More Than Just Bread

What can Philosophy teach Machine Learning?

A Journey from Socrates to AI via Cognitive Science From Socrates to Cognitive Science Federico Castellano Towards Data Science Since Socrates asked Thrasymachus for a definition of the concept of justice, philosophy posed for the very first time one of the most challenging philosophical questions: what is a concept? For many hundred years, inquiries concerning the nature and structure of concepts caught the attention of the world’s finest minds; yet it wasn’t until the sixteenth and… Empiricists argued that concepts are ... Read More »

Move to call abortion and assisted suicide ‘human rights’ is ‘evil’, says Princeton professor

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has been accused of elevating individual freedom above moral considerations after recently including abortion and assisted suicide among the… Christian Today The committee’s ‘General Comment’ on the right to life, issued at the end of October, argued for the decriminalisation of abortion and the removal of restrictions that could subject women or… It also put the rights of women and girls seeking an abortion before the rights of medical practitioners with conscientious objections to performing ... Read More »

The Agora Forum 2018 – The Future of Democracy

The Agora Forum 2018, organized by Agora Dialogue in cooperation with the Athens Development and Governance Institute (ADGI- INERPOST), was held on 1–3 December 2018. It brought together twenty participants from the government, private and educational sectors to discuss the very serious challenges faced by numerous democratic countries across the world and in particular in Europe.       Adopting a process of moderated round-table dialogue, participants discussed a number of foundational texts, including extracts from Plato’s Republic, Rousseau’s The ... Read More »

Agora Forum 2018 – The Future of Democracy: a summary of day one

Agora Dialogue is guided by the belief that everyone can exercise practical reason and acquire practical wisdom through communication with others. Dr Manolis Melissaris, Legal and Political Philosopher Agora Dialogue It therefore aspires to facilitate free discourse by providing an environment of co-operation. Welcome | Keynote Address | Presentation of the Report of the Independent Commission for Sustainable Equality (ICSE) and of the Outcomes of the Forum The colloquium brings together people from various backgrounds – academics, businesspeople, policy-makers, artists – who reflect together ... Read More »

Yazidi Survivor Nadia Murad, Subject Of ‘On Her Shoulders’ Documentary, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Today it was announced that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 has been awarded to two individuals for their respective efforts “to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” WYSK They include Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor and activist, whose powerful story is the subject of Alexandria Bombach’s award-winning 2018 documentary ‘On Her Shoulders’ (view… In announcing the equal share winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee wrote ... Read More »

The Indian tribe that gave up hunting to save forests

A tribe in the north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland gave up their ancient tradition of hunting to protect wildlife. Photographer Sayan Hazra chronicles life in the village years after it banished the practice. BBC At one time, 76-year-old Chaiyievi Zhiinyii was a skilled hunter. But he stopped hunting in 2001. The Khonoma tribe gave up what was an important source of livelihood some 20 years ago in order to create a more stable ecosystem for future generations. For centuries, many ... Read More »

The case to set aside one day of the year to remember our great artists

In Australia, we hold state funerals for political leaders, however divisive or unloved they may have been while they lived.  And we grieve the departure of sporting greats. Julian Burnside Daily Review Perhaps we should set aside one day each year to remember great Australian artists who have died during the past year. So far in 2018, a significant number of great creative Australian talents have died: painters Charles Blackman (b. 1928) and Mirka Mora (b.1928); photographer Polixeni Papapetrou (b. 1960); cartoonists: Jeff Hook ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Four centuries of trying to prove God’s existence

Whether God exists or not is one of the most important philosophical questions there is. And the tradition of trying to establish God’s existence involving evidence is a long one, with a golden age during the 17th and 18th centuries – the early modern period. Lloyd Strickland The Conversation Attempts to prove God’s existence continue today. But they are on nothing like the same scale as they were hundreds of years ago, with secularism now being as common among philosophers ... Read More »

What philosophers have to say about eating meat

WeWork, a co-working and office space company, recently made a company policy not to serve or reimburse meals that include meat. Joan McGregor The Conversation WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said in an email that it was the company’s attempt at reducing its carbon footprint. His moral arguments are based on the devastating environmental effects of meat consumption. Research has shown that meat and dairy production are among the worst culprits when it comes to the production ... Read More »

What makes a good friend?

Good friendships seem worth celebrating. But for many of us, tensions can appear from time to time between being a good friend and doing “the right thing.” Alexis Elder The Conversation When faced with, for example, a situation where it’s tempting to lie to cover for a friend, it can seem as though friendship and morality are on a collision course. I am an ethicist who works on issues involving friendship, so this tension is of great interest to me. ... Read More »

Slow down, get real.

In trying to understand the threat of fake news, a strange thing is occurring. We seem to have accepted without challenge the purity of that which is threatened. This is an edited version of a speech delivered at the annual conference of the Society of Risk Analysis Europe held at Mid Sweden University earlier this month. Nicholas Karides * How well did the media system work before this fakeness appeared? How real has real news been? The historian Noah Yoval ... Read More »

Justice for the next Generation? The Collapse of Values.

I was honoured to be invited to give the 2018 Hobart Oration. Julian Burnside It is sponsored by the Bob Brown Foundation. Here is what I said. Hobart Oration 23 July 2018:  Justice for the next Generation?  The Collapse of Values. The two great issues our generation is leaving the next are climate change and the treatment of refugees. Climate change I have no hesitation in saying that climate change is the number one issue today: refugees are a second-order issue, ... Read More »

Nine activists defending the Earth from violent assault

On a planet of billions, nine represent the strong minority battling murder in the global corruption of land rights Jonathan Watts The Guardian Individually, they are stories of courage and tragedy. Together, they tell a tale of a natural world under ever more violent assault. The portraits in this series are of nine people who are risking their lives to defend the land and environment in some of the planet’s most remote or conflict-riven regions. From the Coral Triangle and ... Read More »

Forcing priests to report abuse not a breach of human rights: Watchirs

New laws that will force priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse are not in breach of the ACT’s human right laws, despite concerns about the impact on religious freedoms, the ACT’s Human Rights Commissioner says. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times Under the territory’s expanded reportable conduct scheme, priests in Canberra will be required to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days from March… But the Australian Catholics Bishops ... Read More »

It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try

You want to do the right thing. But in a world where it often seems impossible to eat, shop, drive, travel, or pretty much do anything without causing some measure of harm to others and the planet, leading an… Ephrat Livni Quartz It’s true that practically everything we do in life has ethical repercussions. “Any decision that has an impact on others now or in the future is an ethical choice,” explains ethicist Christopher Gilbert, author of the new book ... Read More »