Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Hiddenness of God

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2019.05.14 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michael C. Rea, The Hiddenness of God, Oxford University Press, 2018, 198pp., $30.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198826019. Reviewed by Charity Anderson, Baylor University Some people seek God, but seem not to find him. To others, God seems distant or absent. In one way or another, God seems hidden to many people. This is unexpected if there is a God who wants us to know that he exists, and even more puzzling if there is a God that loves us. Not only is the situation puzzling, but it causes some people significant pain. In various ways, divine hiddenness has been thought to pose a challenge to traditional Christian theism. Michael C. Rea's book offers a multifaceted response to phenomena related to God's apparent hiddenness and the family of philosophical problems it raises. The version of the hiddenness problem most... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

4. Political and Perceptual Differences

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Last December, The Washington Post resurfaced a short video clip of Heather Nauert, nominee for US Ambassador to the United Nations. In the video Nauert attempted to make the case that there was a strong historical relationship between the United States and Germany. The Post described her as citing the D-Day invasion as a central example, a claim that’s clearly ridiculous. At the same time, Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist for The New York Times, criticized The Post’s story, pointing out that Nauert also mentioned the Marshall Plan and arguing that she only mentioned D-Day as a contrast. There are many ways to try to understand the above disagreement. One option is that either the author of The Post story or Stephens are acting in bad faith, defending a view that they don’t fully believe. Another option is that one or the other were being careless and not paying enough attention to her actual comments in the video. Yet another option, however, is that both are acting in good faith and paying enough attention; it’s just that the author of The Post story and Stephens are perceiving the video in different ways, by attending to different things in it. This last option is in line with research on perceptual learning, whereby people come to systematically attend in different ways due to different prior experiences. There are many studies on systematic differences in attention due to learning, several of which I discuss in my book. These studies are largely performed on expert athletes, where researchers have found that attention patterns differ between the experts and non-experts. A study on expert soccer players, for instance, found that when they defend against opponents, they focus longer on an opponent’s hips than non-experts do (Williams & Davids, 1998). A study on expert goalkeepers found that during penalty kicks, they fixate longer on the non-kicking leg, while non-experts fixate longer on the trunk area (Savelsbergh et al., 2002). As. . .

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News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

What Are Conspiracy Theories?

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Conspiracy theorists get a seriously bad press. Gullible, irresponsible, paranoid, stupid. These are some of the politer labels applied to them, usually by establishment figures who aren’t averse to promoting their own conspiracy theories when it suits them. President George W. Bush denounced outrageous conspiracy theories about 9/11 while his own administration was busy promoting the outrageous conspiracy theory that Iraq was behind 9/11.If the abuse isn’t bad enough, conspiracy theorists now have the dubious honour of being studied by psychologists. The psychology of conspiracy theories is a thing, and the news for conspiracy theorists isn’t good. A recent study describes their theories as ‘corrosive to societal and individual well-being’. Conspiracy theorists, the study reveals, are more likely to be male, unmarried, less educated, have lower household incomes and see themselves as having low social standing. They have lower levels of physical and psychological well-being and are mo...

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Foucault, Feminism, and Sex Crimes: An Anti-Carceral Analysis

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2019.05.13 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Chloë Taylor, Foucault, Feminism, and Sex Crimes: An Anti-Carceral Analysis, Routledge, 2019, 272pp., $140.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138367319. Reviewed by Jemima Repo, Newcastle University This is a rich, rigorously argued, and provocative volume that makes a distinctive new contribution to the Foucauldian feminist literature on sex crimes. In addition to its core work of bringing together Michel Foucault's writings on rape and other sexual 'deviancies' with abolitionist perspectives on crime and punishment, readers of Foucault will welcome the inclusion of the full 1868 medical legal report on Charles Jouy, both in its original French and an English translation by Chloë Taylor and James Merleau. The book's main offerings, however, extend well beyond Foucault; it staunchly argues for a non-pathologising, abolitionist feminism through engagement with issues such as rape, child sexual abuse, and sex work that are at the forefront of current feminist debates.

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

3. Learning to Perceive in a Multisensory Way

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Suppose you are at a live jazz show. The drummer begins a drum solo. You see the cymbal jolt. You hear a clang. And you are aware that the jolt and the clang are part of the same event. This is a case of multisensory perception. In my book, I argue that multisensory perception can be understood only against a background of perceptual learning. Here I’m going to sketch some of the motivation for that view, which turns out to have important implications for a long-standing philosophical question: Molyneux’s question. It is tempting to think of the multisensory cymbal case as one in which our perceptual system just automatically binds together the jolt and the clang because the jolt and the clang occur at the same place and time. And in fact many psychologists have thought just that. But I think this account neglects the learning dimension of these kinds of cases. To see this, consider the following amusing case. The internet is filled with videos of animals making funny noises, such as dogs that sound like fire engines or goats that scream like humans. These cases are surprising and humorous in part because we just don’t expect that audio-visual combination. If you think about it, you have probably experienced some variation of these cases in real life, where an odd and unexpected sound is not experienced as coming from the correct place because that sound violates our prior association. Now consider a slightly more complicated example, which is depicted in this video. Suppose you are listening to music at a friend’s house with their dog nearby. A song comes on that you haven’t heard before. You happen to glance over at the dog, who appears to be moving its mouth in sync with the vocal track. Then you realize that what you thought were the vocals are actually coming from the dog. This is a case of “illusory lip-synching.” You experience it as lip-synching, but actually it’s not. In reality, the sound is coming from the singer (the dog in this. . .

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News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

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