THE BLOG@PHILOSOPHERS' CORNER

Is Philosophy Just Harder Than Science?

Whereas science has accumulated an enormous wealth of knowledge about the world, philosophy hasn't produced conclusive answers to questions posed thousands of years ago. What's the reason for this difference? Could it be that philosophy is just harder than science?

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How is the Internet Changing Friendships?

How is the internet changing the nature of friendships? Does social media strengthen friendships or make them more shallow? And can liking a friend's status or commenting on their Instagram meaningfully bolster your interactions with them in person?

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Transhumanism

One part philosophy, two parts futurist—this is the essence of Transhumanism.    A far-out movement that began in the 1990s and has steadily grown thanks to social media, Transhumanism is centered on the ethos that “the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase.”   

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Cognitive Bias

Aristotle defined humans as the rational animal. But he was wrong! The human mind is riddled with cognitive biases. At last count, there are something like 150 named cognitive biases – confirmation bias, in group bias, loss aversion, the Ikea effect, the halo effect, endowment effects.

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D'oh! Philosophy in The Simpsons

The Simpsons may not seem like a legitimate source for philosophical discourse and ideas. But the University of Glasgow just launched a successful one-day course entitled "D'oh! The Simpsons Introduce Philosophy" as an introduction to the world's most eminent philosophical thinkers.

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To Game or Not to Game

Video game use among young, lower skilled men has increased markedly in the past few decades. In general, the underemployment of this demographic has struck many as deeply worrying, foreshadowing changes in the future of work and creating a need for a universal basic income.

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Philosophy Majors: Unexpectedly Employable

Contrary to popular belief, a philosophy degree may be useful in the job market. An education in philosophy teaches students critical thinking, precise analysis, and cogent writing, skills that essential for any professional career.

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Should Sex-Identity Be on Birth Certificates?

Why do we think it's so important to assign a sex and gender to a baby at birth? Does it serve an important public policy or public health purpose, or does this practice more reflect our irrational need to classify people along these axes as quickly as possible?

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[AUDIO] Is Taste Really Subjective?

It is said that taste is subjective. But are aesthetic judgments completely groundless? When we say something is in bad taste, does that statement have anything behind it at all, besides expressing our personal disapproval?

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Reality TV: Ethics or Entertainment?

What ethical obligations do the makers of reality TV have to prevent harm to their willing participants? Or do reality TV participants give up certain rights when they agree to allow their lives to be commodified?

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Your Question: Habermas and Factions

Does Habermas believe that factions are good because of the authenticity of their rationally discursive sources but bad because real discourse is limited by interfactional communication prohibition? -John in Berkeley

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Habermas, Rationality, and Democracy

This week we examine the philosophy of the great 20th century German philosopher, social theorist, cultural critic and public intellectual, Jürgen Habermas. We focus on his stirring and hopeful vision of democracy.

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#FrancisOnFilm: Is Wonder Woman a Feminist Movie?

Wonder Woman is a wonderfully engrossing movie, but is it a feminist one? The answer depends on what you think it means to be a feminist and what you make of the beauty of Gal Gadot.

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The Unnatural is the Political

The belief that some things are natural while others are unnatural is part of the common currency of human thought, but we rarely pause to consider exactly what it means to say that something is unnatural. It’s important to do so because this concept is politically very potent.

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[AUDIO] Time Biases

We all have preferences around when good or bad experiences happen, but some of those preferences cause us to make poor or irrational choices. These are knows as time biases. But are time biases always harmful or can they sometimes be helpful? Would being temporally neutral lead to a better life?

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Pawns of ISIS

Who exactly are the pawns of ISIS? There's the stereotypical image of a Muslim young man, whose mind has been infected by ISIS propaganda. But there are also the Islamophobes, who take themselves to be fighting against any form of Islam, but who are unwittingly executing ISIS strategy.

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Habermas and the Fate of Democracy

Habermas has thought about the rise of a sort of authoritarian populism and the value of an inclusive and equal public sphere. On top of his intellectual pursuits, he has made a concerted effort to not to restrict his thoughts on democracy to the philosophy seminar room.

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Racial Profiling and Implicit Bias

We might agree that the practice of racial profiling—police or security targeting individuals for investigation because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin—is wrong. But the question is, exactly why is it wrong?

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[AUDIO] How Important is Privacy?

We have a tendency to desire at least some degree of privacy, allowing us to live part of our lives outside of the public eye. Is privacy foundational to our lives? How much does privacy deserve to be protected when greater safety often comes with its sacrifice?

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Why Do We Work 40 Hours a Week?

How did the standard 40 hours a week work schedule become so ubiquitous? Should we keep this standard or abandon it? Would we be more productive if we worked less? Does more time to reflect increase or decrease productivity?

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#FrancisOnFilm: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. is a fun movie with psychedelic colors, battles in space, and great ’70s music played on a Walkman. But it also touches on the famous brain in a vat thought experiment, which raises the skeptical problem: how do you know all your experiences aren’t illusory?

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Psychopathy and Evil

How ought we to understand psychopathy, especially child psychopathy? If some unlucky children are wired to lack empathy or remorse, can we justifiably call them evil? To what extent can an action be labeled evil in the absence of choice?

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Conceptual Penises and Failed Hoaxes

Recently, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University named Peter Boghossian and a PhD in math named James Lindsay attempted to reinvent the Sokal Hoax in an effort to discredit an entire field of academic study. Turns out the joke's on them...

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Should Philosophers Get Political?

Do politically engaged philosophers tend to become part of self-righteous, moralizing, and vindictive internet mobs? Is there a way for philosophers to engage politically without losing the clarity, rigor, and reasonableness that is distinctive of philosophy?

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Truth and Progress in Philosophy

Students of philosophy might sometimes get frustrated because they don’t get definitive answers to the sorts of questions that philosophers ask. But are these frustrations based on a misconception of the relationship between truth and progress in philosophy?

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