New Books in Philosophy

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books



      Elizabeth F. Cohen, “The Political Value of Time: Citizenship, Duration, and Democratic Justice” (Cambridge UP, 2018)

      We’re all familiar with some of the ways that time figures into our political environment.  Things such as term limits, waiting periods, deadlines, and criminal sentences readily come to mind.  But there are also protocols, accords, mandates, and contracts, and these frequently invoke temporal bounds of various kinds.  In fact, when you think of it, a full range of political phenomena are structured by time.  And yet time seems to have eluded political theorists and philosophers.
      In The...



      Edouard Machery, “Philosophy Within Proper Bounds” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      There are five people on the track and a runaway trolley that will hit them, and you are on a footbridge over the track with a large person whose body can stop the trolley in its tracks. Should you push the large person to his death to save the five on the track? Using hypothetical cases and questions about them to elicit judgments is a prominent method of analytic philosophy to discover modal or necessary truths – truths about what must be the case. The method is used to consider what a...



      William A. Edmundson, “John Rawls: Reticent Socialist” (Cambridge UP, 2017)

      John Rawls is easily the most celebrated and influential political philosopher of the 20th Century, and his impact remains remarkably strong today.  The central concepts with which his theory of justice begins are now components of the philosophical vernacular: The Original Position, Veil of Ignorance, Primary Goods, and his Two Principles of Justice (especially the Difference Principle) all will be well known to the majority of professional philosophers.  It is less commonly acknowledged t...


       2018-06-01  1h2m

      Ruth G. Millikan, “Beyond Concepts: Unicepts, Language, and Natural Information” (Oxford UP, 2018)

      Kant famously asked the question, how is knowledge possible? In her new book, Beyond Concepts: Unicepts, Language, and Natural Information (Oxford University Press, 2018), Ruth Garrett Millikan responds to this question from a naturalistic, and specifically evolutionary, perspective. Millikan, who is distinguished professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, has long been a leading figure in theorizing about language and thought. Her latest work considers the “clumpy” world that org...


       2018-05-15  1h0m

      Christian B. Miller, “The Character Gap: How Good Are We?” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      My guest today is Christian Miller. Christian is A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University.  He is a moral philosopher specializing on character, with special interest in the empirical study of the virtues and vices. He currently directs The Beacon Project, which studies morally exemplars; and he has recently completed a 5-year research project called The Character Project.  His latest book is titled The Character Gap: How Good Are We?  (Oxford University Press, 2017)


       2018-05-01  58m

      Alexus McLeod, “Philosophy of the Ancient Maya: Lords of Time” (Lexington Books, 2018)

      The ancient Maya are popularly known for their calendar, but their concept of time and the metaphysics surrounding that conception are not. In Philosophy of the Ancient Maya: Lords of Time (Lexington Books, 2018), Alexus McLeod reconstructs an ancient Mayan metaphysical system based on key texts and other artifacts plus using analogies with ancient Chinese philosophical thought. On his view, the Maya held that we can understand everything in temporal terms but that everything does not reduce...


       2018-04-16  1h4m

      Gloria Origgi, “Reputation: What it is and Why it Matters” (Princeton UP, 2018)

      We all put a great deal of care into protecting, managing, and monitoring our reputation. But the precise nature of a reputation is obscure. In one sense, reputation is merely hearsay, a popular perception that may or may not have any basis in fact. Yet we rely heavily on reputations for example, when were choosing a restaurant, mechanic, or physician. Accordingly, multiple sites on social media are devoted to helping us to discover the reputation of service providers, social events, and...


       2018-04-02  n/a

      Menachem Fisch, “Creatively Undecided: Toward a History and Philosophy of Scientific Agency” (U Chicago Press, 2017 )

      Thomas Kuhn upset both scientists and philosophers of science when he argued that transitions from one scientific framework (or “paradigm”) to another were irrational: the change was like a religious conversion experience rather than a reasoned shift from one theory to another based on the best evidence. But even if one disagrees with Kuhn, how can this change be shown to be rational? More generally, how can transitions from one set of normative standards to another be rational,...


       2018-03-15  43m

      Karen Neander, “A Mark of the Mental: In Defense of Informational Teleosemantics” (MIT Press, 2017)

      The two biggest problems of understanding the mind are consciousness and intentionality. The first doesn’t require introduction. The latter is the problem of how we can have thoughts and perceptions that about other things for example, a thought about a tree, or a perception of a tree. How can mental states be about other things? A naturalistic theory of intentionality is one that explains intentionality using just those resources available from the natural sciences, such as causal...


       2018-02-15  1h0m

      Bart Streumer, “Unbelievable Errors: An Error Theory about All Normative Judgments” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      It’s intuitive to think that statements of the form “lying is wrong” ascribe a property—that of wrongness—to acts of the type lying. In this way, one might think that statements of this kind are much like statements of the form “Bill is left-handed,” which also seems to attribute a property—left-handedness to Bill. But what about a statement like “Bill is a Wookie?” As there is no property of being a Wookie, the statement seems...


       2018-02-01  1h2m