Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Powers Metaphysic

2020.05.12 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Neil E. Williams, The Powers Metaphysic, Oxford University Press, 2019, 256pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198833574. Reviewed by Anna Marmodoro, Durham University What does Neil E. Williams' new book add to the on-going (and fast-going!) development of metaphysics of powers, on which so much has been written already? Among the most novel and attractive features of Williams' work is its earnest engagement in the project of understanding what the opponents -- the neo-Humeans -- hold. Rarely do those who are in one camp invest effort in giving a fair presentation of opposing camps; whilst Williams devotes two of his ten chapters to clarify what is at stake in the debate between 'friends' and 'enemies' of powers in terms of their respective worldviews. Further, and in the same vein, Williams devotes a chapter to discussing the most well-known objections to powers, the virtus dormitiva objection. Even... Read [More]

Guest post: Thomas Forster on Conceptions of Set and motivating NF

The next chapter of Conceptions of Set discusses set theories like NF that modify naive comprehension by imposing a stratification condition. My friend Thomas Forster, NF-iste extraordinaire, has been looking at some of Luca’s book too, and dropped me this … Continue reading → The post Guest post: Thomas Forster on Conceptions of Set and motivating NF appeared first on Logic [More]

Victor Gorshkov (1935-2019): a life for the biosphere.

The basic concept of the biotic regulation of Earth's temperature according to Gorshkov et al, 2002. The figure shows the potential function U(T) for the global mean surface temperature. Stable states correspond to pits, unstable states to hills. The modern value of +15°C (288 K) corresponds to an unstable state (2, thin line). Physically stable states correspond to a frozen Earth (state 1) and a red-hot Earth (state 3). We are precariously living in a shallow minimum of potential energy that defines the habitable zone for the biosphere. This state can be created and maintained only by a healthy biosphere. On May 10th, 2019, Victor Georgievic Gorshkov died at 83 in St. Petersburg, after a life dedicated to scientific research that he continued to perform up to nearly the last moment. One year later, I thought I could publish this small homage to his figure and his work. His longtime coworker and companion, Anastassia Makarieva, was also kind enough to write a summary of Gorshkov's life and work for this blog. In many ways, science follows the 20/80 rule, sometimes called the "Pareto's rule," which tells that 80% of the work is performed by just 20% of the performers. But it may well be that Pareto was an optimist if his rule is applied to science. It seems more likely that science works because, as Newton said long ago, a small number of creative "giants" emerge out of the general mediocrity. One of these creative people, a true giant of science, was Victor Gorshkov [More]

Conspiring with the Enemy: The Ethic of Cooperation in Warfare

2020.05.11 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Yvonne Chiu, Conspiring with the Enemy: The Ethic of Cooperation in Warfare, Columbia University Press, 2019, 344pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780231182454. Reviewed by Jovana Davidovic, University of Iowa War is an exercise in brutality defined by the breaking of ordinary moral norms. Yet, over and over again, history presents us with cases of enemies seemingly ignoring what war requires of them and cooperating with each other sometimes against their own interest. In this book, Yvonne Chiu examines this phenomenon. Theorizing about ethics of war far too often lacks reference to real-life lessons. This in turn often results in theories of war that cannot be straightforwardly used for decision-making in war, and accounts that are so far removed from practitioner's experiences that they get ignored. Ignoring the reality of war also often leads to blind spots regarding whole sets of ethical questions about war. Such is the case with ethic... Read [More]

Wilhelm Windelband

[New Entry by Katherina Kinzel on May 18, 2020.] Wilhelm Windelband (1848 - 1915) was a German neo-Kantian philosopher. He is considered the founding father of the Baden (or Southwest) school of Neo-Kantianism. The Baden school included his student and successor at Heidelberg, Heinrich Rickert (1863 - 1936), and Rickert's student Emil Lask (1875 - 1915) as its core members. Alongside his contemporary Hermann Cohen (1842 - 1918) - the founder of the Marburg school of Neo-Kantianism - Windelband is a central proponent [More]

Mindscape Podcast Interview on Automation and Utopia

Sean Carroll is one of my favourite authors and podcasters. He is a great cosmologist and defender of philosophical naturalism. His podcast Mindscape is the first thing I listen to every week. It was, consequently, a great privilege to be a guest on this podcast to discuss my book Automation and Utopia. You can listen below or check out the original post on Sean's website.   #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]

Victor Gorshkov: a life for the biosphere.

The basic concept of the biotic regulation of Earth's temperature according to Gorshkov et al, 2002. The figure shows the potential function U(T) for the global mean surface temperature. Stable states correspond to pits, unstable states to hills. The modern value of +15°C (288 K) approximately corresponds to an unstable state (2, thin line). Physically stable states correspond to a frozen Earth (state 1) and a red-hot Earth (state 3). We are precariously living in a shallow minimum of potential energy that defines the habitable zone for the biosphere. This state can be created and maintained only by a healthy biosphere. On May 10th, 2019, Victor Gerogievic Gorshkov died in St. Petersburg after a life dedicated to scientific research that he continued to perform up to nearly the last moment. One year later, I thought I could publish this small homage to his figure and his work. His longtime coworker and companion, Anastassia Makarieva, was also kind enough to write a summary of Victor's life and work for this blog. In many ways, science follows the 20/80 rule, sometimes called the "Pareto's rule," which tells that 80% of the work is performed by just 20% of the performers. Maybe Pareto was an optimist and it may be that science works because, as Newton said long ago, a small number of "giants" emerge out of the general mediocrity. One of these creative people, a true giant of science, was Victor Gorshkov (1935-2019), researcher at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, [More]