Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

New John Locke Manuscript in the News

“Independent scholar finds new John Locke manuscript” was the tag on an entry in the Heap of Links a couple of weeks ago. Since then, several publications have covered the story. New Locke is hot news, apparently. The manuscript, “Reasons for tolerating Papists equally with others,” was unearthed by J.C. Walmsley in 2015 in the archives of the Greenfield Library of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. An account of the discovery was provided in a recent press release from St. John’s college, and Walmsley and Felix Waldmann (Cambridge) wrote about it in article in The Historical Journal. The manuscript itself, handwritten by Locke, has been digitized and is available here. The press release states that “the manuscript essentially consists of two lists: the first, a set of reasons for tolerating Catholics, which at the time simply meant not actively persecuting the group, and the second a list of reasons not to (which is his much wider-known opinion). According to Walmsley, the manuscript is directly connected to Locke’s Essay concerning Toleration, and, he says ‘was most likely its immediate antecedent and inspiration.'” The discovery has been getting a fair amount of press. Articles about it have already appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Baltimore Sun, Smithsonian Magazine, Spiked, Publico, and France Culture. The Wall Street Journal article, by Jason Willick, an assistant editor at the paper, was [More]

Philosophers Win ERC Starting Grants

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the winners of its latest round of “starting grants,” and among them are several philosophers. They are: Rafał Banka, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, for Mereological Reconstruction of the Metaphysical System in the Daodejing (€229,500 / $252,600) Jonathan Birch, London School of Economics and Political Science, for Foundations of Animal Sentience (€1,500,000 / $1,652,000) Jason Konek, University of Bristol, for Epistemic Utility for Imprecise Probability (€1,490,433 / $1,641,000) David Ludwig, Wageningen University, for Local Ecologies of Knowledge: Towards a Philosophy of Ethnobiology (€1,500,000 / $1,652,000) Rik Peels, Free University of Amsterdam and Medical Centre, for The Epistemology and Ethics of Fundamentalism (details forthcoming) Hanno Sauer, Utrecht University, for The Enemy of the Good: Towards a Theory of Moral Progress (€1,500,000 / $1,652,000) The starting grants program aims to “help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research across all disciplines.” There’s more information, including links to lists of all of the grant winners, here. The post Philosophers Win ERC Starting Grants appeared first on Daily [More]

The last shot at American Idioms

The use of metaphors is relatively late in the modern European languages; it is, in principle, a post-Renaissance phenomenon. The same holds for the idioms based on metaphors. No one in the days of Beowulf and perhaps even of Chaucer would have coined the phrase to lose one’s marbles “to become insane,” even if so long ago boys were as intent on collecting marbles as was Tom Sawyer. The post The last shot at American Idioms appeared first on [More]

A Decent Life: Morality for the Rest of Us

2019.09.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Todd May, A Decent Life: Morality for the Rest of Us, University of Chicago Press, 2019, 212pp., $25.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780226609744. Reviewed by Marcel van Ackeren, Cologne/CIBSS Freiburg Todd May's book contributes to debates related to the question of how much morality can ask from us, by providing a compelling argument supporting a moderate account of morality, the decent life. Decency is meant to be attractive for those who are not willing or capable of going to their own and morality's limits by living a saintly and altruistic life, but neither want to abandon morality altogether. The book also departs from the style of most contemporary debates in ethics; for it is not only written in a very clear style but also almost completely avoids technical language. Instead, it provides vivid and often personal stories and cases that are not abstractly engineered tools for pumping intuitions. May's book is good philosophy... Read [More]

A Philosopher Is Running for President

Jerome Segal, a former philosophy professor, announced his candidacy for president of the United States last week. Segal, who earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan and is the author of works such as Graceful Simplicity: Toward a Philosophy and Politics of Simple Living and Agency, Illusion, and Well-Being: Essays in Moral Psychology and Philosophical Economics, taught philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and was later affiliated with the University of Maryland’s philosophy department. He is also the founder of the Jewish Peace Lobby and has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2018, Segal created a new socialist party called “Bread and Roses” and is now running as its candidate for president. The party has already qualified for the ballot in Maryland and efforts for similar recognition in other states is underway. However, as The Washington Post reports, “despite some disagreements with the Democrats running for president, [Segal] shares their desire to replace President Trump and does not plan to campaign in swing states, where it might cut into votes for Trump’s opponent.” This is not Segal’s first foray into politics. Last year he challenged the Democratic party incumbent for Maryland Senator, and lost. Segal, according to the Washington Post, doesn’t “have any fantasies about actually being president… This is really about ideas and about adding something to the [More]

Graduate Students on Diversity and Inclusivity in Philosophy (guest post by Carolyn Dicey Jennings)

The following is a guest post* by Carolyn Dicey Jennings, associate professor of philosophy and cognitive science at University of California, Merced, and creator of Academic Placement Data and Analysis (APDA). Graduate Students on Diversity and Inclusivity in Philosophy by Carolyn Dicey Jennings Many philosophers recognize that the field has a “gender problem,” and maybe even a “race problem,” but I have come to believe that it has a diversity problem. This is because I helped lead a survey that revealed problems for women, those who identify as non-binary, racial and ethnic minorities, those from a low socioeconomic background, those with military or veteran status, LGBTQ philosophers, and those with disabilities. Graduate students from these backgrounds are underrepresented, find themselves less comfortable in philosophy, find philosophy less welcoming, are less likely to recommend their graduate program, are less satisfied with the research preparation, teaching preparation, and financial support of their graduate program, and are less interested in an academic career. This is a problem not only for reasons of equity and inclusion in philosophy, but also because diversity improves collective performance—philosophy is worse off as an academic discipline so long as it has this diversity problem. Fortunately, the participants in our survey provided some insight on how we might move forward, especially favoring increased representation from these groups among faculty [More]