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What's new in philosophy?

 
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Fist and Faith
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:20 am    Post subject: What's new in philosophy? Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:

There are no new thoughts.


Where would you get such a demonstrably false idea? Oh yeah, perhaps here:

Fist and Faith wrote:
Most of what I know about what any philosophers said I learned from Northern Exposure.


Laughing

It's a cliché to say that all of philosophy is merely footnotes to Plato and Aristotle. Like most clichés, there's a grain of truth to that, but philosophy is exploding beyond most people's ability to keep up, just like most areas of human thought. We have more philosophers alive today than ever before (just like scientists, engineers, etc.). Trust me, they are not merely recycling what dead people said.
Care to demonstrate? (I just noticed what an odd word that is. Demon strate?) Seriously. Has there been a truly new idea in the last, say, fifty years? I'd really love to know of such a thing. Sure, I'm skeptical. But I don't know anywhere near enough about philosophy to be able to argue about anything you might say. Not like I'll be saying, "Hey, isn't that just rehashing Mill's idea that yadda yadda?" Literally, the only thing I know about Mill is that, of his own free will, he got particularly ill on half a pint of shandy. I'll have no choice but to accept your word on this new thought, and hope to be able to discuss it to the smallest degree.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF, I'm not keeping up with the latest research. I'm not a professional philosopher by any means! But I can say this: claiming that "there are no new thoughts," especially in the context of a professional field with 1000s of working PhDs, is going to be false no matter which field you're talking about. It's like saying there are no new inventions, or no new mathematical theorems/proofs.

There are lots of examples in 20th century philosophy that no one in previous centuries could have imagined. Just think about the impact computers and AI have had on philosophy of the mind--even if you don't know the details, you can surely imagine how philosophers of the past who didn't have access to this concept couldn't possibly have invented the concepts we have today. Cognitive science wasn't invented yet. Neural science has only exploded in the last two decades, since the invention of the MRI. These all inform philosophy with new findings and thus new theories are invented to describe it. Debates about functionalism vs identity theory vs behaviorism--while decades old by now--were entirely new 20th century debates that wouldn't have been possible without the "new" model of mind-as-computer. Previous centuries had different models, like clocks. Thinking of the mind as software and the brain as hardware just wouldn't have occurred to anyone prior to the invention of the computer. And it has led to a flurry of debate and counterarguments, spawning "-isms" to capture all the nuances.

I can't get the link to work for some reason, but you can copy/paste:

[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionalism_(philosophy_of_mind)[/url]
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the tech ideas were what occurred to me. I just read some scifi with Hashi's favorite idea of copying minds, which live in simulated reality of computers. And multiple copies, each living in its own simulated reality. I figure it's possible that this leads to thinking of our minds, or our true nature, in ways we never imagined.

Yeah, that link is annoying. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree completely with Z (a very rare thing indeed! Laughing), Philosophy has continued to develop and grow at a huge rate over the last 100 years. And it has done so in lots of different areas. It may be that Metaphysics has become less relevant, but if that's the case it has been to the benefit of many other areas.

Michel Foucault talks of the 'unfold' in understanding human existence/experience. In the modern era three writers have stood out as seminal in relation to such unfolding: Sigmund Freud, Max Weber and Karl Marx. Each in their own way, in psychology, sociology and economics, has demonstrated that what we thought it meant to be a human being was only a surface which covered over depths hidden in Foucault's 'unfold'. The unfolding of these depths (think of the Unconscious in psychology) has led to a revolution in our understanding of ourselves, and philosophy has been integrally involved in that.

That is not to even begin to talk about the explosion in the Philosophy of Language, which again is a totally modern phenomenon and still continues apace. People like Ferdinand de Saussure, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jacques Derrida have utterly changed how philosophers think about language, and so how we conceive of ourselves as human beings.

