Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Value of Mass Shootings

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On the face of it, the value generated by a mass shooting is negative. People are murdered and injured. But it is important to go beneath the bloody surface and explore the depths in terms of value. Image Credit From an economic standpoint, a mass shooting has obvious negative value; but it also has positive economic value for some. Most obviously there is the death cost of a mass shooting. There is lost income, lost taxes, lost consumption of goods and services, and funeral expenses. The injured also suffer economic loss—they typically must pay their own medical expenses and they lose time from their life. But the medical bills they pay are income for others. While it does not always occur, the building where a mass shooting occurs is sometimes closed and replaced. This comes at a high cost but does generate positive value for those constructing the new building. A common response to mass shootings, especially those in schools, is to increase security. Guards are hired, people are trained, buildings are hardened, software is purchased—a loss for some, a gain for others. While it might seem odd, the gun industry can benefit economically from a mass shooting. After the most recent shootings in August, the stock of gun manufacturers increased. This is because people think that tougher gun laws might be passed, so there is a rush to buy weapons and ammunition. However, the long-term impact of mass shootings on the gun industry is likely to be negative. While the above are important (most especially the deaths and injuries) my focus will be on the political value of mass shootings. Republican politicians clearly recognize the political value of mass shootings—at least to Democrats who favor gun control. When a mass shooting occurs, two standard tactics are to assert that it is not time to talk about gun control and to accuse Democrats of trying to score political points. I will consider each of these in turn. The assertion that after a mass. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

Logic and Games

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[Revised entry by Wilfrid Hodges and Jouko Väänänen on August 16, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Games between two players, of the kind where one player wins and one loses, became a familiar tool in many branches of logic during the second half of the twentieth century. Important examples are semantic games used to define truth, back-and-forth games used to compare structures, and dialogue games to express (and perhaps explain) formal proofs....

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Mike’s Free Encounter #7: Capraemortu

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This is the seventh in an ongoing series aimed to provide the overworked DM with ready-to run encounters. The PCs encounter a hunting party of Ashenhounds and Capraemortu in search of bones to offer as tribute to Shadash.  It includes a history/background for the encounter, a map, new magic items, and monster stats. The companion ZIP file contains JPEG versions of the maps (with and without grid), a Hero Lab file, the Word file of the encounter, and a PDF with character sheets for all the monsters. Scalable from CR1 all the way to CR TPK.  Free on DriveThruRPG

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

The Equivalence of Mass and Energy

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[Revised entry by Francisco Fernflores on August 15, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Einstein correctly described the equivalence of mass and energy as "the most important upshot of the special theory of relativity" (Einstein 1919), for this result lies at the core of modern physics. Many commentators have observed that in Einstein's first derivation of this famous result, he did not express it with the equation (E = mc^2). Instead, Einstein concluded that if an object, which is at rest relative to an inertial frame, either absorbs or emits an amount of energy (L), its inertial mass...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Philosophers Among NEH Grant Winners

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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced the winners of its latest round of grants.  Among the winners are several philosophy professors. They’re listed below, along with their project titles and descriptions, grant amounts, and grant types: Jose Bermudez (Texas A & M University) and Catherine Conybeare (Bryn Mawr College) Reconsidering the Sources of the Self in the Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Periods A conference and preparation of an edited volume of essays on the influential Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity by philosopher Charles Taylor (1931–).  $48,961 (Collaborative Research) Richard Cohen (University at Buffalo) Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of Democracy A One-week seminar for 16 college and university faculty on Levinas and democracy. $63,789 (Seminars for College Teachers) Angela Coventry (Portland State University) David Hume in the Twenty-first Century: Perpetuating the Enlightenment A four-week institute for 30 college and university faculty on the Scottish thinker David Hume. $185,975 (Institutes for College and University Teachers) Karen Detlefsen (University of Pennsylvania) and Lisa Shapiro (Simon Fraser University) New Narratives in the History of Philosophy: Women and Early Modern European Philosophy A conference on the works of early modern women philosophers (1500 to 1850) in preparation for an edited volume of essays. $50,000 (Collaborative Research) Also funded is an education researcher’s project on philosophers of education: Peter Gibbon (Boston University) What We Teach and Why: Philosophers of Education from the Enlightenment to the Present A three-week seminar for 16 K-12 educators on the philosophical foundations of American education. $105,000 (Seminars for School Teachers) The NEH awarded grants totaling $29 million to 215 projects this year. That means that only 1.86% of the grants, and 1.2% of the funding, went to philosophy professors. The post Philosophers Among NEH. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

Werner Herzog: Filmmaker and Philosopher

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2019.08.17 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Richard Eldridge, Werner Herzog: Filmmaker and Philosopher, Bloomsbury, 2019, 221pp., $88.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781350091672. Reviewed by Christopher Hamilton, King's College London Werner Herzog is a major contemporary filmmaker who has produced a body of work of real importance. In this book, Richard Eldridge seeks to take Herzog seriously in philosophical terms. His approach is to read Herzog as exploring ways of finding meaning in what Adorno -- though Eldridge doesn't mention him -- calls our 'administered society'. After an introductory chapter in which he describes our world of 'education reduced to the development of skills needed by docile and reliable workers, ideological conceptions of freedom as escape and rich hedonistic consumption in the private sphere, empty clichés about the value of choice' (p.10), he suggests that 'poetic visions are needed in order to disclose possibilities of significance in life within the framework of contemporary... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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