Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Agnes Callard’s List of “views that are considered controversial that shouldn’t be”

“There’s no such thing as being good or bad at philosophy.” That’s item #12 on a list of “views that are considered controversial that shouldn’t be” that philosopher Agnes Callard (Chicago) offered up in a new interview at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher?. Interviewer Clifford Sosis (Coastal Carolina) asks, “How is it not possible to be bad at philosophy?” Callard replies: You can be good at something either by having mastered it or having a talent for it. Philosophy is unmasterable—there is no body of knowledge that could ground a claim to expertise. As for talents, the ones I can think of—being quick with distinctions, being a good writer, being good at learning formal or natural languages—are double edged swords, because they make you easily divertible from the project of philosophizing. I think we project a talent for philosophy into anyone we respect as a philosopher to protect ourselves against the scary thought that it’s our own fault we’re not like that. In fact, nothing’s stopping us but ourselves. Here’s her whole list: Socrates was not ironic. Plato wrote dialogues because that format is ideal for presenting arguments in premise-conclusion form. Aristotle’s enkratic person can (and, indeed, must) have phronesis. Aristotle’s pro-slavery stance runs deep into his ethics, not clear whether it can be excised. Kant’s ethics forms the basis of our strongest moral reactions. Nietzsche’s view of [More]

Manifesto for Public Philosophy (guest post by C. Thi Nguyen)

“It’s war, the soul of humanity is at stake, and the discipline that has been in isolation training for 2000 years for this very moment is too busy pointing out tiny errors in each other’s technique to actually join the fight..”  The following is a guest post* by C. Thi Nguyen, associate professor of philosophy at Utah Valley University. Manifesto for Public Philosophy by C. Thi Nguyen A student said to me: the problem right now is that if you don’t have any training and you go online looking for philosophy you can actually understand, 9 out of 10 things you’ll find are from the hate-web. They are propaganda, and not the seeds of critical reflection. What we need, if we are going to fight this stuff, is to produce public philosophy in volume. I just spent a couple weeks at a philosophy workshop for public philosophy, and I came out convinced that most of us have an incredibly narrow view of what public philosophy could be. Like: I tended to think public philosophy was op-eds in newspapers and articles in The Atlantic, and stuff like that. But there is so much more. People like ContraPoints and Wireless Philosophy are doing philosophy on YouTube, reaching out into a much wider world. We have some podcasters, like Barry Lam and his extraordinary Hi Phi Nation podcast. Ethics Bowl folks are pushing Ethics Bowl into high schools, into prisons. There are public discussion forums, public lectures, programs for philosophy for children. This is exactly what we [More]

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Interview with

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

Interview with

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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