Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Aim(s) of Practical Deliberation

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My new paper on 'Deontic Pluralism' argues for "a maximizing account of the ought of most reason, a satisficing account of obligation, and a scalar account of the weight of reasons."  One question that emerges towards the end of the paper is whether we really need all of this.  Can we identify a sense of 'ought' that has primacy in virtue of its special relevance to first-personal deliberation—i.e., as the sense of ‘ought’ that a conscientious agent has in mind when they ask themselves, “What ought I to do?” I've previously cast doubt on the idea that the deliberative question has a suitably fixed and determinate meaning. But even just focusing on the choice between the ought of most reason and the ought of minimal decency (or blamelessness), we aren’t obviously forced in either direction here, e.g. by the constitutive norms of agential deliberation. Some agents in some contexts are particularly concerned to at least meet the standards for minimal decency, whereas others are more morally ambitious. We can certainly say that it’s better for agents to do better. But it isn’t clear that there’s much more we can say beyond this trivial evaluative observation. In particular, I see no clear basis for insisting that there is just one proper aim of deliberation. On the contrary, I think we can make good sense of why both standards have a limited place in our normative lives. The ought of most reason is perhaps the most obviously significant. It picks out the best choice for us to make, the option which is most well-justified, providing an ideal standard to which it makes sense to aspire. (Of course, whether it is practically useful or advisable to aspire to it in any given situation is a further, empirical question. Some may just be disheartened were they to try. But I don’t take such practical concerns to undermine the in-principle aptness of the aspiration, which is what I’m concerned with here.) The practical relevance of the. . .

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News source: Philosophy, et cetera

Soap, Toothpaste and Migrant Children

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The Trump administration set off yet another firestorm when it was revealed that migrant children were being detained without access to such basic items as toothpaste and soap. Apparently this is not just a matter of a lack of funds but of a policy decision—after all, donations are not being accepted from the public. One could argue that such donations cannot be accepted out of concern for the safety of the children or perhaps it is a standing policy to not accept any donations—these are points worth considering before immediately condemning the US Border Patrol. However, not having such necessities seems rather more dangerous than any risk presented by donations and polices can be changed if the will is there. As such, one would suspect that creating such conditions is a matter of policy. Image Credit On the face of it, denying anyone these necessities is morally wrong. Even the Taliban and Somali pirates give their captives toothpaste and soap; for the United States to be unwilling to rise up to the ethical level of pirates and the Taliban is certainly problematic. The fact that the United States is treating children in this manner makes it even worse—there can be no argument that the children are so terrible that they can be justly denied these necessities. First, they are obviously innocent children. Second, even terrible people are entitled to necessities when being held prisoner. Despite the obvious wickedness of denying children these necessities, the Trump administration not only did so, but defended their actions. Sarah B. Faban, a Justice Department lawyer, was sent by the administration to defend their misdeeds. The gist of her argument was that the government is only required to provide “safe and sanitary conditions” and since this does not specify such things as soap and toothpaste, the government is not obligated to provide such things. In a now infamous video, the judges made it clear that they did not accept this argument. They contended. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

The 12 Ensemble play Mendelssohn

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 The Mendelssohn Octet on a summer’s evening, a short walk away down the river to the old Divinity School, takes a lot of beating for sheer enjoyment. And it was excellently played last night with verve and obvious enjoyment — after some (Richard!) Strauss and Shostakovich — by the young 12 Ensemble. The audience rightly loved them: if you get a chance to catch them in concert, do so! Meanwhile, here they are with the first movement of the Octet from a concert last year. The post The 12 Ensemble play Mendelssohn appeared first on Logic Matters.

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News source: Logic Matters

The Political Ontology of Giorgio Agamben: Signatures of Life and Power

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2019.06.24 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews German Eduardo Primera, The Political Ontology of Giorgio Agamben: Signatures of Life and Power, Bloomsbury, 2019, 197pp., $141.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781350081369. Reviewed by Thomas Carl Wall, National Taipei University of Technology Giorgio Agamben does not acquiesce to the traditional distinction between poetry and philosophy (or for that matter, between theological and political thought, political thought and metaphysics (which German Eduardo Primera’s book foregrounds), or history and poetry). He writes, in his very early work Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture [originally published in 1977; not translated into English until 1993], “of a scission stemming from the origin of our culture that is usually accepted as the most natural thing — that goes, so to speak, without saying — but in fact is the only thing truly worth interrogating. The scission in question is that between poetry and philosophy” (xvii). Agamben’s entire career could in great part be understood as negotiation between this and... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Empathy

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[Revised entry by Karsten Stueber on June 27, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The concept of empathy is used to refer to a wide range of psychological capacities that are thought of as being central for constituting humans as social creatures allowing us to know what other people are thinking and feeling, to emotionally engage with them, to share their thoughts and feelings, and to care for their well - being. Ever since the eighteenth century, due particularly to the influence of the writings of David Hume and Adam Smith, those capacities have been at the center of scholarly investigations into...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Medieval Theories of Transcendentals

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[Revised entry by Wouter Goris and Jan Aertsen on June 27, 2019. Changes to: Bibliography] Medieval theories of the transcendentals present an explication of the concept of 'being' (ens) in terms of the so-called 'most common notions' (communissima), such as 'one' (unum), 'true' (verum), and 'good' (bonum), and explain the inner relations and order between these concepts. In contrast to early modern accounts of the transcendental, these medieval theories...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

APA Is Surveying Philosophers on Priorities and Services

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The American Philosophical Association (APA) is conducting a survey to determine which issues confronting professional philosophers it should prioritize, and which of its services and programs professional philosophers find valuable.  The survey is part of  a “strategic planning process to help guide the association over the next few years” and is “designed to gather insights from philosophers across the discipline, regardless of rank, employment, or APA membership status.” According to an email from the APA, “the survey will not attach your name to your responses, and all of the data will be reported in aggregate. As an incentive, after completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for free APA membership for one year.” You can take the survey here. The post APA Is Surveying Philosophers on Priorities and Services appeared first on Daily Nous.

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News source: Daily Nous

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