The 149 new ideas included in the latest update (of 18th May), by Theme

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / a. Philosophy as worldly
Habermas seems to make philosophy more democratic [Habermas, by Bowie]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 3. Pure Reason
Reason enables the unbounded extension of our rules and intentions [Kant]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 4. Aims of Reason
What justifies reliance on reason? Is it just a tool? Why is it better than blind belief? [Sen]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
Views are objective if they don't rely on a person's character, social position or species [Nagel]
In politics and ethics, scrutiny from different perspectives is essential for objectivity [Sen]
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Keep premises as weak as possible, to avoid controversial difficulties [Nussbaum]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 3. Value of Truth
Speak truth only to those who deserve the truth [Sandel]
Careful evasions of truth at least show respect for it [Sandel]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 2. Reduction
An understanding of the most basic physics should explain all of the subject's mysteries [Krauss]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / c. Monads
In 1676 it was discovered that water is teeming with life [Krauss]
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism
A philosopher and his wife are out for a drive... [Sommers,W]
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / a. Innate knowledge
We are equipped with the a priori intuitions needed for the concept of right [Kant]
16. Persons / E. Rejecting the Self / 3. Narrative Self
I can only make decisions if I see myself as part of a story [MacIntyre]
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Sources of Free Will
The manifest will in the world of phenomena has to conform to the laws of nature [Kant]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 2. Reduction of Mind
Weak reduction of mind is to physical causes; strong reduction is also to physical laws [Papineau]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 6. Rationality
Rationality is conformity to reasons that can be sustained even after scrutiny [Sen]
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
General rules of action also need a judgement about when to apply them [Kant]
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 8. The Arts / b. Poetry
Storytelling is never neurtral; some features of the world must be emphasised [Nussbaum]
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / c. Value of happiness
Duty does not aim at an end, but gives rise to universal happiness as aim of the will [Kant]
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
People prepare our dinner from their own self-interest, not from humanity [Smith,A]
Does consent create the obligation, or must there be some benefit? [Sandel]
Moral contracts involve both consent and reciprocity; making the deal, and keeping it [Sandel]
Not all deals are fair deals [Sandel]
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 2. Golden Rule
The categorical imperative is not the Golden Rule, which concerns contingent desires [Sandel]
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 9. Contractualism
Right and wrong concerns what other people cannot reasonably reject [Scanlon]
A human right is not plausible if public scrutiny might reject it [Sen]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
Particularism gives no guidance for the future [Nussbaum]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion
Compassion is unreliable, because it favours people close to us [Nussbaum]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / h. Respect
Kantian respect is for humanity and reason (not from love or sympathy or solidarity) [Sandel]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 4. External Goods / d. Friendship
Friendship without community spirit misses out on the main part of virtue [Hume]
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty
It can't be a duty to strive after the impossible [Kant]
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 3. Universalisability
Check your rationality by thinking of your opinion pronounced by the supreme court [Rawls]
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 4. Persons as Ends
Man cannot dispose of himself, because he is not a thing to be owned [Sandel]
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 5. Motivation for Duty
The will's motive is the absolute law itself, and moral feeling is receptivity to law [Kant]
24. Applied Ethics / A. Decision Conflicts / 2. Dilemmas
Moral questions can only be decided by common opinion [Hume]
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 3. Animal Rights
We should respect animals in the way that we respect the animal nature in humans [Nussbaum]
It may be no harm to kill an animal which cannot plan for its future [Nussbaum]
The Capabilities Approach sees animals as agents, not just as having feelings [Nussbaum]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life
The state of nature always involves the threat of war [Kant]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 3. Natural Equality
People must have agreed to authority, because they are naturally equal, prior to education [Hume]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / a. Natural rights
There can be no restraints on freedom if reason does not reveal some basic rights [Kant]
A power-based state of nature may not be unjust, but there is no justice without competent judges [Kant]
Natural rights are nonsense, and unspecified natural rights is nonsense on stilts [Bentham]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / b. Alienating rights
