Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Anomalous Monism

[Revised entry by Steven Yalowitz on September 6, 2019. Changes to: Bibliography, related-issues.html] Anomalous Monism is a theory about the scientific status of psychology, the physical status of mental events, and the relation between these issues developed by Donald Davidson. It claims that psychology cannot be a science like basic physics, in that it cannot in principle yield exceptionless laws for predicting or explaining human thoughts and actions (mental anomalism). It also holds that thoughts and actions must be physical (monism, or token-identity). Thus, according to Anomalous Monism, psychology cannot be reduced [More]

The Impossibility of Immigrants Refusing to Integrate into British Society (guest post by Hasko Von Kriegstein)

The following is a guest post* by Hasko Von Kriegstein, an assistant professor in the Department of Law & Business at Ryerson University, regarding matters related to Brexit. The Impossibility of Immigrants Refusing to Integrate into British Society by Hasko Von Kriegstein Brexit continues to make international headlines. The desire to leave the EU appears to be, in large part, driven by a desire to limit immigration. This brings many questions about immigration to the forefront, among them the question whether immigrants have a duty to integrate into the receiving society. Many in Britain seem to think that there is. In 2016, for example, then communities secretary Sajid Javid stated: “for too long, too many people in this country have been living parallel lives, refusing to integrate failing to embrace the shared values that make Britain great.” 2.5 years later, former prime minister Tony Blair concurred: “ [Government] has to be a passionate advocate and, where necessary, an enforcer of the duty to integrate while protecting the proper space for diversity. Integration is not a choice; it is a necessity.” I do not hold strong views, one way or the other, on the question whether there is a duty to integrate. What I argue here is that, in the case of Britain, the question is moot. That is because it is impossible to refuse to integrate into British society. Consider the following argument. (1)   Any immigrant into British society either does, or does not, make an effort [More]

Is there a liberal case for no-platforming?

Via Newtown GrafittiNo platforming is the practice of denying speakers the opportunity to speak at certain venues because of the views they espouse or are expected to espouse. De-platforming is the related practice of trying to remove or prevent a speaker from speaking, after they have been invited to speak or have begun to speak. In this context, ‘speaking’ can be interpreted broadly to include any opportunity given to someone to express their views to an audience (for example, a newspaper opinion writer could be de-platformed).Although both practices can occur anywhere that speakers are provided with a platform — witness the 2018 controversy about Steve Bannon at the New Yorker festival — they are most commonly associated with university campuses. There have been several well-known incidents over the past few years in which protesters (usually student groups) have tried (sometimes with limited success) to deny speakers a platform on university campuses. Some of the best known examples include: Milo Yiannopolous at UC Berkeley, Charles Murray at Middlebury College, Maryam Namazie at Goldsmiths University, Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis University, and Germaine Greer at Cardiff University.If they succeed, both no platforming and de-platforming are, in effect, partial forms of censorship. They do not completely prevent certain points of view from being expressed (there are, after all, many platforms), but they do prevent them from being expressed at specific times and places. [More]

Elemental Discourses

2019.09.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews John Sallis, Elemental Discourses, Indiana University Press, 2018, 175pp., $80.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780253037244. Reviewed by Jeffrey Powell, Marshall University The publication of this book is an event for those familiar with the work of John Sallis, for it is the first volume to be published by Indiana University Press in the forty-three volume series The Collected Writings of John Sallis. It is volume four of Part II of The Collected Writings and contains eight chapters of previously unpublished lectures and talks, as well as two previously published essays. The latter two are chapter 6, "Alterity and the Elemental," which was originally published as "Levinas and the Elemental" in 1998 in Research in Phenomenology; and chapter 8, "The Scope of Visibility," originally published as "The Extent of Visibility" in the collection Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Sight. The Collected Writings will consist of... Read [More]

Retraction Statement by Robin Dembroff, Rebecca Kukla and Susan Stryker

We — Robin Dembroff, Rebecca Kukla, and Susan Stryker — were recently invited by the Institute for Art and Ideas to contribute short paragraphs on the IAI website on what philosophy could offer to contemporary understandings of transgender issues. We each accepted the invitation because we are philosophers and/or gender theorists who work on this topic and are committed to public scholarship. Upon publication, we learned that our responses were being presented as part of a “debate” on transgender identities, and we asked that our responses be taken down – a request that generated considerable backlash against us on Twitter and other social media. We appreciate that IAI has honored our request to remove our work, and offered us the opportunity to explain our reasons for retracting our original contributions.We considered our inclusion in the IAI “debate” to have been a non-consensual co-platforming, for which we sought redress through the retraction of our contributions. We also [More]

There have been some excellent questions about whether moral claims can be

Read another response about Ethics Ethics Share There have been some excellent questions about whether moral claims can be objectively true or not. Isn't there an unspoken presupposition to that argument, however? "Moral claims can only exist in situations where there are beings who are subject to morality present in the first place." or perhaps you can word it better to capture what I am trying to say. In other words, if there were no sentient beings, then the concept of morality could not even exist, as only sentient beings are capable of moral reflection in the first [More]

Sexual Harassment in Philosophy, Part 2 (guest post by Janice Dowell and David Sobel)

The following is a guest post* by Janice Dowell and David Sobel, professors of philosophy at Syracuse University, with help from several other philosophers. It is the second in a two-part series on sexual harassment in philosophy. Part 1 is here. Like the first installment, this one was also published at PEA Soup. Professors Dowell and Sobel have included some prefatory remarks for this post: Below is the second installment in our two-part series on sexual harassment in academia. In this installment, we discuss proposals for what individual philosophers and departments can do to prevent harassment and support victims. Some of these proposals will likely be controversial. The ongoing discussion of this topic is important; we hope people will carefully consider our proposals and the rationale offered for them. And while proposals for change frequently come with the risk of creating new problems, we hope people keep in mind that the status quo has very serious costs. Before those who disagree publicly express their dissent, I very much hope they will keep two considerations in mind:  (i) Whether the proposals advocated by the signatories to the statement below are warranted depends very much on what’s known about the rates of harassment and retaliation in academia and their impact on victims. Anyone who is unfamiliar with these facts will find it difficult to reasonably assess these proposals. So, we hope that anyone not yet familiar with the empirical data will first [More]