Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Debating Pornography

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2019.09.21 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Andrew Altman and Lori Watson, Debating Pornography, Oxford University Press, 2019, 323pp., $24.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780199358717. Reviewed by Lina Papadaki, University of Crete This book provides a clear, thorough. pro-and-con philosophical analysis of major issues about pornography and the debates pornography generates. Andrew Altman and Lori Watson provide strong arguments to support their conclusions, while engaging with various studies on the effects pornography has on its consumers. Their volume is an excellent introduction to the ethical issues pornography raises. At the same time, it can be appreciated by the more advanced reader already familiar with contemporary philosophical discussions about pornography. Altman and Watson are concerned about important questions such as: How are we to define pornography? Why do we have reason to reject an obscenity based approach to pornography and to adopt, rather, a sex-equality approach? Does the right to sexual autonomy include the... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Empedocles

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[New Entry by K. Scarlett Kingsley and Richard Parry on September 26, 2019.] In the middle of the fifth century BCE, Empedocles of Acragas formulated a philosophical program in hexameter verse that pioneered the influential four-part theory of roots (air, water, earth, and fire) along with two active principles of Love and Strife, which influenced later philosophy, medicine, mysticism, cosmology, and religion. The philosophical system responded to Parmenides' rejection of change while embracing religious injunctions and magical practices. As a result, Empedocles has occupied a significant position...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

I am wondering about a logical situation in which one starts with a desired

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Read another response about Logic Logic Share I am wondering about a logical situation in which one starts with a desired conclusion and then works backward to discern solid premises from which to construct said conclusion. The particular conclusion I have in mind is "each one of us should always be open to the possibility that we might have made a mistake." One set of inarguable premises might be "all people make mistakes at one time or another" and "I am a person." For some people, however, that is not sufficient: implicitly, they always seem to say "while I agree in theory that I might make a mistake, I will never actually admit to a mistake in any specific situation." and so I am looking for another set of premises. These one actually is based on strong empirical evidence as cited by Kahneman in Thinking Fast and Slow: "It is more likely that another person will notice when I make a mistake than it would be for me to notice it." Then I get stuck. It seems I need another premise alongside this one to finish my syllogism. Any thoughts from the panel would be helpful. Thanks!

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News source: AskPhilosophers Questions

Causality, Probability, and Medicine

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2019.09.19 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Donald Gillies, Causality, Probability, and Medicine, Routledge, 2019, 300pp., $150.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138829282. Reviewed by Federica Russo, University of Amsterdam This book is at the crossroads of the philosophy of medicine, philosophy of causality, and philosophy of mechanisms. Specifically, it contributes to understanding the philosophical and historical underpinnings of medical methodology. Donald Gillies' aim in the book is to "develop a theory of causality for theoretical medicine".  In order to establish a link between causality and probability, Gillies shows that we have to link causality and action on the one hand, and causality and mechanisms on the other. Admittedly, it is a rather difficult task to contribute simultaneously to these intricately interconnected issues that are the focus of a number of debates. Gillies does succeed in showing how in-depth analysis of history of medicine can shed light on theoretical issues in... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Natural Selection

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[New Entry by Peter Gildenhuys on September 25, 2019.] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Peter Gildenhuys replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.] Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace are the two co-discoverers of natural selection (Darwin a Wallace 1858), though, between the two, Darwin is the principal theorist of the notion whose most famous...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“Academic Philosophy Is Ruining Our Marriage”, Non-Hegel Versions

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By now many readers will have seen the Reddit post written by a physicist seeking advice about what to do about her Hegel-obsessed philosopher-of-science husband. It was posted in the Heap of Links the other day, and all over social media—to the extent that “Hegel” was trending on Twitter. The post begins: My husband and I are both academics. We’ve been married for 3 years, and been together for 6. He is an academic philosopher and I am a physicist. He has recently expressed displeasure that I’ve never seriously engaged with his work. Now, I’ve read a bit… Unfortunately, everything he’s shown me has just seems completely insane. Here’s the problem: his work apparently involves claims about physics that are just wrong, and wrong in a very embarrassing way! She details some of those claims, points out various problems, and claims his pre-occupation with Hegel “has reached the point of creepiness,” noting that “he keeps a framed picture of Hegel on the nightstand in our bedroom.” The problem grows and culminates in a fight: Recently we got in a huge fight because he was trying to demonstrate an example of the Hegelian concept of the “unity of opposites” (whatever that means) by claiming that right and left hands are opposite but also identical. I told him this is just wrong and that right and left hands are not “identical” in any meaningful sense (chirality is a basic concept in geometry/group theory: left and right hands are not superimposable). He kept putting his hands together and tried to show how they were “identical” and kept failing (because they’re not) and then got angry and stormed out of the house. I haven’t seen him since (this was about a day ago) and texted him and haven’t heard back. There’s some speculation that the post is a hoax. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it. I was trying to imagine. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

Elizabeth Anderson Wins MacArthur Fellowship

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Elizabeth Anderson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, is a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowships, informally referred to as “genius grants”, are unrestricted, no-strings-attached awards of $625,000, given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The Fellowships are funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. There were 26 Fellows in the 2019 class. Professor Anderson is the only academic philosopher among them. The Foundation says: Elizabeth Anderson is a philosopher examining how evolving concepts of freedom and equality are experienced in our daily lives. She combines a high level of analytical rigor with a pragmatist methodology in her investigations of the ways various institutions, policies, and social practices structure relations among people and serve to promote or hinder conditions of democratic equality and human flourishing. In an extensive body of work, Anderson formulates principles based on empirical evidence about problems of practical importance and urgency—from the persistence of racial segregation to the authoritarian aspects of the modern workplace—instead of engaging in thought experiments or posing hypothetical questions about an ideal world. She has made pivotal contributions to a number of philosophical debates on such subjects as the ethical limitations of markets, the effects of gendered distributions of power on the production and reception of knowledge, and the concept of equality.  Professor Anderson talks about her work in this brief video: The MacArthur Fellowship program has been in existence since 1981. Professor Anderson is the first academic philosopher to win one of the fellowships since 1993, when Nancy Cartwright and T.M. Scanlon were. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

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