Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Monthly gleanings for September 2019

Some more finger work: in the posts for September 25 and October 2, 2019, the etymology of the word finger was discussed. Some comments on the first one require further notice. Final -r. I deliberately stayed away from the origin of -r in fingr-, though I did mention the problem. The post Monthly gleanings for September 2019 appeared first on [More]

Syllabus Showcase: Alexandra Bradner, Justice and Care, A Community-based Learning Syllabus

by Alexandra Bradner  Alexandra Bradner is the former chair of the APA’s Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy, a former member of the APA’s Board of Officers, and the current Executive Director of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. She recently edited Philosophers in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching (Hackett 2018) with Steven M. Cahn and Andrew [More]

The journalist who created Jack the Ripper

Many of us know the name Jack the Ripper. Perhaps we associate it with a dark shadow wearing a top hat and holding a knife in the middle of a foggy street in Victorian London. But not many of us know that this image is very far away from any reliable fact that has reached us about the 1888 tragic events that took place in Whitechapel. The post The journalist who created Jack the Ripper appeared first on [More]

Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility

2019.10.05 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Alfred R. Mele, Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility, Oxford University Press, 2019, 192pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190927967. Reviewed by Christian Helmut Wenzel, National Taiwan University This is a short book of 174 pages and in large print. Over the years, Alfred Mele has written many books on free will, and this new one draws much on his earlier 1995 Autonomous Agents: From Self-Control to Autonomy and his 2006 Free Will and Luck. The basic aim of the new book is to respond to critics and to test and examine our intuitions about moral responsibility by considering examples. Each example concerns a pair, involving a normal agent and a manipulated agent, who are roughly identical at a certain time of action, say for one day, but have very different histories before that day. Say, one has always been good (Sally) and the other bad (Chuck), but then one of... Read [More]

Relational Quantum Mechanics

[Revised entry by Federico Laudisa and Carlo Rovelli on October 8, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Relational Quantum Mechanics (RQM) is the most recent among the interpretations of quantum mechanics which are most discussed today. It was introduced in 1996, with quantum gravity as a remote motivation (Rovelli 1996); interests in it has slowly but steadily grown only in the last decades. RQM is essentially a refinement of the textbook "Copenhagen" interpretation, where the role of the Copenhagen observer is not limited to the classical world, but can instead be assumed by any physical system. RQM rejects an [More]

Philosophical Apps: How To Popularize Philosophy (guest post by Caleb Ontiveros)

The following is a guest post* by Caleb Ontiveros, a former philosophy Ph.D. student who now works as a software engineer. Philosophical Apps: How To Popularize Philosophy by Caleb Ontiveros The mediums available for popularizing philosophy are underexplored. If you want to share philosophical thought and techniques with non-academic philosophers and such, the medium matters. Why should philosophy’s would-be popularizers care about the medium? Historically, philosophers have not been the best at identifying how to bring their thought to the masses. “Non-philosophers” tend to get a lot more exposure. If you ask an ordinary person who their favorite contemporary philosopher is, there’s a decent chance that they’ll name someone like Jordan Peterson or Nassim Taleb, and possibly then Peter Singer and maybe Slavoj Žižek. This may or may not be bad, but it’s relevant if you care about popularizing. The typical model for popularizing philosophy has been to write popular books, publish at popular websites or in well-known publications, and basically go on speaking tours. For many academic philosophers, the model of popularization hasn’t advanced much further. But given the diverse forms of communication and interaction available to people today, we must recognize that the strategy of “share ideas with enough readers of the New York Times, lecture enough, and publish a few books” is limited in its effectiveness and reach. Fortunately, there has been some [More]

Lynch Wins 2019 NCTE George Orwell Award

Michael P. Lynch, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, is the winner of the 2019 George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  The award “recognizes writers who have made outstanding contributions to the critical analysis of public discourse.” The NCTE states: The Orwell Award emphasizes the importance of honesty and clarity in public language, and Michael Patrick Lynch’s book Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture reminds us that honesty and clarity is more than just listening to speakers behind a podium; honesty and clarity in public language also refers to how we interact every day with those around us. Lynch accessibly explores aspects around and within public language, including the ideas of how our convictions affect both our worldview and the resulting discourse, and how intellectual arrogance and intellectual humility shape our interactions with others. Relying of the frameworks of philosophers from Dewey to Montaigne to Socrates, Lynch offers us a path to consider for how we speak with and listen to others in our 21st century political landscape. The award was established in 1975. Previous winners include not just other academics, such as legal scholar and bioethicist Katie Watson (Northwestern) and David Greenberg (Rutgers), but also entertainers such as Jon Stewart, authors [More]