Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Institutions & Evil

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Embed from Getty Images Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) introduced the alignment system to the gaming world. This system, though regarded by many players as restrictive and artificial, offered a degree of guidance on how to play good, evil, lawful, chaotic and neutral characters. This system has also proven useful in the real world, allowing gaming nerds like me to quickly categorize actions and people. This system is also rather useful for mapping the current political landscape of America. A key component of any society is its institutions. In the United States these institutions include the systems that constitute the government such as Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These institutions are used to maintain (or impose, if you prefer) order. While it is tempting to mistake order for goodness, D&D makes a clear distinction between lawful and good—a distinction long recognized by philosophers. In the. . .

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News source: Talking Philosophy

Sociobiology

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[Revised entry by Catherine Driscoll on January 16, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The term 'sociobiology' was introduced in E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) as the "systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior" (Wilson, 1975, 4). Wilson seems to intend "the biological basis of behavior" to refer to the social and ecological causes driving the evolution of behavior in animal populations, rather than the neurological or psychological causes of...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Fire and Fury shows that the political and moral problem of this president — a "real-life fictional character" — is also a literary problem: How to get below the surface of a man who is all surface

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Fire and Fury shows that the political and moral problem of this president — a "real-life fictional character" — is also a literary problem: How to get below the surface of a man who is all surface

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News source: Arts & Letters Daily

Nature and Experience: Phenomenology and the Environment

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2018.01.07 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Bryan E. Bannon (ed.), Nature and Experience: Phenomenology and the Environment, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016, 242 pp., $127.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781783485208. Reviewed by Jonathan Maskit, Denison University Environmental philosophy, like much of philosophy, is methodologically fractured. For many years the dominant strain has been environmental ethics, an approach that seeks to provide the normative grounding for environmental concern. Many environmental ethicists have debated how best to conceive of nature -- holistically, ecosystemically, as species, as individuals, etc. -- as well as what it is about nature conceived in this way that makes it morally considerable. A number of assumptions lie in the background of this approach. First is that there is a meaningful distinction to be drawn between human moral subjects and nature as an object, or set of objects, that may be deserving of moral consideration, even. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Ezra Pound: His name is synonymous with the need to separate the life (fascist-sympathizing anti-Semite) from the work (visionary poet and critic) — and the impossibility of doing so

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Ezra Pound: His name is synonymous with the need to separate the life (fascist-sympathizing anti-Semite) from the work (visionary poet and critic) — and the impossibility of doing so

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News source: Arts & Letters Daily

Thinking about the Emotions: A Philosophical History

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2018.01.06 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Alix Cohen and Robert Stern (eds.), Thinking about the Emotions: A Philosophical History, Oxford University Press, 2017, 321pp., $70.00, ISBN 9780198766858. Reviewed by Simo Knuuttila, University of Helsinki The editors write that "the volume proposes to investigate the philosophical history of the emotions by bringing together leading historians of philosophy and covering a wide spectrum of schools of thought and epochs, from ancient philosophy up to twentieth-century accounts" (1). The work contains one paper on Aristotle, one on Aquinas and Ockham, three on seventeenth-century philosophers (Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Malebranche), four on eighteenth-century philosophers (Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, Kant, Hume, Schiller) and five on post-Kantian philosophy (Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the Brentano school, Heidegger, Sartre, and analytic philosophy). It is hence mostly a study of the emotions in modern and. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Symbol for assignment of a truth-value?

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Here’s an odd thing. There seems, browsing along my shelves, to be no standard symbolic metalinguistic shorthand for assigning a truth-value to a wff (say, in the propositional calculus). You would have expected there to be some. In the first edition of my Introduction to Formal Logic, I borrowed the symbol ‘‘ to abbreviate ‘has the value … [on some given valuation]’ and wrote the likes of e.g. If and  then . But on reflection this was silly, given that the symbol ‘‘ is already overloaded (not in my book, but elsewhere — like on math.stackexchange! — where, for a start, some use it for the conditional, some use it in place of a turnstile, and some get in a tangle by using it ambiguously for both!). It seems wiser not to add to possible confusion, especially when readers might well simultaneously get to see the double arrow being used in one of these different ways. So for the upcoming second edition, I’m now minded to. . .

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News source: Logic Matters

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