Post-structuralism, the area where Michel Foucault did most of his work, (along with post-Freudians like Jaques Lacan) draws on all of these advances to give us a picture of what it means to be a human being in a post-modern world. It isn't necessarily a very comforting picture. It provides very little in the way of certainty, and, in many ways, that is its strength. The contemporary world we live in is not one of certainties and absolute truths. It is one where uncertainty (and the anxiety that that brings) is a defining part of the post-modern human condition. Becoming more comfortable with uncertainty rather than looking for comfort in non-existent absolute truths is, for me, the main thing that can be taken from this sort of post-modern philosophy.

u.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Exhibition on philosopher Maimonides in Jerusalem

Quote:

Shrine of the Book at Israel Museum in Jerusalem


Original writings by greatest Jewish Medieval author


TEL AVIV -- The great 12th-century philosopher, scientist and Jewish religious figure Maimonides is featured in a major retrospective exhibition opening on December 11 and running through April at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The show includes items on loan from the Vatican Apostolic Library, the British Library of London, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and other important cultural institutions.

Titled "Mainmonides: A Legacy in Script", the show will display a collection of works by the author considered one of the most prolific and influential intellectuals of his time and in Jewish history.

Born in Spain, the life and work of Maimonides focused mainly on the Middle East, as well as Italy and France, but reached the furthest corners of the Medieval world.

His approach was that of merging secular studies and Torah -- the spiritual centre of Judaism -- to make Jewish law accessible to all. His encouragement on moderation in all aspects of life, his guidelines on nutrition and on preventative medicine, are still "studied and interpreted in various academies and popular circles", the show's organisers said.

[...]

Among the works on display are the original version, with corrections, of the Mishneh Torah, his code of Jewish religious law with his signature and his handwriting.

Those scheduled to participate at the show's inauguration on the evening of December 10 include: Archbishop Jose Tolentino de Mendona, archivist and librarian of the Catholic Church; Spanish Ambassador to Israel Mauel Gomez-Acebo; and Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yosef.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

German humanities scholars enlisted to end coronavirus lockdown [In-Depth]

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Aristotle. (Credit: iStock)


In contrast to other countries, philosophers, historians, theologians and jurists have played a major role advising the state as it seeks to loosen restrictions.


In the struggle against the new coronavirus, humanities academics have entered the fray -- in Germany at least.

Arguably to a greater extent than has happened in the UK, France or the US, the country has enlisted the advice of philosophers, historians of science, theologians and jurists as it navigates the delicate ethical balancing act of reopening society while safeguarding the health of the public.

When the German federal government announced a slight loosening of restrictions on 15 April -- allowing small shops to open and some children to return to school in May -- it had been eagerly awaiting a report written by a 26-strong expert group containing only a minority of natural scientists and barely a handful of virologists and medical specialists.

Instead, this working group from the Leopoldina -- Germany's independent National Academy of Sciences dating back to 1652 -- included historians of industrialisation and early Christianity, a specialist on the philosophy of law and several pedagogical experts.

This paucity of virologists earned the group a swipe from Markus Söder, minister-president of badly hit Bavaria, who has led calls in Germany for a tough lockdown (although earlier in the pandemic the Leopoldina did release a report written by more medically focused specialists).

But "the crisis is a complex one, it's a systemic crisis" and so it needs to be dissected from every angle, argued Jürgen Renn, director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and one of those who wrote the crucial recommendations.

[...]

Germany's Ethics Council -- which traces its roots back to the stem cell debates of the early 2000s and is composed of theologians, jurists, philosophers and other ethical thinkers -- also contributed to a report at the end of March, warning that it was up to elected politicians, not scientists, to make the "painful decisions" weighing up the lockdown's effect on health and its other side-effects.

"We have a direct line to the ministers and decision-makers in parliament," said Joachim Vetter, the council's director. "You can ask the virologists in the beginning; but as you go on you need jurists, people from the economy, social scientists," he argued, as the impact of lockdown ripples through society.

Other European countries also have bioethics councils -- some of which have issued their own recommendations on the coronavirus -- but Dr Vetter argued that Germany had a particularly strong tradition of ethical debate. After the release of its report, the chair of the council appeared on a prime-time evening news programme. "You're really in the main news," Dr Vetter said.

[...]

While France has a tradition of public intellectuals, Professor Höffe said, in Germany, academic philosophers have a stronger history of involvement in political discussion.

Germany's involvement of the humanities in its coronavirus response appears to be the exception rather than the rule. In France, an 11-strong coronavirus scientific council assembled by the country's president, Emmanuel Macron, at the end of March is composed almost entirely of disease experts, epidemiologists, disease modellers and medics -- it features only a single sociologist and one anthropologist.

