Monday, February 21, 2011

Philosophers' Carnival #121

funny pictures - When you have a idea SO BIG...'re a philosopher. So welcome to Philosophers' Carnival #121. Not so much a one-to-one as a party (a rather Platonic party). The bouncer's been busy (arguably too busy, or not busy enough). And there's some of the hard stuff later on; so, enter...

......the Hallway (epistemology)

Keith DeRose imagines 'Nico at the Zoo with Zebras' (at Certain Doubts), an example of how knowledge attributions can sometimes be true even when they’re about insensitive beliefs.

John Wilkins compares Elliott Sober's 'Modus Darwin and the *real* modus darvinii' of 'affinity, explained by common ancestry' (at Evolving Thoughts), showing that the former should've been the latter.

Maryann Spikes thinks of 'Atheism and agnosticism (really, apisticism) as belief' (at Ichthus77), and also thinks that you can only be apistic if you don't claim to be.

......the Games-room (logic and language)

Ben Nelson wonders about 'Trust as a truth-maker' (at Talking Philosophy). Of course, "X trusts me" is made true by X trusting me, but Nelson takes a broader (even deeper) look at this kind of thing.

I ask 'Is 'pretty' pretty?' (It is, and it isn't:)

Matt asks 'How slippery is the slope?' (at The Consternation of Philosophy), and concludes that 'the slippery slope fallacy is a slippery beast, and is perhaps best not thought of as a fallacy at all.'

......the Dining-room (metaphysics)

Edward Feser asks 'Why are (some) physicists so bad at philosophy?' (at Edward Feser), and...

Eric Steinhart wonders 'Why Materialism is Unscientific' (at Camels with Hammers), both in response to astrophysicist Ethan Siegel asking 'Can You Get Something For Nothing?' (both answer No).

Jeremy Stangroom wonders, 'A First Unmoved Mover?' (at Talking Philosophy). He shows Copleston and Russell describing the Atomists differently; not because either was bad at the history of philosophy, but because good answers to the question Why should there be something rather than nothing? do include Because the metaphysically necessary being is perfectly good as well as the (now) obvious No reason.

......the Living-room (mind)

Kenny Pearce knows that 'Sometimes it's Rational to act Arbitrarily' (at Kenny Pearce). 'In ordinary cases it is irrational to take a certain course of action when you know there is a better one available to you,' but what if you are asked to choose any natural number of dollars? (Sobel thinks that choosing anything would still be irrational; why would he think that?)

Constantine Sandis entertains 'Enchanting Causes' (at Flickers of Freedom), and so 'tests our intuitions about what sort of desire makes an action intentional.'

Joel considers 'Killing a Vegan: Degrees of Subjectivity' (at Florida Student Philosophy Blog), arguing that chickens (as opposed to Vegans) may not feel phenomenological pain, because they don’t have the 'I' concept, or the neurological ability to do much more than react physically.

......the Kitchen (moral philosophy)

Robin Hanson asks 'What Virtue Privacy?' (at Overcoming Bias), and by discussing Thomas Nagel's 'Concealment and Exposture' argues 'that humans had huge heads to subtly evade social norms while pretending to enforce them.'

Tim Dean considers 'Morality, Health and Sam Harris' (at Ockham's Beard), arguing that Harris's moral realism makes naturalism harder to defend, and suggesting that we could just say that 'Being animals, we pursue health. And being social, we pursue morality.'

James Gray defends moral realism against Hume, by considering 'Intrinsic Values & Beliefs About Reality' (at Ethical Realism).

Antti Kauppinen explains 'How the Experience Machine Works' (at Experimental Philosophy), before objecting to Felipe de Brigard’s recent ex-phi objection to Robert Nozick’s result.

Richard looks at 'Natural Agents and Status-Quo Bias' (at Philosophy, et cetera), questioning Carolina Sartorio, who argued (via Trolleys) 'that we need stronger reasons to justify interfering in a process (e.g. deflecting a trolley) than to justify abstaining from such involvement.'

Clayton Littlejohn has 'Ethical Intuitions (II): Cosmic Coincidence' (at Think Tonk), the second in a series of posts on moral epistemology (some empirical arguments having been considered in 'Ethical Intuitions (Part I)'): A version of intuitionism on which moral properties supervene upon natural properties is defended against Matthew Bedke.

Jussi Suikkanen conjoins 'Deliberative Contractualism and the Conditional Fallacy' (at PEA Soup), arguing that the former (by Nicholas Southwood) commits the latter.

Thom Brooks announces 'Thom Brooks on "Punishment: Political, Not Moral"' (at The Brooks Blog). British Hegelians make Alan Brudner's retributivism more attractive, apparently.

Chris Bateman considers 'A Categorical Imperative for the Other' (at Only a Game), suggesting that 3 formulations of Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative are more easily seen to be equivalent if they (or something like them) are derived from Emmanuel Levinas' concept of the Other.

Anders Sandberg wonders how much 'Intolerance we ought to encourage?' (at Practical Ethics). 'At the very least we can make it a social rule that just as we frown at racist, sexist or homophobic statements we frown at pseudoscience or deceptive evidence.'

......the Backyard (other)

Paul Newall examines different views of 'Astrology and its problems: Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend' (at The Kindly Ones), and suggests that 'the philosophical problem for astrology is not that it can always explain failures (Popper) or that it does not attempt to solve problems (Kuhn) but instead that it has stagnated (Feyerabend).'

Kieran Healy looks at 'Gender divides in Philosophy and other disciplines' (at Crooked Timber). More than 70% of US PhDs in psychology were awarded to women, and it's 60% in sociology. Still, it's only 40% in political science, and 30% in philosophy.

Brian Leiter also looks at 'Women in Philosophy in the US' (at Leiter Reports), and finds that the proportion teaching philosophy is only about 20%. That's pretty good, given our context (it's more than 5 times the proportion of female bloggers here).

Gary Williams has some 'Thoughts on Cordelia Fine's new book Delusions of Gender' (at Minds and Brains); e.g. 'Maybe 1000 years in the future there will be an equal amount of male and female physicists, philosophers, and computer scientists,' because our brains are (equally) plastic.

James Warren reveals 'Rejection letters of the ancient philosophers' (at Kenodoxia). Bitchin' there 'More on philosophy and society'? No, because the party's over (hopefully before the fighting starts). Almost all-male, and the kitchen the most popular place; what a party. But if this carnival bored (or annoyed) you, or if your entry bounced (for no good reason), the solution is to host a carnival, which you should also do if you liked this one, of course: No hosts = no carnivals.
......And whenever you find yourself reading an interesting post, of a philosophical nature, you should submit it, because no posts = no carnivals. Carnival #122 will be at Ichthus77


Maryann Spikes said...

Thanks for featuring my article Martin :) It's interesting you point out that on the one hand I consider apisticism to be a belief while on the other hand I think that one can only be apistic (completely lacking belief) if one doesn't claim to be. Hopefully those interested will catch that it is the 'claimed' apisticism I refer to as belief...and Huxley's idea of agnosticism (a process of questioning, as opposed to a conclusion) that most closely synchs w/ the sort of apisticism that is a true lack of belief. Pardon the confusion. Lovely pahty.

Martin Cooke said...

Thanks; I take such confusion (in at least my grasp of what you say) to be symptomatic of philosophy (and parties:)