Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Will Republicans Reap the Whirlwind?

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Gabriel Sterling, a Georgia election official, gave an impassioned speech against the death threats and intimidation aimed at election workers. He also noted the threats of violence against Chris Krebs, who was fired from his position as the head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Krebs was fired for not backing Trump’s election fraud lies. Sterling himself is now under police protection and the wife of Georgia’s Secretary of State has been receiving calls making threats of sexual violence. Sterling called on Trump to stop inspiring people to make threats and commit acts of violence. Trump’s response was to tweet that the election is rigged and to ask “ What is Secretary of State and @BrianKempGA afraid of. They know what we’ll find!!!” That is, Trump doubled down on his lies about election fraud and used the rhetorical style he uses against his enemies when asking what the Georgia officials were afraid of. This is exactly as one would expect from Trump. While Trump only occasionally directly advocates violence (and purports that he is only joking), he routinely encourages hate groups and political violence. When asked to speak out against violence and hate, Trump remains silent, offers a vague and lukewarm condemnation, or doubles down (as he has done in the case of Sterling’s speech). His followers get the message: in 2016 counties that hosted a Trump rally experienced a 226% increase in hate crimes.  While Sterling is rightfully angry about what Trump has done (and not done) it seems that some Republicans are reaping the Trump whirlwind they helped sow. While many establishment Republicans mocked and dismissed Trump before he won in 2016,  they have aided and abetted him in transforming the GOP into Trump’s party. While the Republican party was obviously well prepared for authoritarianism, fascism, and autocracy, Trump proved to be the “charismatic” leader who was able to make this happen. Some even argue that Trump has not only. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

The Drones are Coming! The Drones are Coming! The Twilight of the Global Empire?

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  This clip looks like a videogame, but it is not (caution, disturbing images). You are seeing Azeri drones destroying Armenian military units during the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Is this the harbinger of the collapse of the Global Empire?  Many things have been happening in 2020 that will reverberate for many years in the future. While the West is busy with its "great reset," a small war was fought in a region of the world that you probably had never heard about before: the Nagorno-Karabakh. There, the army of Azerbaijan soundly defeated the Armenian army. What made this campaign peculiar is that it was the first time in history that a military confrontation was decided by drones. After that the Azeris (the Azerbaijan people) had gained control of the sky, their drones could pick the Armenian military units one by one and destroy them at ease. There are video clips all over the Web showing vehicles and other installations being destroyed, and people being shredded to pieces and tossed around like ragdolls. No surprise: the writing was on the rotor blades. Already in 2012, I had started thinking about the consequences of the development of military robots in a chapter that I had written for Jorgen Randers' "2052" book. I returned to the subject in 2019, noting how cheap drones would change the rules of war because they could be managed by small organizations, possibly by private military contractors. We don't know exactly who managed the drones used by the Azerbaijan forces, but we know that they were made in Turkey, not a major player in the world's power game. Azerbaijan, then, could afford to deploy a number of drones sufficient to overwhelm the Armenian forces even though it is a small country with a GDP of just about 44 billion dollars per year. If Bill Gates, alone, had decided to fight Azerbaijan, he could won the war just using his private financial assets, estimated at more than $100B. Surely, the Azeri could never even. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

The Drones are Coming! The Drones are Coming! Where is Isaac Asimov When we Need him?

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  This clip looks like a videogame, but it is not (caution! Disturbing images). You are seeing Azeri drones destroying Armenian military units during the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Where is Isaac Asimov when we need him and his three laws of robotics?  Many things have been happening in 2020 that will reverberate for many years in the future. While the West is busy with its "great reset," a small war was fought in a region of the world that you probably had never heard about before: the Nagorno-Karabakh. There, the army of Azerbaijan soundly defeated the defending Armenian army. What made this campaign peculiar is that it was the first time in history that a military confrontation was decided by drones. After that the Azeris (the Azerbaijan people) had gained control of the sky, their drones could pick the Armenian military units one by one and destroy them at ease. There are video clips all over the Web showing vehicles and other installations being destroyed, and people being shred to pieces and tossed around like ragdolls. No surprise: the writing was on the rotor blades. Already in 2012, I had started thinking about the consequences of the development of military robots in a chapter that I had written for Jorgen Randers' "2052" book. I had returned to the subject in 2019 when I had noted how cheap drones would change the rules of war because they could be managed by small organizations, possibly private military contractors. We don't know exactly who managed the drones used by the Azerbaijan forces, but we know that they were made in Turkey, not a major player in the world's power game. Azerbaijan, then, could afford to deploy a number of drones sufficient to overwhelm the Armenian forces even though it is a small country with a GDP of just about 44 billion dollars per year. If Bill Gates had decided to go to war against Azerbaijan, he alone could have defeated the Azeri with his private financial assets, estimated at. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

