News Items from Earlier This Term

News Items from Fall 2014
















































News Items from Earlier This Term

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  • What Gardens Mean
    Why? Radio (Jul 1)

    Philosopher Stephanie Ross talks about themes in her recent book, What Gardens Mean. [audio]

  • Understanding Aggression and Sexuality
    New Books in Philosophy (Jul 1)

    A review of philosopher Helen Longino's recent book, Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality. Longino argues that the nature/nurture dichotomy—which forms part of the framework for work on human behavior—is itself problematic, and in a way that can get in the way of obtaining the kind of scientific answers we seek about human behavior. [audio]

News Items from Earlier This Term

News Items from Summer 2013


  • Should Philosophers have "Areas of Specialization"?
    Chronicle of Higher Ed (Jul 26)

    Philosopher Istvan Aranyosi argues that the practice among professional philosophers of declaring areas of specialization—which emulates practices in other disciplines—is amathema to the very spirit of philosophy.

  • Philosophy Dominates GRE Rankings (Yet Again)
    Physics Central (Jul 29)

    Again this year, bragging rights go to Philosophy. GRE test takers who declared Philosophy as an intended area scored the highest by a good margin on both the Verbal and Analytical tests. The also again scored highest of any humanities discipline on the Quantitivatve test. Happy bar charts ensue.

  • Of the Standard of Taste
    Philosophy Bites (Aug 3)

    David Hume's 'Of the Standard of Taste' addresses the question of whether we can, with any authority, judge one writer to be genuinely better than another. Philosophert Mike Martin gives a clear analysis of that essay. [audio]

  • A Just Basis for Punishment
    New Books in Philosophy (Aug 1)

    What justifies us in exacting punishment from those who, for example, break the law? Familiar answers—we give them what they deserve or we encourage them and others to obey the law—face well known challenges as justification for punishment. In his book, Punishment, philosopher of law, Thom Brooks, offers a unified theory of punishment. Here the author discusses themes from the book. [audio]


  • By All Means Necessary
    History of Philosophy (blog) (Aug 4)

    "Avicenna's proof of the Necessary Existent is ingenious and influential; but does it amount to a proof of God's existence?"

  • Philosophy of Synesthesia
    St. Louis Magazine (Aug 1)

    There is a woman who experiences other "people's emotions as colors, a man who tastes sounds, another who smells rage and sees music in his head." This is the strange world of synthesia—a rare condition in which a person experiences one kind of sensory input with one of the other five senses. Philosopher Berit Brogaard, a synesthete herself, is studying this most curious phenomenon of the human mind.


  • We Must Teach Philosophy in High School
    The Irish Times (Aug 1)

    "People not taught how to think will do it anyway; they'll just do it badly." Philosophy candidate, Steven Lyons, makes an impassioned case for secondary philosophy education in Ireland.

  • Renovating Romanticism About Art
    Aesthetics for Birds (blog) (Aug 5)

    Philosopher Jesse Prinz is guest blogging on the site Aesthetics for Birds. "Experiential theories [of art] say that something counts as art in virtue of the kind of experience it affords, such as a distinctive emotional state. Institutional theories emphasize the context of presentation...something becomes art on this view when it is placed in a gallery, or the equivalent. Here I want to suggest, heretically, that the experiential theories are right, but also that they can be reconciled with the institutional approach."

  • Ontological Proofs Today
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (Aug 15)

    A review of Miroslaw Szatkowski's Ontological Proofs Today—a collection of essays by various contemporary philosophers writing about the current state of ontological proofs for the existence of God.

  • The Tweeting Philosopher
    The American Conservative (Aug 12)

    You know, many of Pascal's Pensees could have been tweets. Philosopher Rani Lill Anjum manages a list of academic philosophers on Twitter. She tells us how she learned to stop worrying about privacy and learned to love Twitter. [Also, there is a brief article about Anjum's initiative to be found in The American Conservative.]

  • Philosophers Converge on Athens
    Agence France-Presse (Aug 11)

    The World Congress of Philosophy, held every five years in different locations, travelled for the first time to Athens, Greece.

  • The Body Knows: Hedonic vs Eudaimonic Happiness
    Nature World News (Jul 30)

    "Philosophers have long distinguished two basic forms of well-being: a 'hedonic' form representing an individual's pleasurable experiences, and a deeper 'eudaimonic,' form that results from striving toward meaning and a noble purpose beyond simple self-gratification ... [but] while both offer a sense of satisfaction, each is experienced very differently in the body's cells."

  • Touching a Nerve
    NPR (Jul 22)

    "Neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland argues our self is our brain. And that's it." An interview with Patricia Churchland about her new book, Touching a Nerve: The Self As Brain. (Includes book excerpt.) [audio]

  • Nothing to See Here
    NY Times (Jul 21)

    Philosopher Craig Callender says it is time to "put an end to the misuse of quantum physics to validate outlandish metaphysical claims." [UPDATE: Callendar responds to comments.]


  • Crazy Wisdom: Self-Help for Philosophers
    Big Think (Jul 13)

    A brief on Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. In an accompanying video presentation, Dennett describes the "work horse of philosophical argumentation," reductio ad absurdum. [video]

  • Mozart vs The Beatles
    NY Times (Jul 14)

    "Is one kind of art better than another?" Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses our democratic unease with high culture and our vacillation between hasty aesthetic relativism and fierce defense of our own favorites. "We may say, 'You can't argue about taste,' but when it comes to art we care about, we almost always do."

  • Anxious? Depressed? Try Philosophy
    The Telegraph (UK) (Jun 29)

    Jules Evans, author of Philosophy for Life and head of a 3,000 member strong Philosophy Club in London, tells his personal story of how ancient Greek philosophy saved his life.

  • Beyond Blame
    Boston Review (Jun 28)

    Law professor Barbara Fried argues that "the philosophy of personal responsibility has ruined criminal justice and economic policy. It's time to move past blame." In a curated forum a number of well-known philosophers respond (e.g., Christine Korsgaard).

  • Fla School Wins Kids' Philosophy Slam
    Kendall Gazette (Jul 5)

    "Archimedean Middle Conservatory, a Miami-Dade public school, has won top honor at this year's National Philosophy Slam competition," and has been declared the "Most Philosophical School in America."



  • Should You Throw Away the Ladder?
    Univ College Dublin (via YouTube) (Jul 10)

    Philosophers Timothy Williamson and Paul Horwich discuss the plausibility of Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy. From a session at the Philosophy of Philosophies event hosted (June 2013) by the School of Philosophy at University College, Dublin. [Links to several other talks from the conference can be found on UCD's YouTube page. [video]

  • On the Afterlife
    Philosophy Bites (Jul 20)

    What gives value to what we do? If all sentient life were to end a few minutes after my death, how would that affect the meaning of what I'm doing now? Philosopher Samuel Scheffler discusses. [audio]

  • Philosophy in Transit
    Creative Review (Jul 19)

    Penguin Books introduces a new philosophy series, Philosophy in Transit, "easily digestible, commute-length books of original philosophy." [Truth, the first book in the series is due out in September.]


  • Rent-A-Philosopher
    Fast Forward Weekly (Canada) (Jul 11)

    Interview with a new philosophy PhD who is setting himself up as an interlocutor for hire: philosophical discourse $20/hour, sliding scale.

  • On Testimony
    3:AM Magazine (May 31)

    An interview with philosopher Jennifer Lackey.

  • The Natural History of Good
    Lund University (May 31)

    Philosopher Christine Korsgaard was the distinguished speaker for the 2013 Pufendorf Lectures—a series of four lectures at Lund University. Audio recordings of her lectures have been posted. [audio]

  • The Thinker
    NY Times (May 31)

    Bernard-Henri Levy curates an art exhibit about the eternal struggle for truth.

  • Does Great Literature Make Us Better?
    NY Times (Jun 1)

    "[It is often said that] exposure to challenging works of literary fiction is good for us. But what sort of evidence could we present [for this]?" Philosopher Gregory Currie explores the available evidence and finds reasons to doubt that this common idea actually pans out.


  • On Being an Octopus
    Boston Review (Jun 3)

    Philosopher Peter-Godfrey Smith dives deep in seach of the human mind.

  • How to Sell Philosophy
    Slate (Jun 6)

    It just needs a product—thought experiments (TXes, if you will)—and a marketing plan.

  • My Night With Philosophers (Video)
    Institut Francais (Jun 8)

    The Institut Francais has posted a video roundup of the recent My Night With Philosophers event in London—which drew some 3,000 attendees during the twelve hour event which started at 7pm on a Friday and continued until 7am the next morning. [video]

  • I Think I Am, I Think I Am
    Slate (Jun 7)

    In his slim new book The Philosopher, The Priest, and The Painter, Steven Nadler [situates Descartes] firmly in his time and place, [and] makes clear what made Descartes the intellectual superstar of his day—"the greatest philosopher in a century full of great philosophers."



