Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Do We Know that We’re not Brains in Vats?: Polls and Surveys

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This is the first time I’ve been back to Certain Doubts in a while. It seems a bit like walking about a ghost town, with all the posts being announcements and there being no comments. I remember the discussions that went on here. (Those discussions seem to echo about these deserted streets, I’d say – if I were that kind of person.) In fact, some of my own published work started at in discussions here. And it’s a case of that that brings me back now. Back in June of 2004, I reported the results of some polls I had taken in classes I taught on whether we know that we’re not brains in vats in a post here called “Polls Show that the Skeptic is Right.” The discussion that followed was very helpful to me. Since then, I’ve conducted the poll several more times — the results of a couple were reported on late-added comments to the old post, and the last time (not reported anywhere until now) was this past January, where the class was quite. . .

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Five things you might not know about Edmund Burke

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Edmund Burke (1730-1797) was an Irishman and a prominent Whig politician in late 18th century England, but he is now most commonly known as “the founder of modern conservatism”—the canonical position which he has held since the beginning of the 20th century in Britain and the rest of the world. But it took a great deal of time for Burke’s complex and various intellectual productions on Ireland, America, India, France, and British politics—which took the form of books, letters, pamphlets, and periodical contributions—to be boiled down to a neat, though rather vague, body of political principles, usually identified as tradition, historicism, religion, property, and hostility to abstract thinking. Below is a list of five other things you may not know about the legacy of Edmund Burke. 1. Burke was heavily criticized in his lifetime and in the years following his death. Burke was depicted as a suspected Jesuit, a deathbed Catholic convert, and his speeches were so long Burke gained the. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

Primitive Colors: A Case Study in Neo-pragmatist Metaphysics and Philosophy of Perception

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2018.06.11 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Joshua Gert, Primitive Colors: A Case Study in Neo-pragmatist Metaphysics and Philosophy of Perception, Oxford University Press, 2017, 237 pp., $60.00, ISBN 9780198785910.   Reviewed by Pär Sundström, Umeå University Some think colours are properties of cucumbers and tomatoes. Others that they are properties of sense-data or visual experiences. Yet others think that colours are like the property of ruling by divine right: they are properties nothing has despite some beliefs to the contrary. One thing that nearly everyone agrees on in this debate is that something has a determinable colour, like red, blue or green, if and only if it has a determinate colour, i.e., a specific shade of red, blue and green. A centre-piece of this book is a rejection of that agreement. According to Gert, determinable colours, which he prefers to call "rough colours" or "objective colours", are properties of objects in... . . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Plato on the Value of Philosophy: the Art of Argument in the Gorgias and Phaedrus

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2018.06.12 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tushar Irani, Plato on the Value of Philosophy: the Art of Argument in the Gorgias and Phaedrus, Cambridge University Press, 2017, 201 pp., $99.99, ISBN 9781107181984. Reviewed by Frisbee C. C. Sheffield, University of Cambridge The central contention of this book is that the way in which we approach argument, for Plato, reveals something about our desires and motivations, particularly with respect to others (p. 3), and so the key to engaging in argument correctly is found in an understanding of the human soul (p. 4). "This book is the first to argue that what the traditional pursuit of rhetoric lacks for Plato is a comprehensive understanding of the human soul and its characteristic good" (p. 4). The Phaedrus makes it explicit that rhetoric needs an understanding of the soul (270c), but the real contribution of this enjoyable and readable book lies in the detailed arguments for this view, and the way in. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Philosophy

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2018.06.13 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michiko Yusa, (ed.), The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Philosophy, Bloomsbury, 2017, 391pp., $158.40, ISBN 9781474232692. Reviewed by John A. Tucker, East Carolina University This book is a valuable contribution to the rapidly growing field of Japanese philosophy. A nicely produced anthology, it includes a thoughtful introduction by the editor, Michiko Yusa, fourteen erudite essays subdivided into five sections, plus a convenient summary of the essays, notes on the contributors, an account of abbreviations and conventions, an appendix including two essays by Nishida Kitarō, a timeline with dates for the thinkers discussed, an index of Japanese texts cited, and a more traditional index, including kanji, of names and terms mentioned in the anthology. Overall, the scholarly apparatuses included make this volume an extraordinarily well-organized and helpful resource for those conducting. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Fuzzy Logic and Mathematics: A Historical Perspective

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2018.06.14 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Radim Bělohlávek, Joseph W. Dauben, and George J. Klir, Fuzzy Logic and Mathematics: A Historical Perspective, Oxford University Press, 2017, 531pp., $99.00, ISBN 9780190200015. Reviewed by Christian Fermüller, Technische Universität Wien Fuzzy logic is a wide, some would even say a wild, topic. Some years ago, on a trip to Vietnam, I found the label "Fuzzy Logic" prominently attached to the water heater in my hotel room. I can't imagine that, say, an epistemologist or an expert in modal logic, for that matter, will ever encounter the name of her research field attached to basic equipment of daily life. I mention this only to emphasize that any book about fuzzy logic, addressed to a general audience, has to face a wide range expectations, possibly also preconceptions in view of the controversies that accompanied the topic since its initiation by Lotfi A. Zadeh in the 1960s. The title of this book might... . . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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