Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Social needs are a human right

In April 2020, an ER physician in Toronto, Ari Greenwald, started an online petition to bring tablets and phones to his patients in hospital, because hospitals had imposed strict No Visitor rules to limit the spread of COVID-19. Greenwald said that, “As challenging as this COVID-era of healthcare is for us all, the hardest part […] The post Social needs are a human right appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesSocial needs are a human rightFive tips for clear writingHow education could reduce [More]

On the Edge of the Cliff: We need a new way of seeing the world

Long-term predictive models don't have a very good record, but some turned out to be prophetic. One case is that of Hubbert's 1956 prediction of a peak in the production of fossil energy shortly after the start of the 21st century. He was optimistic about the possibility of replacing fossil fuels with nuclear energy, but, apart from that, he was right on target. Now we are on the edge of the cliff and we have to take a different attitude toward the ecosystem that supports our existence. The concept of "Holobiont" may help us a lot in this task. We are holobionts, the ecosystem is a larger holobiont, we must find a way to live together. The American geologist Marion King Hubbert deserves the credit of having been the first to see the main trends of the 21st century, nearly 50 years before it were to start. In his 1956 paper, Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, he presented the figure above: a bold attempt to place the human experience with energy on a 10,000 years scale.Of course, the figure was overly optimistic about nuclear energy which, in reality, started declining before fossil fuels did. But, with this graphic, Hubbert had laid down the human predicament, several years in advance with respect to "The Limits to Growth" (1972). Catton's "overshoot" (1980), and many others. Without a miracle that could replace fossils well before they would start declining, the human world as it was in the 20th center was doomed. Nuclear energy was not, and could not [More]

Moral Responsibility and the Principle of Alternative Possibilities

[New Entry by David Robb on July 9, 2020.] Suppose you harm, offend, or otherwise wrong another person. Confronted with the possibility of sanction, you might say any of the following in an attempt avoid blame: "I couldn't help it." "Someone made me do it." "I had no choice." "It was unavoidable." "There was no other option." There's a natural reading of such defenses on which they appeal to the principle at the center of this entry, the "Principle of Alternative Possibilities" (cp. [More]

Evolution and Development

[New Entry by Jan Baedke and Scott F. Gilbert on July 8, 2020.] The relationship between development and evolution has recently become a lively debated topic among philosophers and biologists. This interest has been increasingly stirred through at least four developments since the 1990s: First, through new findings of the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying the development and evolution of all morphological forms in multicellular organisms. This discovery eventually led to the foundation of the new field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Second, the ability to [More]


[Revised entry by James Allen on July 8, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Carneades (214 - 129/8 BCE) was a member and eventually scholarch or head of the Academy, the philosophical school founded by Plato, for part of its skeptical phase. He is credited by ancient tradition with founding the New or Third Academy and defended a form of probabilism in [More]