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  1. Submission Statement: Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the West has responded with some of the most wide-reaching sanctions ever. The UK government claimed these would cripple the Russian war machine, and Biden has asserted these sanctions are devastating the Russian economy. But after a year the predicted 15% collapse in GDP has not materialised and Putin’s capacity to wage war has not been hindered. Maria Demertzis argues the sanctions’ failure lies in three areas – the fact that Russian energy exports have not be sanctioned, that the country’s effective economic policy has prevented the economy from freefalling, and finally because a big part of the world – 59% - does not condemn Russia’s actions, either supporting it or remaining neutral. Most countries are not willing to isolate Russia to enforce the sanctions.

  2. It's over a century since Metamorphosis was published. Yet Kafka’s work still resonates with the realities we face today. In this entertaining talk, acclaimed actor and director Steven Berkoff draws on his years of experience with Kafka’s work to provide a unique insight into how Kafka can help us to better understand the world and our place within it. Franz Kafka’s stories do not follow the usual pattern of building up the narrative into a climax; they start with the climax. In Metamorphosis, for instance, Gregor Samsa wakes up from a night of uneasy dreams only to find that he had been transformed into a gigantic insect. This surreal scenario is likely to have been inspired by a letter Kafka had sent to his father, who was deeply disappointed by his son’s sensitive, curious and artistic nature. Kafka believed that he failed to fulfil his father’s expectations of what it means to be a man and, thus, that he appeared in his eye to be no better than an insect. Kafka did not think in a linear, realistic fashion – reality to him was merely the trivial surface of life, merely a skin. In his work, the banalities of everyday life make way for the surreal, unconscious elements of our existence worth investigating, our absurd inner lives, our dreams.

  3. In this talk, philosopher Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad challenges the politically powerful notion of individualism via two Sakskrit concepts: TheSelf and The Person. Far from delivering on the moral imperatives it claims -tolerance and equality – individualism has contributed to a widespread inequality of expression of agency and values. But it is built on an incoherent sense of what makes us who we are. If the individual is defined via the concept of the self, as individualism appears to require, it is distinguishable from others formally, but lacks the rich interiority we hold makes us who we are. If we are to retain that rich inner life – all of our desires, experiences, memories etc - we do so via the concept of the person. But what defines a person is not their distinction from all others, but rather their intersectional connection with countless others.

  4. Abstract: Among the plethora of dystopian fiction of our time, The Last of Us emerged as the latest favourite TV show whose dystopian narrative appears to be following closely ideas from early modern political philosophy. Matthew Festenstein suggest that the politics of the show are rooted in seventeenth-century conceptions about the modern state and the notion of the state of nature developed by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. “The life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short” is remodelled in a United States ravaged by a fungal pandemic that has transformed most of the population in zombies. State collapse followed by disorder, mistrust among people and factions and scepticism about the potential of collective political action to challenge authority are all elements of the Hobbesian perspective embodied in The Last of Us. The pessimism of both Hobbes and the beloved TV show lies in their bleak visions of the political options available to us in a potential apocalyptic scenario and their scepticism about our power to change things, writes Festenstein.

  5. In this debate, philosopher Raymond Tallis, sociologist Kay Peggs, writer Melanie Challenger, and farmer Jamie Blackett ask if we’re wrong to consider humans as distinct and superior to other animals, and if we’re hypocrites to treat different species differently. 

  6. Abstract: In this debate, Sam Coleman, Hannah Critchlow and Donald Hoffman search for the key to the consciousness puzzle, giving their perpsetives on whether materialism is a fundamental mistake.

  7. Abstract: Both Hegel and Schopenhauer departed from Kant’s ideas about the relationship between our sense and the mind which organises them and the mental categories necessary to learn the truth about the world. But the two thinkers arrived at very different conclusions, writes Joshua Foa Dienstag. For Hegel, the unfolding of truth could be revealed in history – human culture was a process of becoming something better, which reached its culmination in the period of the Enlightened Europe. Schopenhauer, on the other hand, thought the exact opposite: truth was not to be found in history but only outside of it. He saw reality as detached from our notions of space and time because our human understanding, reliant, as Kant argues, on mental categories, always contained something illusory. Thus, Hegel’s optimistic idea that humanity was following a predictable pattern of growth towards an ultimate stage of development clashed with Schopenhauer’s pessimism about our capacity to fundamentally change. He recognised an immutable essence that ran through all of history, despite its periods of growth and deterioration. Schopenhauer’s solution was resigning from Hegel’s deceiving optimism bound to lead us to disappointment and to “lose ourselves” in activities that allow us to contemplate the eternal, such as art.

