327 episodes

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books
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New Books in Philosophy Marshall Poe

    • Society & Culture

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books
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    Charles Goodman, "The Tattvasaṃgraha Of Śāntarakṣita: Selected Metaphysical Chapters" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    Charles Goodman, "The Tattvasaṃgraha Of Śāntarakṣita: Selected Metaphysical Chapters" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    The Tattvasaṃgraha of Śāntarakṣita: Selected Metaphysical Chapters (Oxford University Press, 2022) collects excerpts from a massive encyclopedic work of the late period of Buddhism in India. Translator Charles Goodman has selected sections of this Sanskrit text which cover debates over the existence of prime matter, God, and an immaterial soul, as well as controversies around the cause and effect, karma, and Jain perspectivalism. Within these chapters, through a translation of the verses of the Tattvasaṃgraha as well as the canonical commentary the Tattvasaṃgrahapañjikā by Kamalaśila, the book showcases Buddhists debates with a wide range of interlocutors. Śānatarakṣita and Kamalaśila, from their vantage point late in the history of Indian Buddhism, collect a range of arguments against their historical opponents: Sāṃkhya, Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā, Advaita Vedānta, Jainism, and even a group of Buddhists known as the Vātsīputrīyas. The book also includes an introductory chapter by the translator which explains the sophisticated underlying epistemological framework of this massive and massively influential text.
    Malcolm Keating is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit works of philosophy in Indian traditions, in the areas of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras & Stuff.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Tristan Grøtvedt Haze, "Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity" (Routledge, 2022)

    Tristan Grøtvedt Haze, "Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity" (Routledge, 2022)

    In 1980, the philosopher and logician Saul Kripke published a small but hugely influential book, Naming and Necessity, in which he argued that some claims that we discover empirically to be true are also necessarily true – true not just in our world, but in any possible world in which the objects or kinds referred to by the words in the sentence exist. In Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity (Routledge, 2022), Tristan Grotvedt Haze revisits the concept of the necessary a posteriori. He uses a method of “factorization” to explain the sort of a priori philosophical analysis that can give us insight into modal status, but – in contrast to Kripke – defends a neo-Fregean theory of meaning. Grotvedt Haze, who is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Melbourne, also considers the nature of metaphysical necessity itself, and ends up being a skeptic about strong metaphysical necessity.
    Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Saba Bazargan-Forward, "Authority, Cooperation, and Accountability" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    Saba Bazargan-Forward, "Authority, Cooperation, and Accountability" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    We often find ourselves acting in concert with others, where what we do together goes beyond the causal contribution of any single participant. When a collection of individuals works together in a way that results in a wrongful harm, it’s intuitive to think that each of the participants should be held accountable. Yet this intuition needs to be squared with the fact that no single individual’s contribution was causally necessary for the wrongful harm to have occurred. Hence there’s a range of views about “collective responsibility” that posit group agents and collective intentions.
    In Authority, Cooperation, and Accountability (Oxford UP, 2022), Saba Bazargan-Forward develops a different approach. On his view, ordinary features of human agency can be disbursed across individuals in a way that forms a division of agential labor. When such a division of labor is established, puzzles about collective responsibility can be resolved.
    Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    Leah Kalmanson, "Cross-Cultural Existentialism: On the Meaning of Life in Asian and Western Thought" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    Leah Kalmanson, "Cross-Cultural Existentialism: On the Meaning of Life in Asian and Western Thought" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    Does human existence have a meaning? If so, is that meaning found in the world outside of us, or is it something we bring to our experience? In Cross-Cultural Existentialism: On the Meaning of Life in Asian and Western Thought (Bloomsbury, 2020) Leah Kalmanson shows how East Asian philosophies challenge the dichotomy implicit in the way this question is often framed. Her book investigates Korean Buddhist meditation, Confucian ritual practices, and Yijing divination. Along the way she argues that the speculative approaches implicit in these traditions, contrary to the views of many modern European philosophers, means that metaphysical theorizing need not be in opposition to cultivating practical techniques and taking subjectivity seriously. Taking the Korean Buddhist nun Kim Iryŏp as her center point, Kalmanson traces lines of historical influence backwards to Song-dynasty Ruist (or “Confucian”) thinkers such as Zhu Xi and considers conceptual connections outwards to modern existentialists such as Georges Bataille, all the while reflecting on one of philosophy’s big questions: just what does life mean, if anything?
    Malcolm Keating is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit works of philosophy in Indian traditions, in the areas of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras & Stuff.
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    • 59 min
    Neil Levy, "Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Neil Levy, "Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Misinformation, disinformation, fake news, alternative facts: we are awash in a vast sea of epistemically questionable, not to mention false, testimony. How can we discern what is epistemically good to believe from what is not? Why are so many of us vulnerable to believing in ways that are unresponsive to widely available evidence – in other words, to holding bad beliefs? 
    In Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People (Oxford UP, 2021), Neil Levy argues that we are in fact acting rationally, in accordance with how we have evolved to defer to our peers and authorities in our social networks. Levy, who is Professor of philosophy at Macquarie University and research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, argues that bad beliefs are more likely in epistemically polluted environments, and that our current epistemic environments are badly polluted. Overall, the book takes a bold stand against the traditional epistemological emphasis on the individual cognitive agent’s responsibility for justifying belief.
    This book is available open access here. 
    Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Michele Moody-Adams, "Making Space for Justice: Social Movements, Collective Imagination, and Political Hope" (Columbia UP, 2022)

    Michele Moody-Adams, "Making Space for Justice: Social Movements, Collective Imagination, and Political Hope" (Columbia UP, 2022)

    A standard way of proceeding in political philosophy is to start with some form of conceptual inquiry: we first try to figure out what justice, equality, and freedom are and only then we may eventually begin thinking about how these goods might be pursued and achieved. On this approach, although social activism is perhaps necessary to counteract the worst kinds of social deprivation, it is also premature from the philosophical standpoint: as we still are debating what justice is, present efforts to bring about justice are risky at best.
    In her new book, Making Space for Justice: Social Movements, Collective Imagination, and Political Hope (Columbia University Press, 2022), Michele Moody-Adams travels a different path. She begins by looking at social movements and argues that they not only can teach us about what justice is, but that they often play a necessary role in clarifying our normative concepts.
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    • 1 hr 3 min

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