Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Free Rider Problem

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[Revised entry by Russell Hardin and Garrett Cullity on October 13, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In many contexts, all of the individual members of a group can benefit from the efforts of each member and all can benefit substantially from collective action. For example, if each of us pollutes less by paying a bit extra for our cars, we all benefit from the reduction of harmful gases in the air we breathe and even in the reduced harm to the ozone layer that protects us against exposure to carcinogenic ultraviolet radiation (although those with fair skin...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Russell’s Paradox

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[Revised entry by Andrew David Irvine and Harry Deutsch on October 12, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Russell's paradox is the most famous of the logical or set-theoretical paradoxes. Also known as the Russell-Zermelo paradox, the paradox arises within naive set theory by considering the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set appears to be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself. Hence the paradox....

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Aristotle’s Psychology

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[Revised entry by Christopher Shields on October 12, 2020. Changes to: Bibliography, method.html] Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) was born in Macedon, in what is now northern Greece, but spent most of his adult life in Athens. His life in Athens divides into two periods, first as a member of Plato's Academy (367 - 347) and later as director of his own school, the Lyceum (334 - 323). The intervening years were spent mainly in Assos and Lesbos, and briefly back in Macedon. His years away from Athens were predominantly taken up with biological research and writing. Judged on...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Can we Predict Collapses Before they Happen? What we Learned from the Pandemic

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  My 2019 book "Before the Collapse." In it, I examined several scenarios of the future of humankind. Was I able to predict the current pandemic? Of course not in the details, but I think that I did note an important facet of the story: epidemics are never very deadly when they come alone. They become true killers only when they are associated famines.  In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, the human population is not so badly debilitated by famines that we should have expected disasters comparable to those caused by ancient epidemics. So, we could have been better prepared if we had paid more attention to history. But the main thing we learn from history is that people never learn from history. And so it goes. This post includes a review of the book written by Daniel Ruiz.  After nearly one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, we can say that, at the very least, we learned a lot from it. One lesson was that we should be much more careful about "model hubris", to think that because a model is complex and detailed, it can predict the future. This problem is well described in a recent paper by Saltelli et al. in a recent paper in "Nature." But perhaps the most important lesson we learned was how easy the future can surprise us and how our perception of it can be remote from reality. We tend to judge on the basis of our past experience, but our mental models are often poorly calibrated. When the COVID-19 started diffusing in the West, many people panicked, some seemed to think that it really was the end of the world. Maybe they had in mind as a model the great plague of the Middle Ages, an image that has been with us for centuries. As things stand, we can see that the coronavirus pandemic will be very far from being as deadly as ancient epidemics were. It is said that the "black plague" killed maybe 50% of the population of Europe during the 14th century, perhaps even more than that. For the current "plague". . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

What we Learned from the Pandemic. Can we Predict Collapses Before they Happen?

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 My 2019 book "Before the Collapse." In it, I examined several scenarios of the future of humankind. Was I able to predict the current pandemic? Of course not, that took everyone by surprise. But I think I did note an important facet of the story: epidemics are never very deadly when they come alone. They become true killers only when they are associated (typically following) famines. In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, the human population is not so badly debilitated by famines that we may expect a disaster of the size of ancient epidemics.   After nearly one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, we can say that, at the very least, we learned a lot from it. One lesson learned was that we should be much more careful about "model hubris", to think that because a model is complex and detailed, it can predict the future. This problem is well described in a recent paper by Saltelli et al. in a recent paper in "Nature." But perhaps the most important lesson we learned was how easy the future can surprise us and how our perception of it can be remote from reality: We tend to judge from the past, but our mental models are often poorly calibrated. When the COVID-19 started diffusing in the West, many people panicked, some seemed to think that it really was the end of the world. Maybe they had in mind the great plague of the Middle Ages, an image that has been with us for centuries. Now we can see that the coronavirus pandemic it will be very far from being as deadly as ancient epidemics were. It is said that the "black plague" killed maybe 50% of the population of Europe during the 14th century, perhaps even more than that. For the current "plague" caused by the coronavirus, we may estimate that, if the current trends continue, the world may see perhaps 2 million deaths (we are now at about one million). For a world population of nearly 8 billion people, it is such a small number (about 0.025%) that it is even. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

Assistant Professor in Ethics

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

The Philosophy and Ethics department at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is seeking an assistant professor for a full-time, tenure-track position. In exceptional cases, the candidate could be hired directly at the tenured associate-professor level. Candidates will have earned a PhD in philosophy by the date of application and demonstrate evidence of excellence in both teaching and research. The candidate is expected to contribute to teaching engineering students (BSc and MSc levels), e.g.

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News source: Jobs In Philosophy

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