Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Hume’s Newtonianism and Anti-Newtonianism

Philosophy News image
[Revised entry by Eric Schliesser and Tamás Demeter on April 21, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] David Hume's philosophy, especially the positive project of his "science of man", is often thought to be modeled on Newton's successes in natural philosophy. Hume's self-described "experimental method" (see the subtitle to Treatise) and the resemblance of his "rules of reasoning" (THN 1.3.15)[1] with Newton's are said to be evidence for this position (Noxon...

Continue reading . . .

News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Hume’s Aesthetics

Philosophy News image
[Revised entry by Theodore Gracyk on April 21, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] David Hume's views on aesthetic theory and the philosophy of art are to be found in his work on moral theory and in several essays. Although there is a tendency to emphasize the two essays devoted to art, "Of the Standard of Taste" and "Of Tragedy," his views on art and aesthetic judgment are intimately connected to his moral philosophy and theories of human thought and emotion. His theory of taste and beauty is not entirely original, but his arguments generally display the keen analysis typical of his best...

Continue reading . . .

News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Luca Incurvati’s Conceptions of Set, 6

Philosophy News image
In §3.3 of Conceptions of Set, Luca discusses what he calls the ‘no semantics’ objection to the iterative conception. He sums up the supposed objection like this: Consider the case of iterative set theory, which for present purposes will be our base theory Z+. Since the set-theoretic quantifier is standardly taken as ranging over all sets, it seems that one of the interpretations quantified over in the definition of logical validity for L [the standard first-order language of set theory] – the intended interpretation – will have the set of all sets as its domain. But there can be no set of all sets in Z+, on pain of contradiction. Hence, the objection goes, if we take all sets to be those in the hierarchy, we cannot give the usual model-theoretic definition of logical validity. Or rather, that is how the objection starts. Of course, the further thought that is supposed to give the consideration bite is that, if we can’t apply the usual model-theoretic definition of logical validity, then we are bereft of a story to tell about why we can rely on the inferences we make in our set theory when we quantify over all sets. As Luca immediately remarks, this challenge is not especially aimed at the iterative conception: any conception of the universe of sets that rules out there being a set of all sets will be open to the same prima facie objection. It looks too good to be true! Graham Priest is mentioned as a recent proponent of this objection. But as Luca point out, Kreisel over fifty years ago both mentions the issue raised in the quote and has a response to what I called the further thought which is supposed to make the issue a problem. For Kreisel’s ‘squeezing argument’ is designed precisely to show that we have a perfectly good warrant for using standard first-order logic as truth-preserving over all structures, not just the ones that can be formally regimented in the usual model-theoretic way. I’ve defended Kreisel’s argument, properly interpreted, e.g. here: so I’m. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Logic Matters

Lockdown listening: online opera etc.

Philosophy News image
I was late to notice that the terrific Bachtrack site is keeping a very well organized list of online streaming opera, dance, concerts, etc. So just in case you too had missed it, here’s a link. The Guardian also has an excellent and frequently updated guide to Lockdown Listening. The post Lockdown listening: online opera etc. appeared first on Logic Matters.

Continue reading . . .

News source: Logic Matters

Critical Thinking & COVID-19 VI: Testing

Philosophy News image
Every year I go through a section in Moore and Parker’s classic Critical Thinking book on medical testing. Until now, it has been a fairly abstract thing for my students, but now medical testing is a critical part of responding rationally to the pandemic. One type of test is to determine whether a person is infected. Another is to determine whether a person had the infection. While these tests are a critical source of information it is important to be aware of the limitations of testing. Since I am not a medical expert, I will not comment on the accuracy of specific methods of testing. Instead, I will look at applying critical thinking to testing. An ideal medical test would always be accurate and never yield a false positive. Real medical tests have, for various reasons, less than 100% accuracy in the field and a good test will fall into the 90-99% range. This means that a test can falsely show that a person is or was infected or falsely show they are or were not infected. So how do you judge whether a person is infected or was infected based on a test result? Intuitively, the chance a person was infected (or not) would seem to be the same as the accuracy of the test. For example, if a COVID-19 test has an accuracy of 90%, then the seemingly rational inference would be that if you test negative, then there is a 90% chance you did not have COVID. Or, if you test positive. There is a 90% chance you had COVID. While this seems sensible, it is not accurate and involves a confusion about conditional probabilities.  I will keep the math to a minimum because math, as Barbie said, is hard. So, suppose that I test positive for having COVID and the test is 90% accurate. If I think there is a 90% chance, I had COVID, I am probably wrong and here is why. The mistake I would be making is failing to recognize that the probability that X given Y is distinct from the probability of Y given X. In the case of the test for COVID, testing positive is the effect of COVID and obviously. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

