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

Featured Article · Daily Nous

Philosophers Among NEH Grant Winners

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced the winners of its latest round of grants. $39.3 million were awarded to 245 humanities projects, and some philosophers were among the winners. ¶ They are: ¶ Stephen Angle, Wesleyan University “Reviving Philosophy as a Way of Life Project” $137,045 [Institutes for College and University Teachers] A two-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty examining six ancient and modern philosophical approaches to living a good life. ¶ Ruth Chang, Rutgers University “Making Hard Choices: The Power of Commitment in a World of Reasons” $50,400 [Public Scholar Program] Research leading to publication of a monograph on the philosophical nature of hard choices. ¶ Christian Coseru, College of Charleston “Self-Knowledge in Eastern and Western Philosophies Project” $164,585 [Institutes for College and University Teachers] A two-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty exploring the different ways in which self-knowledge is understood in Indian philosophical traditions and modern Western philosophy. ¶ David Miller, Iowa...

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Recent Media · Podcasts & Lectures

Katherine Boo’s 15 rules for narrative nonfiction: Katia Savchuk at the Nieman Foundation: When I first came across Katherine Boo’s work in journalism school, I was immediately taken with her ability to expose injustice while weaving gorgeou ...
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Maryam Mirzakhani, A Candle Illuminating The Dark: Paul Halpern in Forbes: Abstract mathematics sometimes has surprisingly practical applications, to not only physics but other arenas as well. Take, for example, the work of extraordinarily i ...
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Traditionalists and Activists are Both Wrong About Sex and Gender: Gregory Gorelik in Quillette: Wading into the turbulent rapids of the politics of sex, gender, and gender identity requires a life vest. Inevitably, one is bound to upset one ...
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Daniel Dennett interviewed by Richard Dawkins in 2008
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Why Millennials are the worst and Gen-X will save the world: A recent article suggests the obvious, that when it comes to dating, Millennial online culture is catching up with that generation born between 1980-ish and 2000-ish.  Many Millenni ...
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Francisco Gallegos Wins the 2017 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought: The American Philosophical Association is pleased to announce that Francisco Gallegos (Georgetown University) has been awarded the 2017 Essay Prize in Latin American Thou ...
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Discriminatory Texas Law Prompts Philosophers To Move Conference
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Philosophers Among NEH Grant Winners
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Atheism and Agnosticism: [Revised entry by Paul Draper on August 2, 2017. Changes to: 0] The purpose of this entry is to explore how atheism and agnosticism are related to theism and, more importantly, to each other. This requires examining ...
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Should Journals Be Asking Graduate Students To Referee?
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Disconnected bodies and lives: We can imagine what it is like for a living to have a spatially disconnected body. First, if we are made of point particles, we all are spatially disconnected. Second, when a gecko is attacked, it can shed a tai ...
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Welcome to the Blogosphere, Nomy Arpaly: One of my favorite living philosophers, Nomy Arpaly, has a new blog, The View from the Owl’s Roost! It’s off to a great start, with a fun, insightful post about our excessive confidence in ...
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A Nerd at the Beach
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Scientific Imagination: Fiora Salis is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics. She is developing a project on "Scientific Models, Fiction and Imagination". ...
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Leibniz and Whitehead: the Azores presentation: This is my presentation on Leibniz and Whitehead last week in Ponta Delgada. ...
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Why Was Sci-Fi So Slow to Discover Time Travel? (Guest Post by Henry Shevlin)

guest post byHenry Shevlin Time travel is a more or less ubiquitous feature of modern sci-fi. Almost every long running SF show – Star Trek, Futurama, The X-Files – will have a time travel episode sooner or later, and some, like Doctor Who, use time travel as the main narrative device. The same applies to novels and, of course, to Hollywood – blockbuster SF franchises like the Terminator and Back to the Future employ it, as do quirkier pictures like Midnight in Paris. And of course, there’s no shortage of time travel novels, including old favorites like A Christmas Carol, and perhaps most influentially, HG Wells’s wonderful social sci-fi novella The Time Machine.I don’t find it particularly surprising that we’re so interested in time travel. We all engage in so called ‘mental time travel’ (or Chronaesthesia) all the time, reviewing past experiences and imagining possible futures, and the psychological capacities required in our doing so are the subject of intense scientific and ph... Read More ›

Splintered Mind · Featured Blog

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Nomy Arpaly
One of my favorite living philosophers, Nomy Arpaly, has a new blog, The View from the Owl's Roost! It's off to a great start, with a fun, insightful post about our excessive confidence in our limited imaginations.Read More ›

How Everyone Might Reasonably Believe They Are Much Better Than Average
In a classic study, Ola Svenson (1981) found that about 80% of U.S. and Swedish college students rated themselves as being both safer and more skilled as drivers than other students in the room answering the same questionnaire. (See als...Read More ›

New Journal! The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy
This looks very cool:Call for Papers General Theme The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy, a peer-reviewed, open access publication, is dedicated to the analysis of philosophical themes present in science fiction stories in all fo...Read More ›

Why I Evince No Worry about Super-Spartans
I'm a dispositionalist about belief. To believe that there is beer in the fridge is nothing more or less than to have a particular suite of dispositions. It is to be disposed, ceteris paribus (all else being equal, or normal, or absent...Read More ›

THE TURING MACHINES OF BABEL
[first published in Apex Magazine, July 2017] In most respects, the universe (which some call the Library) is everywhere the same, and we at the summit are like the rest of you below.  Like you, we dwell in a string of hexagonal lib...Read More ›

What's the Likelihood That Your Mind Is Constituted by a Rabbit Reading and Writing on Long Strips of Turing Tape?
Your first guess is probably not very likely. But consider this argument: (1) A computationalist-functionalist philosophy of mind is correct. That is, mentality is just a matter of transitioning between computationally definable states ...Read More ›

JONATHAN LETHEM’S LATEST QUARTET: Christopher Wood at The Quarterly Conversation: With A Gambler’s Anatomy, Jonathan Lethem has written yet another quite ambitious novel that challenges American fiction’s low tolerance for thinking-as-art. T ...
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Walker Percy Wednesday 147 : Carl Sagan is right in ridiculing the absurd pseudosciences now so popular. He is admirable in his defense of science as a reliable and self-correcting method of attaining truth. Yet the fact is that nowadays ther ...
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Not drowning but suffocating : Edward Lucas in More Intelligent Life: Some cities you go to for the galleries, some for the restaurants, some for the nightlife. You visit Venice to stroll through the alleys, bridges and squares that make up ...
meta pro trad 3 Quarks Daily -


The artist as astronaut: Aleksandra Mir in Nature: In 2014, Aleksandra Mir began a journey into the unknown. The London-based artist started talking with scientists and engineers about space — a realm in which she was a complete novice. The ...
meta sci trad value 3 Quarks Daily -


Wednesday Poem: ID Card Write it down! I’m an Arab My card number is 50000 My children number eight And after this summer, a ninth on his way. Does this make you rage? I am an Arab. With my quarry comrades I labor hard My children number ei ...
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A journalist uses statistics to uncover authors' 'cinnamon words': Julia Franz at PRI: “Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing,” is a statistical analysis of famous book ...
meta pro 3 Quarks Daily -


We assume that microbes evolved to attack humans when actually we are just civilian casualties in a much older war: Ed Yong in Aeon: The classic novel by H G Wells, The War of the Worlds (1898) – a tale of England besieged by Martian conquer ...
meta sci trad 3 Quarks Daily -



Mini-Heap
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Enowning: The Quietus interviews musician Ipek Gorgun. I found it interesting you studied philosophy and wondered what relationships you found between music, particularly electroacoustic music, and things like ontology and existentialism?IG: In terms...
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Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Women’s History and the Politics of Shame in Ireland: By Clara Fischer This year, women’s history month opened in Ireland with revelations of a mass-grave containing infant remains at a former institution...
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Bypassing The Journals
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MATHEMATICS IN ECONOMICS: I have for several days wanted to return to writing about Paris in response to the thunderous demand [well, actually one comment and two emails, but I have very acute hearing]. However, before I do, let me say just ...
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Enowning: In the NYRB, Christopher Benfey considers Trakl. In a long essay translated as “Language in the Poem: A Discussion on Georg Trakl’s Poetic Work” (1953), Heidegger rejected biographical interpretation, claiming instead to be in search of wha...
meta trad Enowning -


Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation: 2017.08.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michele Paolini Paoletti and Francesco Orilia (eds.), Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward ...
meta pro Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -


DREAM AND PHILOSOPHY (1): a democracy of dreamers: As a philosopher, but everyone is or can be a philosopher, my way is the way of dreams and of their dialogue. Arguments and analyses are important, but they take their place in the light of t ...
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What To Do With Aggression?
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Some thoughts on affirmative action: Yesterday, we learned that the Trump administration plans to investigate “reverse discrimination” against white college applicants. As always, the very term tacitly admits that white racism aga ...
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Weight Loss, Philosophy & Science: Embed from Getty Images When I was young and running 90-100 miles a week, I could eat all the things without gaining weight. Time is doubly cruel in that it slowed my metabolism and reduced my ability to end ...
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Continuous Immediacy (Upadesa Sahasri): 75. The teacher said to him, Your doubt is not justifiable. For you, the Self, are proved to be free from change and therefore perpetually the same on the ground that all the modifications of the mind ...
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An Adventure in Linking Necessity to Apriority: There is an important link between necessity and apriority which can shed light on our knowledge of the former, but initially plausible attempts to spell out what it is fall victim to counterexa ...
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Charlie Gard: A Lesson in Conservative Cluelessness About the Culture Wars: In recent weeks, the right-wing commentariat has made quite the fuss about a European court that ordered the removal of life support for Charlie Gard, the infant son ...
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