Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Trump’s Abandoned Mob

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After years of shaping his base, Trump incited them to launch an attack on the capitol to overturn the election. While resulting in surprisingly few deaths, this coup attempt failed. While the right attempted to blame the attack on Antifa, the FBI quickly refuted this absurd lie. As Trump’s final days in office approached, the rioters pleaded for pardons. Since they believed they were doing the will of Trump, it makes sense that they would expect a pardon—after all, they were his loyal warriors who attacked the United States to keep him on the throne. Trump, who went home to watch the riot on TV rather than leading his forces, abandoned them once again. He did, however, issue numerous pardons—just none for them. In fiction, such abandoned followers would be outraged and later seek vengeance for the cruel betrayal. But Trump’s most devoted followers dwell in an alternate reality in which Trump is their god-emperor and his throne was stolen. Many of them also embrace the ludicrous (but dangerous) fictional world of QAnon that envisions Trump as the savior of America—he will sweep away child-stealing cultists in the storm. As such, it would not be surprising if this abandoned mob weaves a narrative in which the heroic Trump has gone to Florida to heroically prepare for the next battle. One for which he will, without doubt, call forth his loyal warriors to place him back on the throne that is rightfully his. Or maybe this will shock them out of their delusion, and they will see Trump for what he really is: a squalid little drifter, a soulless husk of pure selfishness.     My Amazon Author Page My Paizo Page My DriveThru RPG Page Follow Me on Twitter

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

The Risk of Excessive Conservatism

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In 'Lessons from the Pandemic', I summarized what I took to be some of the biggest mistakes of the pandemic response, and tried to give a sense of the scale of the potential damage done, along with some concrete suggestions for how we might have done vastly better.  Some readers (e.g. here) seemed of the opinion that only those with "authority" should express such opinions, which I obviously disagree with.  But to better help such readers, it might be helpful to bracket any particular empirical details or examples and focus instead on the most general overarching claim of my post: that excessive conservatism risks immense harm in a pandemic.One doesn't need a medical degree to see that this more modest (yet still important) claim is true.  For it does not require us to establish that some unconventional pandemic policy truly would be much better; it suffices to note that an unconventional pandemic policy easily could be much better -- i.e., there's a non-trivial probability of this -- and since excessive conservatism would dismiss such unconventional proposals out of hand, such conservatism poses a significant risk of immense harm.  Since it is worth guarding against significant risks of immense harm, it is worth guarding against excessive conservatism in a pandemic. To turn this into a more pointed critique of the medical/policy establishment (and elite public opinion), we can simply observe that there is no evidence that said establishment (or elite opinion) is suitably aware of this risk, or that they have taken suitable steps to guard against excessive conservatism.  Quite the opposite, I think: the publicly-available evidence (including establishment pronouncements, presented justifications, and policy decisions) all give off the strong appearance of extreme conservatism.  And of course we have background knowledge that institutions tend to be conservative, and that conventional medical ethics in particular is. . .

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News source: Philosophy, et cetera

2 Lecturers in Ethics (part-time)

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Job List: 
Europe
Name of institution: 
Technical University of Eindhoven
Town: 
Eindhoven
Country: 
Netherlands
Job Description: 

@TUeindhoven are looking for ethics lecturers, part-time but with very decent working conditions. Two different positions:

https://jobs.tue.nl/en/vacancy/one-lecturer-in-philosophy-869729.html

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News source: Jobs In Philosophy

al-Farabi’s Philosophy of Society and Religion

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[Revised entry by Nadja Germann on January 20, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] While al-Farabi does not have a specific term for 'philosophy of religion', he does in fact have one which can more or less literally be translated as 'philosophy of society', namely, falsafa madaniyya.[1] Notably, this notion embraces two chief moments. First, in line with Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, it comprises an intrinsically anthropological and ethical element; accordingly,...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Thoughts on Joe & America

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Joe Biden was sworn in today as President despite the efforts of Trump and his supporters to overturn the results of the election with lies and insurrection. While Trump and some Republicans persist in the dangerous lie of widespread voter fraud, there have been calls for unity. These generally amount to calls for the Democrats to allow Trump and his allies to avoid the consequences of their actions. The Republicans are also calling for the Democrats to work with them; the idea seems to be that the Republicans want the Democrats to forget and forgive years of refusal to work together. While the country has been heavily divided by the lies of Trump and the right-wing media, I do agree that it would be good if the chasm between Americans could be bridged or at least reduced. But the burden of doing this rests on the right: they worked very hard to expand the crack in America with repeated lies. The latest big lie, that the election was stolen, is perhaps the biggest hammer blow on the crack. If Trump were not such a lazy and incompetent fascist, he might have been able to pull off a coup. Fortunately, he stirred up his base but did not secure meaningful support from the military and the police. He was also so lazy that he did not bother to go with his followers to the capital; he simply went home to watch it play out on television. While Trump’s lazy, incompetent ignorance was a disaster in the context of COVID, these traits likely saved America from a fall into fascism. At least for now. While the sulky snowflake Trump flew off to Florida, his followers and enablers are still pushing the lie that the election was stolen. Some are explicitly rejecting violence as a means of achieving their goals, but their persistence in this obvious lie encourages others to engage in violence. After all, the lie that the election was stolen and the lies that this necessitates (such as that the institutions and officials across the political spectrum and across the nation are in on. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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