  • Collective Intentionality
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Jun 13)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia on collective intentionality. "Collective intentionality is the power of minds to be jointly directed at objects, matters of fact, states of affairs, goals, or values. Collective intentionality comes in a variety of modes, including shared intention, joint attention, shared belief, collective acceptance, and collective emotion. Collective intentional attitudes permeate our everyday lives, for instance when two or more agents look after or raise a child, campaign for a political party, or cheer for a sports team. And these attitudes are relevant for philosophers, theoretically minded social scientists, and anthropologists because they play crucial roles in the constitution of the social world."



  • On Philippa Foot
    London School of Economics (Jun 18)

    "Why be moral? May we kill one to save others? Is morality objective? This dialogue engages with renowned philosopher Philippa Foot's answers to these questions." Philosophers Sarah Brodie and Alex Voorhoeve discuss.

  • You Say You Want a Revolution
    NY Times (Jul 2)

    Noting that "both the far right and far left have used [revolutionary] tactics aimed to thwart and subvert the authority of the government," philosopher Gary Gutting dicusses America's revolutionary heritage and questions whether the Obama Administration is the sort of government for which such "overthrow" tactics can be justified.

  • Be Employable, Study Philosophy
    Salon (Jul 1)

    "The most useful classes I took were all in philosophy. Yes, the course of study that has long been denigrated as frivolous and useless in the job market has been the part of my education that I lean on again and again. For work and everything else. . . . A smattering of undergrad philosophy classes taught me something applicable to any and every job: clarity of thought. Name me one aspect of your life that doesn't benefit from being able to think something through clearly."

  • The 20% Experiment
    Chron of Higher Ed (Jun 28)

    Starting in the fall term, the syllabuses of all entry-level courses in philosophy at Georgia State University will be specifically designed to include atleast 20% women philosophers. IT is the hope of the experimental initiative that it may encourage more women to take more philosophy classes.



  • Dennett & Gendler on Intuition Pumps
    Bloggingheads.tv (May 11)

    Philosophers Tamar Szabo Gendler and Daniel Dennett discuss themes from Dennett's book Intuition Pumps.

  • How Philosophy Can Help
    The Guardian (May 13)

    Philosopher Jonathan Wolff tells us how philosophers can help—for example, helping government policy makers understand what fairness is—pretty much a a prerequisite for crafting fair policies.



  • Externalism and Self-Knowledge
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (May 9)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy concerns the problem of externalism and self-knoweldge. "Externalism in the philosophy of mind contends that the meaning or content of a thought[1] is partly determined by the environment. The view has garnered attention since it denies the traditional assumption, associated with Descartes, that thought content is fixed independently of the external world. Apparently influenced by this assumption, Descartes also believed that he could know the content of his thoughts while suspending all judgment about his environs. (Indeed, such knowledge was thought indubitable.) Yet if externalism is correct, this may well be a mistake."

  • How Daniel Dennet Thinks
    Radio Boston (May 7)

    A discussion with philosopher Daniel Dennett about his recent book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. [audio]

  • Simulation in Science
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (May 6)

    A new entry in the Stanfrod Encyclopedia of Philosophy discusses the philosophical issues surrounding computer simulations in science. "What is the structure of the epistemology of computer simulation? What is the relationship between computer simulation and experiment? Does computer simulation raise issues for the philosophy of science that are not fully covered by recent work on models more generally? What does computer simulation teach us about emergence? About the structure of scientific theories? About the role (if any) of fictions in scientific modeling?"


  • Guide to Ethical Innovation
    Big Think (May 5)

    Bioethicist Paul Root Wolpe discusses the complex social negotiation of moral norms and ethical constraints in the face of profound biotechnological changes.

  • What Do Philosophers (Really) Believe?
    PhilPapers (Apr 29)

    Philosophers David Chalmers and David Bouget have released the results of a broad study of the beliefs of academic philosophers. You can read a pre-publication version of their forthcoming paper here.

  • Kierkegaard and Greek Tragedy
    NY Times (May 5)

    On the contemporary relevance of Kierkegaard's view of modernity as seen through the lens of ancient Greek tragedy.

  • Intellectual Humility
    St. Louis University (May 3)

    Another multi-million dollar Templeton grant, this one for the 'Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility'. Project leaders are philosophers Eleonore Stump and John Greco.

  • Kierkegaard's Either/Or with Marionettes
    The Republic [Indiana] (May 4)

    For Kierkegaard's bicentennial, a theatrical adaptation of his work Either/Or featuring marionettes, but we have to go to Copenhagen to see it.


  • To MOOC or Not to MOOC
    NPR (May 3)

    The philosophers at San Jose State University have published in the Chronicle of Higher Education an open letter to Harvard's Michael Sandel about the ultimate impact his MOOC'ed Justice might have for philosophy education. [Read the original letter and Sandel's response.]



  • The Immortality Project
    Philosopher's Zone (Apr 28)

    The topic is immortality and the discussion is with philosopher John Fisher Martin, a recent recipient of a multimillion dollar grant to study immortality. [audio]



  • On the People's Terms
    New Books in Philosophy (May 1)

    Philosopher Philip Petit discusses themes from his recent book, On the People's Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. At the core of the issue is the question of whether freedom should be conceived fundamentally as consisting in a) non-domination of persons or b) the availability of choices a person can make.

  • Relational Autonomy
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (May 2)

    The Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy has a new entry on feminist perspectives on autonomy. "Autonomy is . . . self-government or self-direction: being autonomous is acting on motives, reasons, or values that are one's own." Feminist philosophers have sought to reconceptualize the notion from a feminist perspective with the idea of 'relational autonomy'.

  • Uncertainty & Funes the Memorious
    NY Times (Apr 28)

    William Egginton draws a thematic thread through the Uncertainty Principle of quantum mechanics, the antinomies of Immanuel Kant, and the titular character in Jorges Borges' short story "Funes the Memorius." It's one of those you-have-to-be-there things.

  • What Battery Says About Morality
    Philosophy Bites (Apr 27)

    Hitting someone without their consent, spitting at someone, or throwing a ball hard at their head: these are all examples of what in Tort Law is called battery. John Mikhail thinks that our judgments that people who commit battery are blameworthy reveals someting important about morality and its sources. [audio]

  • Varieties of Understanding
    3:AM Magazine (Apr 26)

    An interview with philosopher Stephen R. Grimm who is the recent recipient of a multimillion dollar grant for a project on "Varieties of Understanding."

  • What Do Scientific Studies Show?
    NY Times (Apr 25)

    New scientific findings are in the news every day, but so many of these findings reverse earlier scientific findings one has to wonder. "What use are scientific results if they are so frequently reversed?" And does it all show that science is not really reliable. Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses the issue and finds just not jsut a little of the problem is often with science reporting, but also that some of our puzzlement has to do with a misplaced idea of what the reliability of science might consist in.


  • Two Philosophy Departments Defying the Crisis in Humanities
    Inside Higher Ed (Apr 3)

    "Many humanities programs are fighting off cuts and trying to hold on to faculty lines, but two philosophy departments are boosting their enrollments and reputations through a combination of administrations willing to invest in the discipline and departments eager to go beyond them."

  • Prison Philosophy After 14 Years
    The Guardian (Apr 8)

    Philosopher Alan Smith explains why he is calling it quits on teaching philosophy in prison after fourteen years. "When we don't know about history and art and society we are adrift. Most of you reading this will never have had that experience, but many of the men I taught were ignorant of just about everything, and as grown men felt this keenly, . . . [but] for the most part education, beyond basic numeracy and literacy, has been abandoned." [UPDATE: Listen to Alan Smith talk about his experience with Dick Gordon on The Story.]

  • Doubt, Meaning and Depravity
    Yale University (Apr 17)

    Philosopher Philip Kitcher's four Dwight H. Terry Lectures delivered this year at Yale University are available online. 1. Beyond Doubt, 2. Ethics as a Human Project, 3. Morality and Meaning, 4. Depth and Depravity. [video]

  • The Philosophical Breakfast Club
    TED Talks (Apr 17)

    The poet Samuel Coleridge demands that the scientists of his day stop calling themselves "natural philosophers," and the term 'scientist' was born. Philosopher Laura Snyder tells the story of the Philosophical Breakfast Club—the story of four "natural philosophers" who played pivotal roles in the development of modern science as we know it. [video]


  • Logical Pluralism
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Apr 17)

    The Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy has a new entry on logical pluralism. "Logical pluralism is the thesis that there is more than one correct logic. The main opposing view, logical monism, is the thesis that there is only one. In fact there are many pairs of such opposed theses—and so, many different versions of the thesis of logical pluralism—corresponding to the different ways in which one can specify more carefully what a logic is, and what it would be for one to be correct."

  • Second Life in a Third Realm
    NY Times (Apr 16)

    Artist Filippo Minelli makes locational art that strips familiar terms of their familiar meaning. Philosopher Santiago Zabala discusses the power of decontexting words.

  • Philosophy for Every Age
    Durham News (Apr 13)

    University of North Carolina philosophers take philosophy on the road to local schools and to every grade level. Says first-grader Charlotte Newman, "I really like answering big questions."