In the contract people lose their rights, but immediately regain them, in the new commonwealth [Kant]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 5. Original Position / a. Original position
The original position insures that the agreements reached are fair [Sen]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 5. Original Position / b. Veil of ignorance
The veil of ignorance encourages neutral interests, but not a wider view of values [Sen]
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
The only purpose of government is to administer justice, which brings security [Hume]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. Social contract
The idea that society rests on consent or promises undermines obedience [Hume]
The people would be amazed to learn that government arises from their consent [Hume]
Personal contracts are for some end, but a civil state contract involves a duty to share [Kant]
There must be a unanimous contract that citizens accept majority decisions [Kant]
A contract is theoretical, but it can guide rulers to make laws which the whole people will accept [Kant]
Social contracts assume equal powers among the participants [Nussbaum]
Just visiting (and using roads) is hardly ratifying the Constitution [Sandel]
A social contract limits the pursuit of justice to members of a single society [Sen]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / e. General will
A law is unjust if the whole people could not possibly agree to it [Kant]
The a priori general will of a people shows what is right [Kant]
25. Society / B. The State / 3. Constitutions
The aim of legislators, and of a good constitution, is to create good citizens [Aristotle]
It would be absurd if even a free constitution did not impose restraints, for the public good [Hume]
Each nation should, from self-interest, join an international security constitution [Kant]
A constitution must always be improved when necessary [Kant]
A just constitution harmonises the different freedoms [Sandel]
A ratified constitution may not be a just constitution [Sandel]
25. Society / B. The State / 4. Citizenship
A citizen must control his own life, and possess property or an important skill [Kant]
A person's voice may count because of their interests, or because of their good sense [Sen]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / a. Autocracy
Monarchs have the highest power; autocrats have complete power [Kant]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / b. Monarchy
Modern monarchies are (like republics) rule by law, rather than by men [Hume]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / c. Despotism
Famines tend to be caused by authoritarian rule [Sen]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / d. Elites
Nobility either share in the power of the whole, or they compose the power of the whole [Hume]
Hereditary nobility has not been earned, and probably won't be earned [Kant]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society
The church has a political role, by offering a supreme power over people [Kant]
Any establishment belief system is incompatible with full respect for all citizens [Nussbaum]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 1. Social Justice
Human life is pointless without justice [Kant]
The highest ideal of social progress is a universal cosmopolitan existence [Kant]
Justice concerns not natural distributions, or our born location, but what we do about them [Rawls]
Capabilities: Life, Health, Safety, Mental life, Love, Planning, Joining in, Nature, Play, Control [Nussbaum, by PG]
Justice requires that the ten main capabilities of people are reasonably enabled [Nussbaum]
Capabilities are grounded in bare humanity and agency; qualifying as rational is not needed [Nussbaum]
Rights are not just barriers against state interference; governments must affirm capabilities of citizens [Nussbaum]
The social contract has problems with future generations, national boundaries, disabilities and animals [Nussbaum]
Should we redress wrongs done by a previous generation? [Sandel]
We can approach justice through welfare, or freedom, or virtue [Sandel]
For Aristotle, debates about justice are debates about the good life [Sandel]
Work is not fair if it is negotiated, even in a fair situation, but if it suits the nature of the worker [Sandel]
Justice concerns how a society distributes what it prizes - wealth, rights, power and honours [Sandel]
Justice is about how we value things, and not just about distributions [Sandel]
Distributive justice concern deserts, as well as who gets what [Sandel]
Our institutions should promote justice, rather than embodying it [Sen]
We must focus on removing manifest injustice, not just try to design a perfect society [Sen]
If justice needs public reasoning, which needs democracy, then justice and democracy are linked [Sen]
You don't need a complete theory of justice to see that slavery is wrong [Sen]
Practical justice concerns not only ideals, but ways to achieve them [Sen]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / a. Slavery
To be just, Aristotle thought it must be both necessary and natural [Aristotle, by Sandel]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / c. Free speech
Enlightenment requires the free use of reason in the public realm [Kant]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
Negative liberty is incoherent; all liberties, to do and to be, require the prevention of interference [Nussbaum]
Political freedom is an incoherent project, because some freedoms limit other freedoms [Nussbaum]
Capabilities are part of freedom, involving real opportunities [Sen]
Freedom can involve capabilities, independence and non-interference [Sen]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 3. Social Equality / a. Grounds of equality
The need for equality among people arises from impartiality and objectivity [Sen]
