Metaphysics

Independence Day for Conflicted Americans

Janelle Monáe and friends performing "Americans"Here's something I shared on social media: Spending part of July 3 bringing lunches to poor people in the projects and homeless people in tent cities in the wealthiest country on Earth in the middle of a grossly mismanaged response to a pandemic makes me really excited about Independence Day this year. (Just in case you missed it, yes, that is sarcasm.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m really, really glad to help, and I'm thankful for my friend who got me involved in the team. If people are suffering, one should help them. But it’s hard to get excited about a country that has the wealth to totally eliminate poverty, but has continued to choose not to do so year after year while the problems are in some cases actually getting worse. MLK made this point in the 1960’s. Others made it before him. There is no excuse. I guess I’ve always been conflicted about my country. Even before the pandemic, we had a lot of problems: gross economic inequality, racial and gender disparities, a political system that seems designed for gridlock, a large part of the country that actively fights against anything that might solve our problems, etc. But the pandemic brought this all into the light. As I was saying toward the beginning of the pandemic, many Americans finally saw that many of the pillars of our society were entirely imaginary—our culture of work, our economic system, our systemic racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia… all of this is erected on imaginary rules.... -

Read More @ Examined Worlds

Mini-Heap

New links for people interested in philosophy… ¶ What is meat? — Andy Lamey (UCSD) takes up the question, and why it matters, in the NYT A podcast/discussion series on consciousness — “Consciousness Live!”, created by Richard Brown (CUNY/LaGuardia), currently has over 40 episodes featuring philosophers, scientists, artists, and others The neoliberal case for a universal basic income — from Matt Zwolinski (San Diego) Sometimes, irrational beliefs deliver “significant epistemic benefits that could not be easily attained otherwise” — Lisa Bortolotti (Birmingham) and other philosophers on “epistemic innocence” Decolonizing political theory — a reading list compiled by David Owen (Southampton) “I think of myself as a very passionate and committed naturalist.” Also, regarding consciousness, “it’s the only thing.” — an interview with Galen Strawson (Texas) “Extreme economic inequality, whether it... -

Read More @ Daily Nous
The Pavel Haas Quartet at Litomyšl

The Pavel Haas Quartet last night played their first concert to a live audience for three or more months at the Smetana Festival at Litomyšl (the composer’s birthplace)  — appropriately enough performing the first Smetana quartet. ¶ This was a characteristically terrific performance — and it was good to see... -

Read More @ Logic Matters
The Anti-natalism Comparison: Contradiction, Equivocation, & Incommensurability

Some philosophers argue that bringing a human into existence is always wrong because it’s better (for the non-existent) to not exist. Let's break down the most famous argument for that conclusion to find three reasons that it might not work. ¶ Via Nick Byrd - Fellow and Assistant Professor... -

Read More @ Nick Byrd

Recent Sites Posting Metaphysics


All Posts in Metaphysics

Independence Day for Conflicted Americans Janelle Monáe and friends performing "Americans"Here's something I shared on social media: Spending part of July 3 bringing lunches to poor people in the projects and homeless people in tent cities in the wealthiest country on Earth in the middle of a grossly mismanaged response to a pandemic makes me really excited about Independence Day this year. (Just in case you missed it, yes, that is sarcasm.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m really, really glad to help,... Examined Worlds -


The Pavel Haas Quartet at Litomyšl The Pavel Haas Quartet last night played their first concert to a live audience for three or more months at the Smetana Festival at Litomyšl (the composer’s birthplace)  — appropriately enough performing the first Smetana quartet. This was a characteristically terrific performance — and it was good to see that the violist last night was their founder member, Pavel Nikl. You can find a video here, with PHQ beginning just after 1hr 19 mins in. (You will,... Logic Matters -


Lakatos Award 2020: Nicholas Shea’s (Open Access) Representation In Cognitive Science We are pleased to share the news that friend of the Brains community, Nicholas Shea, has been awarded the 2020 Lakatos Award for their open access book Representation In Cognitive Science (Oxford University Press, 2018). You can download a free PDF copy of the book at http://bit.ly/RepnCognSci Shea will receive the Award and deliver their public prize lecture at the LSE in due course. In the meantime, find a blurb of Representation in Cognitive Science... Brains Blog -


A REPLY TO PAUL Paul writes: “Bob, I’ve seen you post this thought at least once, and maybe even twice before. I’ve got to ask you: what do you think are the practical implications of this analysis? Because I can’t see any, beyond not being misled into thinking everything would be great if it weren’t for America. I could easily see hawks and doves, neocons and internationalist socialists all accepting this analysis.”This comment raises two questions, the second of... The Philosopher’s Stone -


The Anti-natalism Comparison: Contradiction, Equivocation, & Incommensurability Some philosophers argue that bringing a human into existence is always wrong because it’s better (for the non-existent) to not exist. Let's break down the most famous argument for that conclusion to find three reasons that it might not work. Via Nick Byrd - Fellow and Assistant Professor (to be) tudying cognitive science of philosophy (and philosophy of cognitive science). Nick Byrd -


Unconscious Intentions Do Not Undermine Free Will Suppose neuroscientists could predict your intentional actions before you can. Would that mean that you lack free will? I used to think that it would. Now I'm not so sure. Via Nick Byrd - Fellow and Assistant Professor (to be) tudying cognitive science of philosophy (and philosophy of cognitive science). Nick Byrd -


