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Of Flies and Philosophers: Wittgenstein and Philosophy

The idea that philosophy is purely descriptive, and should “leave the world as it is” falls short. It can play a more radical role.

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“To show the fly the way out of the fly bottle ”— that, Wittgenstein once said, was the aim of his philosophy. While it is perhaps unclear whether anyone — philosopher or fly — should be flattered by this comparison, his overall point is clear enough, as Paul Horwich notes in his recent piece, “Was Wittgenstein Right?” When we get curious about philosophical problems we are drawn into puzzles by the promise of sweet enlightenment, only to find ourselves caught in frustration (and banging our heads against the same wall over and over again). What we need, Wittgenstein thinks, is liberation — liberation from the prison of pseudo-problems we have brought upon ourselves; liberation from traditional philosophy.

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Philosophy everywhere everywhen
The First Law of Philosophy: For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher. The Second Law of Philosophy: They're bo
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A Letter from Hunter S. Thompson that Changed My Life

A Letter from Hunter S. Thompson that Changed My Life | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?
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Inside Out shows well-being isn't just about chasing happiness

Inside Out shows well-being isn't just about chasing happiness | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Pixar’s new animated feature, Inside Out, is based on a rather straightforward premise: emotions situated in 11-year-old Riley’s brain control her behaviours, help organise her memories and, overall, seek to maintain her well-being.

Which emotions are these? Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. A few minutes into the film it becomes clear that Joy has the power. The other emotions defer to her, and increasingly so, particularly as Riley’s life is disrupted by a cross-country move. The sole goal appears to be: keep Riley happy!

At at the outset of the film, it’s unclear why the negative emotions are even there (aside from comic relief and story arc). Why not just have Joy up there, controlling the reins?

Given that lead emotion researcher Dacher Keltner advised the film team, it’s perhaps not surprising that a diversity of emotions was represented.
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Relativism > The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

We are thus introduced to a new principle of relativity, which holds that all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated. …The relativity of all conceptual systems, ours included, and their dependence upon language stand revealed (1956, p. 214f, italics added).

We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds--and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds (p. 213).

…no individual is free to describe nature with absolute impartiality but is constrained to certain modes of interpretation even while he thinks himself most free (p. 214).
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Basic Argument for an Intellectual Revolution

Here is an outline of the argument for the urgent need to bring about a revolution in the aims and methods of academic inquiry, its whole character and structure, so that it takes up its proper task of promoting wisdom rather than just acquiring knowledge.

Academia as it exists today is the product of two past great intellectual revolutions.

The first is the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, associated with Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Boyle, Newton and many others, which in effect created modern science. A method was discovered for the progressive acquisition of knowledge, the famous empirical method of science.

The second revolution is that of the Enlightenment, especially the French Enlightenment, in the 18th century. Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet and the other philosophes had the profoundly important idea that it might be possible to learn from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards an enlightened world.

They did not just have the idea: they did everything they could to put the idea into practice in their lives. They fought dictatorial power, superstition, and injustice with weapons no more lethal than those of argument and wit. They gave their support to the virtues of tolerance, openness to doubt, readiness to learn from criticism and from experience. Courageously and energetically they laboured to promote reason and enlightenment in personal and social life.
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Philosophy of the Large Hadron Collider | Michael Krämer | Life & Physics

Philosophy of the Large Hadron Collider | Michael Krämer | Life & Physics | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Geneva is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator and possibly the most complex scientific instrument ever built. The LHC has just begun its second three-year run, at the record-breaking collision energy of 13 TeV. About 10,000 scientists from 60 countries will search for new phenomena beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, in pursuit of a simple, beautiful and all-encompassing theory of nature.The sheer complexity of the LHC experiments, and of LHC data acquisition and processing, poses tremendous challenges and affects the way knowledge is acquired. Since any analysis and interpretation of LHC data involves theoretical models and computer simulations, can one still consider such experimental results indisputable facts of nature? And given the strong theoretical bias in data selection, can the LHC explore unknown territory, or are we limited to search for the “known unknowns”? And what if we look in the wrong places? Maybe our idea of a simple and yet all-encompassing is flawed, and new physics could show up in some unexpected way? Could one not perform searches for new physics at the LHC in a model-independent way?
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The philosopher who studies the experience of coffee

The philosopher who studies the experience of coffee | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Is coffee much deeper than it appears? David Robson meets a philosopher who certainly thinks so – he's attempting to use the drink to probe the human mind.

