Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Affects, Actions and Passions in Spinoza: The Unity of Body and Mind

2019.08.12 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Chantal Jaquet, Affects, Actions and Passions in Spinoza: The Unity of Body and Mind, Tatiana Reznichenko (tr.), Edinburgh University Press, 2018, 168pp., $105.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781474433181. Reviewed by Amy M. Schmitter, The University of Alberta Chantal Jaquet's L'unité du corps et de l'esprit. Affects, actions passions chez Spinoza, recently translated into English by Tatiana Reznichenko, is a short book with a bold claim that: attributing a "parallelism" to Spinoza distorts his conception of the relation of mind and body. Instead we should speak of mind and body as "equal" [aequalis] and the same [or 'at once,' simul], both in their power of acting and in the order and connection of modes under the attributes of thinking and extension. Parallelism has been one way of understanding the unity of mind and body without reduction to one or the other side. Jaquet offers a revisionist way of conceiving that unity by looking at what Spinoza means by 'affect' [affectus] and how... Read [More]

Leibniz’s Philosophy of Physics

[Revised entry by Jeffrey K. McDonough on July 26, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Although better known today for his bold metaphysics and optimistic theodicy, Leibniz's intellectual contributions extended well beyond what is now generally thought of as philosophy or theology. Remarkably in an era that knew the likes of Galileo, Descartes, Huygens, Hooke and Newton, Leibniz stood out as one of the most important figures in the development of the Scientific Revolution. This entry will attempt to provide an overview of the central [More]

Philosopher Named to New State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo earlier this week announced the creation of a new “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” comprised of scholars and activists interested in various dimensions of human rights, law, and religion, to provide him with “advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Among the dozen individuals named as members of the committee is University of South Carolina Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Department of Philosophy Chair Christopher Tollefsen. The commission will be led by Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard Law) and also includes Russell Berman (Stanford, Hoover Institution), Peter Berkowitz (Hoover Institution), Paolo Carozza (Notre Dame Law and Political Science), Hamza Yusuf Hanson (Zaytuna College), Jacqueline Rivers (Seymour Institute), Meir Soloveichik (Rabbi, Congregation Shearith Israel), Kiron Skinner (State Dept.), Katrina Lantos Swett (Lantos Foundation), David Tse-Chien Pan (UC Irvine), and Cartright Weiland (State Dept.). Pompeo said: I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to say or claim that something is, in fact, a human right? How do we know or how do we determine whether that claim that this or that is a human right, is it true, and therefore, ought it to be honored? How can there be human rights, rights we possess not as privileges we are granted or even earn, but [More]

Bioethicists’ Letter on the “Ethically Abhorrent” Treatment of Children at the U.S. Border

Over 800 bioethicists have signed a letter calling for the United States government to remedy its failures to assure the children it is detaining at its border are in safe and sanitary conditions.  The letter has been provided to the lawyers representing the class of children covered by the Flores settlement, which set the government’s policies for the detention of children. There have been numerous reports regarding the horrible conditions in which the children are being kept. Below are some excerpts from the letter: We are experts in medical ethics who have devoted our careers to rigorous analysis of challenging ethical issues relevant to health and well-being, to advancing the ethical treatment of all people and especially the most vulnerable, and to examining historical failures to uphold basic ethical principles so that we can prevent future atrocities. It does not take any special expertise, however, to recognize that the conditions in which children are being detained at U.S. border facilities are ethically abhorrent and demand immediate remediation… We should not have to convince the U.S. government of its obvious ethical obligations to protect vulnerable children in its custody or of its obvious failure to satisfy those obligations to date. And yet, it appears that argument is needed. The basic principles of medical ethics entail respect for persons, avoidance of harm, and fair treatment. These principles apply whenever individual and community health [More]

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