Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Ruling out Helium-Maximizing

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Joe Carlsmith asks: is it possible you should maximize helium?  Robust realism per se places no constraints on what the normative truths might end up being.  So, in particular, there's no guarantee that what we objectively ought to do would hold any appeal whatsoever to us, even on ideal reflection -- the objective requirements could be anything!  (Or so you might assume.)But I think that's not quite right.  Metaphysically, of course, the fundamental normative truths are non-contingent, so they could not really be anything other than what they in fact are. Epistemically, the fundamental normative truths are a priori (if knowable at all), so it's not clear that erroneous views are "possible" in any deep sense.  A somewhat wider range of views may be "possible" in the superficial sense that we don't currently know them to be false, but unless you're a normative skeptic, we can currently know that pain is bad and that maximizing helium is not the ultimate good.It's an interesting question how we can have any normative knowledge at all. (I offer my answer here.) But given that we can, it's important not to lose sight of this fact when thinking about the implications of non-naturalism.  For while the "non-natural" status of normative properties does not constrain their application, it doesn't follow that they really could apply to just anything (either metaphysically or epistemically).Compare two very different bases for the confident rejection of helium-maximization:(1) Normative internalism rules out the possibility of a mismatch between normative truth and the attitudes we'd hold on procedurally ideal reflection.  So on purely formal grounds, we can be confident that what we objectively ought to do cannot be something (like maximizing helium) that would never appeal to us.(2) Normative externalists must instead appeal to substantive normative claims, such as the datum that. . .

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News source: Philosophy, et cetera

God, Suffering, and the Value of Free Will

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2021.10.07 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Laura W. Ekstrom, God, Suffering, and the Value of Free Will, Oxford University Press, 2021, 238pp., $99.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780197556412. Reviewed by Kevin Timpe, Calvin University Laura Ekstrom’s latest book provides extended engagement with the contemporary literature on the problems of evil. The book’s primary focus is to “show the extent and power of arguments from evil, while giving a thorough critical examination of attempts to answer them” (1). In this aim, she is successful. Unlike many atheists, Ekstrom thinks that the issues warrant a careful examination of the best case for theism. She has no truck with any kind of “steadfast commitment to God in isolation from reasoned debate” or with a “fervent conviction in the non-existence of God coupled with inattentiveness to careful philosophical responses on the part of reflective theists to arguments for atheism” (1). While I have different convictions than Ekstrom does and evaluate some of the arguments... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

CFP: College Sports and Ethics

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This is an open call for College Sports and Ethics, an edited collection to be published as part of Lexington Books’ Studies in the Philosophy of Sport series.This new anthology, edited by Chad Carlson and Shawn E. Klein, focuses on foundational ethical issues in college sports, including the fit of intercollegiate sports with the university and the question of professionalism. It will also tackle several important ethical topics that pertain particularly to college sports, such as athletes’ rights and recruitment. This edited collection brings together top scholars of sport to examine college sports and analyze the important ethical issues in college sport. We invite you to submit a proposal to contribute as well.There are many possible topics to focus on and we are open to almost any topic so long as it directly addresses a normative issue within intercollegiate athletics. We are looking for papers that focus on the particular ways an issue affects or arises in college sports specifically.Topics of particular interest or need:Athlete mental healthAcademic concerns in connection to athleticsRecruitment of athletesReligious issues impacting college athleticsTeam names/mascotsSpectatorship/fandomThese suggestions are not exhaustive and we welcome proposals on many other topics as well. Feel free to reach out to us before abstract submission to discuss a possible topic.To contribute, please email the following:An abstract (300-500 words)A CVSubmit as a PDFEmail by Nov 1, 2021Email: and/or ccarlson@hope.eduWe will notify contributors of acceptance no later than January 2022, and look for manuscripts to be submitted by May 1, 2022. All contributions will go through peer-review. We are expecting publication in early 2023.

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News source: Philosophy of Sport

Police Killings: Past Time for Accurate Data

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While this will not surprise anyone familiar with the state of police accountability in the United States, a new study reports that over half of killings by police have been mislabeled over the past 40 years. As also would be expected from anyone familiar with American policing, black men are killed and their deaths mislabeled at disproportionally high rates. One easy and obvious objection to the claims made in the study is to point out the federal government does not have a comprehensive system of tracking police caused deaths or use of force. As such, no one can claim to know the actual numbers. On the one hand, that is a reasonable criticism. While journalists and academics have been tracking police deaths and use of force, this is a piecemeal effort that depends on the ability of individual journalists and researchers to gather and confirm information. While the National-Use-of-Force Data Collection lunched in 2019, most police departments simply decline to provide data.  As such, we cannot claim to know the exact number of police caused deaths nor the exact percentage that have been mislabeled. We cannot also claim to know the exact number of police uses of force and what percentage of these were not justified. That said, the authors of the study are using the best available data from the National Vital Statistics System, Fatal Encounters, Mapping Police Violence, and the Guardian’s The Counted. This data, while incomplete, does provide what seems to be the foundation for a reasonable inductive generalization from the sample to the whole. Naturally, we need to keep in mind the usual concerns about sample size and the possibility of a biased sample. But one cannot simply assert that the sample must be too small or biased; one would need to support these claims. On the other hand, this criticism (perhaps ironically) just points to a huge problem: we do not have accurate and complete data on police killings and use of force. While one could claim that the missing. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

Hello - how should we respond when we argue that certain behaviours in past eras

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Ethics History Read another response about Ethics, HistoryShare Hello - how should we respond when we argue that certain behaviours in past eras were immoral or unjust, only to be criticised for viewing historical events through contemporary eyes, ie. what seem like unsavoury actions such as Genghis Khan's massacres, the torture of 'unbelievers', or even Henry VIII's cruel dispatching of some of his wives, simply reflected the norms and zeitgeist of the times and, therefore, cannot be judged in any way as unethical.

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News source: AskPhilosophers Questions

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