Philosophers’ Carnival – January 9, 2012

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Welcome to the January 9th edition of the Philosophers’ Carnival! A showcase of the best philosophy blog posts from around the internet from the last three weeks. Thanks to everyone that submitted*, and enjoy the show!

Philosophy of Mind

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In Art and the Limits of Neuroscience, Alva Noe questions whether neuroscience is really the proper evaluative tool for studying art, and discusses what the role of the brain is in accounting for consciousness.

Guest contributor to Cognitive Philosophy, Polo Camacho, discusses the fallibility of our perception in I’ll Believe It When I See It.

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Over at Minds and Brains, Gary Williams puts forth a thesis of Hybrid Holism, attempting to bridge the gap between a foundationalism and a holism about cognition and mental content.

Philosophy of Action

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Russel Blackford at Talking Philosophy, in a response to a  post by Jerry Coyne (link), argues that the likes of Coyne and Harris are too quick to dismiss the compatibilist position in the free will debate, even if determinism is true.

Relatedly, over at the Rationally Speaking blog, Massimo Pigliucci asks us to question our commitment to determinism.


In Can forgiveness be obligatory?, Max Sipowicz answers the question in the affirmative from a Kantian, utilitarian, and virtue ethics perspective.

Imagine a man develops pedophile impulses, a brain tumor is found and removed, and those impulses go away (true story btw). What if the brain tumor had never been found? What if it couldn’t be removed? A discussion over at Practical Ethics on what our responsibility is to use neuroscience to inform law.

An amusing painting from philosophygags, on the not so equal anthropocentric assumptions of John Rawls.


In A Theory of Moral Intuition, Christopher Eddy lays out a defense of an organ of moral sense, akin to our other senses.

A short post by Alexander Pruss, reminding us to take ontology seriously if we want to talk about human flourishing.

Philosophy of Language

A discussion of Frege’s puzzle and propositional attitudes at The Splintered Mind. What exactly does Lois Lane believe about Superman/Clark Kent?

A bit of an older post of mine on Language Acquisition which was a follow up to a post discussing Searle’s Chinese Room.


A great cartoon from over at SMBC on the Gettier Problem.


Jonah Lehrer recently had quite an in depth article in Wired tackling issues to do with causation and complex systems. Rather than link directly to that (since it is quite long), I’ll link to the his blog post where he posted just the introduction.

In Welfarism vs. Appreciating Beauty, Richard Chappell at Philosophy, et cetera examines the intrinsic vs. instrumental value of beauty.

A short discussion about the fictional anthropic principle over at Occasional Philosophy.

That’s it for this edition! Make sure to check the Philosophers’ Carnival homepage for links to all future editions (and to submit posts). Also, connect on facebook!

*I tried to pick posts that fit reasonably well with the criteria I put out in my call for submissions, sorry if you ended up not being included!