A “brave new world” revealed, not?!?

ImageOver two years ago I wrote a blog entry entitled “Brave New World.” In that entry I mused about the possibilities of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, about its search for the Higgs boson and the idea that everything we know about the world can change in the blink of an eye. When the LHC was started for the first time, there was a lot of excitement going around in the physics community. Particle physicists were waiting anxiously for results to surface. However, for over two years the LHC was riddled with problems. The magnets were broken, or too strong to hold the current and other such things that spelled a serious handicap for the LHC. The friendly competitors at Fermilab, near Chicago, now had the possibility to maybe beat the folks at CERN. The Tevatron at Fermi however was closed in 2011. Results of many of the experiments however were still being analyzed and showed a definite possibility of a Higgs boson. In early July of 2012 the elusive Higgs boson, or a particle that at least had the possibilities of the Higgs, was discovered at CERN. Peter Higgs himself was present and so were many physicists and observers of the wider particle physics community.  But did Miranda’s brave new world appear? Continue reading “A “brave new world” revealed, not?!?”

Perceptual experience: both relational and contentful

We are pleased to invite you to the 2012 Mark Sacks lecture:
Perceptual experience: both relational and contentful
John McDowell

It seems right to say that perceptual experience puts experiencing subjects in (direct or immediate) relation with items in their environments. It is increasingly widely held that there is an inconsistency between that claim and the idea that perceptual experience has content. John McDowell will argue that there is no such inconsistency.

The paper from this lecture will be published in an upcoming issue of the European Journal of Philosophy and the lecture will be recorded and made available as a free podcast.

Date and time: 5.30pm, Friday 15th June 2012
Venue: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, 34 Gell Street, S3 7QY, UK

All are welcome to attend the lecture which will be followed by a drinks reception hosted by Wiley-Blackwell.

The texts of previous lectures in this series (formerly known as the EJP Annual Lectures) have been published as follows:

2011: Identity, Individuation and Substance, David Wiggins

2010: Why Are You Betraying Your Class?, Avishai Margalit

2009: Danish Ethical Demands and French Common Goods: Two Moral Philosophies, Alasdair MacIntyre

2008: Ethics for Communication, Onora O’Neill

> View the full list.

New Naturalistic Philosophy Editor for Philosophy Compass

We’re delighted to announce the appointment of the new editor of the Naturalistic Philosophy section of Philosophy Compass, Edouard Machery.

Edouard is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, a Fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (Pittsburgh-CMU). His research focuses on the philosophical issues raised by psychology and cognitive neuroscience with a special interest in concepts, moral psychology, the relevance of evolutionary biology for understanding cognition, modularity, the nature, origins, and ethical significance of prejudiced cognition, and the methods of psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He has published more than 60 articles and chapters on these topics in venues such as Analysis, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Cognition, Mind & Language, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and Philosophy of Science. He is the author of Doing without Concepts (OUP, 2009), and he has been an associate editor of The European Journal for Philosophy of Science since 2009. He is also involved in the development of experimental philosophy, having published several noted articles in this field.

The Atheist’s Guide to Reality

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Although it came out late last year, Alex Rosenberg’s book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions hasn’t been getting the press it deserves. Indeed, the comparative attention lavished on Alain de Botton’s much less interesting Religion for Atheists seems downright unfair. Probably Rosenberg’s title is largely to blame. He has all but admitted choosing it as a marketing ploy. This was probably a mistake. The title does the book no justice, since one thing The Atheist’s Guide has relatively little to say about is atheism. This has led people like this Independent reviewer to focus on complaining that the book offers little to atheists (more sensitive to logical solecisms than de Botton, Rosenberg declines to offer them religion) while ignoring its real topic.

Continue reading “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality”

50th Anniversary of the Southern Journal of Philosophy

The Southern Journal of Philosophy is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2012! To commemorate this milestone and to honor all of those who have sustained this distinctive forum for the past half-century, each of the issues in this year’s volume has been specially commissioned, guest-edited, and dedicated to a timely topic from one of the areas in which the SJP regularly publishes (analytic philosophy, continental philosophy, and history of philosophy):

Together, these issues will offer a “state of the discipline” look at key debates in contemporary philosophy.To be alerted when new issues publish, visit the SJP homepage and click “Get New Content Alerts” from the top left Journal Tools menu.

New Editor-in-Chief for Philosophy Compass

Elizabeth BarnesWe’re delighted to announce the appointment of the new chief editor of Philosophy Compass, Elizabeth Barnes, who will be coming on as of today and continuing the great work begun by Brian Weatherson. Elizabeth is an Associate Professor in the department of philosophy at the University of Leeds. Her research interests are split between metaphysics and ethics. In metaphysics, she’s written on indeterminacy, emergence, truthmaking, and the open future. In ethics, her work has focused on disability and wellbeing.

The team would also like to extend their warm thanks and appreciation to Brian for the leadership and vision he has shown in the 6 years since launch. During his tenure, the journal has gone from being a largely unknown online novelty to now playing a unique and respected role in philosophical scholarship.

Welcome Elizabeth, and thanks Brian!

Are We Turning into Commodities?

Slavoj Žižek, in a recent London Review of Books article, alleges that the capitalist mode of generating wealth has changed. Money can still be made through the production of material goods – but the big bucks are now being made by privatizing everyday life and leasing it back to consumers.  So, for example,

“…Microsoft has imposed itself as an almost universal standard, practically monopolising the field [of computational technology], as one embodiment of what Marx called the ‘general intellect’, by which he meant collective knowledge in all its forms”

This example evinces what we can usefully think of as the capitalization in part of Wittgensteinian ‘forms of life’.  A ‘form of life’ is a useful heuristic for capturing a community’s shared biological and cultural background, in terms of traditional and entrenched patterns of behaviour, in a single phrase.  Žižek’s point is that these patterns of behaviour, which form the ‘general intellect’, are being exapted: parts are being adopted, built upon, and changed to create a new pattern of behaviour, which are then rented out or sold to consumers.

Continue reading “Are We Turning into Commodities?”