The Practical Ontologist
»The Practical Ontologist« is a compendium of online philosophical production. Every few hours it automatically aggregates, analyzes, and updates.

Featured Article · Hastings Bioethics

Individuals Declared Brain-Dead Remain Biologically Alive

A remarkable experiment was reported last week in which a kidney from a genetically modified pig was attached to blood vessels in a brain-dead individual, with the family’s consent. In the study, hailed as “a huge breakthrough,” the pig’s kidney functioned normally, suggesting the future feasibility of successfully transplanting organs from pigs into human beings. This research raises a host of ethical issues, including the ethics of xenotransplantation. Here I focus on the implications for the status of individuals declared brain-dead, or dead by neurological criteria, who are unable to breathe spontaneously  and are being maintained in hospitals with the aid of mechanical ventilation. ¶ It is interesting that an article in The New York Times initially described the  subject in the experiment as being “kept alive on a ventilator” –a common description of a person declared brain-dead. In a version published two days later, “kept alive” was changed to “sustained.”  Presumably, this wording change was meant to be consistent with the...

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Recent Media · Podcasts & Lectures

François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN Introduction 4.1 Science and Objects: Pluralism, real multiple, the One is the mark of the multiple, transcendental science vs empirical sciences, real comparison vs metaphorical comparison, the ...
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Bernard Haitink : Chicago Symphony Orchestra obituary notice. Also The Telegraph. anton brucknerBernard HaitinkClassical musicmahlerWagner ...
meta pro trad Man Without Qualities -


François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN – Synthesis 2: SCIENCE AND DEMARCATION: Synthesis to Introduction Section 3 – From Philosophy to Theory: The Science of Ordinary Man After a reflection on his own methodology in relati ...
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François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN Introduction 3.5 Human: From Philosophy to Theory 5: « human » is not a predicate, human = theory, noesis vs cognition, aliens, extraterrestrial intelligence, empirical claim or defi ...
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Graham Harman’s THE THIRD TABLE: A Revelatory Episode: Graham Harman’s THE THIRD TABLE is now officially available free online: http://bettinafuncke.com/100Notes/085_Harman.pdf Do not miss this quintessence of OOO, an essay that show ...
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More on attempted murder and attempted theft: In an old post, I observe the curious phenomenon that a typical attempted murder is not an attempt to murder and a typical attempted theft is not not attempt to steal. For one only attempts to do ...
meta Alexander Pruss -


Anaphora: [Revised entry by Jeffrey C. King and Karen S. Lewis on October 27, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Anaphora is sometimes characterized as the phenomenon whereby the interpretation of an occurrence of one ex ...
meta Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Are free actions a counterexample to the PSR?: I’ve argued somewhat as follows in the past. Necessarily, no one is responsible for a brute fact—an unexplained contingent fact. Necessarily, someone is responsible for every free decision or fr ...
meta Alexander Pruss -


MILLS CONTINUES TO DELIGHT: I continue to find every page of Charles Mills’s book brilliant. By the way, S. Wallerstein is quite wrong about the book. Mills says relatively little about America in it – his focus is mostly on European th ...
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Ethical Dilemmas in the Pharmacy (Teaching on TikTok): This video is of an ethical dilemma posed by a Pharmacy student and illustrates the conflicts between respecting autonomy (by keeping medical information confidential) and nonmaleficence ...
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Individuals Declared Brain-Dead Remain Biologically Alive: A remarkable experiment was reported last week in which a kidney from a genetically modified pig was attached to blood vessels in a brain-dead individual, with the family’s consent. I ...
meta trad Hastings Bioethics -



Which Came First, Creative Practices or Imagination?
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Woodward on Invariance across Background Conditions
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Invariance and Causation by Absence: I am very pleased to contribute to this symposium on Causation with a Human Face (CHF). My commentary concerns chapter 6 of CHF, which uses the notion of invariance to shed light on various puzzle cases ab ...
meta sci Brains Blog -


Do Delusions Have and Give Meaning?: Today’s post is by Rosa Ritunnano (University of Birmingham and Melbourne), consultant psychiatrist and PhD candidate at the Institute for Mental Health, Birmingham, UK. Here she talks about a recent ...
meta trad Imperfect Cognitions -


Invariance and Distinctions Within Causation

A previous post  mentioned  the notion of distinctions within causation (or among causal claims). The general idea is that a relationship can satisfy a minimal “interventionist”  condition for causation (in the sense that X can be related to Y in such a way that some interventions on X are associated with a change in Y) but nonetheless differ along a number of other dimensions– these are what give us distinctions within causation. One such dimension has to do with invariance (aka robustness, stability, insensitivity etc ).  Suppose that X causes Y in the minimal interventionist sense just described. Invariance comes in many different varieties  but the common element  is that the invariance of such an X–>Y causal relationship has to do with the extent to which that relationship would continue to hold as various other things change.  Different sorts of such “other things&#... Read More ›

Brains Blog · Featured Blog

Empirical Results concerning Causal Reasoning and Their Philosophical Significance
As explained in the previous post, one very rich area of inquiry concerns the extent to which normative theories of causal reasoning, from both philosophy and elsewhere, successfully characterize how, as an empirical matter,  ...Read More ›

