Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Girls, women, and intellectual empowerment

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nickname in law school was “Bitch.” Senator Elizabeth Warren was sanctioned by her GOP colleagues when “nevertheless, she persisted” in her questioning of soon-to-be Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Senator Kamala Harris reminded Vice President Mike Pence “I am speaking, I am speaking,” as he attempted to interrupt and speak over her in a recent vice presidential debate. CNN found it more important to report that two women won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry than to report the names of the women who won it. Though we may wish to think it otherwise, women and girls are still routinely silenced and excluded from positions of power, expertise, leadership, and full participation in the public sphere. The post Girls, women, and intellectual empowerment appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesScientism, the coronavirus, and the death of the humanitiesSeven books for philosophical perspectives on politics [reading list]President Trump and the war against American [More]

Kripke on diagonalization

Having thought a bit more about Kripke’s short note on diagonalization, linked in the last post, it seems to me that the situation is this, in rough headline terms. How do we get from a Diagonalization Lemma to the incompleteness … Continue reading → The post Kripke on diagonalization appeared first on Logic [More]

The Mind of the Evil Ruler: What Goes on inside the Heads of the People who Govern the World?

The damage that bad rulers can do to people and things is gigantic, especially considering that they command military apparatuses of immense power. But what goes on in their minds, exactly? Are some of them truly evil? Or just criminally incompetent? We'll probably never know for sure, but we have some hints for at least some of them. There is a sentence attributed to Terry Pratchett that goes as, "the IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters." Actually, I think Robert Heinlein said something similar first (although I can't find that quote anymore). In any case, the idea that collective intelligence goes down with the number of the members of a group seems to have some logic in it, although it cannot be said to be scientifically proven.If that's true, then we have a huge problem. How to manage states formed of tens or hundreds of millions, even billions, of people? If we apply Pratchett's formula, we see that the intelligence of such enormous crowds is nearly zero. And the current world situation seems to agree with this assessment. A possible solution for the problem is to reduce the denominator of the formula to a single, absolute ruler. Indeed, it seems that human crowds, dumb as they may be, still perceive the problem and tend to give all the power to single figures. The bigger the problems, the more likely it is that most people will think it can be solved by someone who will "get things done." Unfortunately, the idea of [More]

Seven books for philosophical perspectives on politics [reading list]

2020 has come to be defined by widespread human tragedy, economic uncertainty, and increased public discourse surrounding how to address systemic racism. With such important issues at stake, political leadership has been under enormous scrutiny. As the US election approaches, we’re featuring a selection of important books exploring politics from different philosophical perspectives, ranging from interrogating the moral duty to vote, to how grandstanding impacts public discourse. The post Seven books for philosophical perspectives on politics [reading list] appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesPresident Trump and the war against American ChristianityThe politics of punk in the era of TrumpScientism, the coronavirus, and the death of the [More]

Expand or Suppress Voting?

Very broadly speaking, the Democrats and Republicans have adopted two fundamentally different strategies to wining elections. I am not claiming that these strategies are used in every race and by every candidate, just that they are the broad approaches of the parties. Democrats have adopted a general strategy of winning by getting more voters to [More]

The Yellow Peril: Propaganda and the Pandemic

 The idea of the "Yellow Peril" was once a common way of thinking. Here I am illustrating how bad could that be from a short story by Jack London. Given the current situation, I wouldn't bet that this kind of attitude couldn't return, together with proposals for wiping out the Chinese population by means of biological warfare. Image source As I was surfing the Web looking for data about how the Chinese government managed the COVID epidemic, I found this short story written by Jack London about a future where China grows so much that the Western Powers band together to exterminate the Chinese. They do so by means of a campaign of biological warfare that kills most of the Chinese population. Then, the survivors are killed by conventional weapons by the Western armies that invade China. Finally, Westerners sanitize and colonize the empty Chinese territory, resulting in an era of "splendid output."I have to say that I was a little shocked: I knew Jack London for his "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang," both could be seen as enlightened stories about the power of nature and the value of animal life. That London, who could so well understand the mind of a wolf, would so badly misunderstand the Oriental mind was a little unsettling, to say the least. On this, I later found that several critical essays on this story maintain that it was to be understood as ironic. Maybe, but I am sure many people who read the story took it at face value. So, we have here a [More]

Scientism, the coronavirus, and the death of the humanities

The cause of the humanities’ current crisis is far older than critics of postmodern relativism allow—and more baked into the heart of the modern American university. In fact, one must look back to very creation of the American universities in the late nineteenth century to see why their triumph precipitated the marginalization of the modern humanities. The scientizing of our higher education amounts to the root of the problem, and without a deep-seated revolt against this process, the humanities will continue to wither. The post Scientism, the coronavirus, and the death of the humanities appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesThe politics of punk in the era of TrumpIs it rational to condemn an artwork for an artist’s personal immorality?Five things you didn’t know about [More]