  • Hackisvist as Gadfly
    NY Times (Apr 13)

    Philosopher Peter Ludlow suggests that today's hackivists are (in the realm of politics at least) the contemporary equivalent of the edifyingly annoying philosophical gadlfy examplified for us most memorably in ancient times by Socrates.

  • Leviathan in Context
    Philosophy Bites (Apr 14)

    Noel Malcolm offers historical perspective on Thomas Hobbes' monumental work in political philosophy, Leviathan. [audio]

  • Happines Studies
    NY Times (Apr 10)

    Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses current attempts to study and quantify happiness, and offers his own reflections on happiness.

News Items from Spring 2013


  • Underestimating Our Own Extinction
    The Atlantic (Mar 6)

    What would it look like for all of humanity to be at risk of extinction? It would, of course, be convenient if extinction worthy things all looked big and scary. Unfortunately, things will probably look just like they do right now. According to philosopher Nick Bostrom, our current existential risk is much higher than we would like to think.

  • The Moral Question: Now in 3D
    YouTube (Mar 23)

    Philosophy goes 3D—starring alt cabaret musician Amanda Palmer. That's right. Amanda F. Palmer. It is a discussion of what the data shows about people's beliefs about the fixity of morality. Put your 3-D glasses on now. [video]


  • The End of Suffering
    NY Times (Apr 7)

    Philosopher Peg O'Connor explores how William James' misery threshold and the human taxonomy it suggests can be used to think about addiction.

  • Grayling on God on Colbert
    Colbert Report (Apr 3)

    Philosopher A.C. Grayling on The Colbert Report: philosophy, religion, God, history, Greece, morality, Blaise Pascal, Hell, Christian, Socrates, dictators, murder, crime.

  • How Philosophy Changes the World
    Philosophy Now (Apr 5)

    Baroness Onora O'Neill, philosopher and head of the Commission on Equality and Human Rights (UK) explains the importance of research work in philosophy, and the current ill of equating public benefit with economic gain.

  • Lifehacking with the Morality App
    3 Quarks Daily (Sep 17)

    The Morality App gives you answers to your moral dilemmas—it is infallible, always truthful, and 100% hacker-proof. But should you use it?

  • Fairness for Caregivers
    Stanford Univ (Apr 5)

    Philosophy student Sara Mrsny brings philosophy to bear on the issue of caregiver's rights. "Sociologists, economists and scholars in law and business document the problems that people, mainly women, face in trying to juggle work and family," but it is by applying philosophy that we can explain why the situation is unjust and how the law should change to rectify it.

  • Truth: Online April 12-18th
    Aristotelian Society (Apr 2)

    For its 125th year, the prestigious Aristotelian Society hosts a first-ever online conference: on Truth. Each day a famous paper on the subject from the pages of the Society's proceedings is up for discussion and paired with a commissioned response paper by a contemporary philosopher.


  • Quantum Mechanics and Innocent Suffering
    Prosblogion (Mar 23)

    Philosopher Alexander Pruss offers a proof-of-concept argument using quantum mechanics to solve a problem of Christian theology: the suffering of innocents not attributable to human wickedness.


  • Philosophy and Patent Law
    New Scientist (Mar 18)

    Should business be allowed to patent mathematics? A long-running philosophical debate is being rehashed in the world of business, and big money is at stake.

  • Philosophy for the Particle Physicist
    The Guardian (Mar 24)

    Particle physicist Michael Kramer comes around to the idea that when philosophers are on their game, scientists should pay heed. In so far as science is "an attempt to understand and explain the world," philosophical issues are inevitably involved.

  • Less Than Nothing
    NY Daily News (Mar 29)

    "He has denounced ecology as the opiate of the masses, argued that various sorts of toilets insidiously re-enforce capitalist norms ('but as soon as you flush the toilet, you're right in the middle of ideology!'), and identified 'nature in decay, like rotten trees' as his favorite smell;" a philosopher who once "authored" a clothing catalog for Ambercrombie & Fitch. Why is this guy so popular?

  • Immanuel Kant's Wild Years
    The Guardian (Feb 11)

    "Far from being a dour Prussian ascetic, the great metaphysician was a partygoer. He enjoyed drinking wine, playing billiards and wearing fine, colourful clothes." Geez, how did we miss this one?!

  • The Secret Life of American Pragmatism
    New Books in Philosophy (Apr 1)

    Philosopher Cheryl Misak discusses themes from her recent book The American Pragmaticists. According to Misak, the view never faded from the philosophical landscape as generally thought. "Pragmatism has been a constantly evolving philosophical movement that has consistently shaped the landscape of English-language philosophy. On Misak's account, Pragmatism is the philosophical thread that runs through the work of the most influential philosophers of the past century." [audio]

  • Plan: Make a Fortune and Study Philosophy
    NY Times (Mar 25)

    Seventeen year old programmer Nick D'Aloisio recently made international news when he sold his program Summly to Yahoo for tens of millions of dollars (plus a job at Yahoo). His plans for himself? Go to Oxford and study philosophy.

  • On Being Catholic
    NY Times (Mar 30)

    Philosopher Gary Gutting speaks to an often unasked question he frequently encounters: "Can reflective and honest intellectuals actually believe that stuff?" Gutting, himself a Catholic, explains how his answer would go.

  • The Case for Making It Up in Journalism
    NPR (Mar 29)

    "To render faithfully what a person means, where they stand on an issue, what is at stake for them, you don't need to record their speech. You need to understand them, [but] journalistic orthodoxy [equates] 'understanding' [with] interpretation. If you write what they meant, rather than what they literally said, then you are writing what you think they said. Which is just to say that you are making it up." But are we really comfortable with this equation? Philosopher Alva Noe discusses.

  • Philosophy and Running
    Philosophy Bites (Mar 29)

    Philosopher Mark Rowlands, who began running to exercise his pet wolf, talks about the connection between philosophy and running and it can teach us about emodiment and intrinsic value. [audio]

  • The Case for Revenge
    Chron of Higher Ed (Mar 26)

    Law professor Thane Rosenbaum explores the case for revenge. [univ]

  • Philosophy of Markets
    Stanf Ency of Philosophy (Mar 26)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on markets "Markets are institutions in which individuals or collective agents exchange goods and services. They usually use money as a medium of exchange, which leads to the formation of prices. Markets can be distinguished according to the goods or services traded in them (e.g. financial markets, housing markets, labor markets), according to their scope (e.g. regional, national, international markets), or according to their structure (e.g. competitive markets, oligopolistic markets, monopolistic markets). From a normative perspective, markets are of interest for a number of reasons: various arguments for and against markets relate to central questions of social and political philosophy. "


  • Odd Man Out
    NY Review of Books (Mar 25)

    An essay on the career of Jacques Derrida.

  • Philosophy With Attitude
    The Guardian (Mar 21)

    "There aren't many academics whose lectures have ever called for riot police. John Crace talks to Ted Honderich about his enemies of the left, right and centre."

  • Cosmopolitans
    Aeon Magazine (Mar 4)

    It's not just me, you and everyone we know. Citizens of the world have moral obligations to a wider circle of humanity. Philosopher Nigel Warburton discusses the issues.

  • The Ironic Success of Experimental Philosophy
    NPR (Mar 25)

    "Let's face it: philosophy rarely makes the news. So it's all the more surprising that one small pocket of philosophy, known as "experimental philosophy," has, over the last few years, made it to the pages of Slate.com, The New York Times Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times' Opinionator and Room for Debate, Prospect Magazine, and yes, even NPR's Talk of the Nation. What is experimental philosophy? And why this unprecedented public success?"

  • When Hope Tramples Truth
    NY Times (Mar 24)

    Pessimism, so obviously vindicated in retrospect, is almost always ineffective at the time. Philosopher Roger Scruton wonders why this should be.

  • Philosophy: In Comics
    Playback (Mar 22)

    A review of Margaret de Heer's book Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics which "mixes a personal, autobiographical approach to the topic, beginning with her 5-year-old self questioning the world around her and ending with her adult self setting out her life's philosophy, with a more standard, historical approach, including summaries of the lives and philosophies of luminaries from Socrates to Spinoza."

  • Philosophy is Not an Elephant
    Rationally Speaking (blog) (Mar 15)

    An early enthusiast tells of his growing antipathy to experimental philosophy. Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci tries to put his finger on just what is bugging him: besides not being in the least new (all the buzz not withstanding), the sneaking suspicion that the work is no more than social science which has no special contribution to make to philosophy.



  • Drones and the Armchair Soldier
    NY Times (Mar 17)

    For the first time in history, soldiers have something in common with philosophers: they can do their jobs sitting down.

