Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Good Faith & Politics

While it is tempting to think of politics as the art of lying, I contend that it requires good faith honesty. This is based on my very conventional pragmatic political philosophy. As would be expected, I accept that the legitimacy of the state rests on the consent of the governed; thinkers like Locke and Hobbes [More]

Failure: A Philosophical Analysis

 Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try. (Homer Simpson) I’m like most people: I spend a long time thinking that I am a failure. I see others posting updates online about personal triumphs and successes, and I feel like I don’t measure up. I’m not as successful as they are. I haven’t achieved as much. I have failed at work and failed at life. How can I do better? I know that I am not alone in these feelings. As best I can tell, most people struggle with perceptions of failure from time to time. There is, now, an entire industry of books, events and podcasts dedicated to helping people cope with failure. The common strategy seems to be to encourage some kind of reframing. Don’t see failure as a sign of your inadequacy but, rather, an opportunity for growth. For example, Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail Podcast (and related book) takes this approach. As she describes it herself, the purpose is to interview people about their failures and see what these failures “taught them about how to succeed better”. In a similar vein, for many years, Silicon Valley startup founders participated in the now-defunct (?) FailCon, an annual conference celebrating failures in business and what can be learned from them. The message seems to have been: fail fast, learn and then pivot to something better. Other efforts are afoot trying to normalise failure. For example, in academia, there was something of a fetish for ‘CVs of failure’ a few years [More]

Corporations & Cancellation: Speech (Money)

Corporations such as Coca Cola, Delta and Major League Baseball condemned Georgia’s restrictive voter laws and some even took action by taking their business out of the state. This angered Senator Mitch McConnell and he warned corporations to “…stay out of politics.” Unironically, he hastened to add that this does not include political contributions. McConnell [More]

The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science

2021.05.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Theodore Sider, The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science, Oxford University Press, 2020, 233pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198811565. Reviewed by Scott Dixon, Ashoka University Theodore Sider's book is an important contribution to discussions of cutting edge topics lying at the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophies of mathematics and science. Early on in the book, Sider describes his thesis as the claim that 'the choice of metaphysical tools matters to first-order metaphysics, especially when it comes to "structuralist" positions in the metaphysics of science and mathematics' (3). Structuralist views are those which, in some sense, ontologically "downgrade" certain entities (e.g., numbers, individuals, or posits of scientific theories) relative to the relational framework (the structure) in which they are embedded. Sider is out to explore the prospects for clarifying certain of these structuralist theses by attempting to formulate them with various concepts from postmodal... Read [More]