Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Seeing and Saying: The Language of Perception and the Representational View of Experience

2019.06.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Berit Brogaard, Seeing and Saying: The Language of Perception and the Representational View of Experience, Oxford University Press, 2018, 205pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190495251. Reviewed by Mohan Matthen, University of Toronto In this highly original and tightly argued monograph, Berit Brogaard argues that perceptual experience has representational content in more than a minimal sense. She argues for this by (1) analysing the grammatical structure of sentences in which the main verbs are those of appearance (‘seems,’ ‘appears’) and perception (‘looks,’ ‘sounds,’ ‘feels,’ etc.), (2) arguing that there is a semantically well-defined subset of these that describe phenomenal appearances, and (3) appealing to cognitive science to show that these visual experiences are representational in a non-trivial way. Brogaard sets the table by recounting the debate between naïve realism (NR), on which perception is direct unmediated contact with objects, and representationalism, which argues that the link to objects... Read [More]

Retrocausality in Quantum Mechanics

[New Entry by Simon Friederich and Peter W. Evans on June 3, 2019.] Quantum theory provides a framework for modern theoretical physics that enjoys enormous predictive and explanatory success. Yet, in view of the so-called "measurement problem", there is no consensus on how physical reality can possibly be such that this framework has this success. The theory is thus an extremely well-functioning algorithm to predict and explain the results of observations, but no consensus on which kind of objective reality might plausibly underlie these [More]

Philosophy of Macroevolution

[New Entry by Derek Turner and Joyce C. Havstad on June 3, 2019.] Macroevolution refers (most of the time, in practice) to evolutionary patterns and processes above the species level. It is usually contrasted with microevolution, or evolutionary change within populations. This customary way of drawing the macro/micro distinction is not perfect, however, because species sometimes consist of multiple populations. Some evolutionary processes, such as the spread of a trait from one population to another, might count as within-species processes but not within-population [More]

Rights and Demands: A Foundational Inquiry

2019.06.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Margaret Gilbert, Rights and Demands: A Foundational Inquiry, Oxford University Press, 2018, 369pp., $54.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198813767. Reviewed by Gopal Sreenivasan, Duke University This is an excellent book, rich, rewarding, and ambitious. Margaret Gilbert treats a wide range of topics not often considered together: rights, promising, agreements, and joint commitment. Indeed, according to the theory of rights she advances, a proper understanding of rights (or at least, of a central class of rights) actually depends on weaving these topics together. All are topics on which Gilbert has published extensively before.[1] I shall concentrate on Gilbert's analysis of rights, the central and novel thread in this book. My focus will be her exposition of what she calls the 'demand-right problem' (79) together with her solution. Demand-rights are the central class of rights that... Read [More]

Epicureanism and the Problem of Premature Death (Audio Essay)

This audio essay looks at the Epicurean philosophy of death, focusing specifically on how they addressed the problem of premature death. The Epicureans believe that premature death is not a tragedy, provided it occurs after a person has attained the right state of pleasure. If you enjoy listening to these audio essays, and the other podcast episodes, you might consider rating and/or reviewing them on your preferred podcasting service.You can listen below or download here. You can also subscribe on Apple, Stitcher or a range of other services (the RSS feed is here).I've written lots about the philosophy of death over the years. Here are some relevant links if you would like to do further reading on the topic:The Badness of Death and the Meaning of Life (index)The Lucretian Symmetry Argument (Part 1 and Part 2)Is Death Bad or Less Good? (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the [More]