  • How to Interpret the Constitution
    Philosophy Bites (Mar 17)

    What are constitutions? How are we to interpret them? John Gardner, Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University, addresses these questions [audio]

  • The Double-Major Dynamo
    Chronicle of Higher Ed (Mar 15)

    A recent study suggests that double-majoring makes for dynamic thinkers. It does not pass our notice how many of the students spoken of here are philosophy double-majors. Hmm… [univ]


  • The Truthmakers
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Feb 23)

    The Stanford Encyclopedia introduces a new entry on the concept of a truthmaker. "This much is agreed: 'x makes p true' is a construction that signifies, if it signifies anything at all, a relation borne to a truth-bearer by something else, a truth-maker. But it isn't generally agreed what that something else might be, or what truth-bearers are, or what the character might be of the relationship that holds, if it does, between them, or even whether such a relationship ever does hold."

  • On Liberty
    3:AM Magazine (Feb 18)

    An interview with political historian Quentin Skinner.

  • Styles Tweets Socrates Bio, Makes Headlines
    Greek Hollywood Reporter (Feb 20)

    Pop Musician Harry Styles from the band One Direction responded to a public remark by philosopher Alain de Botton, and tweeted a brief bio blurb about Socrates on his Twittter feed. To our consternation, this made headlines in numerous news outlets.


  • The Prospects for Real Public Debate
    NY Times (Feb 19)

    "Is there any way to make genuine debates — sustained back-and-forth exchanges, meeting high intellectual standards but still widely accessible — part of our political culture?" Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses.

  • Godless But Good
    Aeon Magazine (Feb 18)

    Philosopher Troy Jollimore argues that "there's something in religious tradition that helps people be ethical, but it isn't actually their belief in God."

  • Why Everyone Has a Valentine
    Washington Post (Feb 14)

    It turns out that everyone has a sweetheart on Valentines Day—if only they knew it! At least that is how things turn out, according to Philosopher Neil Sinhababu.

  • Principia Mathematical: The Musical!
    Aperiodical.com (Feb 14)

    A new muscial based on philosophers Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead's monumental work in the foundations of logic, Principia Mathematica. The muscial is based on the graphic novel about the same subject, Logicomix.

  • Material Culture
    New Books in Philosophy (Feb 15)

    Philosopher Beth Preston discusses themes from her new book, A Philosophy of Material Culture: Action, Function and Mind. [audio]

  • Instrumental Rationality
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Feb 13)

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has added a new entry on instrumental rationality.

  • The Enlightenment's 'Race' Problem
    NY Times (Feb 10)

    PhilosopherJustin E. Smith asks, "Why have we chosen to go with Hume and Kant, rather than with the pre-racial conception of humanity?"

  • The Mind's Eye
    iai.tv (Feb 7)

    "For scientists and philosophers the idea of the soul has been out of fashion for two hundred years. But is it on its way back? Can we explain consciousness without it? Who watches the magic show that is experience?" [video]

  • Do We Know How Life Began?
    NPR (Feb 8)

    "The account of evolution we call Darwinian can explain the great diversity of life on Earth. The origin of species and the descent of human beings are well understood. Darwinism is silent on the question of life's first beginnings, however. This is not a hole or an omission; it represents no unfulfilled promise. The theory of evolution is not a theory of that. How did life first happen? How did it begin?"

  • How Many Nouns Are in That Garlic?
    Phys.org (Feb 8)

    "Forty years ago, Jeffry Pelletier, now a University of Alberta philosophy and linguistics researcher, challenged a fundamental tenet of English grammar in his doctoral dissertation. In trying to show that natural languages—such as the one you're reading—do not directly reflect reality, Pelletier declared that the difference between mass and count nouns was arbitrary and, as such, not very useful in talking about our world."

  • Philosophy Paper in a Flash
    Prezi.com (Feb 4)

    Philosopher of mind, Angela Mendelovici gives us a Flash-animated guide to writing a good philosophy paper.


  • Pereboom on Free Will
    Agency and Responsibility [blog] (Feb 4)

    Philosopher Derek Pereboom discusses free will and his disagreements with other thinkers—a number of whom respond in the ensuing forum.

  • Varieties of Understanding
    [project website] (Feb 6)

    Philosopher Stephen Grimm has been awarded a 3.85 million dollar grant for a three-year project which will "examine the various ways in which human beings understand the world, how these types of understanding might be improved, and how they might be combined to produce an integrated understanding of the world." The project will fund work in the areas of philosophy, psychology, and theology. The project will also collaborate with researchers at the Concepts and Cognition Lab at UC Berkeley. The award is from the John Templeton Foundation.


  • Depression and the Limits of Psychiatry
    NY Times (Feb 6)

    Philosopher Gary Gutting writes, "I've recently been following the controversies about revisions to the psychiatric definition of depression. … [Michel Foucault says] that modern psychiatry, while purporting to be grounded in scientific truths, is primarily a system of moral judgments … His essential point requires serious consideration. Psychiatric practice does seem to be based on implicit moral assumptions in addition to explicit empirical considerations, and efforts to treat mental illness can be society's way of controlling what it views as immoral (or otherwise undesirable) behavior."

  • Handbook of Aristotle
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (Jan 30)

    A review of the new Oxford Handbook of Aristotle. With "notable clarity and conciseness," the twenty-six artciles range "from those that wouldserve as introductions to particular subjects for advanced undergraduates to those that would fit fairly comfortably in the collections of essays intended promarily for scholars and specialists."

  • On Reflection
    3:AM Magazine (Jan 29)

    An interview with philosopher Hilary Kornblith.

  • Tennis with Plato
    Aeon Magazine (Jan 30)

    "Whenever we do something only for the sake of something else, we are working — even if we receive no financial reward. … Play, not work, brings us fully to life." Philosopher Mark Rowlands (Miami) explains.

  • The Advantage of Being "Useless"
    Academia.edu (Jan 28)

    "What are you going to do with that degree? If you're a Liberal Arts major, I have an answer. And it's not "I don't know," "Teach," "Law school," or "Go to grad school." In his address to the Second Year Experience students at University of Alabama, Philosopher Nicholaos Jones explains.

  • What It Is Like to Be A Bat
    NPR (Jan 28)

    In 1974, the philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote a classic paper in which he asked, "What is it like to be a bat?" Nagel's choice of a bat was especially apt for making the point that some kinds of knowledge are bound by our own experience. … Thanks to some pioneering human echolocators and researchers at UC Berkeley and elsewhere, we're taking steps toward Nagel's unlikely metamorphosis: humans with the ability to echolocate.'

  • The Fiscal Cliff
    NY Times (Jan 30)

    Philosopher Jason Stanley thinks "the words used to describe some of the most important concepts in economic policy are often misleading," and in this way may be dangerously detrimental to reasoned debate of issues.

  • Innate Knowledge, Redux
    Philosophy Bites (Feb 1)

    Where do our ideas come from? According to René Descartes at least some of them are innate, acquired indpendently of experience. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Colin McGinn explains why he thinks that Descartes' view of the mind has something to be said for it, particularly when combined with Leibniz's insight that innate ideas must be initially unconscious. [audio]

  • The Truth-Connection
    New Books in Philosophy (Jan 31)

    A discussion with philosopher Clayton Littlejohn about his new book, Justification and the Truth-Connection. Littlejohn holds that a belief is never ever justified unless it is true. [audio]

  • What to Believe Now?
    Notre Dame Phil Reviews (Feb 3)

    Philosopher Earl Conee review David Coady's What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues




  • Frank Ramsey Remembered
    Prospect Magazine (Jan 22)

    Philosopher Anthony Grayling reviews Maragret Paul's Frank Ramsey: A Sister's Memoir. Ramsey is a well-known figure in philosophy circles—though he died at 26, he nonetheless "made lasting contributions to mathematics, economics and philosophy, and to the thinking of a number of his contemporaries, including Ludwig Wittgenstein."

  • Jane Austen as Moral Philosopher
    Philosophy Now (Jan 20)

    "What's so special about her novels that we are still reading them today? It's not just their literary quality. Austen was also a brilliant moral philosopher who analysed and taught a virtue ethics for middle-class life that is surprisingly contemporary. Appreciating this can help us understand why she wrote the way she did, and how and why we should read her today."

  • Existential Risk
    NY Times (Jan 26)

    Philosopher Huw Price explains how he came to see the pressing importance of existential risk.

  • Thinking About Surveillance
    Philosophy Bites (Jan 24)

    What, if anything, is wrong with surveillance? How does it affect privacy? Why value privacy anyway? [audio]

  • Errors, Lies and Adventure
    HotThe LightGetsIn (Jan 20)

    The 2013 How the Light Gets In Festival—"the world's largest philosophy and music festival"—dates have been announced and tickets are on sale. So, if you will be in the UK this summer…

  • Plato on Death Row
    New APPS (Jan 20)

    A philosophy discussion group with death row inmates and philosophy graduate students at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison. (You can also read two articles written by inmates about this discussion group that was published in the prison newsletter.

  • Love, Understanding and Knowledge
    NY Times (Jan 19)

    Philosopher Gary Gutting proposes that religions should be evaluated in terms of three great human needs: love, understanding and knowledge.

  • Group Reading of Leviathan at The Atlantic
    The Atlantic (Jan 30)

    Columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates proposes a group reading of Hobbes' Leviathan with discussion to take place in his regular column. Begins with a discussion of the Introduction on Feb 8th.

