Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

#55 - Baum on the Long-Term Future of Human Civilisation

In this episode I talk to Seth Baum. Seth is an interdisciplinary researcher working across a wide range of fields in natural and social science, engineering, philosophy, and policy. His primary research focus is global catastrophic risk. He also works in astrobiology. He is the Co-Founder (with Tony Barrett) and Executive Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute. He is also a Research Affiliate of the University of Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. We talk about the importance of studying the long-term future of human civilisation, and map out four possible trajectories for the long-term future.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on a variety of different platforms, including iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, Podbay, Player FM and more. The RSS feed is available here. Show Notes0:00 - Introduction1:39 - Why did Seth write about the long-term future of human civilisation?5:15 - Why should we care about the long-term future? What is the long-term future?13:12 - How can we scientifically and ethically study the long-term future?16:04 - Is it all too speculative?20:48 - Four possible futures, briefly sketched: (i) status quo; (ii) catastrophe; (iii) technological transformation; and (iv) astronomical23:08 - The Status Quo Trajectory - Keeping things as they are28:45 - Should we want to maintain the status quo?33:50 - The Catastrophe Trajectory - Awaiting the likely collapse of civilisation38:58 - How could we restore [More]

Bell’s Theorem

[Revised entry by Wayne Myrvold, Marco Genovese, and Abner Shimony on March 13, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Bell's Theorem is the collective name for a family of results, all of which involve the derivation, from a condition on probability distributions inspired by considerations of local causality, together with auxiliary assumptions usually thought of as mild side-assumptions, of probabilistic predictions about the results of spatially separated experiments that conflict, for appropriate choices of quantum states and experiments, with quantum mechanical predictions. These probabilistic predictions take the form [More]

Heidegger and the Problem of Consciousness

2019.03.16 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Nancy J. Holland, Heidegger and the Problem of Consciousness, Indiana University Press, 2018, 132pp., $38.00 (pbk) ISBN 9780253035943. Reviewed by Joe Balay, Christopher Newport University The title of Nancy Holland's new study is ambiguous. A book on Heidegger and consciousness? Does the author mean Husserl and consciousness? After all, is Heidegger a thinker of consciousness or one of its most profound critics? Should the reader hear the title as promising an explication of Heidegger's contribution to the longstanding mind/body problem, or as Heidegger's problematization of the very question? This ambiguity constitutes the intrigue of Holland's investigation. To be clear, Holland's study is aimed at re-thinking the question of consciousness by drawing on the work of Heidegger. Her target is the Cartesian legacy of dualism and the prevailing trend in philosophy to subordinate the mental to the physical. Holland argues that... Read [More]

Nothing to Come: A Defence of the Growing Block Theory of Time

2019.03.15 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz, Nothing to Come: A Defence of the Growing Block Theory of Time, Springer, 2018, 197pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9783319787039. Reviewed by Ulrich Meyer, Colgate University In this carefully argued book, Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz present a version of the growing block theory that they claim to be immune to the usual objections against this theory of time. I think they are right that their proposal does indeed enjoy such immunity, but I am not sure that their proposal is what other people had in mind when they endorsed the growing block theory.   According to the way people usually think of the proposal, the growing block theory claims that past and present are real, but not the future. While all facts about the past are settled, the future is still open. As time goes by,... Read [More]