[...]

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Want a good job? Major in philosophy. [In-Depth]

Quote:

Surveying the world from beneath the columns of the Academy of Athens, in Greece. (iStock/sarra22)


Reading about the closures of several philosophy departments has me worried that our centuries-old experiment of liberal arts education is ending. The United States has been trying to transform liberal arts education into pre-professional training for well over a decade, at least since the 2008 recession; and that desire has accelerated, with students and their parents demanding the expansion of programs and majors they believe will lead straight to well-paying, secure jobs.

Consider the jokes about what philosophy majors will do post-graduation. A typical example is a T-shirt that reads, "I have a degree in Philosophy: Why do you want fries with that?" This reveals a pervasive misconception about what philosophy is and what philosophical training prepares its graduates to do.

Philosophy, like any other bachelor's degree in the liberal arts, prepares graduates for a wide array of jobs, the kind that can lead to more skilled mid-level positions later on. Yet philosophical training seems to be understood as an example of what the philosopher Lisa Heldke calls "stupid knowing," which classifies someone as more stupid for having gained it. She points to cultural tropes of farmers as unsophisticated laborers whose farming knowledge somehow disqualifies them from higher-order thinking. Philosophy graduates are held to have these higher-order cognitive skills, but at the same time, the possession of those skills is cited as evidence of stupidity: How stupid do you have to be to pursue a "worthless" major that guarantees poverty?

However, the data suggests that we need more philosophy classes if our students' employment futures are a prime concern. We know, for example, that philosophy students do extraordinarily well on the GRE, LSAT and GMAT tests, showing that they are well prepared not just for further academic study but also for training in law and business. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2017 found that the net return on investment for a philosophy degree is equivalent to that of an engineering degree. Not only is philosophy education less expensive than other forms of education that lead to well-paying, respectable jobs, but philosophy graduates end up earning more over their lifetimes than graduates in any other humanities field and more than graduates of some STEM fields.

The more philosophy graduates demonstrate the falsity of the "useless major" trope, the more deeply entrenched it seems to become. Some have taken the claim "philosophy doesn't prepare its graduates for any single job" to mean that philosophy leaves its graduates without any job skills. The truth is in between: Philosophy prepares its graduates for many different jobs.

[...]

The promises of college and university mission statements -- like cultivating in students a thirst for lifelong learning and providing transformative education -- depend heavily on the skills promoted by a liberal arts education. This includes such "soft" skills as:

  • discerning what is worthy of respect in social, moral and political opinions different from the ones you hold;
  • understanding why multiple positions or potential solutions to a problem may all be strong (or weak), even when they are very different;
  • reflecting on the extent to which our thinking may be biased and developing methods for reasoning well even as we know we can never be fully free from bias.


[...]

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+


Damon Linker @DamonLinker | Twitter



--> --> French philosopher Michel Foucault ‘abused boys in Tunisia’ [In-Depth]
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That should be fun to watch.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

IMO, the following set of outline/notes from Fr. Bergolio's (now, Pp. Francis) 1987-88 critical interrogation of Marxian/Socialistic concepts is important — not only for its timely subject-matter — but also because Bergolio's thought is commonly characterized as "non-theological". Though I'd agree that he's not liable to be labeled "an academic" (inasmuch as he evidently prefers the fleshy reality of praxis and the personal touch of pastoral-guidance to the etherial flight of theoretics), to conclude therefrom that he's a theological and philosophical halfwit would be an overhasty simplification.

Interpreting Reality [In-Depth]

Quote:



=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

This previously unpublished text is a set of notes intended for further study. It can be dated between the end of 1987 and the middle of 1988, when Fr. Bergoglio was working on his thesis on Romano Guardini and was examining the use of Marxist analysis in the interpretation of reality, which he saw as an example of how obsolete categories are eventually superseded by reality.[1]

Bergoglio opens with a quote from an article by Alberto Methol Ferré on how the Church saw the issue of relations with the working class, which had come to the fore of its concerns with the coming of the industrial age and the French Revolution. At the beginning of the 19th century, with Philippe Buchez,
[2] a Catholic form of socialism appeared that was swiftly suffocated by a pincer movement of intra-ecclesiastical integrism and atheistic Marxism. Methol Ferré proposed a return to the ethical and Christian origins of socialism, moving beyond both dogmatically atheistic Marxism and, with the help of the Second Vatican Council, the Church’s negative critique of the contemporary world, a critique that had been unable to recognize progress.

