Philosophy Now August - September 2021

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
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
existing in the world

When most of us think of existentialism, we imagine a bunch of broody French intellectuals in rollneck sweaters, sitting around a table in a café on Paris’s Left Bank, smoking Gauloises and drinking endless coffees as they stare into the abyss within the human soul. And this is broadly accurate, but there is more to it than that. Existentialism continues to be the most popular and best recognized school of philosophy, and we get complaints if we don’t publish an issue about it at least once every couple of years. You are holding that issue. Existentialism started not in France but in the previous century in Denmark, with the highly unorthodox Christian thinker Søren Kierkegaard. He introduced the idea that in our journey through life we have the opportunity to make…

1 min
some of our contributors

Gary Cox Gary Cox is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, where he completed his PhD on Sartre in 1996. He is the author of over ten philosophy books including How to Be an Existentialist, The Existentialist’s Guide, The Sartre Dictionary and How to Be Good. Theresa Helke Theresa Helke teaches at Smith College in the USA and Barwaaqo University in Somaliland. She earned a PhD at NUS/Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and served in the Peace Corps in Benin. She was born in the UK and grew up in the USA, Switzerland, and Austria as a third-culture kid. Terence Green Terence Green lives in the sleepy seaside village of Eastbourne, New Zealand. By trade, he is, inadvertently, an historian. By degrees, he is a political philosopher. He likes to pluck away at…

4 min

• Templeton supports Church, shock news • Big Data is Watching Over You • Judith Jarvis Thomson Ethics of AI in Health Artificial Intelligence, particularly machine learning combined with Big Data, shows vast promise in helping to diagnose medical conditions and recommend the best treatment options. But what about privacy; what about the safety of individual patients? What of overview by doctors with decades of training and experience? Two years of work by twenty experts has now resulted in a guidance report published by the World Health Organization outlining six key principles for the ethical use of AI in healthcare settings. While the document comments favourably on the potential of AI in treating patients especially in under-resourced areas, it warns that AI should not be used as an easy substitute for traditional…

3 min
philosophy shorts

More Songs About Buildings and Food was the title of a 1978 album by the band Talking Heads. It was about all the things rock stars normally don’t sing about. Pop songs are usually about variations on the theme of love. Tracks such as Rose Royce’s 1976 hit Carwash are the exception. Philosophers, likewise, have a narrow focus on epistemology, metaphysics and trifles like the meaning of life. But occasionally the great minds stray from their home turf and write about buildings (Heidegger), food (Hobbes), tomato juice (Nozick), and the weather (Lucretius and Aristotle). This series of Shorts is about these unfamiliar themes; about the things philosophers also write about. Philosophers on Listening Are you listening? Okay, right. Here we go! Philosophers are a verbose lot. Most of them, it is fair to say,…

6 min
the adventures of jean-paul sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) is perhaps the most famous exponent of existentialism. His philosophy asserts that human beings are cursed with the impossible burden of having to make decisions without any higher justifications. There is no God or other transcendent force to dictate what they should do with their lives. Human beings are alone, and, born without an essence, are forced to define themselves through their own actions. Since we have the sole power to determine our actions, we can (and should) be judged on what we choose to do with our freedom. This is a crushing weight. We live in anguish and despair because every success and every failure rests squarely on our shoulders. The core of Sartre’s existentialism is that human beings are ‘condemned to be free’. Sartre further explained…

1 min
sartre poem

You condemned me to be free, Jean-Paul.You were what you did,the author of yourself,transcending every momentwith each choice, andwhat you chose for yourselfyou chose for all humankind-for me!-to be able to choose to do differentlyfrom what you might have wantedme to do,even if I am inauthentic,and choose,in bad faith,to delude myselfthat I have no choice,because I cannot face the anguishof choosing.There are no excuses.No! None!I cannot say, "It was not I."I did, I am. © ALASDAIR MACDONALD 2021 Alasdair Macdonald is a retired secondary school Head Teacher. His first degree was in Natural Philosophy and Mathematics. He subsequently did a Masters in Education. After he retired he attended classes in Philosophy at the Adult Education Department of the University of Glasgow.…