Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Postdoc Position: "Socially Disruptive Technologies and Conceptual Change"

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  TU Eindhoven Town:  Eindhoven Country:  Netherlands Job Description:  This Postdoc position will be part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies research program, a new 10 year long international program (2020-29) of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands. This programme has a combined budget of € 27 million, and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, and by matching funds from the participating [More]

Wittgenstein and the Limits of Language

2020.06.07 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Hanne Appelqvist (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Limits of Language, Routledge, 2020, 298pp., $140.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780815385011. Reviewed by Duncan Richter, Virginia Military Institute This is a collection of essays, most but not all exegetical, about the idea of limits of language in Wittgenstein's work, early and late. The papers are high in quality and varied in subject matter. I will say something about each of them, but start with some more general remarks about the book's topic. In the foreword to the Tractatus, Wittgenstein says that a limit to thought cannot be drawn, because that would involve thinking both sides of the limit, including the unthinkable. Instead, therefore, he proposes to draw a limit to the expression of thoughts. We might well wonder exactly what this means, and whether it can be done without a parallel problem involving expressing the inexpressible. In his 1929... Read [More]

Epidemiological Models: A Simple Explanation of How they Work

There is a certain logic in the way the universe works and so it is not surprising that the same models can describe phenomena that seem to be completely different. Here, I'll show you how the same equations describe chain reactions that govern such different phenomena as the spread of an epidemic, the cycle of extraction of crude oil, and even the nuclear reaction that creates atomic explosions. All these phenomena depend on the efficiency of energy transfer, the parameter that's known in energy studies as EROI (energy return on energy invested), related to the "transmission factor" (R) of epidemiological models. Above, a classic clip from Walt Disney's 1957 movie, "Our friend, the atom."  You may be surprised to discover that epidemiological models share the same basic core of peak oil models. And it is not just about peak oil, the same models are used to describe chemical reactions, resource depletion, the fishing industry, the diffusion of memes on the Web, and even the nuclear chain reaction that leads to nuclear explosions. It is always the same idea: reinforcing feedbacks lead the system to grow in a frenzy of exploitation of an available resource: oil, fish, atomic nuclei, or people to be infected. In the end, it is perhaps the most typical way the universe uses dissipate potentials. As always, entropy rules everything! Modeling these phenomena has a story that starts with the model developed in the 1920s by Vito Volterra and Alfred Lotka. They go under the [More]

You are What you Read: How to Manage your Personal Echo Chamber

Mr. Trump has often being accused of "lying" in his many speeches and tweets. For sure, much of what he says can be said to be "contrary to fact." But is the president really lying or is he simply stating what he thinks truth is? One man's lies are another man's truth. And the problem is that people tend to see the world according to the different echo chamber in which they live. Everyone seeks for facts that support their opinions. We badly need to take control of the information flow that we receive and I think we can do that. Let me show you how I try to do it by disclosing my personal information bubble.Not long ago, I stumbled in a comment on "Quora" for the question, "Why do some people deny climate change? Here is a shortened version:CO2 levels of 400 ppm being dangerously high are not accepted by scientists I find credible. There is no significant sea rise. The temperature has not changed by even 1 degree C. over the past century. Climate Change has not increased hurricanes or their intensity. I may rethink this if there is an undoubtedly measurable change in the level of the seas, or a decade long temperature rise.Now, if you are an average reader of "Cassandra's Legacy" you'll agree with me every statement in this paragraph is wrong in the sense of being "contrary to fact." But I am sure that the writer of this paragraph is a good person. He signed with his full name and I could see his profile. He defines himself as a "retired nurse professional" and I think that [More]

John Dewey’s aesthetic philosophy

John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist, and social reformer who developed theories that changed philosophical perspectives and contributed extensively to education, democracy, pragmatism, and the philosophy of logic, politics, and aesthetics in the first half of the twentieth-century. Born in Burlington, Vermont, in 1859, Dewey graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879. Following […] The post John Dewey’s aesthetic philosophy appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesEveryone and their dogTwelve books that give context to current protests [reading list]How after school music programs have adapted to online music [More]