Culture & Literature
Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now December 2017 / January 2018

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.

United Kingdom
Anja Publications Ltd
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$9.20(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
the false mirror

Men can’t multitask; women can’t resist shopping; the English have a sense of humour; the Germans don’t; philosophers spend their lives navel gazing; politicians can’t be trusted; and civil servants are boring. Stereotypes, preconceived ideas, prejudices: they are ubiquitous. Sometimes they are annoying, sometimes funny, sometimes devastating. To philosophers they are the ultimate challenge. Philosophy has its demons to fight. Having always put an emphasis on a commitment to truth, philosophers have been quick to identify the obstacles that stood in their way of honouring this obligation. Though they couldn’t always agree on the origins, scope and definition of prejudice, it, in all its forms, emerges as one of their archenemies. The first philosophical musings about prejudice started in the classical age. Cicero talks about prejudice (praeiusticium) as the opposite of truth,…

4 min.

• Human brains to connect to cloud storage! • Mini human brains implanted in rodents! • Psychologists study moral intuition Merger 1: human brains & animals Four years ago scientists first developed a method of growing stem cells into miniature versions of human brains called brain organoids. These ‘mini brains’, until now grown in the lab, have many of the same characteristics as living human brains at an early developmental stage. Their structural similarity and the fact that they react in a similar way to stimuli such as drugs means that they are extremely useful for research into (for instance) Alzheimer’s Disease, since opportunities for empirical studies of living, fully-developed, human brains are obviously very restricted for ethical reasons. A new development has now given rise to moral reservations concerning organoids. Two teams of…

8 min.
xenos: jacques derrida on hospitality

Jacques Derrida knew a thing or two about being an outsider. He was born of Jewish parents in 1930 in Algeria, at that time a French colony. Hence he was from birth a French citizen, although he did not set foot in France until he was nineteen. In 1942, by a decree of the wartime Vichy government, his citizenship was revoked because he was Jewish – without him being made a citizen of any other country. The major effect of this was his expulsion from the school he had previously been attending. So he was an Algerian who couldn’t speak Arabic; a Jew who was not a religious practitioner (nor could he read Hebrew); and an eventual immigrant to France as a pied-noir (the derogatory phrase used for the French…

13 min.
perfectionism & hate speech law

In this era of growing ethno-nationalism and xenophobia in Europe and America, and indeed, worldwide, debates over hate speech are intensifying. Decent people argue that the terrifying rhetoric of extreme right wing groups online and on the streets – and escalating confrontations – demonstrate the necessity of hate speech laws. Supporters of freedom of speech have responded that the non-coercive speech of all should be protected – including the free speech of racists, neo-Nazis, and bigots. In diverse liberal societies, they argue, it is inconsistent for the state, or even powerful social media platforms such as Facebook, to protect some expressions of ideas while banning others merely because some groups object to it. It is also likely, they argue, that hate speech laws or bans can be weaponized against their advocates,…

12 min.
homelessness & the limits of hospitality

“No face can be approached with empty hands and closed home.” “The need of the other is my spiritual need.” Coming home on the tram my gaze met that of a young man shouldering a carry-all – heavy, and torn in parts. I looked away quickly. Clearly that carry-all carried all his belongings, and, I hoped, food for the wet, icy night ahead under the bridge. I knew I was going home to company and a hearty soup. Part of me wanted to suggest he come back and share soup with us; but the greater part was fearful: he could be dangerous, perhaps a drug user, and even if neither of these, how could we then turn him out into the cold again? The limits of my hospitality – my fear. This article…

16 min.
prostitution & instrumentalization

As you are undoubtedly aware, prostitution is illegal throughout much of the world. You might also be aware that opposition to its criminalization is on the rise. Amnesty International endorsed its decriminalization not long ago, followed by numerous organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch and, particularly noteworthy for us, philosophers such as Peter Singer, Philip Pettit, and Patricia Marino. Recent cover stories for New York Magazine and The New York Times Magazine have asked: ‘Is Prostitution Just Another Job?’ and ‘Should Prostitution Be a Crime?’ So how strong are the reasons for treating prostitution as a crime? Some people advocate the continued prosecution of prostitution on grounds to do with the safety or well-being of its participants, or its effects on the wider community. However, another…