Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Taking the Measure of Autonomy: A Four-Dimensional Theory of Self-Governance

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2018.03.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Suzy Killmister, Taking the Measure of Autonomy: A Four-Dimensional Theory of Self-Governance, Routledge, 2017, 200pp., $140.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138700123. Reviewed by Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, Sam Houston State University This ambitious book cuts against the grain. Killmister lays out a framework for thinking about autonomy that eschews the received view in many quarters. Difficulty reconciling the various uses to which "autonomy" is put has led to calls for a moratorium on our use of the term. Killmister demurs. Good for her. Her view centers on the idea that there are several dimensions to autonomy, and while they are related, one may fall short in one but not the others. The result is a nuanced theory of autonomy that illuminates how the concept applies in a range of domains and to a range of agents. Killmister puts a wealth of cases to good use. This... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Heidegger, Morality and Politics: Questioning the Shepherd of Being

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2018.03.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Sonia Sikka, Heidegger, Morality and Politics: Questioning the Shepherd of Being, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 244 pp., $99.99, ISBN 9781108419796. Reviewed by Karsten Harries, Yale University Presenting itself as "an exegesis and friendly critique of Martin Heidegger's moral and political philosophy" (p. 1), this book is more than that: it is also a thought-provoking statement of Sikka's own position, a Heidegger-inflected moral realism. Free of the partisanship that mars so much of the Heidegger literature, the book demonstrates an admirable command of both the primary and the secondary literature, as also of such thinkers as Herder, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Nietzsche. Sikka's aim is to challenge the claim that Heidegger's concern with the question of being has little to offer ethics. Given that aim, it is to be expected that she would challenge both those scholars who assert that there is no. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Public Justification

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[Revised entry by Kevin Vallier on March 1, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Some political philosophers and theorists place a requirement of public justification on the permissible use of state coercion or political power. According to these theorists the recognition of citizens as free and equal moral persons requires that coercion be justified for or to others by their own lights, or with reasons that they could recognize as valid. On this view, a public justification is achieved when members of the relevant public have adequate or sufficient reason to endorse a particular coercive proposal, law or...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

On Parfit on Knowing What Matters

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If I had to pick a "favourite philosopher", it would be Derek Parfit.  His book Reasons and Persons is, in my view, the best there is -- containing striking insights and arguments on every page, and laying the groundwork for basically all subsequent work on the deepest puzzles surrounding consequentialism, personal identity, and population ethics.  So it was a great honour to have him respond to my paper 'Knowing What Matters' in his third volume of On What Matters.  I wish he were still around to be able to continue the conversation further, as I would have liked to prompt him to engage more closely with various claims (that he was instead initially inclined to reject by just re-asserting his antecedent view). Sadly, that's no longer possible.  But I guess I can at least continue my side of the conversation, and perhaps other readers will suggest further comments and responses that could be made on Parfit's behalf.'Knowing What Matters' argues that Parfit. . .

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News source: Philosophy, et cetera

The New Mechanical Philosophy

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2018.02.31 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Stuart Glennan, The New Mechanical Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2017, 266pp., $40.00, ISBN 9780198779711. Reviewed by Thomas W. Polger, University of Cincinnati Minimal mechanism holds that "a mechanism for a phenomenon consists of entities (or parts) whose activities and interactions are organized so as to be responsible for the phenomenon" (17). Stuart Glennan argues that minimal mechanism characterizes what is common ground among various of the recent mechanistic views of scientific ontology and scientific explanation (cf. Bechtel and Richardson 1993; Glennan 1996; Machamer, Darden, and Craver 2000.) According to this "New Mechanical Philosophy" or (more commonly) "New Mechanism", the discovery of mechanisms is an important objective of many sciences, especially but not only the life and cognitive sciences. Moreover, mechanistic explanation is an important and distinctive variety of explanation. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
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