  • Showing the Time

    The so–called truthmaker solution to the problem Gettier is thought to have posed for the analysis of knowledge as justified true belief is to add a fourth condition, requiring that one's evidence for one's belief be the state of affairs that makes the belief true. Adrian Heathcote argues that the reason why one lacks knowledge in Russell's case of the stopped clock is that, as in the classic Gettier–style cases, this condition is not satisfied. I argue that the proposed solution fails, as it embodies a misunderstanding of what evidence is. [univ access]

    John Biro (UF), "Showing the Time", [/Analysis/] (2013) 73 (1): 57-62.

  • Political Philosophy: The Musical!
    DEM Productions (Jan 17)

    Get ready for John Rawls' A Theory of Justice: The Musical, an "all-singing, all-dancing romp through 2,500 years of political philosophy." Don't miss the cast page—some of the actors bear a passing resemblance to the real philosophers they play.Performances Jan 2nd - Feb 13th, but, sadly, you'd have to get to the UK to see it.

  • Plantinga on Free Will
    Christianity Today (Jan 15)

    Philosopher Alvin Plantinga critically reviews Sam Harris' book Free Will, contesting his central arguments against free will.

  • Philosophy Without Intuitions
    New Books in Philosophy (Jan 15)

    Philosopher Herman Cappelan discusses themes from his recent book, Philosophy Without Intuitions. [audio]

  • Disgust
    Chronicle of Higher Ed (Jan 14)

    Philosopher Justin Smith discusses recent work on disgust. Warning: photographic depictions of apparent worm eating!


  • Beyond Human Nature
    WNYC (Jan 10)

    Philosopher Jesse Prinz discusses themes from his hew book Beyond Human Nature and how recent work in neuroscience and psychology suggests ways nurture can supplement and supplant nature.



  • Is Joy Altogether the Same Thing as Pleasure?
    NY Times (Jan 10)

    Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses joy, pleasure and the good life; plumbing the common themes and diverging treatments in a recent autobigraphical essay by novelist Zadie Smith and an 11th century treatise by St. Thomas Aquinas.

  • God in the Age of Science?
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (Jan 3)

    A review of philosopher Herman Philipse's new book God in the Age of Science? A critique of Religious Reason


  • Philosophy and Schizophrenia
    Philosophy Bites (Jan 8)

    Philosopher John Campbell (Berkeley) talks about what philosophers can learn from schizophrenia. [audio]

  • Why Study Philosophy?
    Institute of Art and Ideas (Jan 3)

    Philosopher Peter Hacker (Oxford) tackles the question "Why study philosophy?"

  • Meaning and Truth

    This paper concerns a key choice point in Donald Davidson's early work in philosophy of language—a fateful decision that set him and the discourse in the area on the path of truth-theoretic semantics. The decision of moment is the one Davidson makes when, in the face of a certain barrier, he gives up on the idea of spelling out a meaning theory proper along lines generally paralleling Tarski's way with truth theory. For Davidson, there was not much choice in the choice that he makes then. He tells us at that juncture that he just does not see how to do it any other way than in the radical way he then proposes. But there is a way to give such a meaning theory—a meaning theory proper which, using classical logic only, meets a meaning-theoretic analog of Convention T, satisfies Davidson's three key desiderata for a theory of meaning, reflects linguistic competence, and avoids quantifying over meanings. Just as Davidson initially sought, the meaning theory sketched here uses Tarskian strategies, but unlike Davidson's approach, does not go by way of a truth theory for the target language.

    Greg Ray (UF), "Meaning and Truth", [/Mind/]. Forthcoming.

  • The Problem with Online Dating
    The Atlantic (Jan 7)

    Philosopher Peter Ludlow discusses the inherent difficulty of online dating—which arises due to its radical efficiency over other means.

  • And Good Will to All? Seriously?
    NY Times (Jan 5)

    The idea of 'good will to all', heard so often during the winter holidays, is a central ideal of several religious and ethical systems. But how far can or should we actually extend this good will, seriously.

  • Socrates Stands Trial Again
    ABA Journal (Jan 2)

    "Star litigators in Chicago are preparing to retry a controversial 2,400-year-old free speech case that famously resulted in the death of Socrates." Judge Richard Posner (7th Circuit Court of Appeals) presides in the case on 31 Jan. The prosecution is to be led by former US Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald. The (mock) proceedings are part of a fundraising effort. UPDATE: Listen to the report from NPR.

  • Why Tolerate Religion?
    New Books in Philosophy (Jan 3)

    An interview with philosopher Brian Leiter on his recent book Why Tolerate Religion? "Religious conviction enjoys a privileged status in our society. This is perhaps most apparent in legal contexts, where religious conviction is often given special consideration. To be more precise, religious conscience is recognized as a legitimate basis for exemption from standing laws, whereas claims of conscience deriving from non-religious commitments generally are not. Why is this? … Brian Leiter offers subtle analyses of toleration, conscience, and respect."



  • Better Society? Teach Philosophy in High School
    Huffington Post (Dec 26)

    Without the ability to carry on a useful dialogue, we cannot solve our greatest challenges, or even our smallest ones … I believe the answer lies in philosophy. Why philosophy? Because the study of philosophy … nurtures thoughtful minds, minds that can—as Aristotle suggests—entertain a thought without accepting it.

  • The Scrutability of the World
    Partially Examined Life (blog) (Dec 21)

    An interview with philosopher David Chalmers. How are all the various truths about the world related to each other? David Chalmers, famous for advocating a scientifically respectable form of brain-consciousness dualism, advocates a framework of scrutability: if one knew some set of base truths, then the rest would be knowable from them. [audio]

  • Testing Out of the Matrix
    Seattle Times (Dec 15)

    University of Washington physicists have come up with one way to test whether our universe is a giant computer simulation being run by our [sic] descendants.

  • On Photography
    Philosophy Bites (Dec 23)

    Philosopher Kendall Walton argues that photographs are distinctively different from other kinds of pictures: he thinks that we can literally see through them to the objects and people they are of. [audio]

  • Moving Naturalism Forward
    Preposterous Universe (blog) (Dec 11)

    Complete video coverage of the Moving Naturalism Forward workshop held Oct 2012 at the California Institute of Technology. Participants included Sean Carroll, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Terrence Deacon, Simon DeDeo, Daniel Dennett, Owen Flangan, Rebecca Goldstein, Janna Levin, Massimo Pigliucci, David Poeppel, Nicholas Pritzker, Alex Rosenberg, Don Ross, Steven Weinberg. [video]


  • The Arché Blog
    Univ of St. Andrews (Dec 30)

    Arché, a well-known philosophical research centre ("for logic, language, metaphysics and epistemology") at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) has begun an official philosophy blog.

  • Philosophers on Gun Control
    NY Times (Dec 30)

    After the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., earlier this month, The Stone published a series of essays that examined the philosophical implications of the use, possession and regulation of weapons. Readers responded with thousands of thoughtful comments. Below is a selection of their writing. Numerous of the essays there are by philosophers.

  • Real Essence
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Dec 19)

    The Stanford Encyclopedia features a new entry on the Lockean notion of real essence.

  • Varieties of Presence
    New Books in Philosophy (Dec 14)

    Philosopher Alva Noe discusses his new book, Varieties of Presence. "What do we experience we look at an object – say, a tomato? A traditional view holds that we entertain an internal picture or representation of the tomato, and moreover that this internal picture is of the surface of the tomato, and not, say, the side of the tomato that is hidden from view … [According to Noe's] enactive view of perception, the hidden side of the tomato is also in our conscious experience of it – it is, in Noλ's words, present as absent." [audio]

  • The Folly of the Big Idea
    American Educator (Dec 12)

    Philosophy teacher, Diana Senechal, charges that the current "big idea" mindset which is now driving education reform is blind to most of the actual value of a liberal arts education.

  • The Lambda Calculus
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Dec 12)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy provides an overview of the lambda calculus, developing "some of the central highlights of the field and prepares the reader for further study of the subject and its applications in philosophy, linguistics, computer science, and logic."


  • You Are Not Your Brain Scan
    NPR (Dec 7)

    "It would be hard to overstate the extent to which the fervor about the brain-basis of human experience is stoked by the development in the last few years of new technologies for brain imaging. … [but such images are not even] pictures of our brains in action, and so they are positively not images of our minds at work."



  • Praising Andy Warhol
    NY Times (Dec 6)

    Philosopher Gary Gutting asks, "If Warhol is a great artist and his Brillo boxes are among his most important works, what am I missing?"


  • Is God Happy?
    NY Review of Books (Dec 20)

    Polish philosopher, Leszek Kolakowski, considers the question: first as to whether we can attribute such affect happiness to the divine at all, the sobering implications if not, and the imperative of the question if so.

  • Freedom and Its History
    Philosophy Bites (Dec 8)

    Political historian Alan Ryan (Oxford) discusses freedom and what it has meant at differernt times in history. [audio]

  • The Novel and the Origins of Philosophy
    Arcade (Stanford) (Nov 19)

    Scholar Wiliam Egginton looks for connections between the philosophical and literary beginnings of modernity—in the world view that lies behind Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy on the one hand, and what is widely considered the first modern novel, Cervantes' Don Quixote, on the other.