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It’s like I’m drinking the dying embers of a log-fire – smoky and tinged with the tang of creosote. As I concentrate harder, I notice its smooth, viscous texture that seems to mask a sharper undertone – like a blade cloaked in velvet.

’ve never paid so much attention to a cup of coffee in my life. I’m not sure I’ve grasped its secrets just yet. But if I do, I’m told it might just offer me a glimpse of some of the big questions in life.

My guide on this journey is David Berman at Trinity College Dublin – a philosopher who has spent many hours studying the intricacies of the mind’s inner working and the senses. Now he’s turned his attention to his favourite drink, and the profound answers that might be lurking at the bottom of our coffee cup. The result will be a new book, The Philosophy of Coffee-tasting.

Armed with a strong Americano – and an open mind – I ask him to lead me through some of his thoughts. The conversation that follows will explore the values of introspection and why coffee and tea drinkers are fundamentally different people.

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Physicists Are Philosophers, Too

Physicists Are Philosophers, Too | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Can instruments and experiments (or pure reason and theoretical models) ever reveal the ultimate nature of reality? Does the modern triumph of physics make philosophy obsolete? What philosophy, if any, could modern theoretical physicists be said to possess? Stenger and his co-authors introduce and address all these profound questions in this thoughtful essay and seek to mend the growing schism between these two great schools of thought. When physicists make claims about the universe, Stenger writes, they are also engaging in a grand philosophical tradition that dates back thousands of years. Inescapably, physicists are philosophers, too. This article, Stenger’s last, appears in full below.
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Why ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore

Why ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Something in the human mind, or heart, seems to need a word of praise for all that humanity hasn’t contaminated, and for us that word now is “natural.” Such an ideal can be put to all sorts of rhetorical uses. Among the antivaccination crowd, for example, it’s not uncommon to read about the superiority of something called “natural immunity,” brought about by exposure to the pathogen in question rather than to the deactivated (and therefore harmless) version of it made by humans in laboratories. “When you inject a vaccine into the body,” reads a post on an antivaxxer website, Campaign for Truth in Medicine, “you’re actually performing an unnatural act.” This, of course, is the very same term once used to decry homosexuality and, more recently, same-sex marriage, which the Family Research Council has taken to comparing unfavorably to what it calls “natural marriage.”
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Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as "Standing Reserve"

I argue that Heidegger’s account of technology as “enframing” is a helpful lens through which to understand the possible effects and dangers of transhumanism. Without resorting to nebulous concepts such as “dignity,” Heidegger’s analysis can help us understand how new technologies employed to modify the body, brain, and consciousness will enframe our own bodies and identities as something akin to “standing reserve.” Under transhumanism, the body is enframed as an external, technologically modifiable product. I indicate some of the problems that might arise when our own bodies no longer appear as central to our identity as embodied beings. Further, I argue that, by treating aspects of our own consciousness as technologically modifiable, we will be driven into a commodified and inauthentic relation to our identities. By examining the work of prominent transhumanists – including Brad Allenby, Daniel Sarewitz, and Andy Clark – I show how the threat that technology poses can be hidden when the essence of technology is not uncovered in a primordial way. I argue that by threatening to obscure death as a foundational possibility for Dasein, transhumanism poses the danger of hiding the need to develop a free and authentic relation to technology, Truth, and ultimately to Dasein itself.
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Neil deGrasse Tyson and the value of philosophy

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the value of philosophy | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
by Massimo Pigliucci

It seems like my friend Neil deGrasse Tyson [1] has done it again: he has dismissed philosophy as a useless enterprise, and actually advised bright students to stay away from it. It is not the first time Neil has done this sort of thing, and he is far from being the only scientist to do so. But in his case the offense is particularly egregious, for two reasons: first, because he is a highly visible science communicator; second, because I told him not to, several times.

