Stretch your horizons

ODIP: The Online Dictionary of Intercultural Philosophy



The Online Dictionary of Intercultural Philosophy offers brief and understandable definitions of non-Western philosophical terms. It aims to promote a shift from Comparative Philosophy to World Philosophy enabling a genuine plurality of knowing, doing, and being human. The Online Dictionary of Intercultural Philosophy 1) collects key-concepts from several regions and 2) presents those concepts in a succinct fashion. It is meant to be an inspiring and stimulating resource for philosophers who aim to expand their horizons and think interculturally.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

  1. Cosmology: Methodological Debates in the 1930s and 1940s (George Gale) [REVISED: June 4, 2015]
    Changes to: Bibliography
  2. Emergent Properties (Timothy O’Connor and Hong Yu Wong) [REVISED: June 3, 2015]
    Changes to: Main text, Bibliography

    Word Meaning (Luca Gasparri and Diego Marconi) [NEW: June 2, 2015]

  3. Skepticism (Peter Klein) [REVISED: June 2, 2015]
    Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html
  4. Quantum Approaches to Consciousness (Harald Atmanspacher) [REVISED: June 2, 2015]
    Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html
  5. The Revision Theory of Truth (Philip Kremer) [REVISED: June 2, 2015]
    Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
  6. Convention (Michael Rescorla) [REVISED: June 1, 2015]
    Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
  7. Hermann Weyl (John L. Bell and Herbert Korté) [REVISED: June 1, 2015]
    Changes to: Main text, Bibliography
  8. Fallacies (Hans Hansen) [NEW:

SS: Philosophy, psychology, anthropology: morality

Review – Eethicalthical Life
Its Natural and Social Histories
by Webb Keane
Princeton University Press, 2016
Review by Bob Lane
Mar 22nd 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 12)

Often moral philosophy classes begin with an attempt to say precisely just what the subject matter of the course will be. Definitions, like this, “Morality is, at the very least, the effort to guide one’s conduct by reason — that is, to do what there are the best reasons for doing — while giving equal weight to the interests of each individual who will be affected by one’s conduct.” (James Rachels) or, this “The ground of obligation here must be sought not in the nature of the human being or in the circumstances of the world in which he is placed, but a priori simply in concepts of pure reason.” Or following Hume, we might argue that reason can never provide the basis for morality and that at best it can serve the desires and impulses, moral or otherwise, that arise in us for non-rational reasons. On this view, as Hume put it, “Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions.”


And then an attempt to say what counts as a moral act — usually a distinction is offered at this point between acts that are conventional and acts that are moral. Driving on the right side of the road in North America is obviously (adverbs begin to appear) conventional while intentionally driving your vehicle into an innocent pedestrian to see how far the body will fly is more than conventional — it is wrong. A moral vocabulary emerges: wrong, right, permissible, prohibited, good, evil. Questions arise: Where does obligation come from? What is the role of religion in morality? Is an act good because God says so or does God say so because it is good? What about the influence of my tribe? Does one’s culture dictate what is good and what is bad?

Read the review here.




Moral Psychology: An Exchange

In response to:

The Psychologists Take Power from the February 25, 2016 issue

To the Editors:

Psychology originated as a branch of philosophy, and for centuries the two areas of inquiry have richly informed each other. Some of history’s greatest moral philosophers have written on the moral implications of “human nature,” “moral sentiments,” and “the crooked timber of humanity,” while psychologists have probed how concepts elucidated by philosophers are implemented in ordinary minds. As psychologists we have continued to profit from this dialogue, particularly since we have found philosophers to be the best reasoners in the academy: the scholars most likely to read carefully, summarize accurately, respect distinctions, and expose fallacies.

From The New York Review of Books.

Comments welcome – arguments most welcome!

Which Comes First?

haidtI would like to think that I and others around me have the ability to distinguish moral right from wrong in at least some very straightforward cases. But am I justified in thinking that? After all, there seems to be considerable disagreement on key moral issues between the various cultures of the world today, between our society today and those in the past, and between different members of the same societies. If we know that certain things are objectively right or wrong, and it feels as though we do, why do so many people disagree with us?

We don’t see this much disagreement when it comes to simple arithmetic, simple matters of whether there is or isn’t a body of water between Nanaimo and the mainland, whether there is literally a full-sized, live elephant in the room, and so on. If our moral thinking is so reliable, how can the extensive moral disagreements be explained? There seem to be three main options: a hopelessly bigoted and conceited explanation, a pessimistic explanation, and an optimistic explanation. Let’s consider these in order. Continue reading