Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Aim(s) of Practical Deliberation

My new paper on 'Deontic Pluralism' argues for "a maximizing account of the ought of most reason, a satisficing account of obligation, and a scalar account of the weight of reasons."  One question that emerges towards the end of the paper is whether we really need all of this.  Can we identify a sense of 'ought' that has primacy in virtue of its special relevance to first-personal deliberation—i.e., as the sense of ‘ought’ that a conscientious agent has in mind when they ask themselves, “What ought I to do?” I've previously cast doubt on the idea that the deliberative question has a suitably fixed and determinate meaning. But even just focusing on the choice between the ought of most reason and the ought of minimal decency (or blamelessness), we aren’t obviously forced in either direction here, e.g. by the constitutive norms of agential deliberation. Some agents in some contexts are particularly concerned to at least meet the standards for minimal decency, whereas others are more morally ambitious. We can certainly say that it’s better for agents to do better. But it isn’t clear that there’s much more we can say beyond this trivial evaluative observation. In particular, I see no clear basis for insisting that there is just one proper aim of deliberation. On the contrary, I think we can make good sense of why both standards have a limited place in our normative lives. The ought of most reason is perhaps the most obviously significant. [More]

The 12 Ensemble play Mendelssohn

 The Mendelssohn Octet on a summer’s evening, a short walk away down the river to the old Divinity School, takes a lot of beating for sheer enjoyment. And it was excellently played last night with verve and obvious enjoyment … Continue reading → The post The 12 Ensemble play Mendelssohn appeared first on Logic [More]

The Political Ontology of Giorgio Agamben: Signatures of Life and Power

2019.06.24 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews German Eduardo Primera, The Political Ontology of Giorgio Agamben: Signatures of Life and Power, Bloomsbury, 2019, 197pp., $141.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781350081369. Reviewed by Thomas Carl Wall, National Taipei University of Technology Giorgio Agamben does not acquiesce to the traditional distinction between poetry and philosophy (or for that matter, between theological and political thought, political thought and metaphysics (which German Eduardo Primera’s book foregrounds), or history and poetry). He writes, in his very early work Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture [originally published in 1977; not translated into English until 1993], “of a scission stemming from the origin of our culture that is usually accepted as the most natural thing — that goes, so to speak, without saying — but in fact is the only thing truly worth interrogating. The scission in question is that between poetry and philosophy” (xvii). Agamben’s entire career could in great part be understood as negotiation between this and... Read [More]


[Revised entry by Karsten Stueber on June 27, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The concept of empathy is used to refer to a wide range of psychological capacities that are thought of as being central for constituting humans as social creatures allowing us to know what other people are thinking and feeling, to emotionally engage with them, to share their thoughts and feelings, and to care for their well - being. Ever since the eighteenth century, due particularly to the influence of the writings of David Hume and Adam Smith, those capacities have been at the center of scholarly investigations [More]

Medieval Theories of Transcendentals

[Revised entry by Wouter Goris and Jan Aertsen on June 27, 2019. Changes to: Bibliography] Medieval theories of the transcendentals present an explication of the concept of 'being' (ens) in terms of the so-called 'most common notions' (communissima), such as 'one' (unum), 'true' (verum), and 'good' (bonum), and explain the inner relations and order between these concepts. In contrast to early modern accounts of the transcendental, these medieval [More]

APA Is Surveying Philosophers on Priorities and Services

The American Philosophical Association (APA) is conducting a survey to determine which issues confronting professional philosophers it should prioritize, and which of its services and programs professional philosophers find valuable.  The survey is part of  a “strategic planning process to help guide the association over the next few years” and is “designed to gather insights from philosophers across the discipline, regardless of rank, employment, or APA membership status.” According to an email from the APA, “the survey will not attach your name to your responses, and all of the data will be reported in aggregate. As an incentive, after completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for free APA membership for one year.” You can take the survey here. The post APA Is Surveying Philosophers on Priorities and Services appeared first on Daily [More]