Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Aristotle on Earlier Greek Psychology: The Science of the Soul

2019.10.09 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Jason W. Carter, Aristotle on Earlier Greek Psychology: The Science of the Soul, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 253pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781108481076. Reviewed by Jerry Green, University of Central Oklahoma Book I of Aristotle's De Anima (DA) is an oft-neglected portion of the Aristotelian corpus, even among specialists in Aristotle's psychology. DA I is largely concerned with the views of Aristotle's predecessors, and many scholars have seen Aristotle's critiques of these views as unpersuasive, unmotivated, and perhaps even unfair, which in any case offer little insight into Aristotle's own thinking on the nature of the soul. Consequently, the literature on the DA tends to make a fresh start with DA II, relegating DA I to an ancillary status. James W. Carter's book offers an overdue alternative approach to DA I, one which reads DA's first book as an integral part of the overall argument. Carter argues that DA I... Read [More]

Occasionalism

[Revised entry by Sukjae Lee on October 17, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] We live in a world that seems to be brimming with causal activity. I push the keys on my keyboard, and letters appear on the screen. Outside the wind blows leaves across the patio. The ringing of the phone cuts short my idling thoughts. Philosophers have long wondered about the nature of causality. Are there true causes at work in the world, and, if so, what makes [More]

Triumphantly Breaking Free from Academic Philosophy, But Still…

In 2015 I received the National Humanities Medal at a ceremony at the White House. President Obama himself put the medal around my neck, and the rumor was that he made the final choice. In the speech he gave before awarding all the medals, in addition to citing my work on Gödel and Spinoza and Plato, he spoke of me as the philosopher who sometimes chooses to write novels. Again, the suggestion that I wasn’t any less of a philosopher for writing novels is what made me the happiest. That’s Rebecca Goldstein, in an interview with Clifford Sosis at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? The interview is fascinating throughout. One of its themes is the intensity of the pull of academic philosophy for those within its gravity. Goldstein was a philosophy professor at Barnard when her first novel, The Mind-Body Problem, was published, to critical acclaim. She says: I did something completely insane for someone who had her heart set on an academic career in philosophy, especially as a woman, meaning someone who really had to do everything right to have any chance of being taken seriously. I published a novel, called The Mind-Body Problem… Shelly [Goldstein’s husband then] was horrified, warning me that I’d ruin my nascent career in philosophy, and obviously he was right, but I didn’t have the ears to hear what he was saying… The book received attention out in the world. It was a bestseller. And if being a novelist had been something I’d set my heart on then [More]

Cosmopolitanism

[Revised entry by Pauline Kleingeld and Eric Brown on October 17, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The word 'cosmopolitan', which derives from the Greek word kosmopolitēs ('citizen of the world'), has been used to describe a wide variety of important views in moral and socio-political philosophy. The nebulous core shared by all cosmopolitan views is the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, are (or can and should be) citizens in a single community. Different versions of cosmopolitanism envision [More]