All modern theories of justice demand equality of something [Sen]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 3. Social Equality / c. Legal equality
Equality is where you cannot impose a legal obligation you yourself wouldn't endure [Kant]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 3. Social Equality / d. Economic equality
Citizens can rise to any rank that talent, effort and luck can achieve [Kant]
Libertarians just want formal equality in a free market; the meritocratic view wants fair equality [Sandel]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / a. Basis of rights
There are two kinds of right - to power, and to property [Hume]
Only laws can produce real rights; rights from 'law of nature' are imaginary [Bentham]
Political and civil rights are not separate from economic and social rights [Nussbaum]
Freedom from torture or terrorist attacks is independent of citizenship [Sen]
Hart (against Bentham) says human rights are what motivate legal rights [Sen]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / b. Inalienable rights
You can't make a contract renouncing your right to make contracts! [Kant]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / c. Property rights
We all know that the history of property is founded on injustices [Hume]
It is an exaggeration to say that property is the foundation of all government [Hume]
If someone has largely made something, then they own it [Kant]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 5. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish
Justice asserts the death penalty for murder, from a priori laws [Kant]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 2. Social Utilitarianism
We shouldn't focus on actual preferences, which may be distorted by injustices [Nussbaum]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
Effective democracy needs tolerant values [Sen]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / b. Consultation
Democracy needs more than some institutions; diverse sections of the people must be heard [Sen]
Democracy as 'government by discussion' now has wide support [Sen]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 6. Liberalism
The vitality of business needs maximum freedom (while avoiding harm to others) [Kant]
Our aim is a constitution which combines maximum freedom with strong restraint [Kant]
A lawful civil state must embody freedom, equality and independence for its members [Kant]
Actions are right if the maxim respects universal mutual freedoms [Kant]
Liberalism does not need a comprehensive account of value [Nussbaum]
Liberal freedom was a response to assigned destinies like caste and class [Sandel]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 13. Feminism
Women have no role in politics [Kant]
If women share rights with men, they will exhibit similar virtues [Wollstonecraft]
Women are often treated like children, and not respected for their choices [Nussbaum]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 14. Green Politics
Eradicating smallpox does not impoverish nature [Sen]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. War
The people (who have to fight) and not the head of state should declare a war [Kant]
Some trust in the enemy is needed during wartime, or peace would be impossible [Kant]
Hiring soldiers is to use them as instruments, ignoring their personal rights [Kant]
26. Natural Theory / A. Concepts of Nature / 2. Natural Purpose
Teleological thinking is essential for social and political issues [Sandel]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 10. Closure of Physics
The completeness of physics cannot be proved [Papineau]
Modern biological research, especially into the cell, has revealed no special new natural forces [Papineau]
Determinism is possible without a complete physics, if mental forces play a role [Papineau]
27. Natural Reality / A. Space-Time / 1. Space / b. Space
Empty space contains a continual flux of brief virtual particles [Krauss]
27. Natural Reality / C. Nature of Matter / 4. Quantum Theory
Uncertainty says that energy can be very high over very short time periods [Krauss]
27. Natural Reality / C. Nature of Matter / 6. Protons
Most of the mass of a proton is the energy in virtual particles (rather than the quarks) [Krauss]
27. Natural Reality / D. Activity of Matter / 2. Forces
Newton introduced forces other than by contact [Newton, by Papineau]
Newton's laws cover the effects of forces, but not their causes [Newton, by Papineau]
27. Natural Reality / D. Activity of Matter / 5. Heat
Joule showed that energy converts to heat, and heat to energy [Joule, by Papineau]
27. Natural Reality / D. Activity of Matter / 6. Special Relativity
Space itself can expand (and separate its contents) at faster than light speeds [Krauss]
27. Natural Reality / D. Activity of Matter / 7. Conservation Laws
Descartes said there was conservation of 'quantity of motion' [Descartes, by Papineau]
Early Newtonians could not formulate conservation of energy, since they had no concept of potential energy [Newton, by Papineau]
Newton's Third Law implies the conservation of momentum [Newton, by Papineau]
Leibniz upheld conservations of momentum and energy [Leibniz, by Papineau]
All forces conserve the sum of kinetic and potential energy [Helmholtz, by Papineau]
Quantum 'wave collapses' seem to violate conservation of energy [Papineau]
27. Natural Reality / G. Cosmology / 2. Beginning
The universe is precisely 13.72 billion years old [Krauss]
27. Natural Reality / G. Cosmology / 4. General Relativity
General Relativity: the density of energy and matter determines curvature and gravity [Krauss]
27. Natural Reality / G. Cosmology / 6. Multiverse
It seems likely that cosmic inflation is eternal, and this would make a multiverse inevitable [Krauss]