  • Philosophical Intuition
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Dec 4)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on intuition. "(1) What are intuitions?, (2) What roles do they serve in philosophical (and other 'armchair') inquiry?, (3) Ought they serve such roles?, (4) What are the implications of the empirical investigation of intuitions for their proper roles?, and (5) What is the content of intuitions prompted by the consideration of hypothetical cases?"

  • Philosophy and the Poetic Imagination
    NY Times (Dec 2)

    "We speak and write with remarkably different aims. We sometimes try to get clear on the facts, so we can reach agreement on how things are. But we sometimes try to express ourselves so we can capture the uniqueness of our viewpoint and experiences. It is the same for listeners: language lets us learn the answers to practical questions, but it also opens us up to novel insights and perspectives. Simply put, language straddles the chasm between science and art. A central challenge for philosophy is to explain how language accommodates these two very different kinds of enterprise." Philosopher Ernest Lepore and computer scientist Matthew Stone discuss.

  • On Knowing How
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Dec 4)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on knowledge-how . "It is common in epistemology to distinguish among three kinds of knowledge. There's the kind of knowledge you have when it is truly said of you that you know how to do something—say, ride a bicycle. There's the kind of knowledge you have when it is truly said of you that you know a person—say, your best friend. And there's the kind of knowledge you have when it is truly said of you that you know that some fact is true—say, that the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series." Central concerns in this area are how and to what extent are knowledge-that and knowledge-how inter-related, and exactly waht does knowledge-how consist in?

  • On Bertrand Russell
    BBC (Dec 6)

    A discussion of the life and work of Bertrand Russell. "Russell is widely regarded as one of the founders of Analytic philosophy, which is today the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world. … In addition to his academic work, Russell played an active role in many social and political campaigns. He supported women's suffrage, was imprisoned for his pacifism during World War I and was a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament." [audio]

  • Proof-Theoretic Semantics
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Dec 4)

    A new entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on proof-theoretic semantics understood as an alternative to the truth-conditional semantics most familiar to philosophers.

  • When No Review is a Review
    Talking Philosophy (Nov 20)

    A recounting with page scans of a philosophical bonfire started by Bertrand Russell and Gilbert Ryle that played out in the letters pages of The Times of London.

  • Inside the Centre
    Guardian (Nov 9)

    A discussion of philosopher Ray Monk's new biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Inside the Center. Monk's previous biographers have been of other philosophers (Russell, Wittgenstein). But, he says, "most philosophers don't lead sufficiently interesting lives for biography to be worthwhile."

  • Philosophy as an Art of Living
    Los Angeles Review of Books (Nov 14)

    A review of Sarah Bakewell's new book, How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer.


  • Could Socrates Save the BBC?
    Telegraph (Nov 24)

    "What was really missing at the BBC were the philosophic virtues of truth-seeking, ethics and self-knowledge. Peter Worley suggests Socrates might make a good choice for the next director-general."

News Items from Fall 2012


  • Moral Demands We Make on Ourselves
    Why Radio (Oct 14)

    "What allows us to make moral demands on other people? How important are relationships in ethical decision-making and why should people act ethically in the first place?" Philosopher Stephen Darwall (Yale) discusses. [audio]

  • Philosophy and Sculpture
    Why Radio (Sep 9)

    Sculptor and Hume scholar Stefanie Rocknak discusses the interplay of ideas and art. [audio]

  • Rethinking the Just War, Parts 1 & 2
    NY Times (Nov 11)

    Philosopher Jeff McMahan discusses just war theory—"a set of ethical principles pertaining to violent conflict, whose origins can be traced back to Augustine, that still influence the politics and morality of war today." (Part 1 is largely historical. In Part 2 of this essay, McMahan critiques aspects of this theory.)

  • Philosophy of Business
    Ctr for Ethics and Entrepreneurship (Nov 8)

    An interview with philosopher of business, William Kline. [video]


  • The Sense of Self
    Philosophy Bites (Nov 9)

    Is it possible to know your self? Does everyone have a sense of their own self? These thorny questions are the focus of this discussion discussion with Galen Strawson. [audio]


  • The Return of Love
    LA Review of Books (Nov 2)

    Review of Troy Jollimore's Love's Vision. "Jollimore counters much of the traditional thinking on love, which sees it as a form of "divine madness," in Socrates's words from Phaedrus, by treating it as a largely (though not entirely) rational phenomenon … a view of love that leaves room for morality, rationality, and truth."

  • On the Kindness of Beasts
    Aeon Magazine (Oct 24)

    "Dogs rescue their friends and elephants care for injured kin—humans have no monopoly on moral behavior."


  • Can Neuroscience Challenge Roe V. Wade?
    NY Times (Oct 28)

    "When I was asked this summer to serve as an expert witness in an appellate case that some think could lead to the next Supreme Court test of Roe v. Wade, I was surprised. … [For a suit which specifically cites neuroscientific findings of pain sentience] … why not call an actual neuroscientist as an expert witness instead of a scholar of the humanities?"



  • Debates in Modern Philosophy
    Routledge [publisher] (Oct 26)

    [/Debates in Modern Philosophy presents 13 key interpretive debates [such as]

    Did Descartes have a developed and consistent view about how the mind interacts with the body?
    Was Leibniz an idealist, or did he believe in corporeal substances?
    What is Locke's theory of personal identity?
    Could there be a Berkeleian metaphysics without God?
    Did Hume believe in causal powers?
    What is Kant's transcendental idealism?

    Each of the thirteen debates consists of a well known article or book chapter from a living philosopher, followed by a new response from a different scholar, specially commissioned for this volume. Every debate is prefaced by an introduction written for those coming upon the debates for the first time and followed by an annotated list for further reading./]


    [/Debates in Modern Philosophy/]. Edited by Stewart Duncan (UF) and Antonia LoLordo (U Virginia). Routledge, (Dec) 2012.

  • The Philosophy of information
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Oct 26)

    A new subject entry on "Information" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy covers the history and philosophical work on this increasingly important notion.

  • Time's Arrow
    3 Quarks Daily (Oct 16)

    A cross-disciplinary discussion of the nature of time. (We are guessing this is from a session at the recent Time's Arrow conference in London.) [video]

  • In the Absence of Good
    Guardian (Oct 22)

    In Part 2 of her discussion of evil, philosopher of religion, Clare Carlisle, argues that St. Augustine's theory that evil is just the absence of good is finding surprising support from recent scientific findings.

  • How to Think About Evil
    Guardian (Oct 15)

    "The religious idea that thinking about evil involves coming to terms with a darkness in all our hearts provides food for thought." Philosopher of religion, Clare Carlisle, discusses.

  • The Original Invisible Hand
    NY Times (Oct 21)

    Business ethicist John Paul Rollert contrasts the current political use of "the invisible hand" of the market with the import the phrase had for philosopher Adam Smith, who coined the phrase — noting particularly areas Smith held were not properly subject to this self-guiding effect.

  • The Public Philosopher
    BBC (Oct 23)

    The BBC is broadcasting a second series of lectures by phillosopher Michael Sandel. Current lecture topics are Immigration and welfare. Series 1 lectures are also available on the site. [audio]



  • How Not to Choose a President
    NY Times (Oct 17)

    Gary Gutting questions the way in which we evaluate our candidates for office and relays for us some edifying observations from ancient Greek literaure.

  • A Homepage for Philosophy
    Humanities (NEH) (Oct 22)

    This essay discusses the success of the curated model used by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in contradistinction to the crowd model made famous by Wikipedia.

  • In Defence of Hobbes
    Economist (Oct 22)

    Intellectual historian Noel Malcom discusses why Thomas Hobbes has faced accusations of totalitarianism and argues that Britain's first great modern philosopher has more to offer than political theory. [video]

  • Are Mind and Life Natural?
    NPR (Oct 12)

    Philosopher Alva Noλ discusses the implications of the fact that, in spite of our ability to explain much physical and biological phenomena, we have no worked out scientific story about the origins of life or the emergence of consciousness.

  • Philosophizing Science
    The Rice Standard (Oct 8)

    "Since the mid-twentieth century, American universities have increasingly opted to scaled back on humanistic intellectualism in favor of vocational careerism as a general curriculum strategy … [But] in twenty-first century America, the answer is neither the vocational nor the philosophical —but the intermediary … I don't mean something like a double major in Bioengineering and Art History. Instead, I'm asking for the fields that we label 'pragmatic'—engineering, the natural sciences, and usually the social sciences—to be 'philosophized.'"

