Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Cancel Culture & Critical Race Theory

In the context of their war on “cancel culture” Republicans professes a profound devotion to the First Amendment, freedom of expression and the marketplace of ideas. As noted in earlier essays, they generally frame these battles in disingenuous ways or simply lie. For example, Republicans have raged against the alleged cancellation of Dr. Seuss, but [More]

Five Fallacies of Collective Harm

It's often thought that "collective harm" can result from a collection of contributions despite each individual increment to the number of contributions allegedly making no difference at all. I think this is incoherent, or at any rate entirely unmotivated. There seem to be five main reasons why people tend to hold this dubious view. In this post, I'll briefly explain why each is misguided.(1) The Rounding to Zero Fallacy. As Parfit noted in his famous discussion of "moral mathematics", it's really important not to neglect tiny chances of having a huge impact.  The latter could well have high expected value, which you'll lose sight of if you mistakenly treat "tiny chance" as equivalent to "no chance at all". (Previously discussed here.)(2) The Chunky Fallacy involves claiming that a system "isn't sensitive to small changes" even though it is sensitive to large changes, and a sufficient number of small changes constitutes a large change. (I take this to include "threshold-moving" maneuvers; see, e.g., my response to the claim that "the system is not sensitive to a single vote, and anything close to even will be decided by the courts or the like.")(3) The First-Increment Fallacy involves generalizing from the first increment in a sequence, even when it is not representative.  Sinnott-Armstrong's argument that emergence blocks individual impact for GHG emissions rests on this fallacy.  (As do certain anti-aggregative intuitions.)(4) The [More]

Death Determiners

If a person dies in the United States and is not in the care of a doctor, then any investigation into their cause of death will probably be conducted by a medical examiner or coroner. To qualify as a medical examiner, a person must be a physician and they are often board qualified in forensic [More]

Florida: Recording Professors

As this is being written, a Republican bill has been passed in Florida that would allow students to record lectures without the professors’ consent. The bill also encourages students to report lectures they think are stifling “viewpoint diversity” on campuses. Republicans have claimed that this bill is intended as protection against “Marxist professors and students.” [More]

The Denial of Death and Risk Assessment

The threat of widespread death from COVID-19 has become so all consuming that we're willing to give up real community, finances, jobs, possibly a healthy mental life, and, perhaps worst of all, the ability to buy toilet paper at any local store. We’ve somehow decided that all the things we thought we apparently valued prior to the disease can be set aside because this one option—stopping the spread of COVID-19—is the only thing that matters. [More]

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Dr. Robert McKim
  • on Religious Diversity
  • Professor of Religion and Professor of Philosophy
  • Focuses on Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

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Dr. Alvin Plantinga
  • on Where the Conflict Really Lies
  • Emeritus Professor of Philosophy (UND)
  • Focuses on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

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Dr. Peter Boghossian
  • on faith as a cognitive sickness
  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
  • Focuses on atheism and critical thinking
  • Has a passion for teaching in prisons
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