Introduction to Causation With A Human Face
How should philosophers (and others) approach the topic of causation and causal reasoning? Causation with a Human Face (CHF) proposes an approach that brings together results from a number of different disciplines, both descriptive ( e...Read More ›

Now Featured
We are grateful to be able to share out latest symposium this week on James Woodward‘s new book, Causation With A Human Face. We also have fantastic commentators: Josh Knobe, Patricia Cheng, Christopher Hitchcock, Thomas Bla...Read More ›

Dustin Stokes: Reply to Commentators
Dustin Stokes Again I want to thank Becko, Jonna, and John. I truly respect their research and it’s flattering that they each took the time to read the book and offer such insightful commentary. It has given me a lot to think about....Read More ›

John Zeimbekis: Malleability or cognitive effects on recognition?
John Zeimbekis It’s a relief to see a new book about how perception interacts with thought. Decades of work on modularity and other distinguishing traits of perception (perception as nonconceptual, analog, iconic, unstructured) leav...Read More ›

Jonna Vance: Vicious Perceptual Expertise
Jonna Vance (she/her) Northern Arizona University jonnavance.com [Note: All citations are to Stokes (2021) Thinking and Perceiving (Routledge), unless otherwise noted.] In the final few chapters of Thinking and...Read More ›

François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN Introduction 3.4 Description: From Philosophy to Theory 4: humans as theory and experience, description as experience, how to be transcendentally unreflective, subject vis-à-vis ob-jects, the re ...
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François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN Introduction 3.3 Theory: From Philosophy to Theory 3: From Philosophy to Theory 3: philosophy is essentially practice, humans are theory, « care » as practice vs « care » ...
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François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN Introduction 3.2 Anhypothetical Science: From Philosophy to Theory 2: against the cogito, real or absolute science of humans vs philosophy as hypothetical « science », breaking the c ...
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The Anthem Companion to Raymond Aron : Coming soon — the lineup includes a coauthored chapter by yours truly on The Opium of the Intellectuals. classical liberalismJean-Paul SartreMarxismopium of the intellectualsraymond aronSociology ...
meta pro sci trad Man Without Qualities -


Freedom in Contention : The very excellent Mikayla Novak. classical liberalismmikayla novakpolitical economySociology ...
meta sci value Man Without Qualities -


DUNA NOVA: notes sur DUNE Villeneuvisée: Les compte rendus positifs de DUNE Revue sont souvent très intéressants mais un peu trop euphorique. J’ai adoré le film et je n’ai pas vu le temps passer, mais j’étais mal à l’a ...
meta pro sci trad Agent Swarm -


François Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN Introduction 3.1 Naiveté: From Philosophy to Theory 1: naiveté vs reflexivity, non-empirical experience, science does not construct but merges with its object, calculation (of predicates) vs thi ...
meta sci trad Agent Swarm -



Remote-Working Positions in Academic Philosophy
meta pro Daily Nous -



Ad Hoc
sci value Daily Nous -


Risability: Aristotle says that a necessary accident of the human being is risability—the capability for laughter. As far as I can tell, necessary accidents are supposed to derive from the essence of a thing. So, how do we derive risability f...
meta trad Alexander Pruss -


Anarchism: [Revised entry by Andrew Fiala on October 26, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Anarchism is a political theory that is skeptical of the justification of authority and power. Anarchism is usually grounded in moral claims...
meta trad Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


THINGS TO COME: I have now reread about 1/3 of The Racial Contract by Charles Mills, the last major work to be assigned in my course next semester, and my long standing impression is confirmed that it is the most important work of political t...
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Philosophy of Well-Being: A “Dysfunctional” Situation?
meta trad Daily Nous -


Can one lie without asserting a proposition?: I am starting to think that one can lie without asserting a proposition. Let’s say that a counterintelligence agent tells an enemy spy that a new weapons technology has just been deployed, in orde...
meta sci Alexander Pruss -


Invariance and Distinctions Within Causation: A previous post mentioned the notion of distinctions within causation (or among causal claims). The general idea is that a relationship can satisfy a minimal “interventionist” condi ...
meta sci Brains Blog -


Empirical Results concerning Causal Reasoning and Their Philosophical Significance: As explained in the previous post, one very rich area of inquiry concerns the extent to which normative theories of causal reasoning, from both philosophy and ...
meta sci Brains Blog -



New Book in Draft: The Weirdness of the World
meta Splintered Mind -


Summary of “Longtermism” and “Existential Risk”: Phil Torres recently published “The Dangerous Ideas of “Longtermism” and “Existential Risk” in Current Affairs. The essay’s thesis is that so-called rationalists have created a dist ...
meta Reason and Meaning -



What’s Wrong with Rights?
pro The Forum -


Five Choices (5): The Experts vs the People: Part five of Five Choices, a Philosophical Reflection on Scientific Knowledge Who can we trust to make the important decisions? We have a choice. One approach is to stand by the ideals of democrac ...
meta Only a Game -



New Article: James McCune Smith and Glasgow: A Scholar’s Transatlantic Journey, 1821-1837
pro trad Ordinary Philosophy -


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