Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

95 - The Psychology of the Moral Circle

I was raised in the tradition of believing that everyone is of equal moral worth. But when I scrutinise my daily practices, I don’t think I can honestly say that I act as if everyone is of equal moral worth. The idea that some people belong within the circle of moral concern and some do not is central to many moral systems. But what affects the dynamics of the moral circle? How does it contract and expand? Can it expand indefinitely? In this episode I discuss these questions with Joshua Rottman. Josh is an associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Program in Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind at Franklin and Marshall College. His research is situated at the intersection of cognitive development and moral psychology, and he primarily focuses on studying the factors that lead certain entities and objects to be attributed with (or stripped of) moral concern. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesTopics discussed include:The normative significance of moral psychologyThe concept of the moral circleHow the moral circle develops in childrenHow the moral circle changes over timeCan the moral circle expand indefinitely?Do we have a limited budget of moral concern?Do most people underuse their budget of moral concern?Why do some people prioritise the non-human world over marginal [More]

Anxiety: A Philosophical History

2021.11.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Bettina Bergo, Anxiety: A Philosophical History, Oxford University Press, 2020, 538pp., $49.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780197539712. Reviewed by David R. Cerbone, West Virginia University More than once in the introduction to this book, Bettina Bergo warns that she will be offering a “simplified narrative” (4, 33). By the time I reached page 478—the last page of the text proper, which is followed by a nearly twenty page bibliography—I found myself wondering, “With simplification like this, who needs complicated?” While perhaps simplified, this is by no means a simple book, as the reader is led through a thicket of philosophical figures, whose work spans several centuries, along with assorted figures and work in medicine, psychiatry, and the life-sciences. To be fair, there is some merit in Bergo’s characterization of her narrative: after briefly acknowledging anxiety’s appearance in early Greek and Roman philosophy (e.g., Plato’s Symposium and the writings... Read [More]