  • Would You Give a Philosopher the Last Seat on the Raft?
    Minnesota Public Radio (Oct 10)

    What disciplines are worth saving? College students answer. A biologist, philosopher, anthropologist, music instructor and a paramedic instructor—who gets the last available spot in a life raft to rebuild society? In a new twist for the annual debate, the philosophy professor did not argue for a seat for himself on the raft. [audio]

  • Grounding: Necessary or Contingent?
    PhilPapers (Oct 22)

    Recent interest in the nature of grounding is due in part to the idea that purely modal notions are too coarse-grained to capture what we have in mind when we say that one thing is grounded in another. Grounding not being purely modal in character, however, is compatible with it having modal consequences. Is grounding a necessary relation? In this paper I argue that the answer is 'yes' in the sense that propositions corresponding to full grounds modally entail propositions corresponding to what they ground. The argument proceeds upon two substantive principles: the first is that there is a broadly epistemic constraint on grounding, while the second links this constraint with Fine's Aristotelian notion of essence. Many think grounding is necessary in something like the sense specified above, but just why it's necessary is an issue that hasn't been carefully addressed. If my argument is successful, we now know why grounding is necessary.

    Kelly Trogdon (Hong Kong)(UF alumnus), "Grounding: Necessary or Contingent", [/Pacific Philosophical Quarterly/]. Forthcoming.

  • Roussau's Practical Philosophy
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy (Oct 22)

    Rousseau's Savoyard Vicar makes creative use of Descartes's meditative method by applying it to practical life. This ?misuse? of the Cartesian method highlights the limits of the thinking thing as a ground for morality. Taking practical philosophy as first philosophy, the Vicar finds bedrock certainty of the self as an agent in the world and of moral truths while distancing himself from Cartesian positions on the distinction, union and interaction of mind and body. Rousseau's Moral Letters harmonize with the Vicar's view. Descartes would reject the Vicar's appropriation, as real-life problems cannot wait on meditation to answer them. UF access

    Peter Westmoreland (UF), "Rousseau's Descartes: The Rejection of Theoretical Philosophy as First Philosophy", [/British Journal for the History of Philosophy/]. Forthcoming.

  • Do You Only Have a Brain?
    The Nation (Oct 22)

    Philosophers Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg review Thoma Nagel's new book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.


  • Night of the Living Philosophy
    Filosofie Magazine (Netherlands) (Sep 28)

    "Foreign philosophers often react with surprise: why is philosophy so popular in the Netherlands? Dutch philosophers write bestsellers, the "philosophical cafes" are full, and the Month of Philosophy is flourishing. Does it have something to do with the national character of the Dutch?"



  • Do Apes Read Minds?
    New Books in Philosophy (Sep 15)

    Philosopher Kristen Andrews discusses the subject of her new book, Do Apes Read Minds?. "The ability to figure out the mental lives of others – what they want, what they believe, what they know — is basic to our relationships. . . to predict what a friend will feel when we cancel a date, to explain why a child in a playground is crying, to deceive someone else by saying less than the whole story." This ability has been traditionally thought to require a kind of metacognition that seems almost exclusively available to humans. Andrews argues this orthodoxy is mistaken—what underlies this ability is something more basic than that and which is an ability that many more species evidently have. [audio]

  • Facts, Arguments and Politics
    NY Times (Sep 13)

    "Emotions drive politics. So why all the concern about facts and fact-checking? Because, among the whirl of our feelings, there is a desire for our beliefs to be rational, to have support from the facts. We're uneasy if we can't make a plausible case that what we say is true. . . But, strictly speaking, facts by themselves provide only the premises of a rational argument. To draw a conclusion, we also need a logical process of reasoning." Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses two cases in point.



  • Vegetable Philosophy
    Improbable Research (Sep 5)

    A short notice on philosopher Karen L.F. Houle recent article in the Journal of Critical Animal Studies on what it would be for a person to become more plant-like—at least we think that is the gist of it! "There are not many of us doing vegetable philosophy, either professionally or casually," says Dr. Houle.

  • Philosophy vs. Science: Who Gets the Big Questions?
    The Guardian (Sep 8)

    Philosopher Julian Baggini fears that, as we learn more and more about the universe, scientists are becoming increasingly determined to stamp their mark on other disciplines. Here, he challenges theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss over 'mission creep' among his peers.

  • What Work is Really For
    NY Times (Sep 8)

    "For most of us, a paying job is still utterly essential—as masses of unemployed people know all too well. But in our economic system, most of us inevitably see our work as a means to something else: it makes a living, but it doesn't make a life. What, then, is work for?" Philosopher Gary Gutting reflects on the matter.

  • One in Five Consult Town's Resident Philosopher
    Agence France-Presse (Sep 16)

    "A philosophy trail leads past a sofa that pronounces deep thoughts when you sit on it, a park with no lights to encourage pondering and posters in the town's streets ask questions like "Why were you born?" and "What is fear?"" AFP gives an interim report on the public reception of the unusual philosophy initiiatives of the Italian town of Corgliano D'Otranto. One in five residents have consulted the new town philosopher, residents report on their reflective responses to the "philosopher's walk" through the town—which features signs asking open-ended philosophical questions. And the small town has seen many more visitors since June when the initiative began.

  • How to Avoid Fear of Change
    Lifehacker (Sep 12)

    Self-described performance philosopher and technology enthusiast, Jason Silva, was the opening presenter at the TechEd conference in Australia. His fast-paced video essays from that address—"shots of philosophical espresso"—are available here ("Radical Openness", "To Understand is to Perceive Patterns", and "The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck"). [video]

  • Neil Gaiman and Philosophy
    Pop Matters (Sep 11)

    A short review of Open Court Press' latest offering in their pop culture and philosoophy series: Neil Gaiman and Philosophy.

  • Butler's Adorno Prize Stirs Controversy
    Wall Street Journal (Sep 9)

    The announcement that philosopher Judith Butler had been selected for the Adorno Prize caused an immediate stir. The prestigious Adorno Prize is administered by the city of Frankfurt, Germany, and Butlerhas been perceived as having anti-Israeli views.

  • On Not Being At All
    Philosophy Bites (Sep 15)

    How can we make sense of things that don't exist? We speak seriously about what is not all the time. Philosopher Tim Crane discusses. [audio]

  • The Evident Connexion
    Mind (Sep 7)

    Philosopher John Biro (UF) critically reviews Galen Strawson's recent book, The Evident Connexion. Strawson holds that David Hume was not sceptical as to the existence of a subject of experience but only as to its nature, but the development of his account relies crucially on a reading of Hume's famous "bundle theory" of the self—and this opens the way to a serious challenge for Strawson's view. [UF access]


  • Should Animals Be Prosecuted?
    Big Think (Sep 13)

    Essayist and philosophy student, Tauriq Moosa puzzles about the curious fact that at various times and places animals have been tried in court much like people—for brutality or sexual misconduct or, for example, a group of rats for ruining the barley. [Cf. the essay that inspired these reflections—warning: contains stark descriptions of animal death and reports of bestiality.]

  • The Ethics of Search Engines
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Aug 27)

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a new essay entry on Search Engines and Ethics by philosopher Herman Tavani.

  • In Praise of the Clash of Cultures
    NY Times (Sep 2)

    Philosopher Carlos Fraenkel speaks in praise of the clash of cultures. "When we transform the disagreements arising from diversity into a culture of debate, they cease to be a threat to social peace."

  • Why Political Liberalism?
    New Books in Philosophy (Aug 22)

    Philosopher Paul Weithman talks about his new book, . In it, he argues that John Rawls never turned away from his ground-breaking theory of justice. His later work develops differently, because Rawls came to a different understanding of the conditions for social stability—and this directly effects any odeas we might have about how a stable system of justice is possible among us. [audio]

  • Speech, Lies and Apathy
    NY Times (Aug 30)

    Philosopher Jason Stanley wonders whether it is possible to lie in a context where there is no expectation of truth—and thinks our current political campaign environment is a good case in point. "The public's trust in public speech, whether by politicians or in the media, has disintegrated . . . The expectation is that any statement made either by a politician or by a media outlet is a false ideological distortion. As a result, no one blames politicians for making false statements or statements that obviously contradict that politician's beliefs." But does anything one says count as a lie if not one was expecting you to speak truth in the first place?

  • The Philosophy of Pain
    Philosophy Bites (Aug 31)

    A range of philosophical questions arise from our experience of pain. Philosopher Michael Tye discusses the issues. [audio]


  • The Art of Procrastination
    NPR (Sep 6)

    Philosopher John Perry (Stanford & UC Riverside) has expanded his popular essay on structured procrastination into a book. In this interview, he talks about writing the book and about the beauties of structured procrastination—which is the practice of completing less-important tasks as a means of procrastinating about more-important but less desirable tasks one has to do. The Art of Procrastination, A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing is published by Workman Publishing. The wonder is that he managed to finish the book at all, of course. We can only surmise, he had something better to do. [See also the coverage in UCR Today.] [audio]

  • Thinking About Beauty
    Stanford Ency of Philosophy (Sep 4)

    The Stanford Encyclopedia has a newly published entry on beauty. "The nature of beauty is one of the most enduring and controversial themes in Western philosophy, and is—with the nature of art—one of the two fundamental issues in philosophical aesthetics. Beauty has traditionally been counted among the ultimate values, with goodness, truth, and justice. . . [we] begin with a sketch of the debate over whether beauty is objective or subjective, which is perhaps the single most-prosecuted disagreement in the literature."

