Philosophy in the News (March 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 March of 2018. You can check out previous Philosophy in the News posts here.

Philosophical intuition: just what is ‘a priori’ justification? In this Aeon Magazine article, philosopher Bruce Russell explains the concept of a priori (Latin for “from the earlier”) reasoning. This article is great because it makes a very important logical and epistemological topic easy to understand through common everyday examples.

The greatest moral challenge of our time? It’s how we think about morality itself This month The Conversation ran a series where various philosophers talked about ethics. In the opening post, philosopher Tim Dean talks about what he thinks morality is and where moral justification comes from.

What’s the best option? Writing in Aeon Magazine, Larry Temkin takes a look at the notions surrounding how we come to decide on “the good life.” He particularly discusses something he refers to as “The Axiom of Transitivity for Better Than,” which is a common heuristic for selecting the best option among a finite set of options. In his post, Temkin argues why this type of rational decision making which assumes transitivity always holds might be difficult to apply to moral and value-based decision making.

A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal” Antonio Regalado of MIT Technology Review discusses Nectome, a startup promising to offer brain storage as a service at some point in the future. Mind-uploading, or the act of emulating a brain’s details and functions virtually, probably isn’t that strange to transhumanists and avid sci-fi fans, but it brings up many interesting philosophical questions surrounding personal identity and bioethics.

If we disagree about morality, how can we teach it? Michael Hand, writing in Aeon Magazine, discusses the importance of providing children with moral education. He also discusses the rational basis for substantiating basic (moral) beliefs that would likely be apparent to most peoples.

The evolution of justice, from Socrates to today In Big Think, Scotty Hendricks provides a very brief overview of how different societies over time valued justice.

Courtroom science lab: Federal judge tutored in climate change Kurtis Alexander, writing in The San Francisco Chronicle discusses one of the most ambitious legal actions undertaken to address climate change — suing the oil industry. While science is indisputable, the question of attribution is a moral one. Who carries the blame for anthropogenic climate change, and is it something that should be punished through economic action?

Yes, Cops Are Now Opening iPhones With Dead People’s Fingerprints Forbes contributor Thomas Fox-Brewster discusses the trend of law enforcement breaking the biometric security on the devices of the dead with limited legal repercussions. With the law slow to follow advances in technology, there aren’t many protections currently afforded to the dead, but should there be? What form would these protections take?