Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Concealed Influence of Custom: Hume's Treatise from the Inside Out

2021.02.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Jay L. Garfield, The Concealed Influence of Custom: Hume's Treatise from the Inside Out, Oxford University Press, 2019, 302pp., $78.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190933401. Reviewed by Emily Kelahan, Illinois Wesleyan University While hyper specialization is probably inevitable and in some ways good, it threatens to destroy our disciplinary community. There is a formula for success in philosophy that is now explicitly shared with graduate students: find a discrete problem about which little has been written, take a position on it, and try to present and publish the result. The number of people who feel they can co-philosophize with any depth on a topic in any given room at large conferences seems to be shrinking. The popularity of "big picture" views seems to be waning. Jay L. Garfield's book is a refreshing challenge to these trends. It's a book about Hume's Treatise (all of it), written by a scholar whose primary research area isn't Hume... Read [More]

The Inheritance of Wealth: Justice, Equality, and the Right to Bequeath

2021.02.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Daniel Halliday, The Inheritance of Wealth: Justice, Equality, and the Right to Bequeath, Oxford University Press, 2018, 235pp., $45.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780198803355. Reviewed by Blain Neufeld, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee A significant obstacle to the realization of the free and equal status of all citizens within democratic societies is the inheritance of wealth -- or more precisely, the intergenerational accumulation and transfer of wealth within families. The extreme wealth inequality caused by flows of inheritances can render a de jure democratic society a de facto aristocracy, wherein individuals' life-prospects are determined largely by the economic class into which they are born. Because of this, liberal egalitarian justice demands limits on inheritances. John Rawls, for instance, recommends that intergenerational bequeathments and gifts be taxed, so that individuals can acquire only limited amounts of wealth through such processes over the courses of their lifetimes.[1] Rawls's treatment of inheritance is quite... Read [More]

Cassandra has Moved

   Professor Sabine Hossenfelder engages in a performance about Cassandra. Nice song, well sung, and it catches something of Cassandra's story and character. Although I am reasonably sure that Cassandra would not wear that kind of clothes. Cassandra's blog is closed. It will remain on line, but it will not be updated anymore. Ugo Bardi has moved to a new site called "The Seneca Effect."  It may be a bit more philosophical than the old Cassandra blog, but it will not be very different.  You may also follow Ugo Bardi at "The Proud Holobionts" blog, a more optimistic blog dedicated to -- you guess to what! -- holobionts! A new concept that favors collaboration over competition in the evolution of the biosphere. And don't forget Ugo Bardis' musings about history and myths at the Chimera blog, with some fictional interpretations of Cassandra's story: An Interview with Cassandra  and "The True Story of the Fall of Troy"Finally, if you like to hear Ugo Bardi rather than reading what he writes, you can find his youtube channel. It is still al little experimental, but it may grow to something interesting in the future. Thank you to all those who followed this blog for nearly ten years. It was a pleasure, but things keep moving and we have to move, too!UB [More]

Does Parenting Style Shape Our Moral Culture?

A moral culture is the set of beliefs and practices in a society that specifies the values and norms that (people believe) ought to be adopted by the people living in that society. There are many different moral cultures. Psychologists and sociologists frequently talk, for example, about honour-based moral cultures. These are cultures in which the moral worth of each individual is not equal. It depends on the honour of each individual. Consequently, gaining and protecting one’s honour is the focal point of the moral beliefs and practices in such a culture. Honour-based cultures are sometimes contrasted with dignity-based moral cultures, which essentially hold that all people are of equal moral worth and this equality must be respected by the society’s moral beliefs and practices. These are just illustrative examples. The concept of a moral culture is broader than that. Since a moral culture is, in essence, just a particular constellation of moral beliefs and practices, usually held together by some common underlying moral theory or paradigm, we could also talk about individualist, communitarian, and egalitarian moral cultures. As you may know, I’ve recently been writing quite a bit about the idea of moral change and moral revolution. It is an obvious historical fact that people’s moral beliefs and practices change over time. The more dramatic moral changes — the revolutions — often involve changes in the underlying moral culture. For instance, the shift from honour-based [More]