  8. Nietzsche is one of the great 19th century critics of modernity, whose philosophy has been for a long time stripped down of its political substance. To redeem Nietzsche from his association with Nazism, he has often been branded as a moody, dark and brilliant bohemian existentialist who, nonetheless, had nothing to do with politics. Today, however, both the right and the left are trying to appropriate Nietzsche’s views more or less explicitly. The right emphasises Nietzsche’s predictions of a hedonistic and nihilist culture that would follow the death of God. The left draws inspirations from the emancipatory fervour that characterises his philosophy, as a powerful tool to fight against antiquated power structures in society, like religion. But both sides of the political spectrum get Nietzsche wrong; and neither of them would like to fully embrace his political vision if they understood it, argues Matt McManus. Nietzsche was ultimately an aristocratic radical who “dreamed of a new aristocracy which would blend antiquarian pride and violence with Christian inner depth – a Caesar with the soul of Christ,” writes McManus.

  9. Abstract: The evidence is that dark energy is responsible for the rate of the universe’s expansion. While the name makes it sound like a spooky force, it’s the cosmological constant Einstein added to his theory of gravity in 1917. There is a backing of sorts from quantum theory, which predicts a cosmological constant but of a substantially different value. Unifying the value predicted by quantum theory with the value observed from the expanding universe would be a great discovery, but even the most sophisticated theory is constrained by observational evidence which will always be imperfect and incomplete. Theories will always be an approximation, and never an account of ultimate reality, argues James Peebles.

  10. Abstract: Using intuitions as evidence is a common practice in analytical philosophy, but critics have argued our intuition cannot be trusted, quoting examples of thought experiments where cognitive biases and demographic differences have impacted their outcome. Nevin Climenhaga comes to the defence of common sense, arguing that there can be good and bad intuitions and there are ways in which we can differentiate the first from the latter. Intuitions can be tested either through experiments or “armchair” philosophical reasoning which help identify whether the content of a particular intuition is based on truth or not. One avenue for testing our intuitions in the absence of reliable experimental data is to see how well it fits in with other intuitions. If a single philosophical theory can explain a diverse set of intuitions, this makes it unlikely that either of those intuitions can be explained away through experimentation or armchair error theories. Validating philosophical beliefs using intuitions is not a simple task, but this should not mean we must dismiss intuitions as generally unreliable, argues Nevin Climenhaga.

  11. Abstract: In the 1980s the Libet experiment tried to prove free will is an illusion using empirical evidence. Despite some criticism, many philosophers and scientists still believe the experiment has demonstrated the validity of their belief that humans are merely biological machines.

  12. After a career spent in the pursuit of truth, Simon Blackburn explains how the deflationist approach, one which demonstrates why there's nothing to say about truth, changed his mind. While truth may be found to correspond to facts, many philosophers agree that correspondence in itself cannot account for a theory of truth. We can try instead to assess truth in light of other things we believe to be true, meaning that fundamentally truth is coherence across all beliefs. But coherence does not exclude the possibility of falsity – we can easily conceive of coherent stories that are nonetheless fictional. An alternative approach is pragmatism, which supposes that truth is that which is useful, but this view also fails to capture the essence of truth as it cannot be guaranteed that what one finds useful has any valid relation to reality. Therefore, the question “what is truth?” ends up dissolving into another: “what are you interested in finding out?” Such an account renders the word ‘truth’ redundant, since saying something is true does not bring any new information to what had already been stated.

