Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

A question you always wanted to ask but you never had the time to: Is the "EROI" of energy studies the same as the R factor in epidemiology?

There is a certain logic in the way the universe works and so it is not surprising that the same models can describe phenomena that seem to be completely different. Here, I'll show you how the same equations describe chain reactions that govern such different phenomena as the spread of an epidemic, the cycle of extraction of crude oil, and even the nuclear reaction that creates atomic explosions. All these phenomena depend on the efficiency of energy transfer, the parameter that's known in energy studies as EROI (energy return on energy invested), related to the "transmission factor" (R) of epidemiological models. Above, a classic clip from Walt Disney's 1957 movie, "Our friend, the atom."  You may be surprised to discover that epidemiological models share the same basic core of peak oil models. And it is not just about peak oil, the same models are used to describe chemical reactions, resource depletion, the fishing industry, the diffusion of memes on the Web, and even the nuclear chain reaction that leads to nuclear explosions. It is always the same idea: reinforcing feedbacks lead the system to grow in a frenzy of exploitation of an available resource: oil, fish, atomic nuclei, or people to be infected. In the end, it is perhaps the most typical way the universe uses dissipate potentials. As always, entropy rules everything! Modeling these phenomena has a story that starts with the model developed in the 1920s by Vito Volterra and Alfred Lotka. They go under the [More]

Aristotle on Matter, Form, and Moving Causes: The Hylomorphic Theory of Substantial Generation

2020.06.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Devin Henry, Aristotle on Matter, Form, and Moving Causes: The Hylomorphic Theory of Substantial Generation, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 236pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781108475570. Reviewed by Mary Katrina Krizan, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse In this book, Devin Henry defends Aristotle's commitment to a hylomorphic model of substantial generation. In the first chapters, he defends an interpretation of form, matter, and efficient cause within Aristotle's general account of substantial generation. Then, he applies the broader theory in order to explain the most interesting cases of substantial generation -- those of living things, and particularly animals. The book culminates with a view toward the good of biological generation. Henry's book succeeds in its goal of defending a hylomorphic model of substantial generation that is broadly consistent across multiple texts, which range from rather theoretical texts such as Book I of the Physics and On Generation and Corruption to the more specific applications of theory such as... Read [More]

IFL2 update … and online lectures?

IFL2 should be published this month. You can admire the cover and “look inside” at an excerpt here, courtesy of CUP  (though the first chapter is not particularly representative). There’s more info at the book’s homepage here. I’m gradually populating … Continue reading → The post IFL2 update … and online lectures? appeared first on Logic [More]

PhD-project "Will democracy survive social media?"

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  Eindhoven University of Technology Town:  Eindhoven Country:  Netherlands Job Description:  Social media has become an essential space of public and semi-public discourse, and has the potential for a second wave of digital democracy by increasing access to information and greatly lowering the barrier of participation in public debates. The last few years, however, have also shown some of the risks that are present in social media. Fake news, disinformation, manipulation and disguised propaganda in social media have contributed to a post-truth era in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal [More]

Post-Doc in the project: Behaviour change technologies for moral improvement: Moral skilfulness and moral struggle.

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  Eindhoven University of Technology Town:  Eindhoven Country:  Netherlands Job Description:  The TU/e is looking for candidates for a Philosophy & Ethics Post-Doc in the project: Behaviour change technologies for moral improvement: Moral skilfulness and moral struggle. This Post-Doc position will be part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies research programme, a new 10 year long international programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that started in January [More]

Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor

2020.06.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Gina Schouten, Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor, Oxford University Press, 2019, 256pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198813071. Reviewed by Christie Hartley, Georgia State University Despite the implementation of laws and policies that aim to address gender discrimination in education and employment and women's increased participation in the labor market, the gendered division of labor in paid and unpaid work persists. Women, as well as other caregivers, are disadvantaged as a result. Carefully crafted policy initiatives could rectify the stalled gender revolution, but, in the U.S. and in many other liberal democracies, the necessary policies are not adopted. In these states, people have different views of the good life and of justice, and they disagree about what, if anything, should be done to address the gendered division of labor. In her book, Gina Schouten offers a sophisticated analysis of some previous attempts to explain the problem with the... Read [More]