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Contra popular perception, philosophy makes progress, though it does so in a different sense from progress in science. You can think of philosophy as an exploration of conceptual, as opposed to empirical, space, concerning all sorts of questions ranging from ethics to politics, from epistemology to the nature of science. Imagine a highly dimensional landscape of ways of thinking about a given question (such as: do scientific theories describe the world as it is, or should we think of them rather as simply being empirically adequate? [10]). The philosopher explores that landscape by constructing arguments, entertaining counter-arguments, and either discarding or refining a certain view. The process does not usually lead to one final answer (though it does eliminate a number of bad ones), because conceptual space is much broader than its empirical counterpart, which means that there may be more than one good way of looking at a particular question (but, again, also a number of bad ways). Progress, then, consists in identifying and “climbing” these peaks in c-space. If you’d like, I’ll send you the draft of a book I’m finishing for Chicago Press that expands on this way of looking at philosophy, provides a number of specific examples, and compares and differentiates progress in philosophy from progress in a number of allied disciplines, including science, mathematics and logic.

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A brilliant and necessary read..

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Sam Harris's Vanishing Self

Sam Harris's Vanishing Self | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

 

The well-known New Atheist makes a case for the value of “spirituality,” which he bases on his experiences in meditation.

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Gary Gutting: A common basis for atheism is naturalism — the view that only science can give a reliable account of what’s in the world. But in “Waking Up” you say that consciousness resists scientific description, which seems to imply that it’s a reality beyond the grasp of science. Have you moved away from an atheistic view?


Sam Harris: I don’t actually argue that consciousness is “a reality” beyond the grasp of science. I just think that it is conceptually irreducible — that is, I don’t think we can fully understand it in terms of unconscious information processing. Consciousness is “subjective”— not in the pejorative sense of being unscientific, biased or merely personal, but in the sense that it is intrinsically first-person, experiential and qualitative.

The only thing in this universe that suggests the reality of consciousness is consciousness itself. Many philosophers have made this argument in one way or another — Thomas Nagel, John Searle, David Chalmers. And while I don’t agree with everything they say about consciousness, I agree with them on this point.

The primary approach to understanding consciousness in neuroscience entails correlating changes in its contents with changes in the brain. But no matter how reliable these correlations become, they won’t allow us to drop the first-person side of the equation. The experiential character of consciousness is part of the very reality we are studying. Consequently, I think science needs to be extended to include a disciplined approach to introspection.

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Why Not Just Weigh the Fish?Philosophers have always been the subject of ridicule

Why Not Just Weigh the Fish?Philosophers have always been the subject of ridicule | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
When scientists dismiss philosophy as an antiquated relic of our pre-scientific past, they are making a very large and dubious assumption.

Morale these days has fallen pretty low along the corridors of philosophy departments. From one side, we get the mockery of the scientists. Freeman Dyson calls philosophy today “a toothless relic of past glories.” According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, majoring in philosophy “can really mess you up.” Stephen Hawking declares that “philosophy is dead.” From another side, we have to cope with the apostasy of our own leading figures. John Searle describes the field as being in “terrible shape.” Peter Unger says that philosophers are “under the impression that they’re saying something new and interesting about how it is about the world, when in fact this is all an illusion.” What’s going on? Has philosophy gone horribly amiss? Or are there broader cultural factors at work, perhaps something to do with a general decline in respect for the humanities?

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Women Are Destroying Science Fiction! (That's OK; They Created It)

Women Are Destroying Science Fiction! (That's OK; They Created It) | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
This month, sci-fi and fantasy magazine Lightspeed features all female authors, as part of an ongoing conversation about what science fiction is, and whether women can write it. (Short answer: Yes!)

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This month, science fiction and fantasy magazine Lightspeed interrupted its normal publishing schedule to bring readers a special issue: ""

Edited and written entirely by women, this issue is one part of a long, ongoing conversation about what constitutes "real" science fiction and whether women are inherently any good at writing it. It was conceived in part by Lightspeed assistant editor Christie Yant last year, funded by more than 2,000 backers on , and will be followed up by two other special issues: "Women Destroy Fantasy!" and "Women Destroy Horror!"

In her opening editorial, Yant quotes a famous speech given by author Pat Murphy back in 1991. "A persistent rumbling that I have heard echoing through science fiction ... says, in essence, that women don't write science fiction. Put a little more rudely, this rumbling says: 'Those damn women are ruining science fiction.' They are doing it by writing stuff that isn't 'real' science fiction; they are writing 'soft' science fiction and fantasy."

