Announcement: A New Podcast You’ll Want to Check Out

AheadofOurTime_Logo-IUBen Olsen (@bendotolsen), educator and expert in data science and its relation to philosophy (Ben has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Seattle Pacific University, and works for the Microsoft Corporation in 21st Century Jobs, Skills, and Employability) has just launched a podcast called Ahead of Our Time, where he interviews the leaders and rebels of today who are mastering the skills of tomorrow.

On the surface, the worlds of data crunching and creating algorithms that run the largest companies and services couldn’t seem any more disconnected from pure philosophical contemplation. But dig deeper and many, including CEOs and hiring managers, are finding important links between philosophy data science (one of the hottest jobs of the 21st century). In his new podcast, Ben is interested in highlighting those links. 

For example, he recently interviewed Kristen DiCerbo, one of the world’s leading experts on the future of games in the classroom, as well as a contributor to the largest education company in the world’s study that predicts what skills people will need in 2030 and beyond. Their talk focuses on a future skill of finding the “essence of things out of the big picture” which Ben calls out as a very “philosophical” exercise. “[Philosophy does] the same thing: taking the ‘data points’ of “justice”—anecdotally, intuitionally, and politically, scientifically, and making inferences about that—is the same skill for me as it is to crunch data and make inferences from it.” he notes in the interview.

CEOs in industry back this up: "You take a look at the vast variety of people that move into the profession of being a data scientist — they do come from traditional computer science. There's a big population that's coming out of math, especially statistical analysis, and there's also a big group coming from philosophy," Mike Gregoire, CEO of CA Technologies said on CNBC. "Philosophers understand how to think very logically." Philosophy News’s Paul Pardi agrees, having created a free online course with Microsoft in Logic and Computational Thinking, making the link between technology work and philosophical tools and techniques explicit.

Topics covered in Ahead of Our Time are broader than data and education and Ben seeks to show how philosophy education can help one move into many different fields and contribute. Guests include game-changers in social transformation, conflict resolution, artificial intelligence, comedy, and more. Ben tries to get to the heart of meaning and purpose, common philosophical themes that students and professors care about. His guests are answering critical questions about our future: what skills do we need to survive and thrive in the coming decades? How do some people rise above the rest to achieve great things? And, most importantly, how can we live meaningful lives in a rapidly changing world?

Listen and subscribe on iTunes and SoundCloud.

Shut Down Blame

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The government shutdown of January, 2018 led to the usual efforts to place blame. The Republicans assert that the Democrats are in the wrong—if only they would put the interest of America ahead of their unpatriotic devotion to the illegals eager to remain or cross in search of handouts, then there would be no problem. The Democrats blame the Republicans, presenting their own narrative of the evils of the Republicans. Sorting out the responsibility in such matters can be rather problematic; especially since everyone typically contributes to the problem. It is, of course, tempting to be cynical about the matter and embrace the narrative that each side is simply maneuvering to maximize the chances that its members will be re-elected in the next cycle. To truly cynical eyes, the Democrats are trying to win the votes of the brown people. The Republicans are struggling to win the votes of the white people who are terrified of the brown people. This view, I hope, does a disservice to both. . .

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News source: Talking Philosophy

Dignity: A History

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2018.01.12 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Remy Debes (ed.), Dignity: A History, Oxford University Press, 2017, 408pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780199286000. Reviewed by Y. Michael Barilan, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University Dignity is one of the building blocks of our human abstract vocabulary. Like love, friendship, hope and faith, it is a cluster concept (philosophically) and a very thick concept (anthropologically) whose nebulous core is ubiquitous in all known human cultures. At a certain moment in the history of ideas, dignity became attached to "humanity", and acquired a foundational moral value. It happened in the Jewish Bible and in Stoic philosophy. Christianity taught that original sin blemished human dignity and that only Christian grace offers some restoration. For many centuries, this move rendered dignity or Imago Dei irrelevant as a moral property of all humans. People were expected to behave with dignity and to accept the. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Presentism

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[New Entry by David Ingram and Jonathan Tallant on January 22, 2018.] Presentism is the view that only present things exist (Hinchliff 1996: 123; Crisp 2004: 15; Markosian 2004: 47 - 48). So understood, presentism is an ontological doctrine; it's a view about what exists (what there is), absolutely and unrestrictedly. The view is the subject of extensive discussion in the literature, with much of it focused on the problems that presentism allegedly faces. Thus, much of the literature that frames the development of presentism has grown up either in formulating objections to the view...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy