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

He Jiankui’s Genetic Misadventure, Part 3: What Are the Major Ethical Issues?

In their single-minded venture of “producing” (shengchan, in their own word) the world’s first gene-edited babies, He Jiankui and his associates have posed numerous and daunting ethical challenges to China and the world. They can be mapped or identified through these four categories: typical problems related to research ethics; broader political, socio-cultural, and transcultural issues; fundamental ethical questions on the use of gene editing in human reproduction itself; and even more fundamental matters on the moral goals of science and technology. ¶ Different levels of ethical issues should be explored in an interconnected and interdisciplinary approach, but it is important to note that ethical soundness on one dimension does not mean moral justification on any other level or dimension. ¶ Some prominent U.S. scientists, including George Church at Harvard, have offered a defence of He’s human experimentation on two grounds. First, genetically editing humans can be ethically justifiable. Second, the international community and Chinese society are bullying He for...

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Recent Media · Podcasts & Lectures


Capitalism, climate change, and the death of worlds
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Hope and Vision in the Face of Collapse: The 4th R of Deep Adaptation
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Jimbo @ 75 : This article from five years ago. Just the other night after a long gap, I watched The Song Remains the Same again with a chum who hadn’t seen it before. Even on a first viewing, the in-your-face pomposity of it all, still ...
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Hayek’s Post-Positivist Empiricism: Experience Beyond Sensation : Jan Willem Lindemans’ chapter. Empiricismevolutionary epistemologyFriedrich HayekHayek in MindJan Willem LindemansKantphilosophical psychologypositivismsensory experience ...
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The Horizon of the Absolute
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It’s Complicated
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Mini-Heap
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Logical Pluralism: [Revised entry by Gillian Russell on January 10, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. Logics are theories of validity: they tell us, for diffe ...
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Mentoring Workshop for Early-Career Women in Philosophy
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Artifacts, Aristotelianism and naturalism: One of the main reasons I don’t believe in (complex) artifacts is that the existence of an artifact would have to depend on our intentions. Whether some stones make up a sculpture depends on whether ...
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The Self-Emptying Subject Book Event: A Few Words for the Wretched (Immanence and Impersonal Life): It is good to read a philosopher praising joy. Not the joy of subservience, gratitude and self-sacrifice; nor the pleasures of being the entre ...
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Wombats and nineteenth-century opinion
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He Jiankui’s Genetic Misadventure, Part 3: What Are the Major Ethical Issues?: In their single-minded venture of “producing” (shengchan, in their own word) the world’s first gene-edited babies, He Jiankui and his associates have posed numerou ...
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Sexual Harassment: focus on institutional culture: This article presents it as surprising, but I’m certainly not surprised: “It’s not about rooting out the bad apples; we need to focus on the whole barrel,” said Lilia Cortina, a profes ...
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The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry
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Sarah K. Robins Webinar on Memory & Optogenetic Intervention

The Brains blog is excited for the first webinar of the year over at Neural Mechanisms this Friday. The event is free. Find information about how and when to join the webinar here: https://www.neuralmechanisms.org/blog/january-03rd-2019 (and below). Memory and Optogenetic Intervention: Separating the Engram from the Ecphory Sarah Robins (University of Kansas) 11 January 2019h 15-17 – Greenwhich Mean Time Click to see what your local time is at this time. Abstract. Optogenetics makes possible the control of neural activity with light. In this paper, I explore how the development of this experimental tool has brought about methodological and theoretical advances in the neurobiological study of memory. I begin with Semon’s (1921) distinction between the engram and the ecphory, explaining how these concepts present a methodological challenge to investigating memory. Optogenetics provides a way to intervene into the engram without the ecphory tha... Read More ›

Feminist Philosophers · Featured Blog

Sexual Harassment: focus on institutional culture
This article presents it as surprising, but I’m certainly not surprised: “It’s not about rooting out the bad apples; we need to focus on the whole barrel,” said Lilia Cortina, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the U...Read More ›

Elizabeth Anderson in the New Yorker
A wonderful long read— fantastic to see this sort of mainstream attention devoted to a feminist (among other things) philosopher. Read More ›

Big Racial Academic Pay Gap in UK
Read about it here. Read More ›

X-Phi Research Group at Florida State University
The Experimental Philosophy Research Group at Florida State University, which is co-directed by David Rose, Mike Bishop, Jack Justus, Al Mele, and yours truly, has a new website, including links to a number of resources that could be us...Read More ›

Empirically-Informed Approaches to Weakness of Will: A Brains Blog Roundtable
Weakness of will is a traditional puzzle in the philosophy of action. The puzzle goes something like this:  FOLK PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY: If, at time t, an agent judges that it is better to do A than B, and she believes she is free...Read More ›

Upcoming Events at the Brains Blog
I am very pleased to announce a number of events that will take place on the Brains blog in early 2019: January 7-11: Roundtable discussion on weakness of will, organized by Julia Haas, with contributions from Nora Heinzelmann...Read More ›

Quicksand : This is the one song aside from Station to Station that has left Bowie commenters the most flummoxed. The most expansive discussion I’ve come across on Quicksand is on Arad Alper’s The Philosophy of Pop blog. While Chr ...
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Call for Papers: Decentralised Governance: Hayek Amongst the Machines : Check out this Call for Papers Artificial intelligenceAustrian Economicsblockchaincosmos & taxiscryptocurrencydistributed knowledgedistributed ledger technologyFriedr ...
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Philo of Alexandria and the Construction of Jewishness in Early Christian Writings : I’ve just received my review copy of this which will appear as a joint review along with Philo of Alexandria: An Intellectual Biography. This past year ...
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The Moviegoer: Reissue : Reissue of Percy’s first novel with an afterword by Paul Elie. (Are there two afterwords? — both Elie and Richard Ford are listed). existentialismnew orleansPaul Eliephilosophical literatureRichard Fordthe ...
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C. S. Peirce and F. A. Hayek on the Abstract Nature of Sensation and Cognition : Jim Wible’s chapter. Charles Sanders PeirceCognitive neuroscienceFriedrich HayekHayek in MindJames wiblephilosophical psychology ...
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Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3 : As usual AllMusic gets it. The deeply funky grooves are down to Chaz Jankel, quite possibly the UK’s greatest funkmeister. The Sly influence is palpable and as a consequence this is solid party music to ...
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NOLA music picks : Here are my favourites from this year’s releases. In effect, a masterclass by each. OffBeat reviews here and here. Cajuncountryfunkin businessLouisianamusicnew orleansShamarr AllensoulYvette Landry ...
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Peter Frederick Strawson: [Revised entry by Paul Snowdon and Anil Gomes on January 9, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Peter Frederick Strawson (1919 - 2006) was an Oxford-based philosopher whose career spanned the second half of ...
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Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value: [Revised entry by Michael J. Zimmerman and Ben Bradley on January 9, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics. Philosophers use a ...
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Philosophy Talk Podcast: Philosophy Outside Academia: By Ken Taylor and Cliff Sosis Cliff Sosis sat down to interview Ken Taylor of Philosophy Talk for his series, What Is It Like to ... Read more......
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Presentism and haecceities: Suppose that times are maximal consistent present-tense propositions. Then if we are to make sense of eternal recurrence—reality being exactly alike at two different times—it seems we need haecceities for events or...
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Semantic externalism and time: Here is a curious thing. Suppose that I’ve been lying in bed trying to fall asleep for a while. I’ve lost track of time. At t1, I know: “I haven’t fallen asleep yet.” At a later time t2, I know: “I haven’t falle...
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2018 Journal of the History of Philosophy Best Article Prize Awarded
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Excerpt from Excursion 4 Tour II: 4.4 “Do P-Values Exaggerate the Evidence?”
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Two new issues of Analecta Hermeneutica out now : Two new issues have been published: AH10 (2018), The Anthropocene, edited by Jay Foster and Jeni Barton, and AH7 (back dated to 2015), Review Issue, edited by Michelle Rebidoux. Both are open ...
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MIMI SHELLER’S ‘CARIBBEAN FUTURES IN THE OFFSHORE ANTHROPOCENE’, A FORUM – Society & Space: While laid up in bed with the flu today, this was a pleasant (if the topic is not) roundtable with three brilliant responses at Society and Space from ...
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The All-New PEA Soup Prizes!!
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Fear, Denial, and Loathing in the Philosophy of Mind.: THINKING FOR A LIVING: A PHILOSOPHER’S NOTEBOOK 17 PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS #16: The political aesthetics of outer space. #15: The paradox of distributive social justice, and what is to be d ...
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Setiya on Murdoch: Just as anyone who might like Kacey Musgraves has almost certainly already heard her most recent album, so anyone with an interest in Iris Murdoch has probably already read Kieran Setiya’s review of Gary Browning on W ...
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The research university
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