Bergoglio concentrates on the “failure of categories to interpret reality” noted by Methol Ferré, sketching out in these notes a “hermeneutics of reality” in which criteria and categories are not mere “patches” or temporary fixes. This concept, together with that of “the overflow” (“rebasamiento”), has become important following the Synod for the Amazon.
[3]

Bergoglio’s text is of particular interest both for his method and the content. Perhaps some will be surprised by the complex style of argumentation, which is certainly not typical of Pope Francis. In terms of method, it allows us to catch a glimpse of Bergoglio’s personal style of thought, which is inspired by various authors but also reveals his own original thinking. As far as the content is concerned, we can see in his reasoning the application of his well-known “four principles.”
[4] The idea that the best method is the one most congruent (“consonant”) with reality is inspired by Guardini, while the deployment of antinomy as a means of poetically expressing a reality that surpasses our intuition and our concepts, and so calls for creative explanation, is very much part of Bergoglio’s own thinking. Methol Ferré’s theory is valid when it comes to interpreting the voice of the people and embracing modernity in a way that is both traditional and new.

Many things can be found in these notes, but what stands out is the vigor of a thinking that is original and mature, moving ahead with freedom of spirit and creativity, in search of criteria to interpret reality that allow us to think and discern without falling into either rigidity or relativism.

Diego Fares, SJ


=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

“With the exhaustion of interpretative categories that are no longer of any use for understanding the events of today, a perplexity has arisen. What is happening now surpasses existing ideas. They are therefore ideas that blind us, that do not let us see. For me, as far as we are concerned, the ‘Marxist Christians’ had jumped on a horse they supposed to be a winner, but which turned out to be drugged. As Claver[5] has pointed out: For fear of being the last Christians, Marxist Christians are actually the last Marxists.”[6]

[…]

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

This will undoubtedly have limited interest on KW, but as I just learned yesterday to my shock and delight, CUA Press has announced the publication of "The English Critical Edition of the Works of Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II" which is projected to be, ultimately, a 20 volume set.

But, to focus on what's truly sparked my delight, I must say it is the first volume to be released which really has me geeking out:


Thomas Pfau @ThomasPfau3 | Twitter






Yes, the first release is Person and Act. And even though I've no immediate interest in reading the entire Collected Works, I must admit that my freak-flag flyeth solely with the appearance of this single, inaugural volume. I've been awaiting this day in hope and patience for quite a few years now. Happy Happy, Joy Joy.

Though the significance of releasing this volume is prolly not obvious, retracing the sad trail of its publication history in English should make things clearer. To put it simply, the original English translation of Person and Act (dubbed "The Acting Person") has — at least, according to those in-the-know — long labored in a swamp of both translation wonkiness and legal hurdles. As I understand things, Vatican interests have long been pressuring the English copyright-holders to allow the publication of a new, scholarly translation sensitive to the subtleties of Wojtyla's thought, but these overtures have been continuously stymied. But in a turnaround, it seems that their scholarly plaint has risen to the heavens with said hurdles finally being cleared.

For those few souls itching for more of the backstory, this except from one of George Wiegel's books on JP2 should add further context:

Quote:
Person and Act is not a debate with other philosophers and is very light on such scholarly apparatus as footnotes, cross-references, and digressions on the work of others. But that did not make it an easy read. On the contrary, Person and Act is an extraordinarily dense work. Wojtyla asked his protégé, Father Styczeń, to review his first draft. The two took a hiking trip into the Tatras to discuss it, and when Wojtyla asked Styczeń what he thought, the younger man puckishly replied, "It’s a good first draft. Perhaps it could be translated first from Polish into Polish, to make it easier to understand for the reader — including me." A generation of Kraków clergy joked that the first assignment in Purgatory for priests who misbehaved would be to read Person and Act. This density was the result of many factors. Wojtyla’s distinctively circular style of thinking made for difficulties, as did the fact that he was writing such a complex work in his spare time. It is also not clear whether Karol Wojtyla has ever found the scientific language to express himself adequately. A close student of his poetry and plays, Anna Karoń-Ostrowska, suggests that the answer is, "No," for there is always something about the truth of things that escapes our ability to express it analytically.

