here a recent concert at Wigmore Hall with Rachel Podger and her small band of friends, Brecon Baroque, playing Vivaldi with such enormous verve and love for the music. A wonderful experience, which left the audience cheering … Continue reading → The post Rachel Podger in conversation appeared first on Logic [More]

A LaTeX indexing trick

Oh, the joys of indexing … Though using the LaTeX indexing tools reduces the pain a bit. Encounted one problem, though: Suppose you mention Aristotle (as you do) at the top of p. 40. And then you discuss a quite … Continue reading → The post A LaTeX indexing trick appeared first on Logic [More]

Art as Human Practice: An Aesthetics

2019.08.13 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Georg W. Bertram, Art as Human Practice: An Aesthetics, Nathan Ross (tr.), Bloomsbury, 2019, 240pp., $26.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781350063150. Reviewed by Sandra Shapshay, Hunter College-CUNY How much does art really matter to human life? To paraphrase Auden on poetry, perhaps art doesn't make anything happen (at least in politics, in human material conditions, and with respect to weather), and its value consists primarily in being a pleasurable diversion, offering, say, an enjoyable stroll through the museum or an entertaining night out at the theater? Or perhaps art matters a great deal more to the business of living a human life, more akin to religion, science and (for those who go in for it) philosophy? Georg Bertram's book is ambitious and aims to support this latter view of the way art matters. In this aim, one could see the book as belonging to the tradition of cognitivist/ethical... Read [More]