Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Freedom of Association

[New Entry by Kimberley Brownlee and David Jenkins on May 3, 2019.] In almost all our activities, we engage with other people, usually in persistent connections or associations that vary according to our purposes. We have foundational associative experiences within our families; formative years of schooling with peers and teachers; workplace links with bosses, employees, and colleagues with whom we share at least corridors, carpet, and resources; and connections with like-minded companions, such as fellow hobbyists, devotees, friends, or union [More]

Position 2: Ethical implications of using AI and big data to analyse speech, text and video images of individuals

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  University of Twente Town:  Enschede Country:  Netherlands Job Description:  In recent years, very powerful techniques have emerged for analysing human speech and texts, as well as video images with humans in them. The combination of big data and artificial intelligence makes it possible to recognize humans in private and public spaces, analyse their behaviour, make inferences about their personality, emotions, intentions, and other psychological traits, and track [More]

Philosophy of Finitude: Heidegger, Levinas, and Nietzsche

2019.05.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Rafael Winkler, Philosophy of Finitude: Heidegger, Levinas, and Nietzsche, Bloomsbury, 2018, 151pp., $114.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781350059368. Reviewed by Ingo Farin, University of Tasmania The book explores crucial themes in Heidegger, Levinas and Nietzsche, primarily centred around the problem of death and dying (chapter one), self and other (chapter two), figurations of being (chapter three), dwelling (chapter four), truth and error (chapter five), and the concept of substance (chapter six). With the exception of the last chapter, Rafael Winkler shows how Heidegger, Levinas, and Nietzsche, as well as Derrida and Ricoeur (not mentioned in the subtitle, but very present throughout the book) are key-players in the still ongoing debate about: (1) the nature of the subject, (2) the limits of thought and experience, and (3) the human dependence on and responsibility for the earth on which we dwell as mortals, neighbours, strangers and guest... Read [More]

Why We Disagree About Human Nature

2019.05.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Elizabeth Hannon and Tim Lewens (eds.), Why We Disagree About Human Nature, Oxford University Press, 2018, 214pp., $39.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780198823650. Reviewed by Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen Why are scientists and philosophers so unable to let go of the concept of human nature? They have shown, repeatedly, why there can be no such thing, how the idea of a universal essence at the core of our humanity flies in the face of what we know of the evolution of species, our own included, namely that it depends on a variability intrinsic to all living organisms. Yet here are a bunch of philosophers and scientists still arguing about it. Half are for, half against, yet all are broadly agreed on the rejection of any strong form of essentialism. No single paper is cited more often in this volume than an essay, 'On human nature', published by the philosopher... Read [More]

Agents and Goals in Evolution

2019.05.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Samir Okasha, Agents and Goals in Evolution, Oxford University Press, 2018, 254pp., $40.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198815082. Reviewed by Robert A. Wilson, La Trobe University Samir Okasha's focus in this book is a pervasive way of describing and explaining organismic traits, including behaviours, what he calls, with a nod to Godfrey-Smith (2009), agential thinking. This is to think of evolved entities -- paradigmatically but not only organisms -- as agents with certain kinds of interests or goals that are pursued through strategies. Here explaining why organisms and other evolved entities have the phenotypic traits they do involves drawing on a subset of intentional idioms that ascribe psychological states to organisms, as Okasha says, "usually in an extended or metaphorical sense" (p.230). In Genes and the Agents of Life (2005), I referred to this aspect of agential thinking as a reliance... Read [More]