Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Tanks on the 4th?

Philosophy News image
While Trump passed on the opportunity to see tanks rolling through cities during the Vietnam War, he decided to bring the tanks to Washington DC for his 4th of July event. As with all things Trump, this event is a matter of great controversy. As with most controversial things in these partisan times, opinions tend to split along political lines. As such, it is tempting to dismiss this as a tank tempest in a teacup that has been magnified through political lenses. However, there do seem to be some meaningful issues here. Image Credit One obvious point of concern is that this event is going to be very expensive—although the exact cost is not yet known. Transporting tanks and other hardware is not cheap, nor is operating combat aircraft. There is also the cost of the damage that is likely to arise from rolling tanks through the streets. While Republicans used to pretend to be fiscal hawks, they have long abandoned their avowed principles here—hence it falls to others to make the fiscal argument: spending millions on a single event when there are so many better ways to use the money (such as paying for better care for veterans) is a huge waste and fiscally irresponsible. A second area of concern is the role of the military in the event. While armed forces were obviously critical in the American revolution, July 4th is not a military holiday. Rather, it is a holiday that celebrates the declaration of Independence. To be fair, the 4th has been celebrated in Washington with military elements in the parades but having an explicitly military event on the 4th is odd and goes against well-established tradition. Part of this is because the symbolism of military events on holidays that are not explicitly honoring the military or veterans is linked strongly with dictators, most especially Communist dictators. This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with the military; rather the problem lies with putting on such a display to appease the ego of a man who. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples

Philosophy News image
[Revised entry by Richard J. Oosterhoff on July 3, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples (c. 1450 - 1536) taught philosophy at the University of Paris from around 1490 to 1508, and then applied his erudition and textual scholarship to biblical studies and religious reform. Lefevre traveled to Italy in 1491, 1500, and 1507. There he sought out Ermolao Barbaro, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, Angelo Poliziano, and other famous humanists. He himself became famous for the many introductions, commentaries, and editions relating to philosophical works he...

Continue reading . . .

News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Philosophy on Twitter & YouTube – Quarterly Update

Philosophy News image
Here’s the “Philosophy on Twitter & YouTube” Quarterly Update from Kelly Truelove of TrueSciPhi. Philosophy on Twitter & YouTube – Quarterly Update (Q2 2019) by Kelly Truelove features a variety of lists and statistics regarding philosophy communities on social media including Twitter, podcasts, and YouTube. For project background, please see the previous quarterly update. This update focuses on philosophers & philosophy organizations on Twitter. Twitter Follower Growth The TrueSciPhi site tracks over 500 philosophers on Twitter who each have over 1,000 followers. Lists of those who have gained the most followers (on a percentage basis) in the past week, month, quarter, and year can be found here. The top gainers in Q2: 1K-10K followers 10K+ followers @apsullivan 143% @jasonintrator 44% @DSilvermint 129% @christapeterso 29% @emilytwrites 46% @MarinaGarces 28% @AmneMachin 44% @phl43 26% @RebeccaBuxton 43% @Docstockk 25% @jennfrey 43% @scottjshapiro 21% @rinireg 41% @Roger_Scruton 19% @lsanger 41% @kate_manne 18% @morallawwithin 39% @ShaikhaBinjasim 17% @philosophiclee 37% @BenceNanay 16% None of the accounts in the 1K-10K tier were on the equivalent list for Q1. In contrast, six of the accounts in the 10K+ tier are making repeat appearances (@jasonintrator, @Docstockk, @Roger_Scruton, @kate_manne, @ ShaikhaBinjasim, and @BenceNanay), and a seventh (@christapeterso) previously was on the 1K-10K tier list. Tiering accounts in this way compensates for the fact that, in general, it is easier to obtain a larger percentage increase when starting from a smaller base. As can be seen in the charts below which cover both Q1 and Q2, some accounts arrive on these lists due to isolated events, while others rely more on steady growth across the quarter: Figure 1: Top gainers in Q2 in 1K-10K followers tier Figure 2: Top gainers in Q2 in 10K+ followers tier Often, jumps in followers are due to viral tweets. Two. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Daily Nous