Murphy gave this speech over 20 years ago, and yet you can still hear that same rumbling today. The perception that the science fiction that women write isn't "real" isn't as pervasive as it was in the 1960s, but it's just as ridiculous. If you need proof to back up that assertion, all you need do is read this issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

It's more than just an extra-large and particularly great issue of an already good magazine. It's a master class on all the ways in which women are writing — and have written — some of the best science fiction available. Many of the concepts these stories explore are what purists would expect from the SF label: In "Cuts Both Ways" by Heather Clitheroe, cyborg implants create perfect memory recall; Tananarive Due's "Like Daughter" deals with what happens when humans have access to easy cloning; "The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick" by Charlie Jane Anders takes place in a future where augmenting and messing with brain chemistry is as common as taking vitamin supplements is now.

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We have no idea how biased we are - Futurity

We have no idea how biased we are - Futurity | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
It has been well established that people have a “bias blind spot,” meaning that they are less likely to detect bias in themselves than others. However, it hasn’t been clear how blind we are to our own actual degree of bias, and how many of us think we are less biased than others.

Researchers have developed a tool to measure the bias blind spot, and their findings reveal that believing you are less biased than your peers has detrimental consequences on judgments and behaviors, such as accurately judging whether advice is useful.

“When physicians receive gifts from pharmaceutical companies, they may claim that the gifts do not affect their decisions about what medicine to prescribe because they have no memory of the gifts biasing their prescriptions.

“However, if you ask them whether a gift might unconsciously bias the decisions of other physicians, most will agree that other physicians are unconsciously biased by the gifts, while continuing to believe that their own decisions are not. This disparity is the bias blind spot, and occurs for everyone, for many different types of judgments and decisions,” says Erin McCormick, an author of the study and PhD student in behavioral decision research at Carnegie Mellon University.
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Vision Science - The Los Angeles Review of Books

Vision Science - The Los Angeles Review of Books | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
IN SEEING THINGS AS THEY ARE, John Searle turns his attention to perception — visual perception, to be precise. Perception is both the basic way that minds connect with configurations of objects and attributes in a local environment, and an epicenter for sensory feeling and experience. That is, perception is a site of both representation and phenomenology. And since the capacities for representation and phenomenology have long been taken by philosophers to be characteristic marks of the mental, philosophical questions about perception provide a window into philosophical questions about minds more generally.

When it comes to the long tradition of thinking and writing about perception, Searle takes the situation to be rather bleak. He believes that the entirety of philosophical work on perception since Descartes has been bewitched by what he calls “the Bad Argument” and, as a consequence, is unnecessary and incoherent. Yet Searle wants to not just bury philosophical theories of perception but also praise them. In particular, he believes that once the bad argument is identified and diagnosed, nothing will prevent us from endorsing a form of direct realism about perception, of the sort Searle himself developed in his 1983 classic Intentionality. According to this form of direct realism, we do not perceive external objects by way of first perceiving intermediate ideas, impressions, or sense-data; instead, perception serves to provide us with immediate presentations of external objects and attributes themselves. In short, our perceptual capacities enable us to see things as they are in the local environments in which we find ourselves, and this fact should serve as the backbone, rather than an optional add-on, to philosophical reflection on minds and their epistemological condition.
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Exclusive: Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio and Others Debate Christof Koch on the Nature of Consciousness

Exclusive: Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio and Others Debate Christof Koch on the Nature of Consciousness | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Editor's note: The structure of the living cell is defined by the difference between what’s inside and what’s not. Biologists have taken great pains over the years to document the minute workings of the openings in cell membranes that allow hydrogen, sodium, calcium and other ions to make their way inside across the barrier that envelops the cell and its contents.

Five scholars of the brain have built upon these observations to suggest that these activities may provide a foundation for a badly needed theory to understand consciousness and some of the cognitive processes that underlie it. They contend that when animal cells open and close themselves to the outside world, these actions can be construed as more than just responses to external stimuli. In fact, they constitute the basis for perception, cognition and movement in the animal kingdom—and may underlie consciousness itself.

