Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Remembering From the Outside: An Anomalous Point of View?

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Remembering from-the-outside involves adopting a point of view that one didn’t occupy at the time of the original event. In this sense, the visual perspective of observer memories seems somehow ‘anomalous’. Here I articulate two related objections to genuine memories being recalled from-the-outside: (1) the argument from perceptual impossibility; and (2) the argument from perceptual preservation. The argument from perceptual impossibility claims that because it is impossible to see oneself from-the-outside at the time of the original experience, one cannot have a memory in which one sees oneself from-the-outside: one cannot (genuinely) remember from an observer perspective. Relatedly, the argument from perceptual preservation holds that memory must (broadly) preserve the content of the previous perceptual experience. Even if we concede that the notion of exact preservation is too strict, it is sometimes suggested that genuine memory may lose content over time (through forgetting), but nothing must be added to the content of memory. Because observer perspectives seem to have an added representation of the self, a representation that was not available at the time of encoding, then, so the argument goes, they cannot be genuine memories. Both these worries stem from a broadly preservationist view of memory. The general idea behind them is that the content that is retrieved from memory is not the same as the content that was encoded in memory. According to these two arguments, observer perspectives cannot satisfy preservationist conditions placed on the context of memory encoding. The first step in responding to these arguments is to note that memory is inherently (re)constructive. Empirical evidence shows that memories are open to change, and that their content is not fixed at the point of encoding. Memory is a creative process. It is important to note, however, that (re)constructive processes operate at different points in the memory process. There are. . .

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News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

Why some value safety, others value risk

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No one has ever crossed the Antarctic by themselves and without help from other people or engines. To me, this is very unsurprising and uninteresting. No one (outside of superhero movies) has ever shrunk themselves to the size of an ant, or turned back time by causing the earth to rotate backwards either. Big deal. But to Colin O’Brady (a 33-year-old American adventure athlete) and Louis Rudd (a 49-year-old British Army Captain) the fact that no one has ever crossed the Antarctic unsupported is very interesting. Indeed, this fact motivates them both to try to do it! When I first became aware of their stories, both men were in the midst of attempting this 921-mile journey, pulling their sleds of supplies on cross-country skiis across an icy, unforgiving terrain. Now, happily, both men have succeeded! O’Brady completed the trip in 54 days, Rudd in 56. That’s almost two months of working out hard in a freezer under the constant threat of death. Even in light of their survival and record-setting, nothing about this sounds remotely appealing to me. O’Brady and Rudd both have wives; Rudd has children. They probably also have friends. If they were my friends, I would have tried to talk them out of attempting what seems to me a crazy thing to do. If Rudd were my friend, I would even want to prevent him from going. I would consider lying to him if that would change his course: “Louis, you can’t go to the Antarctic this year because you’ll miss my wedding/Broadway debut/bat mitzvah!” But would that be good for him? I wouldn’t want my friend to risk his life in this way, but what about what he wants? One thing seems clear from the stories you read about people like O’Brady and Rudd – people who climb Everest without oxygen, or free climb El Capitan without ropes or safety gear –:  it’s really important to them to do these things. So important that many of them keep climbing, trekking, and risking their lives even after someone they know dies in the attempt. (In fact, Rudd’s. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

Episode #53 - Christin on How Algorithms Actually Impact Workers

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In this episode I talk to Angèle Christin. Angèle is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University, where she is also affiliated with the Sociology Department and Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Her research focuses on how algorithms and analytics transform professional values, expertise, and work practices. She is currently working on a book on the use of audience metrics in web journalism and a project on the use of risk assessment algorithms in criminal justice. We talk about both.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher (the RSS feed is here).Show Notes0:00 - Introduction1:30 - What's missing from the current debate about algorithmic governance? What does Angèle's ethnographic perspective add?5:10 - How does ethnography work? What does an ethnographer do?8:30 - What are the limitations of ethnographic studies?12:33 - Why did Angèle focus on the use of algorithms in criminal justice and web journalism?23:06 - What were Angèle's two key research findings? Decoupling and Buffering24:40 - What is 'decoupling' and how does it happen?30:00 - Different attitudes to algorithmic tools in the US and France (French journalists, perhaps surprisingly, more obsessed with real time analytics than their American counterparts)39:20 - What explains the ambivalent attitude to metrics in different professions?44:42 - What is 'buffering' and how does it arise?54:30 - How people who worry about algorithms might misunderstand the practical realities of criminal justice57:47 - Does the resistance/acceptance of an algorithmic tool depend on the nature of the tool and the nature of the workplace? What might the relevant variables be?  Relevant LinksAngèle's Homepage"Algorithms in Practice: Comparing Web Journalism and Criminal Justice" by Angèle"Counting Clicks: Quantification and Variation in Web Journalism in the United States and France" by Angèle"Courts and. . .

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News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

Blackface, Shoes & Clothing Part II: Perception

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Behind the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is the philosophic theory that beauty is a subjective quality that depends on the judgment (or feelings) of the perceiver. This saying could be modified to apply to determining whether an aesthetic object, such as a black balaclava jumper or shoes, is a blackface object: “blackface is in the eye of the beholder.” The underlying principle would be that whether an object is blackface or not depends on the judgment (or feelings) of the perceiver. Image Credit If blackface is in the eye of the beholder, then it is up to the beholder to determine whether an object is blackface or not. This might be a matter of judgment or a matter of feeling, depending on the broader aesthetic theory in play. One problem with applying this principle in general would be that whether an object is blackface or not would be subjective. As such, those who assert that an object is not blackface because they do not see it this way would be just as right (or wrong) as those who take the opposite position. However, there is a way to grant a certain audience a privileged right to judge (or feel). One obvious way to argue for this view is to draw an analogy to insult. Whether something is an insult or not depends on the target of the alleged insult. If the target does not judge or feel that the alleged insult is an insult, then it is not. If the target judges or feels the alleged insult is an insult, then it is. In the case of objects alleged to be blackface, there is the question of who is analogous to the target of a suspected insult One easy and obvious approach, one that would presumably be favored by those cast as social justice warriors, is that the potential target of any potential blackface object would be blacks. As such, whether an object is a blackface object or not would be decided by the judgment or feeling of black people (and perhaps also those with adequate levels of woke). One could easily get bogged down in. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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