My Experience with Christian Apologetics I took a few courses in biblical studies and Christian apologetics as an undergraduate. The courses definitely influenced my thinking, but not in the way that I expected. They actually undermined my faith. They also introduced me to my current research. Via Nick Byrd - Fellow and Assistant Professor (to be) tudying cognitive science of philosophy (and philosophy of cognitive science). Nick Byrd -


Should We Continue to Honor Hume With Buildings and Statues? A campaign is underway to pressure the University of Edinburgh to rename Hume Tower. The building, named for philosopher David Hume, was built in the early 1960s. Hume was born in Edinburgh, studied at the university, and worked there as a librarian. [Hume Tower. Photograph by Simon Phipps.]The call to remove Hume’s name from the building is part of a broader movement to reconsider the various public honors bestowed on those with racist views. A petition to rename... Daily Nous -


Mini-Heap New links for people interested in philosophy… What is meat? — Andy Lamey (UCSD) takes up the question, and why it matters, in the NYT A podcast/discussion series on consciousness — “Consciousness Live!”, created by Richard Brown (CUNY/LaGuardia), currently has over 40 episodes featuring philosophers, scientists, artists, and others The neoliberal case for a universal basic income — from Matt Zwolinski (San Diego) Sometimes, irrational beliefs deliver “significant epistemic benefits that could not be easily attained otherwise” — Lisa... Daily Nous -


An Argument to Move College Students to Follow COVID-19 Guidelines Though the COVID-19 pandemic is strengthening in parts of the United States, many universities here are planning to reopen their doors in the fall to educate, house, feed, and entertain students. There are some who believe that re-opening cannot be done safely this fall, and one of the key failings, it’s predicted, will be student compliance with measures to slow the spread of the pandemic, such as keeping a safe distance from one another and... Daily Nous -


Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (9) I was then so meek that now, when I’m tortured by remorse for not having loved him enough before he died, I always summon up that scene. To be sincere, I have to add that it was easy for me to submit to his arrangements because at that time I found the idea of being… Man Without Qualities -


Game Mechanics vs Player Practices Earlier this week, I waded in on an interesting discussion that broke out on Twitter about the use of the terms 'game mechanics' and 'game systems', definitely worth a read if you're into discussions around game terminology or have an interest in the history of game design. Here's an extract: And that's where and why it all goes wrong for everyone trying to 'fix' game mechanic as a term. Because both 'game mechanic' and 'game... Only a Game -


New Translation of F. Laruelle’s “Progam” (A science for philosophy) F. Laruelle. “Programme.” La Décision philosophique 1 (1987): 5-43. Program translated by Taylor Adkins 7/2/20   A science for philosophy   Let’s suppose that we will formulate a project and that it will be necessary to exposit a program, this would be the manifesto: don’t do like philosophers, invent philosophy! Radically change its practice! Multiply its potentialities! Treat it experimentally as a whatever material! Is this possible? We are posing the problem otherwise: this is... Fractal Ontology -


deep adaptation as post-nihilist praxis? There is a long line of thinking and writing that frames ideological negation as emancipatory, or as an advancement of cognitive ability towards a more fluid interpretation of experience that, in turn, affords a wider range and flexibility of adaptive behavior. Dogma is for fools while pragmatic communication is the more useful game, we have been told. In the early 2000’s some friends and I played with the notion of a move towards post-nihilist thought,... Synthetic Zero -


Does supererogation always deserve praise? Suppose that Bob spent a month making a birthday cake for Alice that was only slightly better than what was available in the store, and Bob did not enjoy the process at all. One can fill out the case in such a way that what Bob did was permissible. Moreover, it is was more burdensome to him than buying the slightly less good cake would have been, and it was better for Alice, so it... Alexander Pruss -


Generalizing supererogation My preferred way of understanding supererogation is that an action is supererogatory provided that it is permissible and more burdensome than some permissible alternative (see here for a defense). This suggests an interesting generalization. Let J denote an individual or a group (perhaps described relative to the agent). Then an action is J-supererogatory provided that it is is permissible and more burdensome for J than some permissible alternative. Then supererogatory actions are, in the new... Alexander Pruss -


Supererogation and determinism If at most one action is possible for one, that action is not supererogatory. If determinism is true, then there is never more than one action possible for one. So, if any action is supererogatory, determinism is false. There is controversy over (2), but I don’t want to get into that in this post. What about (1)? Well, the standard story about supererogation is something like this: A supererogatory action is one that is better... Alexander Pruss -


SOME THOUGHTS PROMPTED BY TOM HICKEY'S COMMENT Tom Hickey’s lengthy and useful comments on this blog reminded me of the work of Hans Morgenthau, a famous political scientist whom I met at the University of Chicago when I was a young assistant professor there almost 60 years ago. Drawing on Morgenthau’s work, and taking into account Tom Hickey’s comments, let me say a few words about the international world order or lack of order as I see it.For all of recorded history,... The Philosopher’s Stone -


Monument as Chapel To state the obvious the original idea behind the erection of a monument was to commemorate someone who was held in high esteem by the committee that raised the funds to do it. That sense of commemoration may no longer apply or may be in contention. Taking away the monument does not make the history behind it not to have happened. For a populace that is largely ignorant of history the monument may be a... Ombhurbhuva -


What if We Could Have Meat Without Murder? We can, if we can agree that it doesn’t need to come from the body of an animal. The Stone -