Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects

2019.11.11 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michela Massimi and Casey D. McCoy (eds.), Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects, Routledge, 2019, 200pp., $140.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138503069. Reviewed by Lucas J. Matthews, Columbia University/The Hastings Center At this point it's entirely uncontroversial that science comprises a variety of different approaches, methods, models, explanations, technologies, and perspectives. I might go so far as to say that most science is pluralistic, through and through. Complex phenomena abound in the universe, so it shouldn't be a surprise that scientific perspectives abound too. Perhaps just slightly more controversial, however, is the case when there are many different scientific perspectives on the same phenomenon. The human brain, for example, is modeled and investigated with a troop of different approaches from numerous scientific disciplines from computational neuroscience to neurobiology, and plenty in between. Given that the brain is -- arguably -- one of the most complex systems in the universe, spanning many levels of analysis,... Read [More]

Velleman from NYU to Johns Hopkins (updated)

J. David Velleman, currently professor of philosophy at New York University, has accepted an offer from the Department of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University (JHU).  Professor Velleman will hold the Miller Research Professorship in Philosophy at JHU. He is known for his work in moral philosophy. Links to many of his papers and books can be found here. The Miller Professorship is named for William H. “Bill” Miller III, who last year donated $75 million to the JHU Department of Philosophy. Professor Velleman takes up his new position January 1st, 2020. (See updated, below.) (via Steven Gross) UPDATE: Professor Velleman wrote in with a clarification: “I am retiring from NYU at the end of this academic year, and Hopkins is appointing me as a Research Professor, which is not a regular faculty position…  I am retiring and in retirement I will be a Research Professor at Hopkins.”   The post Velleman from NYU to Johns Hopkins (updated) appeared first on Daily [More]

The Inefficiencies of Traditional Academic Writing

Most of the words in an average, considered-well-written paper are in some sense superfluous: for the right audience, you can usually boil it down to a few statements. That’s David Bourget, associate professor in philosophy, director of the Centre for Digital Philosophy at Western University, and one of the founders of PhilPapers and its related enterprises. Professor Bourget was recently interviewed by Eric Piper at Wiley Humanities about his career combining philosophy and computing. In a discussion of the potential of the PhilPapers Philosophical Survey (“PhilSurvey”) and similar projects, he notes philosophers’ ignorance about the prevalence of various philosophical views: [T]he mere publication of the data collected by PhilSurvey (without any fancy analysis) will by itself help move debates forward and improve the quality of communications. Right now philosophers are largely in the dark regarding where others stand on philosophical questions. This is something that Dave [Chalemers] and I showed with a pilot survey and an accompanying “meta-survey”, in which we asked respondents to guess the results of the main survey. We found that on average professional philosophers are off by 15% on philosophical claims. For a view that boils down to an answer to a yes/no question this could mean, for example, that the community on average believes the distribution of views is 50/50 when in fact it’s 35/65.  For many issues the discrepancy between the [More]

The truth about ‘Latinx’

In recent years, the term Latinx has become popular in academic settings in English to designate a group of people without reference to gender, which is designated by -o and -a endings in some Romance languages. While academics and Twitter users have begun to use the term, only 2% of the U.S. population actually identifies with this word.  Latinx […] The post The truth about ‘Latinx’ appeared first on [More]

The Future of Automation? Video Interview about Automation and Utopia

I recently sat down and did a video chat with Adam Ford about my new book Automation and Utopia. I've talked to Adam several times over the years. He runs a great Youtube channel where he interviews pretty much every leading figure in futurism and transhumanism. I highly recommend checking it out.This conversation, unlike some of the others I have done about the book, focuses mainly on the automation of work. Will it happen? What's different about the current wave of automation compared to previous waves? What will be the consequences of widespread automation? We also talk about Nozick's experience machine argument towards the end.If you are interested in the book, you might consider buying a copy or recommending it to a library (etc). If you have already read it, you might consider reviewing it, mentioning it online, or recommending it to friends or colleagues. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the [More]

Why Materialism is a Dead-End

We live in an age of science, which has enabled technological advancements unimaginable to our ancestors. Unlike philosophy, which depends somewhat on certain subjective values and one’s own sense of plausibility to settle questions, science poses questions directly to nature, in the form of experiments. Nature then answers by displaying certain behaviors, so questions can be settled objectively.This is both science’s strength and its Achilles’ heel: experiments only tell us how nature behaves, not what it essentially is. Many different hypotheses about nature’s essence are consistent with its manifest behaviors. So although such behaviors are informative, they can’t settle questions of being, which philosophers call ‘metaphysics.’ Understanding nature’s essence is fundamentally beyond the scientific method, which leaves us with the—different—methods of philosophy. These, somewhat subjective as they may be, are our only path to figuring out what is going on.Materialism—the view that [More]