The five authors and NYU neurology professor Oliver Sacks; Antonio Damasio and Gil B. Carvalho from the University of Southern California, Norman D. Cook from the faculty of Kansai University in Osaka, Japan and Harry T. Hunt from Brock University in Ontario. They have framed their ideas in the form of an open letter to Christof Koch, president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and a Scientific American MIND columnist (Consciousness Redux) and member of Scientific American’s board of advisers. Read about what the five have to say and then continue to Koch’s reply.
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Do Corporations Have Minds?

Do Corporations Have Minds? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Cases like this one have long puzzled philosophers. In everyday speech, it seems perfectly correct to say that a corporation can “intend,” “know,” “believe,” “want” or “decide.” Yet, when we begin thinking the matter over from a more theoretical standpoint, it may seem that there is something deeply puzzling here. What could people possibly mean when they talk about corporations in this way?

One possible approach would be to try to dismiss this whole issue as merely a misleading figure of speech. Sure, people sometimes describe a corporation using words like “decides” or “knows,” but they don’t necessarily mean this literally. Maybe all they really mean to say is that it is able to take in certain information and then use that information to adjust its plans and policies.

Then again, maybe the way people talk about corporations is getting at something more fundamental. One of our most basic psychological capacities is our ability to think about things as having mental states, such as intentions and beliefs. Researchers refer to this capacity as “theory of mind.” Our capacity for theory of mind appears to be such a fundamental aspect of our way of understanding the world that we apply it even to completely inanimate entities.
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Philosophy booms with popular answers to life's big questions | Culture | DW.DE | 29.05.2015

Philosophy booms with popular answers to life's big questions | Culture | DW.DE | 29.05.2015 | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
The immense success of writers such as Richard David Precht, festivals of ideas and philosophy magazines is has made thinking hip again. But is this legitimate philosophy, or more a lifestyle trend?

As a European cultural center, Cologne is used to being overrun. During Carnival the city doubles in population and a bevy of landmark festivals, fairs and fiestas hosted in the western German city cater to interest groups of every stripe. While the attendees of the third phil.Cologne, which opened this week and runs until June 3, may not be sporting striking costumes, their numbers are impressive. Organizers expect 10,000 visitors to attend the festival where people come to listen to intellectual discourse.

The public image of philosophy had long been in crisis. The last philosophical schools to prove a social sensation were Existentialism and the Frankfurt School, both originating in the 1940s. After a brief public explosion during the student protests of the 1960s, the discipline of thinking withdrew once again to its ivory tower. At the end of the 1960s German news weekly "Der Spiegel" asked: "What is philosophy today?"

From the ivory tower to the masses

In recent years there has been a noticeable paradigm shift. Videos from the international "ideas lectures" such as the TED Talks are certified YouTube hits and frequently go viral on social networks, alongside the flood of cat videos. Philosophy in 2015 has little to do with the hermit-like tendencies of Martin Heidegger - today it's more about ideas for everyday use rather than esoteric evaluations and complex concepts.
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Lab-grown meat demands a new food ethics – Julian Baggini – Aeon

Lab-grown meat demands a new food ethics – Julian Baggini – Aeon | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
The chef Richard McGeown has faced bigger culinary challenges in his distinguished career than frying a meat patty in a little sunflower oil and butter. But this time the eyes and cameras of hundreds of journalists in the room were fixed on the 5oz (140g) pink disc sizzling in his pan, one that had been five years and €250,000 in the making. This was the world’s first proper portion of cultured meat, a beef burger created by Mark Post, professor of physiology, and his team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Post (which rhymes with ‘lost’, not ‘ghost’) has been working on in vitro meat (IVM) since 2009. On 5 August this year he presented his cultured beef burger to the world as a ‘proof of concept’. Having shown that the technology works, Post believes that in a decade or so we could see commercial production of meat that has been grown in a lab rather than reared and slaughtered. The comforting illusion that supermarket trays of plastic-wrapped steaks are not
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It’s Not a ‘Stream’ of Consciousness-We actually perceive the world in rhythmic pulses rather than as a continuous flow.

It’s Not a ‘Stream’ of Consciousness-We actually perceive the world in rhythmic pulses rather than as a continuous flow. | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
IN 1890, the American psychologist William James famously likened our conscious experience to the flow of a stream. “A ‘river’ or a ‘stream’ are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described,” he wrote. “In talking of it hereafter, let’s call it the stream of thought, consciousness, or subjective life.”