How feminism becomes a tool of neo-imperialism

Philosophy News image
During this year’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump claimed that one in three women crossing the United States/Mexico border is sexually assaulted. Though the specific statistic he cited is questionable, it should come as no surprise that women crossing international borders face severe gender-based violence. What is surprising is that the president, who has minimized and mocked many of the at least thirteen women who have accused him of sexual harassment and assault, suddenly seemed to think gender-based violence was a problem.His rhetoric reveals more than simple hypocrisy. It manifests a set of epistemic habits associated with what I call “missionary feminism.” Missionary feminists filter information about the world in ways that turn analyses of the situation of “other” women into opportunities to confirm Western superiority. A danger of missionary feminism is that it makes imperialist attitudes and policies seem like they are required by a commitment to gender justice.The president’s portrayal of sexual assault is strategically silent about what makes sexual assault happen at the border. A New York Times investigation revealed that much of the sexual violence that women face crossing the border happens once they are in the United States at the hands of U.S Customs and Border Patrol staff. Even when women are sexually assaulted by smugglers, it is often within the supposed safety of US territory. Women migrants who are victims of sexual assault within the United States even face deportation.Not to mention that what makes women vulnerable in the first place is a set of US government policies that militarize the border and contribute to the conditions that make women need to cross the border to begin with. For example, the conditions provoking asylum seekers to leave Honduras were caused by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández’s US-backed government.This strategic silence is an example of one epistemic habit constitutive of missionary. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

#62 - Häggström on AI Motivations and Risk Denialism

Philosophy News image
In this episode I talk to Olle Häggström. Olle is a professor of mathematical statistics at Chalmers University of Technology and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) and of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). Olle’s main research is in probability theory and statistical mechanics, but in recent years he has broadened his research interests to focus applied statistics, philosophy, climate science, artificial intelligence and social consequences of future technologies. He is the author of Here be Dragons: Science, Technology and the Future of Humanity (OUP 2016). We talk about AI motivations, specifically the Omohundro-Bostrom theory of AI motivation and its weaknesses. We also discuss AI risk denialism.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and a variety of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes0:00 - Introduction2:02 - Do we need to define AI?4:15 - The Omohundro-Bostrom theory of AI motivation7:46 - Key concepts in the Omohundro-Bostrom Theory: Final Goals vs Instrumental Goals10:50 - The Orthogonality Thesis14:47 - The Instrumental Convergence Thesis20:16 - Resource Acquisition as an Instrumental Goal22:02 - The importance of goal-content integrity25:42 - Deception as an Instrumental Goal29:17 - How the doomsaying argument works31:46 - Critiquing the theory: the problem of self-referential final goals36:20 - The problem of incoherent goals42:44 - Does the truth of moral realism undermine the orthogonality thesis?50:50 - Problems with the distinction between instrumental goals and final goals57:52 - Why do some people deny the problem of AI risk?1:04:10 - Strong versus Weak AI Scepticism1:09:00 - Is it difficult to be taken seriously on this topic?  Relevant LinksOlle's Blog Olle's webpage at Chalmers University'Challenges to the Omohundro-Bostrom framework for AI Motivations' by Olle (highly recommended)'The. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

Bad Words: Philosophical Perspectives on Slurs

Philosophy News image
2019.07.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews David Sosa (ed.), Bad Words: Philosophical Perspectives on Slurs, Oxford University Press, 2018, 235pp., $60.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198758655. Reviewed by Ralph DiFranco, Auburn University Over the last decade, pejorative language has emerged as one of the most popular topics in the philosophy of language. David Sosa's book is a collection of papers by major players in the field. Several of the chapters are devoted to refining and defending views an author had previously advanced in print, though some entries explore uncharted territory. Topics under discussion include the process by which a slur is appropriated by its target group, whether a slurring word and its neutral counterpart term encode the same semantic content, and the nature of slurs' derogatory power, specifically their capacity to express derogatory attitudes and harm their targets. In what follows I canvass several papers, raise a few challenges to the views defended therein, and... Read More

Continue reading . . .

News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Disability and Justice

Philosophy News image
[Revised entry by Daniel Putnam, David Wasserman, Jeffrey Blustein, and Adrienne Asch on July 2, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Among the topics in philosophy and disability, the relationship between disability and justice has received the lion's share of attention. No doubt this is in part because justice, often regarded as the "first virtue of social institutions" (Rawls 1971: 3), is central to the evaluation of social policies and public institutions. But it is also because disability has played at least two distinct roles in recent discussions of social justice. First, disability has been seen by many as a paradigm example of unchosen...

Continue reading . . .

News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Latest News

Here are some of the things going on in philosophy
and the humanities.

See all News Items

Philosopher Spotlight

Conversations with philosophers, professional and non-professional alike.
Visit our podcast section for more interviews and conversations.

Interview with

Dr. Robert McKim
  • on Religious Diversity
  • Professor of Religion and Professor of Philosophy
  • Focuses on Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

Interview with

Dr. Alvin Plantinga
  • on Where the Conflict Really Lies
  • Emeritus Professor of Philosophy (UND)
  • Focuses on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

Interview with

Dr. Peter Boghossian
  • on faith as a cognitive sickness
  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
  • Focuses on atheism and critical thinking
  • Has a passion for teaching in prisons
See all interviews


Twitter followers


News items posted


Page views per month

21 years

in publication

Latest Articles

See all Articles