Logic: A Study Guide — Basic Model Theory

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I’m continuing work on the update for Teach Yourself Logic: A Study Guide. So there are now five chapters in the new Logic: A Study Guide. There are three preliminary chapters, giving an introduction for philosophers, an introduction for mathematicians, and a guide-to-the-guide. Then there is a long chapter on FOL. I’ve previously posted versions of these. The fifth chapter is on entry-level model theory. There’s an overview introducing a few elementary results, intended to give a flavour of the enterprise. There follows the usual sort of reading guide. Here then is the Guide including this new  chapter. Need I add? — all comments very gratefully received. In particular I’m sure I can do better at the end of the displayed box on p. 34. I say earlier in the chapter that — although the focus is of course on standard first-order model theory — it is worth at this stage knowing just a bit about second-order logic/theories (so you get e.g. a glimmer of why first-order arithmetic isn’t categorical which a second-order arithmetic can be). But what short and accessible reading on second-order logic would you recommend at this stage? Later in the Guide we’ll be taking a serious look at the topic: but what brisk (perhaps arm-waving but still helpful) intro could be offered at this point? The post Logic: A Study Guide — Basic Model Theory appeared first on Logic Matters.

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News source: Logic Matters

Trump Supporters: Accomplices or Victims?

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Trump is infamous for spewing lies and his supporters are known for believing his claims. As noted in previous essays, one of the many things that is striking about supporters professing belief in Trump’s claims is that they accept claims that are logically inconsistent (even contradictory in some cases). Two claims are inconsistent when they both cannot be true but they both could be false. This is different from two claims being contradictory: if one claims contradicts another, one must be true and the other false. The pandemic provides a horrific example of the ability of Trump supporters to profess belief in inconsistent claims.  Many Trump supporters claim to believe that the virus is a hoax, that it is no worse than the flu, that it is a Chinese bioweapon, that Trump has been doing a great job with the pandemic and that Trump should get credit for the vaccine.   When Bob Woodward released tapes proving that Trump acknowledged the danger of the virus in February, many Trump supporters accepted Trump’s claim that he wanted to play down the virus to avoid a panic. His supporters defended him, claiming that great leaders have and should lie to prevent panic in the face of terrible danger. If Trump was right to lie to play down the deadly danger of the virus, then this is inconsistent with the claim that it is like the flu and also inconsistent with the claim that it is a hoax. If he was right to lie because of the danger, then it is not like the flu nor is it a hoax. But if it is like the flu or a hoax, then he would not need to lie about the danger. One way to explain Trump supporters professing inconsistent beliefs is that some of them are accomplices. Another is that they are victims. I will begin with the accomplice explanation. It is possible, even likely, that some of Trump’s supporters are aware when he is lying and perhaps even recognize when they make inconsistent claims. In this case, the inconsistency can easily be explained: they are accomplices to. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

War and Censorship -- Difficult Times in Italy

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A post by Miguel Martinez, originally published in Italian on his blog on 23/11/2020. Italy was the first European country to be struck by the COVID-19 pandemic and the first to implement a national lockdown. At that time, Italians would display the flag on their balconies and sing aloud in a show of national unity. That time is past and gone.   The media gives the alarm: news of danger and a call to arms, together. When the message is inseparable from mobilization, it becomes propaganda. Since "propaganda" today has a bad name, let us immediately specify: propaganda can say absolutely true things and defend right causes, but it remains always propaganda.The state of mobilization puts an end to disputes: in war, everyone must be in solidarity around a human figure, the leader, able to embody all passions.Young people run to enlist volunteers. Fear, excitement, optimism. It's Gonna Be Okay!We grit our teeth, citizens cleanse themselves gel and unmask the traitors, actually mask them – but we will win soon!People who, until the night before were ready to file a complaint because they were not served the cocktail they had requested, or because the plane left five minutes late, meekly lock themselves in their homes, place the tricolor flag out of the window, and prepares to see the enemy fall to the ground. Above: "I stay home -- checkmate to the coronavirus"  The first deaths are celebrated: both as innocent victims of the wickedness of the enemy, and as brave fighters. "A nurse dies of coronavirus refuses to see her husband for the last time and saves his life"But there are also the first victories, a united people, let's open the windows, it's spring!Our leader is leading us to triumph and we will dance in Sardinia all summer! The image shows Giuseppe Conte, prime minister of Italy. The text says, "Let's stay away from each other today to embrace each other tomorrow. Let's stop today to run faster tomorrow."Phase. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

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