Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Critical Philosophy of Race

[New Entry by Linda Alcoff on September 15, 2021.] The field that has come to be known as the Critical Philosophy of Race is an amalgamation of philosophical work on race that largely emerged in the late 20th century, though it draws from earlier work. It departs from previous approaches to the question of race that dominated the modern period up until the era of civil rights. Rather than focusing on the legitimacy of the concept of race as a way to characterize human differences, Critical Philosophy of Race [More]

Companions in Guilt: Arguments in Metaethics

2021.09.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Christopher Cowie and Richard Rowland (eds.), Companions in Guilt: Arguments in Metaethics, Routledge, 2020, 232pp., $160.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138318335. Reviewed by Luke Elson, University of Reading The Moral Error Theory says that no positive moral claims (such as ‘murder is wrong’) are true. The most common argument for the theory is that the truth of such claims would involve the existence of objectionably ‘queer’ irreducibly normative or motivating properties (such as wrongness). In Mackie’s words, the queerness point is that it’s ‘in the end less paradoxical’ to reject the truth of positive moral claims than to accept their objectionable implications (1972: 42). Rather than directly arguing that (1) morality doesn’t really have the claimed implications, or (2) the implications are not so objectionable after all, ‘companions in guilt’ arguments (CGAs) purport to show that some other area of discourse also has those implications. CGAs do not offer... Read [More]

Art Scents: Exploring the Aesthetics of Smell and the Olfactory Arts

2021.09.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Larry Shiner, Art Scents: Exploring the Aesthetics of Smell and the Olfactory Arts, Oxford University Press, 2020, 355pp., $78.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190089818. Reviewed by Benjamin D. Young, University of Nevada, Reno Larry Shiner's book is a great exploratory sniff of the aesthetics of smell and the myriad types of odorific arts. Shiner does a fantastic job of introducing those unfamiliar with the subject matter to the use of smells as artwork, as well as their importance within aesthetic experiences across history and cultures. The book offers a pluralist conception of art that makes room for worldwide olfactory aesthetics, drawing on numerous historical and contemporary examples of scent arts, introductory olfactory neuroscience, and careful philosophical analysis with easy-to-follow arguments. The central moves in the core arguments are carefully laid out at the outset and elaborated throughout the book, ensuring the reader is not lost in this cross-disciplinary tome. An overview of Shiner's argument... Read [More]