Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Jury Theorems

[New Entry by Franz Dietrich and Kai Spiekermann on November 17, 2021.] Jury theorems are mathematical theorems about the ability of collectives to make correct decisions. Several jury theorems carry the optimistic message that, in suitable circumstances, "crowds are wise": many individuals together (using, for instance, majority voting) tend to make good decisions, outperforming fewer or just one individual. Jury theorems form the technical core of epistemic arguments for democracy, and provide probabilistic tools for reasoning about the epistemic quality of collective decisions. The popularity [More]

What Should we do with the Art of Moral Monsters?

[Note: I wrote this about a year ago. This was before several excellent books came out on this topic, e.g. here and here. I have only read the first of these but I have not updated what I wrote in light of it.]I have confession to make. I used to like Woody Allen’s movies. They were a major influence on me in my late teens and early 20s. I enjoyed their exploration of existential themes: the meaninglessness of life, the fundamentality of choice, the Death of God, and the spectre of moral nihilism. I think some of them are genuinely great movies — specifically Annie Hall, Hannah and her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanours — some are very good — Match Point, Husbands and Wives, Blue Jasmine among others — and some are pretty awful (Melinda and Melinda, Scoop etc). I have another confession to make. Although I like a lot of stand-up comedy, the only stand-up comic I have ever paid money to see is Louis CK. I went to one of his shows in Dublin several years ago. Like Woody Allen, I enjoyed his comedy partly for its philosophical depth and insight. I believe that several of his shows, and some episodes of his TV show, explore the tragedies and absurdities of the human condition in an insightful and humorous manner. Confessing to all this puts me in a difficult position.* Although I don’t think either Woody Allen or Louis CK are Cosby-esque in their moral misdeeds (a point to which I will return), there is, at the very least, a moral cloud associated with both men. This makes [More]

WOX: War on X(Mass) I: Just Lie

Bill O’Reilly deserves the credit for creating the modern American conception of the War on Christmas. While O’Reilly is no longer a major player, the right has persisted in its insistence that Christmas is under attack. That this war has been debunked does not seem to matter. While I will discuss some aspects of this [More]