The Philosophers Zone

Subscribe to The Philosophers Zone feed The Philosophers Zone
A simple text feed of the programs most recent stories. Copy and paste into your blog or RSS feed reader.
Updated: 24 min 40 sec ago

Nutting it out

April 14, 2019 - 08:30
How are your critical thinking skills? Fine, you say. Everybody sees themselves as a competent critical thinker. But when you break critical thinking down to its component skills, it turns out to be more complicated and difficult than you might expect.

Artificial intelligence, real emotions

April 7, 2019 - 08:30
Artificial intelligence is pretty impressive these days. An AI robot can interact with humans in ways that give a strong impression of empathy, intellectual engagement and independent thought. A robot can smile, frown and respond to emotional cues offered by human faces and voices. But can it experience real emotions of its own?

The ecology of torture

March 31, 2019 - 07:30
Who is responsible for acts of torture? Individual perpetrators, certainly. But focusing on the guilt of individuals can lead us to miss the significance of context - social, political, cultural, the "ecology" of complex circumstances within which practices of torture occur.

Techne-logy

March 24, 2019 - 06:30
The ancient Greek root of our word "technology" is techne, which means "craftsmanship" or "art". In a world where technology today is thought of in mechanistic terms - consumer items that simply appear in our lives and perform certain functions - is it time we rediscovered the techne behind its development?

Are we enlightened?

March 17, 2019 - 06:30
Most of us think of the European Enlightenment as a historical period during which society cast off the shackles of mythic thinking. Today, mythic thinking is alive and well in the era of neo-liberal capitalism - at least that's according to the analysis of critical theory, a mode of philosophy deeply rooted in the dynamics of history. Critical theory comes to us via Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, whose 1944 work Dialectic of Enlightenment is still a seminal text. But how does it hold up today?

Free speech crisis on campus?

March 10, 2019 - 06:30
With freedom of speech at Australian universities currently under governmental review, we explore the notion of free speech on campus. Should what gets said at universities - and who gets to say it - be regulated? And is the supposed "free speech crisis" just a front for the culture wars?

Existentialism and crisis

March 3, 2019 - 06:30
Existentialism entered the popular consciousness after World War 2, and for many it still has a mid-century ring to it. But how does it look look today, especially in an age where the unfolding environmental crisis calls for something more than radical humanism?

On the way

February 24, 2019 - 06:30
John Kaag is a philosopher who travelled to the Swiss Alps with the aim of putting into practice some of Nietzsche's recommendations for "becoming who you are". In his memoir Hiking With Nietzsche, what he finds is that following in the footsteps of the great German thinker requires big shoes.

Walter Benjamin: multimedia prototype?

February 17, 2019 - 06:30
As an intellectual oddball in the early 20th century, Walter Benjamin appears to have been a precursor of the cross-disciplinary hybrid thinkers we celebrate today. Was he the first multimedia journalist?

Ageing

February 10, 2019 - 06:30
Getting older: comedy or tragedy? Martha Nussbaum and Saul Levmore—co-authors of Aging Thoughtfully: Conversations About Retirement, Romance, Wrinkles and Regret—talk about older bodies, intergenerational resentment, and a certain Shakespearean geriatric.

Devotion, democracy and Duterte

February 3, 2019 - 06:30
Is religious language incompatible with democratic politics, as philosopher Richard Rorty believed? Not in the Philippines, where religion and democracy are working together as close allies—with troubling implications for justice and human rights.

Disability and dignity

January 27, 2019 - 06:30
Philosophers have been slow to address disability - which is odd, because disability raises a host of fascinating and challenging issues around justice, rights and fairness.

African philosophy and the West

January 20, 2019 - 06:30
How do you articulate African philosophy in a Western academic environment? And what gets lost in the project of “translating” the former into the categories of the latter?

Backyard ethics: defending the NIMBY

January 13, 2019 - 06:30
Suppose a new hospital or drug rehabilitation centre needs to be built. If you’re a NIMBY, then you’ll be fine with the project—as long as it doesn’t negatively affect your property value. NIMBYism is often touted as the scourge of suburbia, but maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Dignity and enhancement

January 6, 2019 - 06:30
Human dignity is one of those ideas that seem to have been around for as long as humans themselves, and few people would take issue with it. But like most ideas, human dignity has a philosophical pedigree, and there are in fact those who say we should abandon the notion—or at least modify its invocation.

The beauty imperative

December 30, 2018 - 06:30
What does it mean when beauty moves from aesthetic choice to ethical ideal? The age-old belief that true beauty lies within is ever harder to sustain today. It was once sidelined as a 'women’s issue' but beauty is now taking its place as a subject for serious philosophical scrutiny.