Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Quebec Government Deplatforms Daniel Weinstock

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Daniel Weinstock, a philosopher on the Faculty of Law at McGill University and director of the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy, was disinvited by the Quebec government from speaking at a meeting about reforming the mandatory ethics and religious culture course taught in the province’s schools. Daniel Weinstock Professor Weinstock was falsely described earlier this week in a Le Journal de Montreal column by writer Richard Martineau as having expressed support for a type of “symbolic” form of “female circumcision.” Martineau criticized the Quebec government for inviting Weinstock to speak at the meeting. Shortly after the column’s publication, Quebec’s education minister, Jean-François Roberge, cancelled Weinstock’s appearance at the meeting. Weinstock has not supported female circumcision, not even in its “Seattle Compromise” form. He told CTV: “I think that no compromise should be made with female genital cutting at all.” Martineau apparently mistook Weinstock’s description of a position regarding female circumcision for advocacy of it. Yesterday, the columinst, Martineau, admitted that is column was inaccurate, but refused to apologize, according to CTV. Despite being made aware of the inaccuracy, education minister Roberge refused to reinstate Weinstock’s invitation to speak at the meeting, which is taking place today. The post Quebec Government Deplatforms Daniel Weinstock appeared first on Daily Nous.

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News source: Daily Nous

APA Member Interview: Emily Rose Ogland

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Emily Rose Ogland has just completed an MA in Continental Philosophy at the University of Warwick (UK), having graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2018 with a BA in French and Philosophy. Her research interests center largely on phenomenological questions of human nature and intersubjectivity. She is pursuing an MA in Literary Translation and hopes […]

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News source: Blog of the APA

Evolution of Concepts

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The decoupling of semantic content from immediate experience, such that it can be recalled, manipulated, and projected into the future, is due to several evolutionary trajectories. Cultural changes in pre-sapiens social life (e.g., longer and safer childhoods), better storage, recall, and recursion of embodied action-loops (facilitated by the cortico-cerebellar system[1]), better executive control over default associational systems, vastly improved episodic memory,[2] intensified social learning and then teaching,[3] to name a few of the trajectories.             When these routes come together and produce a viable natural language (probably in the Lower or Middle Paleolithic era) we arrive at the unique linguistic aspects of human mind. We have been arguing that this is a slow decoupling of the indicative functions from the older imperative functions of verbal behavior. The primate mind of action-oriented and pushmi-pullyu representations receives a new layer of delayed-action-orientated and then reflection-oriented representations. What are some of the defining properties of this top layer of indicative linguistic meaning? Analytic philosophy, in the days of positivism, searched to find the smallest unit of meaning, the supposed element of signification. Many problems arose with the positivist attempt to tether every elemental word to a discrete sense datum, including the problem of meaningful non-observables (e.g., quantum level entities, causation, etc.) and meaningful language use by sensory impaired speakers (e.g., blind people use “blue” meaningfully without sense-data correspondence). The subsequent holist movement noticed that any given element, like a word or phrase, takes its meaning from the whole language or at least some connection to other terms, statements, and/or contexts.[4] Hilary Putnam (1975) provides us with a helpful vector for thinking about linguistic meaning. The meaning of. . .

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News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

Pieces of Mind: The Proper Domain of Psychological Predicates

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2020.02.18 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Carrie Figdor, Pieces of Mind: The Proper Domain of Psychological Predicates, Oxford University Press, 2018, 220pp., $57.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198809524. Reviewed by Kristin Andrews, York University When a scientist says that neurons predict, drosophila decide, plants choose, or bacteria cooperate, how should we interpret those claims? This is the central question of Carrie Figdor's provocative book, in which she argues we should understand scientists literally (or, more precisely, we should take them Literally). The claim that neurons predict may be false, but predict refers to the same kind of action whether it is being performed by a child, a dog, a pea plant, or a neuron. Don't be confused. Figdor isn't going to tell you whether neurons actually predict, or whether drosophila really decide. She also isn't going to tell you what predict or decide refer to (or what the words mean). With a... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

A Strange List of “Great Value” Colleges for Undergraduate Philosophy Degrees (Updated)

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A website called “Great Value Colleges” has published a list of “100 Great Value Colleges for Philosophy Degrees (Bachelor’s) for 2020.”  The creators of the ranking only considered U.S. schools where annual tuition is less than $20,000. They then gave those schools points for various factors, with the totals ranging from 5 points for the school ranked 100th to 20 points for the school ranked 1st. Shiota Chiharu, “Counting Memories” How does a school get points? This is what I was able to learn of their process: Schools get a point for being accredited. Schools get more points the cheaper their tuition is (4 points if the tuition is less than $10,000 per year, 3 points if the tuition is $10,000 – $14,999, 2 points if it’s between $15,000 and $19,999, etc.). Schools also get a point for each type of graduate degree (MA, PhD) they offer in philosophy (if they do). Then there’s the “20-year return on investment” criteria, based on data from Payscale, with ROIs above $600,000 getting 5 points, and smaller ROIs getting proportionately fewer points. Lastly, there’s what they call the “wow factor”, with 1 point awarded “for each unique feature or program that ‘wowed’ us.” In other words: they take a selection of some of the various factors that might enter into one’s decision-making about where to go to school, along with some that might not, and combine and weight them in a seemingly random manner. (It’s not even clear whether, for state schools, they consistently used in-state or out-of-state tuition rates.) Of course, this bizarre methodology is not stopping schools from bragging about being on this list (which is how the list came to my attention). Nor, I’d bet, is it stopping you from being curious as to which schools did well on it. So, without further ado, here are the top twenty-one schools on the list (note: schools 13-21 each. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