While there is no disputing the aptness of this metaphor in capturing our subjective experience of the world, recent research has shown that the “stream” of consciousness is, in fact, an illusion. We actually perceive the world in rhythmic pulses rather than as a continuous flow.
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What Do Philosophers Do?

What Do Philosophers Do? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
The romanticized version of what it's like to be a philosopher must be one of the most appealing careers possible: read great thinkers, think deep thoughts, and while away the days in a beautiful office, surrounded by books, an Emeralite lamp, a hot mug of coffee, and perhaps a cat curled up by your feet. For the very few, your profound thoughts could revolutionize whole fields, herald new political ages, and inspire generations.

Of course, for many, academic philosophy proves a disappointment—an endless slog to publish, the tedium and heartache of departmental politics, and a dismal job market that tends to people to far-flung college towns, far away from family and friends.

So what is a budding philosopher to do?

An informative series of posts by Helen De Cruz of New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science features interviews with seven philosophy Ph.D.s who have left academia for the private sector. There's a software engineer, a television comedy writer, a statistical researcher, a consultant, a network-security engineer, and a search-engine developer. None of them are what would traditionally be thought of as a "philosopher."
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Is It Ethical to Create Babies From Three DNA Sources? Absolutely | WIRED

Is It Ethical to Create Babies From Three DNA Sources? Absolutely | WIRED | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
Critics give three main reasons; safety; creating babies with three parents; and the danger of opening the door to more genetic engineering. None of these objections provides a convincing reason against trying to treat what are often lethal diseases.
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Rescuing Aristotle

Rescuing Aristotle | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it
by Robin Herbert

Perhaps you are familiar with the following passage from Bertrand Russell:

“Observation versus Authority: To modern educated people, it seems obvious that matters of fact are to be ascertained by observation, not by consulting ancient authorities. But this is an entirely modern conception, which hardly existed before the seventeenth century. Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.” [1]

This criticism of Aristotle is often repeated and unreflectively accepted due to the reputation of Bertrand Russell. Edward de Bono embroidered upon this theme:

“Finally there was Aristotle, with his word-based inclusion/exclusion logic. Aristotle believed that men had more teeth than did women. Although he was married twice, he never actually counted the teeth of either wife. He did not need to. With horses, the stallion had more teeth than the mare; so he “knew” that the male of the species has more teeth than the female. Aristotle derived his categories from the past and then argued whether something did or did not fit into a particular category.” [2]

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How should the law respond to the findings of neuroscience?

How should the law respond to the findings of neuroscience? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

Recent advances in neuroscience have revealed that certain neurological disorders, like a brain tumor, can cause an otherwise normal person to behave in criminally deviant ways. Would knowing that an underlying neurological condition had caused criminal behavior change the way we assign moral responsibility and mete out justice? Should it? Is committing a crime with a "normal" biology fundamentally different from doing so with an identifiable brain disorder? John and Ken ask how the law should respond to the findings of neuroscience with David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.  Philosophy Talk with John Perry and Ken Taylor ~ Sunday, 9/07 at 10 am and Tuesday, 9/09 at 12 noon.

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Should gay men and lesbians be bracketed together?

Should gay men and lesbians be bracketed together? | Philosophy everywhere everywhen | Scoop.it

Lesbians and gay men have long campaigned alongside each other. But are they wrongly bracketed together, asks Julie Bindel.

"We have absolutely nothing in common with gay men," says Eda, a young lesbian, "so I have no idea why we are lumped in together."

Not everyone agrees. Since the late 1980s, lesbians and gay men have been treated almost as one generic group. In recent years, other sexual minorities and preferences have joined them.

The term LGBT, representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, has been in widespread use since the early 1990s. Recent additions - queer, "questioning" and intersex - have seen the term expand to LGBTQQI in many places. But do lesbians and gay men, let alone the others on the list, share the same issues, values and goals?

Anthony Lorenzo, a young gay journalist, says the list has become so long, "We've had to start using Sanskrit because we've run out of letters."

Bisexuals have argued that they are disliked and mistrusted by both straight and gay people. Trans people say they should be included because they experience hatred and discrimination, and thereby are campaigning along similar lines as the gay community for equality.

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