  • Is Intuition Based on Understanding?
    PhilPapers (Aug 30)

    According to the most popular non-skeptical views about intuition, intuitions justify beliefs because they are based on understanding. . . The aim of this paper is to raise some challenges for accounts of intuitive justification [of this sort] . . . [T]here are cases in which intuiting [that something is so] justifies you in believing [it so], but such that there is no compelling reason to think this is because your intuition is based on your understanding.

    Elijah Chudnoff (Miami)[UF Philosophy BA] "Is Intuition Based on Understanding?" Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, forthcoming.

  • Better Economics Through Philosophy
    Business Week (Aug 20)

    Fed chief Ben Bernanke wants economists to take a broader view of their subject—like the philosophical founders of the discipline—and seek better and more direct measures of well-being.

  • Uncommon Sense
    Connecticut College (Aug 20)

    Philosopher Andrew Pessin's new book, Uncommon Sense looks at philosophy through the lens of its strangest sounding theories.



  • Best Majors for GRE: Still Philosophy (Ok, and Physics)
    Physics Central (Aug 20)

    "Every year, the Educational Testing Service — the organization behind the GRE — releases scores for the general test and categorizes them by the test takers' intended graduate major. Although the GRE made significant revisions to the test this academic year, one fact remains: Physics and philosophy students still rocked the test." Philosophy tops the list on Verbal and Writing sections and has the highest rank of any non-science field in Quantitivae. Again.


  • Philosophical Shaming
    Philosophical Shaming (tumblr) (Aug 25)

    Site where the philosophically-minded photo-confess their philosophical shame.

  • Should We Have Presidential Elections?
    NY Times (Aug 23)

    "Sometimes I dream that I'm talking to Socrates. I've tried to talk philosophy with him, but he's not interested. My guess is that he's either figured everything out or decided there are no answers. But he does, oddly, have quite an interest in current events in the United States. So I asked him about the presidential election coming up in November." Socrates pays a visit to philosopher Gary Gutting and argues that presidential elections are no better than a coin toss.

  • The Trial of Socrates and Pussy Riot
    N+1 Magazine (Aug 13)

    In her closing statement, philosophy major and Pussy Riot band member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, draws the parallel between the prosecution of her band and the trial of Socrates.

  • Is Free Will Worth Having?
    Philosophy Bites (Aug 18)

    Daniel C. Dennett discusses free will, moral responsibility, and the intentional stance. [audio]


  • Proof of an External World (Finally!)
    Splintered Mind (blog) (Aug 13)

    If there was no external world—i.e., any reality outside of your mind—then no one should really be playing smarter and beating you at chess, right?

  • Philosophical Roots of Science Fiction
    io9 (Aug 8)

    "People use science fiction to illustrate philosophy all the time. From ethical quandaries to the very nature of existence, science fiction's most famous texts are tailor-made for exploring philosophical ideas."

  • Being (sub)Human and the Stubborn Unflatness of Reality
    NY Times (Aug 16)

    Philosopher Richard Polt: "Wherever I turn, the popular media, scientists and even fellow philosophers are telling me that I'm a machine or a beast. My ethics can be illuminated by the behavior of termites. My brain is a sloppy computer with a flicker of consciousness and the illusion of free will. I'm anything but human. . . I'd like to suggest why I stubbornly continue to believe that I'm a human being — something more than other animals, and essentially more than any computer." [UPDATE: Polt responds to commenters.]

  • The Veil of Opulence
    NY Times (Aug 12)

    Philosopher Benjamin Hale contends that, in our current political discourse, Rawl's veil of ignorance vies with the "veil of opulence".

  • Teach vs Tech
    Chronicle of Higher Ed (Aug 13)

    Philosopher Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA) discusses the challenges that advanced technology brings to the educational process. "Education is not the transmission of information or ideas. Education is the training needed to make use of information and ideas. As information breaks loose from bookstores and libraries and floods onto computers and mobile devices, that training becomes more important, not less."

  • The Anarchopanda is a Philosopher
    Chronicle of Higher Ed (Aug 1)

    The man in the panda suit—or Anarchopanda as he has been dubbed—is philosophy professor Julien Villeneuve who has joined student protestors in Quebec in the hopes of reducing the incidence of violent confrontation. "Police don't know how to react when they're charging a line of students and they see a panda."

  • On Political Disagreement
    NY Times (Aug 2)

    "On honest reflection, we should admit that, no matter what our political views, there are people who know at least as much about the issues as we do and are at least as good as we at drawing conclusions from this knowledge . . . On most political matters, then, we have what philosophers call 'epistemic peers'—people at least our equals in the intellectual qualities needed to made good judgments . . . who disagree with us. What should we make of this fact?" Philosopher Gary Gutting discusses. [UPDATE:In a follow-up article, Gutting responds to commenters.]

  • Reasoning as Social
    New Books in Philosophy (Aug 1)

    An interview with philosopher Anthony Laden (Chicago) about his new book, Reasoning: A Social Picture. [audio]

  • Philosophers on Film
    Univ of Aberdeen (Jul 13)

    "Philosophers on Film is a series of brief video interviews with philosophers . . . The goal of the series is to help foster among the public a clearer idea of what pursuing Philosophy involves today and what its contemporary practitioners are like." Interviewees are asked a common set of five questions. [video]

  • Immortality: Price $5 Million
    Wall Street Journal (Aug 1)

    John Martin Fischer, a philosopher at the University of California at Riverside, will oversee a $5 million project to study "immortality." As it happens, Mr. Fischer does not believe in the afterlife himself, but, with money from the Templeton Foundation, he will lead a three-year endeavor that will include multidisciplinary research projects, two conferences, translations of relevant philosophical work, and, naturally, a website.' See also the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Liberty and Hate Speech
    Philosophy Bites (Jul 28)

    "Hate speech can be vile and psychologically damaging. Should it be tolerated? Rae Langton explores the nature of hate speech and the question of whether laws protecting free expression should allow it." [audio]

  • Morality of Migration
    NY Times (Jul 29)

    Philosopher Seyla Benhabib (Yale) analyses the moral and political conundrum of illegal immigration as grounded in a clash of two fundamental principles.

  • Philosophy of Guns
    The Atlantic (Jul 23)

    Does the NRA's adage "Guns don't kill people. People kill people" hold up to philosophical scrutiny? Philosopher of technology, Evan Selinger argues that it does not.

  • Olympics and Philosophy
    Philosophy Now (Jul 23)

    "Rick Lewis takes a look at the philosophical practice of watching sports, while Anja Steinbauer considers the Kantian imperative and sportsmanship and Nikki Dekker describes two competing attitudes to sporting competition. We also have Shahrar Ali as a guest speaker, talking about the politics surrounding the London 2012 Olympics." [video]


  • The Argument from Ugliness
    3 Quarks Daily (Jul 23)

    Authors Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse run a reversal on the theistic Argument from Beauty.

  • Mental Shortsight and Moral Enhancement
    Philosophy Now (Jul 18)

    If humans are evolutionarily adapted for survival pressures of the Pleistocene era, it could be argued that our psychology is adapted to living in small tribal or village groups. Philosophers Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson are making the case that this leaves us fundamentally ill-equipped to handle the global challenges that now face us, and that this fact makes "moral bioenhancement" an imperative.

  • What Ever Happened to Existentialism?
    NY Times (Jul 18)

    "Though written off by many, [philosopher Gary Gutting argues that] Sartre, Camus and their cohort still animate some of the deepest philosophical questions we face."

  • Thomas Hobbes vs Cormac McCathy
    BBC (Jul 16)

    Thomas Hobbes famously wrote in his "Leviathan" that, without the rule of law or some sort of social contract, human life is "nasty, brutish, and short." [Hobbes meant by this] that human beings are driven . . . by fear and "an overpowering need for safety," and turn to violence primarily (though not only) in self-defense. [Was] Hobbes right? Philosopher John Gray thinks that another misunderstood book, Cormac McCarthy's novel "Blood Meridian," might offer an answer.'

  • Italian Village Gets Philosophy Makeover
    The Guardian (Jul 18)

    The town of Corigliano d'Otranto has an officially appointed municipal philosopher—who is charged with appearing before the town hall for philosophical consultations every Friday from 3-7pm. The town has also put up plaques posing philosophical questions.

  • Immoral Moral Manipulation?
    Philosophy Bites (Jul 22)

    "Can we manipulate moral decision-making by altering levels of serotonin? And if we can, should we? Molly Crockett has researched the effects of serotonin in this area discusses her findings with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast." [audio]

  • A Metaphysics of Freedom
    New Books in Philosophy (Jul 15)

    An interview with philosopher Helen Steward (Leeds) about her new book, A Metaphysics of Freedom in which she argues for agency compatibilism—according to which we have free will after all in spite of everything we know about the mechanistic nature of the universe. [audio]

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