Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Space Joyrides for the Rich

While the rich have long enjoyed luxury cars, mansions and yachts, the newest luxury item is the spaceship. Musk has the most useful rockets—his SpaceX vessels can put satellites into orbit and reach the International Space Station. While they do have some innovations, they are essential an evolution of existing rockets rather than a revolution. [More]

Elisabeth, Princess of Bohemia

[Revised entry by Lisa Shapiro on August 17, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Elisabeth, Princess Palatine of Bohemia (1618 - 1680) is most well-known for her extended correspondence with Rene Descartes, and indeed these letters constitute what we currently know of her extant philosophical writings. In that correspondence, Elisabeth presses Descartes on the relation between the two really distinct substances of mind and body, and in particular the possibility of their causal interaction and the nature of their union. They also correspond on Descartes's physics, on the passions and [More]

Pandemic Paralysis

I'm continually appalled by how easily people move from "the consequences of doing X are uncertain" to "X must be banned!", even when there would seem every reason to expect that X actually has high expected value and ought to be encouraged, if anything.The latest example is X = J&J booster shots for the immunocompromised (or, indeed, everyone):The weasel words there ‘isn’t enough data to determine’ indicate a typical failure to think in Bayesian terms and use all the information available and a typical failure to think in terms of patient welfare and expected cost and benefits.Notice also the illiberal default. Instead of saying ‘we don’t have data on the J&J vaccine and the immunocompromised so we are not at this time recommending or not recommending boosters but leaving this decision in the hands of patients and their physicians’ they say ‘we don’t have data and so we are forbidding patients and their physicians from making a decision using their own judgment.’It's an ongoing problem in our pandemic response that prudent precautionary measures like this get blocked, without any positive medical justification, because the Powers That Be don't follow decision theory and instead insist that we all must sit passively on the tracks, ignoring the oncoming train, while they order routine safety checks on the service ladder.Apologies for sounding like a broken record on this, but this problem of pandemic paralysis is (i) really serious, and (ii) insufficiently [More]

Call for Session Proposals: IAPS @ APA 2022

[Crossposted: ]I am seeking proposals for the IAPS affiliated group session at the 2022 Pacific APA. It is set to take place in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 13-16, 2022.I am looking for either a proposal to present a paper or a proposal for a set of thematically connected papers.Any topic within philosophy of sport is welcomed.  What I need for the proposal: Name and institutional affiliation CV Paper title & short abstract Deadline: Sept 30th, 2021If you are proposing a theme: Names and institutional affiliations of each participant CVs of each participant Paper titles & short abstracts for each paper as part of the theme. Deadline: Sept 30th, 2021All presenters will need to be IAPS members. (Joining is easy: Also, if you are planning on attending the Pacific APA and are willing to provide comments to any of the potential papers, please contact me.  Please send proposals by Sept 30th to Shawn Klein: sklein at [More]

Assistant Professor - Philosophy of Science (tenure-track)

Job List:  Americas Name of institution:  University of Toronto Town:  Toronto Country:  Canada Job Description:  The Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Toronto invites applications for a full-time tenure stream position in the area of philosophy of science. The appointment will be at the rank of Assistant Professor, with an expected start date of July 1, 2022, or shortly [More]

Pollution: The Ethics of NIMBY

When it comes to pollution, people respond with a cry of NIMBY and let loose the dogs of influence. While there is some debate about its impact, this shows that everyone gets what is obviously true: pollution is unsightly, unpleasant, and unhealthy. Air pollution alone is deadly, killing millions of us each year. As such, [More]

SHAPE and societal recovery from crises

The SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy) initiative advocates for the value of the social sciences, humanities, and arts subject areas in helping us to understand the world in which we live and find solutions to global issues. As societies around the world respond to the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, research from SHAPE disciplines has the potential to illuminate how societies process and recover from various social crises.       Related StoriesOn SHAPE: a Q&A with Lucy Noakes, Eyal Poleg, Laura Wright & Mary KellyFrom the rise to the maturation of the platform economy“Stop acting like a child”: police denial of Black [More]

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