Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Korean Confucianism

[New Entry by Kevin N. Cawley on November 24, 2021.] Koreans have been key players in Asian intellectual history and have historically been great propagators of intercultural adaptation. The "Three Teachings" of China, in the form of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism (sometimes written "Taoism"), had all made their way into Korea by the fifth century CE, blending with the pre-existing institutions and culture there. Korean Confucians had used Confucian ideas, especially those advocating hierarchy and moral leadership, to bolster a powerful state bureaucracy in order [More]

Molyneux’s Problem

[Revised entry by Marjolein Degenaar and Gert-Jan Lokhorst on November 23, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] On 7 July 1688 the Irish scientist and politician William Molyneux (1656 - 1698) sent a letter to John Locke in which he put forward a problem which was to awaken great interest among philosophers and other scientists throughout the Enlightenment and up until the present day. In brief, the question Molyneux asked was whether a man who has been born blind and who has learnt to distinguish and name a globe and a cube by touch, would be able to distinguish and name these objects simply by sight, once he had been enabled to [More]

Philosophy of Contract Law

[New Entry by Daniel Markovits and Emad Atiq on November 23, 2021.] The law of contracts, at least in its orthodox expression, concerns voluntary, or chosen, legal obligations. When Brody accepts Susan's offer to sell him a canoe for a set price, the parties' choices alter their legal rights and duties. Their success at changing the legal landscape depends on a background system of rules that specify when and how contractual acts have legal effects, rules that give the offer and acceptance of a bargain-exchange a central role in generating obligations. [More]

al-Farabi’s Metaphysics

[New Entry by Stephen Menn on November 22, 2021.] "Al-Farabi's metaphysics", as understood here, means not just his views, and arguments for those views, on a series of metaphysical topics, but his project of reconstructing and reviving metaphysics as a science. This is part of his larger project of reconstructing and reviving "the sciences of the ancients": his scientific project in metaphysics is inseparable from his interpretation and assimilation of Aristotle's Metaphysics. We start with some [More]

The Indefensibility of Post-Vaccine Lockdowns

Reasonable people may disagree about the justifiability of early-pandemic lockdowns (while awaiting the availability of vaccines), but this is just nuts:Austrian officials’ decision to impose a lockdown that will last at least 10 days and as many as 20 came after months of struggling attempts to halt the contagion through widespread testing and partial restrictions. Starting Monday, public life in the country is to come to a halt, with people allowed to leave their homes only to go to work or to procure groceries or medicines.What's the justification for this?  When vaccines are freely available to all, Covid isn't a serious threat except to those who refuse the vaccine, and thereby accept personal responsibility for the consequences. If policymakers are worried about hospital over-crowding, unvaccinated adults suffering complications from Covid should go to the back of the line.  If the unvaccinated are not willing to accept the risk of death due to a lack of hospital beds, they can either (i) get vaccinated, or (ii) stay home or take other precautions while local case rates are high.  But if they insist on risking their health, and get seriously ill as a result, they've no-one to blame but themselves.  It's simply not reasonable to infringe upon everyone's liberties for fear of harms that individuals have it within their own power to mitigate or [More]