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Neuroethics published 20/12/2015

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Philosophy of mind interested me deeply, but I was frustrated by the lack of empirical perspectives in the philosophical faculties when I was a student, where the road to hell was paved with empirical propositions! Yet it never seemed possible to me to understand the mind purely through a priori reasoning, ignoring the organ that does the job. On the other hand, brain science took scant interest in conceptual, philosophical analyses at the time, which seemed equally lopsided. Today the situation is fortunately different: philosophy and the neurosciences collaborate in a very fruitful manner. And that is why I now have turned my philosophical focus to studies of consciousness and neuroethics.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kathinka Evers.

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Thinking How To Live published 05/12/2015

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We must distinguish what it means to say that I ought to do a thing and what being what I ought to do consists in. Maybe, for example, being what I ought to do consists in something hedonic, such as being what will maximize my happiness. Even so, ‘ought’ doesn’t mean “would maximize one’s happiness.” If it did, as Moore argued, then “You ought to maximize your happiness” would just mean “Maximizing your happiness would maximize your happiness.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Allan Gibbard.

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Metacognition published 21/11/2015

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Metacognition raises ethical questions, for instance: are all epistemic agents equally equipped to think correctly, and, hence, responsible for their judgments, as Descartes claimed? Or rather, is their social environment responsible for the existence and appropriate use of their critical abilities? This kind of question can now be posed in much more exact terms, thanks to the empirical science of metacognition.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Joëlle Proust.

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Waking, Dreaming, Being published 04/10/2015

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One of the fascinating and valuable things about the Indian philosophical tradition is that it has sophisticated and technical debates, spanning centuries, about whether dreamless sleep is a peculiar mode of consciousness or whether it’s a state in which consciousness is absent. Both Advaita Vedānta philosophers (Advaitins) and Buddhist philosophers argued that a subtle form of awareness continues in deep sleep (though they disagreed about the nature of this awareness), whereas the Nyāya philosophers (Nyaiyāyikas) held that consciousness is absent from dreamless sleep.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Evan Thompson.

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Time, Language, Ontology published 19/09/2015

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Nobody, however, takes the need for spatially variable terms—spatial indexicals—to have any implications about the nature of space itself. Everyone cheerfully accepts that though it is pragmatically necessary to divide space up into the ‘here’ and the ‘there’, space itself is perfectly isotropic; there is no such-thing as an observe-independent ‘here’. Space is not centered, even though our orientation toward space requires us (most of the time) to center our representation of it upon ourselves. This is just one of the ways in which, we all agree, our normal ways of thinking about space come apart from the way it is itself.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Joshua Mozersky.

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Italian philosophy, Magic and Peter of Spain published 12/09/2015

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By the time Italian fascism hit bottom in the late thirties, intimidated by Hitler and promulgating its own disgraceful racial laws, Gentile was no longer a major force in the regime or the Party, which he never renounced. Gentile had immense philosophical talent – more focused than Croce’s, whose range was broader, less committed to philosophy. The grand historical narrative of Italian philosophy – with the politics of nation-building as its armature – is still Gentile’s. His metaphysics of actual idealism or actualism is a strikingly original attempt to naturalize (speaking very broadly) idealism.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Brian Copenhaver.

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From the Point Of View of the Universe published 06/09/2015

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“The point of view of the universe” is to symbolize an impartial concern for everyone. Sidgwick calls for impartiality in ethics and thinks that when deciding what we ought to do, we should try to take an impartial perspective – not mine, not yours, not my children’s but “the point of view of the universe”.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek.

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Naturalism’s Final Causes published 29/08/2015

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I consider myself to be a metaphysical naturalist, despite the fact that I agree with some of the claims the Horwich makes. I do think that there are different epistemic tools that one can use other than the scientific method, as I mentioned above with regards to the intentional stance. But I don’t think that a commitment to these epistemic claims leads to any strange ontological commitments, like the existence of anything over and above the natural world. This probably makes me a committed naturalist still trying to find her way through the wilderness.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bana Bashour.

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law and ethics published 22/08/2015

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I argue that all the standard rationales for capital punishment ─ deterrence-oriented, retributivist, incapacitative, and denunciatory ─ fail to establish that such punishment is morally legitimate. Each of those standard rationales is the application of a general theory of punishment to the death penalty. To succeed as a justification of that penalty, a rationale has to establish that the execution of a convict is both morally obligatory and morally permissible. Since none of the standard rationales does establish the moral obligatoriness and moral permissibility of the death penalty (either when each of those rationales is considered discretely or when they are considered in combination), none of them can properly serve as a basis for the imposition of that penalty.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Matthew Kramer.

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dynamic epistemology published 15/08/2015

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Llull is a character and a half. Not only did he write the world’s first novel in the vernacular, articulate voting methods that were not articulated again until the 17th and 18th centuries, turn missionary to Africa in his 50s after learning Arabic so that he could convert Muslims, he was also deeply interested in mechanising reasoning, in a way which put him centuries ahead of his time. In a world where time-travel existed, I would love to get Ramon Llull and Alan Turing in the same room together. I can’t even imagine what sort of brilliant ideas that would spark!

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sara L. Uckelman

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