Eva Feder Kittay’s Recent Book Wins 2020 Prose Award for Philosophy

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The Association of American Publishers has announced the Subject Category winners of its Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Awards.  In the Philosophy Category, the winning book is Learning from My Daughter: The Value and Care of Disabled Minds by Eva Feder Kittay, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy (Emerita) at Stony Brook University, published by Oxford University Press. Eva Feder Kittay and Sesha Kittay The PROSE awards are aimed at recognizing “publishers who produce books, journals, and digital products of extraordinary merit that make a significant contribution to a field of study in the humanities, biological and physical sciences, reference and social sciences.” The shortlist of finalists in the philosophy category also included: Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider (NASA, University of Connecticut), published by Princeton University Press The Logic in Philosophy of Science by Hans Halvorson (Princeton University), published by Cambridge University Press The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud and Pseudoscience by Lee McIntyre (Boston University), published by MIT Press You can see the list of winners in other categories here. An overall humanities prize, and then a prize across all categories, will be announced over the next several weeks. The post Eva Feder Kittay’s Recent Book Wins 2020 Prose Award for Philosophy appeared first on Daily Nous.

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News source: Daily Nous

A Strange List of “Great Value” Colleges for Undergraduate Philosophy Degrees

Philosophy News image
A website called “Great Value Colleges” has published a list of “100 Great Value Colleges for Philosophy Degrees (Bachelor’s) for 2020.”  The creators of the ranking only considered U.S. schools where annual tuition is less than $20,000. They then gave those schools points for various factors, with the totals ranging from 5 points for the school ranked 100th to 20 points for the school ranked 1st. Shiota Chiharu, “Counting Memories” How does a school get points? This is what I was able to learn of their process: Schools get a point for being accredited. Schools get more points the cheaper their tuition is (4 points if the tuition is less than $10,000 per year, 3 points if the tuition is $10,000 – $14,999, 2 points if it’s between $15,000 and $19,999, etc.). Schools also get a point for each type of graduate degree (MA, PhD) they offer in philosophy (if they do). Then there’s the “20-year return on investment” criteria, based on data from Payscale, with ROIs above $600,000 getting 5 points, and smaller ROIs getting proportionately fewer points. Lastly, there’s what they call the “wow factor”, with 1 point awarded “for each unique feature or program that ‘wowed’ us.” In other words: they take a selection of some of the various factors that might enter into one’s decision-making about where to go to school, along with some that might not, and combine and weight them in a seemingly random manner. (It’s not even clear whether, for state schools, they consistently used in-state or out-of-state tuition rates.) Of course, this bizarre methodology is not stopping schools from bragging about being on this list (which is how the list came to my attention). Nor, I’d bet, is it stopping you from being curious as to which schools did well on it. So, without further ado, here are the top twenty-one schools on the list (note: schools 13-21 each. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

Decoupling

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We view primary-process homeostasis, secondary-level learning and memory, and direct perception as neural systems that co-evolved and provided the necessary space for the decoupling of affect from its here-and-now functions to encapsulate complex social and imaginative representational capabilities. The property of decoupleability refers to offline processing of information. It indicates thinking of a concept when it is not part of the creature’s present action, target of action, or perceptual context. Decoupling is the process that cleaves present-tense perceptual indicative percepts from instrumental proto-beliefs (see our discussion of body grammar in the last post). Affect as conative motivational drive is amenable to being decoupleable because it predates—and remains functional—through all evolutionarily later cognitive abilities; that is, its primacy ensures that it has a use within any mental context. And, unlike other mental functions, affect can filter through any mental operation, infusing pertinent elements with salience; affect dyes our thoughts with value and meaning. Accordingly, we have described several roles played by affect including, as a mode of presentation, as an intentional arrow, and as motivation for locking onto appropriate affordances. Perception and action depend upon the imperative forms of informational transfer between creature and environment, which we described as affordances. Salience within the perceptual world occurs via affective goads that dynamically covary with homeostatic needs and lead to action patterns, such as further information-seeking behaviors.[1] The function of affect in perception is as a mode of experience, and specifically, as a subjective motivational force. Affect functions as an approach/avoid value in affordance space, whether it be social space or the spatial navigation landmarks described below. A core concept in the cognitive sciences, representation, has the functional role of acting as a. . .

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News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

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