Person and Act is very much a part of the unfinished symphony of Karol Wojtyla’s philosophy. Thirty years after its initial appearance, a definitive Polish edition had not been published, although the second and third Polish editions (edited by several of Wojtyla’s students and other philosophical colleagues) were major improvements over the first edition; the third edition included several articles by Wojtyla, developing themes in the original work. German (1981), Italian (1982), Spanish (1982), and French (1983) editions, of varying degrees of reliability, have been published. But the most serious problems were with the English translation and edition of the work.

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a former student of Roman Ingarden living in Boston and active in world phenomenological circles, had published several articles of Wojtyla’s in Analecta Husserliana, the yearbook of phenomenology edited, thus helping to bring his work to the attention of philosophers around the world. Much impressed by the first Polish edition of Osoba i czyn, she proposed publishing a revised and elaborated text of the work in English. Cardinal Wojtyla agreed and worked through numerous revisions and elaborations with Dr. Tymieniecka. The result, according to virtually everyone involved, was a much-improved text. This revised Polish text was then translated into English by Andrzej Potocki and sent to Dr. Tymieniecka in the United States for publication. Several knowledgeable persons close to the process claim that, at this point, Dr. Tymieniecka significantly changed the Potocki translation, confusing its technical language and bending the text toward her own philosophical concerns, to the point where the reader is, on occasion, not really in contact with Wojtyla’s own thought. These problems only surfaced after Wojtyla had been elected Pope. At that juncture, he had no time to check through hundreds of pages of text, and appointed a commission composed of Father Styczeń, his old friend Father Marian Jaworski, and Dr. Andrzej Poltawski (a Kraków-based philosopher and the husband of Dr. Wanda Poltawska) to review and correct the revised English translation text that had been prepared by Dr. Tymieniecka. But she refused to take corrections from anyone other than Wojtyla and, moreover, was eager to publish the book quickly to capitalize on the author’s election as Pope. Dr. Tymieniecka also claimed that she had Wojtyla’s agreement to publish her retranslation as the "definitive text of the work established in collaboration with the author by Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka," although why a truly "definitive text" would (like the edition Dr. Tymieniecka proposed to publish) have two chapter sevens, one of which is labeled "unrevised," was not made clear. In any case, Dr. Tymieniecka went ahead with the publication of the text she had prepared, to the intense aggravation of many of Wojtyla’s philosophical colleagues and students. Years of private argument ensued between the Holy See’s publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, which holds the rights to all of Wojtyla’s pre-papal work, and Reidel, the Dutch house that had published the English edition. The corrected edition was prepared but has never appeared. Dr. Tymieniecka continues to insist that hers is the "definitive" edition of Osoba i czyn, a claim that no serious student of Wojtyla’s work accepts. The author himself, whose relative indifference to the fate of his published work is as striking as his unfailing charity, insists, whenever the subject is raised, that Dr. Tymieniecka "must be given credit for initiating the translation."

The very English title, The Acting Person, suggests something of the problem with Dr. Tymieniecka’s work. Osoba i czyn is translated, literally, Person and Act: a title that retains the tension between subjective consciousness and objective reality in which Wojtyla is trying to work. "The Acting Person" places most of the stress on the subjective, or phenomenological, side of Wojtyla’s analysis — which is the criticism most frequently leveled against Dr. Tymieniecka’s reworking of the text. Every other language edition of Osoba i czyn retains the tension in the Polish original: thus the German Person und Tat, the Italian Persona e atto, the Spanish Persona y acción, and the French Personne et acte.

    — Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel, pp. 174-75


Judging by its canonical status within Wojtyla's ouvre, this seminal work of "Trinitarian Personalism expounded in a Husserlian key" should fit the bill as a spring/summer barnburner for philosophiles and theologophiles. Scheduled to be released in early May.

-->> Amazon link: "Person and Act" and Related Essays
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