  13. Abstract: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) are widely recognised as classic dystopias that reflect a lot more about the world today than most people would like to admit. While presenting different version of a dystopian future, the two texts ultimately portray a common feature: an authoritarian regime that works to circumvent any potential dissent and obtain complete submission and control over their people in order to maintain absolute power. While Brave New World depicts a hedonistic dystopia that creates an illusion of pleasure and freedom, Orwell’s novel brings more pessimistic view of a totalitarian regime relentlessly repressing freedoms through censorship and ideological brainwashing. Emrah Atasoy explains how each of these perspectives are accurately describing aspects of our world today, acting as cautionary tales in many different ways.

  14. Abstract: In this debate, Philosopher Philip Goff, human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti, and physicists George Ellis and Carlo Rovelli debate the role of faith and belief in politics and science.

  15. Wittgenstein’s unique philosophical approach aims to liberate us from conceptual confusion generated by language. Seeing the word ‘God’ as a proper noun pushes us to search for a spatio-temporal entity that it may refer to. However, God is necessarily unobservable, not just contingently so, as it is the case of electrons, for instance. The belief that God is an entity that can be discovered goes contrary to the religion grammar of ‘God.’ If, by some impossible means, the existence of such a physical God could be demonstrated, then between humans and God there would only be a quantitative difference – in size or powers – and not a qualitative one. Confusing the sphere of religion with science in this way would destroy the fundamental purpose of religion, which, in Wittgenstein’s conception, is as much a belief as it is a way of life – writes Genia Schönbaumsfeld.

  16. Could there be a new rule where "subscription only" articles get a symbol on the home feed? I'm so sick of how these articles amount to no-go territory, but it takes a few seconds out of your life to learn that you can't redistribute these important philosophical critiques. And yes, I did subscribe to free IAI, but for whatever reason it never goes through.

  17. Hi, this article should be completely free to view and you shouldn't have any prompt to subscribe, register, or anything else. You're also welcome to share or redistribute the link in this post wherever you like and it will likewise be free to view. I have double and triple checked this is the case.

  18. Abstract: We usually conceive of the world as being made up of different components and we set ourselves the task of identifying and understanding what each of these elements of reality represents. But with postmodernism came the realisation that we may never be able to fully grasp what the world is really made of. Instead, Hilary Lawson proposes a radically-different approach and supposed that the world is an unspecified other or an “openness” that we close into our ideas and the properties we assign to it. In doing so we give ourselves a means to intervene in the world but also distance ourselves from its openness. These closures can be developed and refined but they are not an ultimate description of reality, only a way for humans to be able hold the world.

  19. Submission Statement: The war in Ukraine has been raging for a year now, with Putin continuing to challenge NATO’s expansion towards the East, and Western powers strengthening their support for Ukraine. In this article, seven leading experts share their views on the state of the war, the prospects for its resolution, and Russia’s position and relationship to China in the geopolitical system emerging since the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine. Nigel Inkster, Owen Matthews, Svitlana Morenets, Stathis N. Kalyvas, Alexander Korolev, Chris Ogden, and Lasha Tchantouridzé address these pressing issues and give a nuanced account of the long-term ramifications of the war for the balance of world power.

  20. Philosophers, metaphysicians or social psychologists frequently employ thought experiments, such as the Trolley or Gettier cases, to study important epistemic notions or how people think about what is right or wrong, what is morally permissible or not. But these experiments suffer from significant limitations, argues philosopher of science Edouard Machery. In the Trolley case, for instance, people respond differently depending on the way in which the test is phrased and the order in which they read it. This is what psychologists refer to as “framing effects.” Moreover, demographic and cultural factors can have a significant effect on how people respond to these experiments. Edouard Machery asks us to recognise that intuition is not as reliable as we would like to think and to be more critical of the conclusions we draw from thought experiments.

  21. Abstract: Finding transcendence through psychedelics experiences is seen by sceptics as simply illusory revelations caused by alterations in the brain chemistry. Drawing a parallel between the nature of consciousness and transcendence, Ricky Williamson suggests we should move past physicalism and recognise that consciousness is more than the result of a complex combination of unconscious physical elements of reality. Nobody has been able to actually prove the existence of consciousness through scientific observation of the brain, meaning that consciousness is a subjective experience, it can only be known from the “inside. Thus, if we cannot fully explain consciousness by analysing the brain’s chemistry, nor can we say with confidence that psychedelic experiences are just some chemically-induced hallucinations giving the illusion of the transcendent.

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