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What Compassionate Conservatism Could Be

The old conservative ideology held that low taxes on the rich were essential for economic growth, the benefits would "trickle down" to help everyone, and private charity could step in to help should any of the "deserving poor" somehow be left by the wayside.  But trickle-down economics is now widely discredited, and the extraordinary levels of inequality found in the US are becoming harder to defend. One option for economic conservatives is to just change the subject: ramp up racial animus and other cultural tensions to distract from one's continued attempts to rework the economy in ways that serve only the wealthiest individuals.  That seems pretty evil to me, but it sadly seems to be the way that many are going these days.  Sad realities aside, though, I'm interested in whether there's logical space for a more intellectually and morally ambitious form of conservatism that could provide a worthwhile counterpoint to (e.g.) Elizabeth Warren's ambitious liberalism.I think there could be, though it would look very different from what conservatives defend today.  I think there could be a worthwhile form of (genuinely) compassionate conservatism that began by appreciating liberal critiques of radical wealth inequality, and the need for redistributive taxation, but that responds by offering an alternative -- "small government" -- solution of what to do with the raised funds. Rather than tasking untrustworthy politicians with solving society's [More]

Campos Wins Brian Barry Prize

Andre Santos Campos, a research fellow and assistant professor at the Nova Institute of Philosophy at Nova University of Lisbon, has won the 2019 Brian Barry Prize in Political Science. Dr. Campos won the prize for his essay, “Representing the Future: The Interests of Future Persons in Representative Democracy.” The prize is awarded by the British Academy in partnership with Cambridge University Press and the British Journal of Political Science, in which the winning essay will be published. Created in 2014, the prize honors the late Brian Barry, well-known for his work in political and moral philosophy, and who was a founding editor of the journal and a distinguished fellow of the British Academy. As Dr. Campos notes, “Brian Barry was one of the first major political theorists to bring attention to the challenges posed by intergenerational justice to contemporary liberal democracies, especially concerning the future. This is undoubtedly one of the most pressing areas of research in political studies nowadays.” He adds, “To be able to contribute to it with my own research while following Professor Brian Barry’s footsteps is a privilege I accept as carrying great responsibility.” You can read more about this prize, and see a list of previous winners, here.   The post Campos Wins Brian Barry Prize appeared first on Daily [More]

Philanthropy Vouchers and Public Debate: Political vs Civic Advocacy

It's interesting to compare the ways we talk and think about political vs non-political (civic/philanthropic or market) agents, advocacy, and organization.  Consider the common objection to Effective Altruism, that it allegedly "neglects the need for systemic change."  I've rebutted this objection before, but a different aspect of it that I want to focus on today is that the criticism seems to presuppose that only politics can be systemic.  But why assume that?EAs advocate that everyone donate at least 10% of their incomes to effective causes.  If that happened, the world would be radically transformed: ending extreme poverty, material deprivation, and easily preventable disease, forever.  So if that's not a "systemic change", I don't know what is.  Admittedly, what we're calling for (in the first instance) is change to the behaviour of agents in the system, rather than changes to the rules of the system.  But changing the rules also requires behaviour (just of a political sort), so it's not entirely clear what the basis is for seeing any deep distinction or disagreement here.Perhaps the thought is that the sort of 'systemic change' constituted by universal acceptance of Effective Altruism is just too unrealistic.  That might seem an odd criticism for political radicals (of all people) to make, but it's certainly more probable that (enough) people change their political behaviour to elect a radical [More]

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