How effective is a hard lockdown against the COVID epidemics? The data say not so much

Philosophy News image
Data about the mortality of the coronavirus epidemic start being available. Above, a list of mortality rates for Western European countries (including the US) taken from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. The data are ordered by the projected number of deaths per million inhabitants. In addition, I built a "lockdown score," also based on the data reported by IHME (except for the US, where different states chose different options). It would be difficult to say that these data support the idea that a "hard" lockdown that includes a stay home order is more effective than a looser kind of lockdown. (for a live version of the table, write to me at ugo.bardi(whirlette)unifi.it)Your friend has a headache. She takes a pill and, after a while, she feels much better. And she is sure that it was because of the pill. Maybe, but how does she know that the headache didn't go away by itself? Was the pill a homeopathic medicine? In this case, you could tell her that she ingested pure sugar, unlikely to cure anything. But, if you ever tried something like that, you know that it is nearly impossible to un-convince someone who believes to have been healed by the miraculous powers of homeopathy or the like. It is a typical problem of medical studies: how do you know that a treatment is effective? That's why there exist precise rules defining how you can test a new drug or treatment.Now, let's go to the coronavirus epidemic: practically every region in the world has been affected and practically every government has implemented some kind of rules to stop the epidemic from diffusing, from voluntary social distancing (Sweden) to stay home orders enforced by the police. Almost everywhere, most people are convinced that the lockdown has been effective in reducing the spread of the epidemics. Maybe, but how can we say? Not having a "blank experiment" to compare with, it might be argued that all these new rules are the equivalent of. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Cassandra's Legacy

How effective is a hard lockdown against the COVID epidemics? Perhaps not so much

Philosophy News image
These data are taken from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. It is not the complete data set, only Western Europe and the US. The data are ordered by the projected number of deaths per million inhabitants. In addition, I built a "lockdown score," also based on the data reported by IHME (except for the US, where different states chose different options). It would be difficult to say that these data support the idea that a "hard" lockdown that includes a stay home order is more effective than a looser kind of lockdown. (for a live version of the table, write to me at ugo.bardi(whirlette)unifi.it)Your friend has a headache. She takes a pill and, after a while, she feels much better. And she is sure that it was because of ot the pill. Maybe, but how does she know that the headache didn't go away by itself? Was the pill a homeopathic medicine? In this case, you could tell her that she ingested pure sugar, unlikely to cure anything. But, if you ever tried something like that, you know that it is nearly impossible to un-convince someone who believes to have been healed by the miraculous powers of homeopathy or the like. It is a typical problem of medical studies: how do you know that a treatment is effective? That's why there exist precise rules defining how you can test a new drug or treatment.Now, let's go to the coronavirus epidemic: practically every region in the world has been affected and practically every government has implemented some kind of rules to stop the epidemic from diffusion, from voluntary social distancing (Sweden) to stay home orders enforced by the police. Almost everywhere, most people are convinced that the lockdown has been effective in reducing the spread of the epidemics. Maybe, but how can we say? Not having a "blank experiment" to compare with, it might be argued that all these new rules are the equivalent of homeopathic pills: a little sugar and nothing else.Right now, the data are scant. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Cassandra's Legacy

Latest News


Here are some of the things going on in philosophy
and the humanities.

See all News Items

Philosopher Spotlight


Conversations with philosophers, professional and non-professional alike.
Visit our podcast section for more interviews and conversations.

Interview with

Dr. Robert McKim
  • on Religious Diversity
  • Professor of Religion and Professor of Philosophy
  • Focuses on Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

Interview with

Dr. Alvin Plantinga
  • on Where the Conflict Really Lies
  • Emeritus Professor of Philosophy (UND)
  • Focuses on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

Interview with

Dr. Peter Boghossian
  • on faith as a cognitive sickness
  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
  • Focuses on atheism and critical thinking
  • Has a passion for teaching in prisons
See all interviews

30500

Twitter followers

10000+

News items posted

32000+

Page views per month

21 years

in publication

Latest Articles


\
See all Articles