Philosophy in the News (January 2018 Edition)

Philosophy in the news!

Philosophy in the News is a segment which covers articles with both direct and indirect relevance to philosophy. In this month’s post we’ll be covering stories from January of 2018. You can check out previous Philosophy in the News posts here.

The Weirdness of Weirdness This delightful article by John Horgan of Scientific American is effectively about the metaphysics of weirdness. It’s a short and fun read that ponders, as its title suggests, the weirdness of weirdness.

Is There Such a Thing As a Morally Sound Investment? Writing in Lifehacker’s Two Cents Alicia Adamczyk talks about the growth of SRI or ethically minded investing, as well as its benefits and limitations. The article is a great reflection of the factors one should weigh when deciding what to invest in if they have an interest in corporate responsibility and emerging social issues.

This Is Why Understanding Space Is So Hard Dan Falk in Nautilus writes about some of the various ways physicists have conceived of space. The concepts discussed in this article provide somewhat of a compliment to ones discussed in this blog’s metaphysics and introduction to time posts.

Thinking big thoughts about the boundaries of science In a review for a new book (Exact Thinking in Demented Times, by Karl Sigmund) Alan Lightman discusses the Vienna Circle, a group of early 20th century scientists and philosophers who made some of the most important contributions to science and philosophy. This article provides some good insight into the boundaries of science and philosophy while highlighting some of the concepts that are important in the philosophy of science.

Time Is Actually Slowing Down and Will Come to a Halt, Says a Radical Theory Paul Ratner writing in Big Think discusses a newly proposed theory of time which interprets existing aspects of physics, such as the accelerating expansion of the universe, in a novel light. This article provides another compliment to this month’s blog post about time.

Radical dimensions In Aeon magazine Margaret Wertheim writes about our notions of the concept of dimensions and where they come from. Wertheim constructs a narrative from Aristotle to the present articulating how throughout history our notions of space evolved and how that shaped the perception of the role dimensions played in both math and physics. This is yet another article complimenting some of the issues alluded to in the introduction to time blog post and the metaphysics of space segment in the metaphysics post.

The Anti-Platonist Metaphysician 3:AM magazine interviews noted metaphysician Peter Simons. The interview goes into great detail about the purpose of metaphysics, as Simons sees it, as well as its historical underpinnings, its boundaries, and the difficulties contemporary metaphysicians face in their work.

Scientific Theory And The Multiverse Madness Sabine Hossenfelder writes in NPR about the issue of the multiverse in contemporary physics. This post is interesting in that it highlights very important aspects of the philosophy of science like Ockham’s razor and the role metaphysics might play in making sense of empirical observations. Appealing to simplicity, Hossenfelder explains why the multiverse isn’t necessarily the best conceptual framework for understanding many of the observations physics has made over the last century.

The moral value of wilderness Does nature have any intrinsic value? Philosopher Janna Thompson makes the case that it does in The Conversation. This article is as much a discussion of the value of nature as it is the value of value itself. That is to say, the article gives a great overview of where value, and thus our ethics, can come from.