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Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now December 2019 - January 2020

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It isn't afraid to tackle all the major questions of life, the universe and everything. It tries to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics. It contains articles on all aspects of philosophy, plus book reviews, film reviews, news, cartoons, and the occasional short story.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Anja Publications Ltd
Frequency:
Bimonthly
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6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
into the cauldron!

“Politics. noun. From the Greek poly meaning ‘many’ and ticks meaning ‘blood-sucking insects’.” Fake dictionary definition, seen on greetings card. “Would it not in that case be simpler / for the government To dissolve the people / And elect another?” From Bertolt Brecht’s poem ‘The Solution’. I could have easily filled this whole page with more or less witty quotes like the above, all saying essentially the same thing: that you cannot trust politicians and you cannot trust the political process. Increasingly, we’ve come to see politicians as masters of the dark arts, as wizards and warlocks conniving in their covens, stirring trouble for their own ends and expecting us to swallow their vile brew. The good news is that the articles in our political philosophy issue have nothing to say about elections or…

4 min.
news

• This month’s prizes!• News from the dawn of time• Google to be renamed ‘Skynet’? Philosophy Awards 1: Lisa Herzog The Max Uwe Redler Foundation in Germany has named Lisa Herzog as winner of its Award for Philosophy and Social Ethics. The award is a coveted recognition for academics who relate philosophy to the position of the individual in society, consider social structures and enquire into the values of our actions. Hamburg businessman Max Uwe Redler, who died in 2006, believed in the importance of philosophy in making a difference to our world and specifically the conditions under which we live. The biannual Award is a marker of this conviction. Herzog, who is a professor of philosophy at the Technical University Munich, focuses in her research on the overlap between philosophy and economics,…

13 min.
should a liberal state ban the burqa?

Some years ago I was teaching a Philosophy A-level class at a Sixth Form college [16-18-year-olds, for all the non-Brits, Ed], when a student entered in a long black robe with her face hidden behind a niqab, leaving only a narrow aperture for her eyes to peep through. I was taken aback. This student, it seemed to me, simply wasn’t playing by the rules. If any other student had appeared with their face covered – say by a scarf or balaclava – I would have asked them to remove it. And yet… the niqab is a religious garment, and one feels a certain sensitivity about interfering with religious obligations. As it happened, we were beginning that term with a module on the value of tolerance, and here was a golden opportunity…

10 min.
the ethics of discrimination

The concept of discrimination plays roughly the same role in public debate as the concept of terrorism. In just the same way as disliked militants are often condemned as ‘terrorists’, so disliked policies that differentiate among people are often condemned as ‘discrimination’. Those charges have deep rhetorical power. However, both concepts remain woefully unanalyzed. In this article I want to analyze the concept of discrimination: what it is, and what it isn’t. Differentiating among people on account of their group membership, disadvantaging some and not others, is not the problem with discrimination. We don’t discriminate against criminals by burdening them with jail. It is when disadvantages are unjustly imposed because of group membership that differentiation between groups is morally objectionable. This is what we call discrimination. Intentionally disadvantaging innocent people merely because…

16 min.
protecting academic freedom

Ever since 2006, I’ve taught and researched practical philosophy at the University of Siegen in Germany. I have focused quite a bit on Immanuel Kant, whom I consider to be a particularly practical philosopher, but I deal with a wide range of topics in epistemology and applied ethics. Recently I organised a seminar series on freedom of speech, and set about inviting speakers. I wanted people from a range of theoretical and ideological positions, including some who had experienced controversy about the expression of their ideas. Therefore in March 2018 I informed the university administration that my invited speakers included Marc Jongen, cultural spokesman for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the German Parliament, and Thilo Sarrazin, a prominent member of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, who wrote a bestselling…

16 min.
dewey & climate denial2

Science, argued John Dewey, is ‘an instrumentality of the arts’. What he seems to have meant is that science is not only about seeking an objective understanding of the world but also about a commitment to truth as a social and aesthetic value. Perhaps this seems obvious, but there’s more to this bit of common sense – a ‘more’ that I think more important now than ever. For Dewey can help us see clearly why some people and societies have such an investment – intellectual and economic – in denying climate change, and also what we stand to lose if we do not act to mitigate its results. In attempting to convince you of this, my argument will rely on four elements. Firstly I’ll recap the nature of the environmental and…