Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Is Trump a Tyrant? IV: Red Herring & Two Bad

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As this was being written, it was announced that the G-7 summit would be held at Trump’s Miami golf resort. Once again, his defenders have been tasked with explaining why this obvious exploitation of his office and clear violation of the emoluments clause is actually perfectly normal and fine. This adds yet another example in support of the claim that Trump is a tyrant. Trump will simply enrich himself and his family at the expense of the public while providing nothing for the public good. This is a clear case of tyrannical behavior. Now back to the discussion of fallacious responses to the argument by definition that Trump is a tyrant. Image Credit Since the Red Herring fallacy is so common, it is no surprise that Trump’s defenders press it into service. A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form: 1. Topic A is under discussion. 2. Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is not relevant to topic A). 3. Topic A is abandoned. This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim. This fallacy is often used in conjunction with the similar Two Bad fallacy. This fallacy has the following form: 1. Premises 1: A has done X, which is bad. 2.  Premise 2: A (or a defender of A) points out that B has also done X. 3. Conclusion: A doing X was not bad. This reasoning is fallacious because the fact that someone else has done the same thing does not make it not bad. This fallacy is like Two Wrongs; in Two Wrongs the “reasoning” is that something wrong is not wrong if someone else would or has done it to you. The difference is that this fallacy does not require that the other person would or has. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

Mike’s Free Encounter #15: Dwarven Guard Post

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This is the 15th in an ongoing series aimed to provide the overworked DM with ready-to run encounters. The PCs have the chance to receive aid from friendly dwarves or, if they prefer, murder them. The encounter includes: History/Background for the encounter.New MonstersEncounter guide.Color Maps The companion ZIP file contains: JPEG and Campaign Cartographer versions of the maps (with and without grid).Hero Lab file for the encounter.Word file of the encounter.PDF of the character sheets for all the monsters. https://www.dmsguild.com/product/292004/Mikes-Free-Encounter-15-Dwarven-Guard-Post

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

Rom Harré (1927-2019)

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Rom Harré, a wide-ranging thinker whose academic career included over 30 years as part of the philosophy faculty at Oxford University, followed by over 20 as part of the psychology faculty at Georgetown University, and a great many visiting appointments around the world, has died. Professor Harré was born in New Zealand, and received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and philosophy at what was then the University of New Zealand. After teaching math for several years, he went to Oxford for his B.Phil. In 1957 he began a lectureship at University of Leicester, and in 1960 he joined the philosophy faculty at Oxford. After retiring from Oxford in 1995, he took up a distinguished research professorship in psychology at Georgetown. Throughout his career, he visited and taught at many other institutions, including American University (DC), SUNY Binghamton, Aoyama University (Tokyo), Universidad Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Peru); Free University at Brussels; Aarhus University (Denmark) and others. Professor Harré worked in philosophy of science, including philosophy of social science, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy chemistry, and philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language, Wittgenstein, and a variety of other subjects. You can learn about some of his works here. In the highly informative introduction to a detailed interview with Professor Harré conducted in 2014, interviewers Simone Belli and Juan Aceros describe his work in philosophy of science (“focused on destabilizing the central doctrines of logical empiricism and positivism”) and psychology (particularly his development of “ethogenics,” an approach to social behavior that views it as “a cooperative achievement that can be studied by using a microsociological dramaturgical point of view”). You also get from them a sense of the kind of man he was: “Harré is a person for whom intellectual adventure is incompatible. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

APA Member Interview: Peter Andes

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Peter Andes is a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Alberta. He specializes in moral and political philosophy. His PhD research is on the ethical issues involved in procreation. What excites you about philosophy? Just when I think I’ve made up my mind on some issue, I’ll encounter some forcefully made argument that […]

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News source: Blog of the APA

Aristotle on Earlier Greek Psychology: The Science of the Soul

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2019.10.09 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Jason W. Carter, Aristotle on Earlier Greek Psychology: The Science of the Soul, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 253pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781108481076. Reviewed by Jerry Green, University of Central Oklahoma Book I of Aristotle's De Anima (DA) is an oft-neglected portion of the Aristotelian corpus, even among specialists in Aristotle's psychology. DA I is largely concerned with the views of Aristotle's predecessors, and many scholars have seen Aristotle's critiques of these views as unpersuasive, unmotivated, and perhaps even unfair, which in any case offer little insight into Aristotle's own thinking on the nature of the soul. Consequently, the literature on the DA tends to make a fresh start with DA II, relegating DA I to an ancillary status. James W. Carter's book offers an overdue alternative approach to DA I, one which reads DA's first book as an integral part of the overall argument. Carter argues that DA I... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Occasionalism

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[Revised entry by Sukjae Lee on October 17, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] We live in a world that seems to be brimming with causal activity. I push the keys on my keyboard, and letters appear on the screen. Outside the wind blows leaves across the patio. The ringing of the phone cuts short my idling thoughts. Philosophers have long wondered about the nature of causality. Are there true causes at work in the world, and, if so, what makes them...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Triumphantly Breaking Free from Academic Philosophy, But Still…

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In 2015 I received the National Humanities Medal at a ceremony at the White House. President Obama himself put the medal around my neck, and the rumor was that he made the final choice. In the speech he gave before awarding all the medals, in addition to citing my work on Gödel and Spinoza and Plato, he spoke of me as the philosopher who sometimes chooses to write novels. Again, the suggestion that I wasn’t any less of a philosopher for writing novels is what made me the happiest. That’s Rebecca Goldstein, in an interview with Clifford Sosis at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? The interview is fascinating throughout. One of its themes is the intensity of the pull of academic philosophy for those within its gravity. Kyouei Design, “Magnetic Field Record” Goldstein was a philosophy professor at Barnard when her first novel, The Mind-Body Problem, was published, to critical acclaim. She says: I did something completely insane for someone who had her heart set on an academic career in philosophy, especially as a woman, meaning someone who really had to do everything right to have any chance of being taken seriously. I published a novel, called The Mind-Body Problem… Shelly [Goldstein’s husband then] was horrified, warning me that I’d ruin my nascent career in philosophy, and obviously he was right, but I didn’t have the ears to hear what he was saying… The book received attention out in the world. It was a bestseller. And if being a novelist had been something I’d set my heart on then what happened would have been beyond wonderful. It’s hard to feel sorry for that younger me, having a successful novel on her hands. Poor kid, what a problem. But frankly, I didn’t know what to do with that success. Frankly, it embarrassed me. Goldstein has gone on to have a successful career as a novelist and writer. Yet she was ambivalent about her early success; it left her unsure of the quality of her philosophical thinking, or what academic. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

Cosmopolitanism

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[Revised entry by Pauline Kleingeld and Eric Brown on October 17, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The word 'cosmopolitan', which derives from the Greek word kosmopolitēs ('citizen of the world'), has been used to describe a wide variety of important views in moral and socio-political philosophy. The nebulous core shared by all cosmopolitan views is the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, are (or can and should be) citizens in a single community. Different versions of cosmopolitanism envision this...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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