Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Phenomenology: A Contemporary Introduction

2021.08.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Walter Hopp, Phenomenology: A Contemporary Introduction, Routledge, 2020, 323pp., $42.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780367497392. Reviewed by David Woodruff Smith, University of California, Irvine Walter Hopp's excellent book is an introduction to phenomenology in the spirit of Husserl's own conception of the discipline. I am reminded of Bertrand Russell's remark on A. J. Ayer's monograph: "A delightful book. I wish I had written it myself." What is insightful and delightful in Hopp's book is its dedicated focus on the problems of phenomenology, rather than the phenomenological tradition and its historical texts. Phenomenology as we know it -- this "new science" of consciousness -- was launched by Husserl in his monumental Logical Investigations (1900-01). Hopp works chapter by chapter on particular philosophical problems, deploying concepts and distinctions he draws largely from Husserl. Only in the final two chapters does he round out his take on the... Read [More]

Moral Phenomenology

[New Entry by John Drummond and Mark Timmons on August 25, 2021.] Sometimes the term "phenomenology" is used to refer to the subjective character of one's experiences or, as it is often glossed, their "what-it's-likeness". Used in this way, one may, for instance, focus on the what-it's-likeness of a sharp pain one is currently experiencing and perhaps attempt to describe the subjective character of that pain - its phenomenology. However, the term is also used as a label for a field of study, having a particular subject matter, methodology, and [More]

The Ethics of "Off-Label" Vaccinations for Kids

The WSJ reports that some parents hope to get their kids (under 12) vaccinated against Covid, as "the FDA’s approval generally means vaccines are eligible for off-label use, meaning beyond approved populations."  However, "the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have emphasized that the safest thing for this group of children is to wait for more data to be analyzed."I'm curious whether it's really true that waiting is "safest", or whether these advisories ignore status quo risk. I don't have the empirical knowledge to answer what really would be safest here, but questions worth asking include:(1) How many kids in this age group are expected to (i) suffer serious ill-effects, or (ii) die from Covid during this "wait"?(2) Given our background knowledge of similar vaccines, including the results of clinical trials for this vaccine on adolescents, what proportion of kids would you expect to (i) suffer serious ill-effects, or (ii) die if administered a "best guess" fractional dose of this vaccine?It would be pretty extraordinary if the vaccine posed a greater risk of death than Covid.  But if it doesn't, that would surely go some way towards undermining the assumption that waiting is necessarily "safer": it increases your child's risk of death!  Perhaps the risk of non-lethal but still serious vaccine side-effects could be great enough to outweigh the (typically mild) risks from Covid for this age group?  Maybe... The comparative risk [More]