Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Recognizing Gender Critical Feminism as Anti-Trans Activism (guest post)

“Our main point is that readers need to understand that the central problem is not how to uplift the message of ‘gender-critical’ voices, but how to understand them as activists, and how to manage content that is disrespectful, fear-mongering, and misleading, while avoiding harm to the scholarly community.” The following is a guest post* by three philosophers who wish to remain anonymous (though their identity is known to me). Recognizing Gender Critical Feminism as Anti-Trans Activism by three anonymous philosophers A recent letter published at Inside Higher Education argues that we should not censure writings by so-called “gender-critical” philosophers. We agree with the authors of the letter that philosophy should be “a discipline in which sensitive and controversial issues are investigated with patience, care and insight.” But “gender-critical” writings, which the letter defends, do not advance us toward this ideal. The current crop of trans-exclusionary “gender-critical” philosophers is first and foremost an activist movement. Their writings and behavior are best understood as aimed at achieving their activist ends, such as preventing trans women from using facilities designated for women, or making it more difficult for trans women to be legally recognized as women. Like other activists, they will denigrate or vilify their opponents, make use of dogwhistles, appeal to people’s baser emotions to increase support for their cause, and ignore [More]

Quine, New Foundations, and the Philosophy of Set Theory

2019.08.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Sean Morris, Quine, New Foundations, and the Philosophy of Set Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 209pp., $105.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781107152502. Reviewed by Gary Kemp, University of Glasgow Sean Morris' book is on a topic long overdue for discussion. In many ways, Quine's sophisticated attitude towards set theory and mathematics generally is central to his philosophy. The most relevant texts are by now venerable, if not yet antique: 'New Foundations for Mathematical Logic' appeared in 1937, and Set Theory and Its Logic in 1963 (set theory proper dates from Cantor in 1870s). Yet -- though arguably this attitude has received its share of mathematical attention -- it has not received the sustained and patient philosophical attention that Morris gives it. It is true that some philosophers have expressed the opinion -- perhaps the prevailing opinion amongst philosophers who have considered the question in the first place -- that the system presented... Read [More]

Sugden Wins APA’s 2019 Gittler Award

Robert Sugden, professor of economics at the University of East Anglia, is the winner of the American Philosophical Association’s 2019 Joseph B. Gittler Award. The Gittler award, established in 2007, is given annually in recognition of “an outstanding scholarly contribution in the field of the philosophy of one or more of the social sciences. The range of the social sciences is construed broadly so as to include anthropology, economics, education, government, history, psychology, sociology, and any other field that is normally located within the social science division in contemporary colleges and universities.” Professor Sugden won the the $4,000 prize for his book, The Community of Advantage: A Behavioural Economist’s Defence of the Market (Oxford University Press). The award selection committee said, “Robert Sugden’s book is a significant and powerful defense of a theory of the foundations of economics, which attempts to derive fundamental axioms and theorems of welfare economics from a contractarian approach in which the criterion of individual interest is not the satisfaction of preferences but rather opportunity.  The result is a defense of a regulated and psychologically/socially stable market economy (as opposed to a planned economy). Sugden offers an argument for what is mistaken about neoclassical economics and its problematic reliance on a preference-satisfaction criterion of individual interest.” More information about the [More]

Well-Being as Value Fulfillment: How We Can Help Each Other to Live Well,

2019.08.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Valerie Tiberius, Well-Being as Value Fulfillment: How We Can Help Each Other to Live Well, Oxford University Press, 2018, 214pp., $35.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198809494. Reviewed by Bernard Reginster, Brown University "Ethical theories," Valerie Tiberius claims in her opening chapter, "are for solving practical problems. . . . When it comes to well-being, the relevant questions are about what it is for a person's life to go better or worse for them." (8-9) This approach explains the book's focus on friendship -- it vividly brings out the relevant problem -- and suggests a proposed solution: "when we think about how to improve well-being, we ought to focus on people's values." (10) Chapters 2 and 3 develop this proposal, and chapters 4 and 5 examine its application to the case of friendship. There is much to like in Tiberius' perceptive explorations: the quest for well-being -- a friend's or one's own -- can be complicated... Read [More]

How to construct palindromes

A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same way forwards and backwards, like kayak or Madam, I’m Adam. The word comes to us from palindromos, made up of a pair of Greek roots: palin (meaning “again”) and dromos (meaning “way, direction”). The post How to construct palindromes appeared first on [More]