New Books in Philosophy
New Books in Philosophy
New Books Network
Interview with Philosophers about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Luis H. H. Favela, "The Ecological Brain: Unifying the Sciences of Brain, Body, and Environment" (Routledge, 2024)
Ecological psychology holds that perception and action are best explained in terms of dynamic interactions between brain, body, and environment, not in classical cognitivist terms of the manipulation of representations in the head. This anti-representationalist stance, argues Luis Favela, makes ecological psychology deeply at odds with dominant trends in some parts of neuroscience.  In The Ecological Brain: Unifying the Sciences of Brain, Body, and Environment (Routledge, 2024), Favela lays out the seemingly irreconciliable theoretical commitments of ecological psychology and neuroscience, and then defends a framework for reconciling them: the NeuroEcological Nexus Theory (NExT). According to Favela, who is an associate professor of philosophy and cognitive sciences at the University of Central Florida, complexity science provides the conceptual tools that can help integrate these frameworks, such as by articulating the key notion of affordances in ecological psychology as a kind of dimensional reduction in complexity science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
May 10
59 min
J. P. Messina, "Private Censorship" (Oxford UP, 2024)
When we think of censorship, our minds might turn to state agencies exercising power to silence dissent. However, contemporary concerns about censorship arise in contexts where non-state actors suppress expression and communication. There are subtle and not-so-subtle forms of interference that come from social groups, employers, media corporations, and even search engines. Should these “new” forms of censorship alarm us? Should we assess them in ways that mirror our typical views about state-enacted censorship? If not, how should we think about non-state modes of censorship? In Private Censorship (Oxford University Press, 2024), JP Messina takes up these broad questions. He examines a range of emerging sites of non-state censorship – what he calls “private” censorship – and sorts through the normative, political, and legal issues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
May 1
1 hr 9 min
Emily S. Lee, "A Phenomenology for Women of Color: Merleau-Ponty and Identity-In-Difference" (Lexington Books, 2024)
How can we understand the changing power of race and gender to shape our reality? How shared is reality? Can narratives of experience help us develop these analyses? What role does embodiment play in shaping experience? In A Phenomenology for Women of Color: Merleau-Ponty and Identity-in-Difference (Lexington Books, 2024), Emily S. Lee uses the tools of critical phenomenology to deeply engage with the theoretical work of women of color to approach these questions. Through reconstructing phenomenological approaches, particularly as developed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Lee helps us see past a naturalization of the identity group “women of color” to understand more deeply the coalitional struggle its articulation involves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Apr 20
1 hr 9 min
Eric Schwitzgebel, "The Weirdness of the World" (Princeton UP, 2024)
"What's life for if there's no time to play and explore?" In The Weirdness of the World (Princeton UP, 2024), Eric Schwitzgebel invites the reader to a walk on the wilder side of philosophical speculation about the cosmos and consciousness. Is consciousness entirely a material phenomenon? How much credence should we have in the existence of a world outside our minds? Are there multiple parallel universes? Schwitzgebel, a professor of philosophy at the University of California-Riverside, constructs chains of conditional probabilities to explore the zone just beyond the edge of what we can understand, however imperfectly, given current scientific theory. He distinguishes hypothetical scenarios that are not worth taking seriously – like being a brain in a vat – from those that are just plausible enough to deserve playful, yet motivated, consideration. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Apr 10
1 hr 2 min
Stephen Phillips, "The Metaphysics of Meditation: Sri Aurobindo and Adi-Sakara on the Isa Upanisad" (Bloombury, 2024)
In The Metaphysics of Meditation: Sri Aurobindo and Ādi Śaṅkara on the Īśā Upaniṣad (Bloomsbury 2024), Stephen Phillips argues that the two titular Vedānta philosophers are not as opposed as commonly thought. His book is structured as a series of essays on Aurobindo and Śaṅkara’s analysis of the early, important, and brief Īśā Upaniṣad, also including a new English translation of the text along with a translation of Śaṅkara’s commentary thereupon. Philosophically, the book investigates questions about what is metaphysically fundamental, the epistemology of mystical, meditative practices such as yoga, the limitations of human language in expressing the ineffable—and the role of poetry in these efforts, and the problem of evil facing even panentheistic monists such as Advaita Vedāntins. In many ways an introduction to Advaita Vedānta, The Metaphysics of Meditation also includes new translations of Śaṅkara’s theodicy from his Brahmasūtra commentary and his discussion of the disciplines (yogas) of meditation and action in his Bhagavad Gītā commentary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Mar 20
1 hr 3 min
Jon Robson, "Aesthetic Testimony: An Optimistic Approach" (Oxford UP, 2022)
A lot of what we claim to know we learn from other people's testimony: they tell us, and in many ordinary contexts that is enough to gain knowledge. But for many philosophers, aesthetics is different. Such pessimists about aesthetic testimony hold that facts about aesthetic properties – such as Shakespeare's Hamlet being a tragedy, or Picasso's Guernica being anti-war – can't be transmitted by testimony, and can only be learned through first-person experience.  In Aesthetic Testimony: An Optimistic Approach (Oxford UP, 2022), Jon Robson argues that aesthetic testimony should be treated on a par with testimony in other domains; our deference to others in aesthetic matters is about the same as it is in other areas of knowledge. Robson, who is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Nottingham, defends a view called contextualist optimism, in which, just as with testimony in other domains, whether we obtain aesthetic knowledge depends on the context in which aesthetic judgments are transmitted. Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Mar 10
1 hr
Charlotte Witt, "Social Goodness: The Ontology of Social Norms" (Oxford UP, 2023)
In our day-to-day lives, we are subject to normative requirements, obligations, and expectations that originate in the social roles we occupy. For example, professors ought to pursue the truth, while parents ought to be supportive of their children. What’s interesting is that these role-specific requirements seem to befall us. We do not choose them. This raises the puzzle of what accounts for their normativity. In Social Goodness: The Ontology of Social Norms (Oxford University Press 2023), Charlotte Witt proposes a novel and intriguing conception of the nature of social norms and the source of their normativity. The centerpiece of her account is the idea that we must look to various examples of artisanal practices, dispositions, and techniques to understand social norms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Mar 5
1 hr 7 min
Rebecca Roache, "For F*ck's Sake: Why Swearing Is Shocking, Rude, and Fun" (Oxford UP, 2023)
Swearing can be a powerful communicative act, for good or ill. The same word can incite violence or increase intimacy. How is swearing so multivalent in its power? Is it just all those harsh “c” and “k” sounds? Does swearing take its power from taboo meaning? Why is swearing sometimes so funny? In For F*ck’s Sake: Why Swearing Is Shocking, Rude, and Fun (Oxford University Press, 2023), Rebecca Roache, host of the podcast The Academic Imperfectionist, offers us rich insights into the complex importance of swearing to help us understand who gets judged too harshly for doing it, why it’s important to be able to offend with swearing, why we might need to advocate for some swear words, and so much more. Sarah Tyson is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Denver. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Feb 20
1 hr
Michael Devitt, "Biological Essentialism" (Oxford UP, 2023)
What makes a species a species? Aristotle answered the species question by positing unchanging essences, properties that all and only members of a species shared. Individuals belonged to a species by possessing this essence. Biologists and philosophers of biology today are either not essentialists at all, or if they are think there are essences they are relational, historical properties.  In his provocative book Biological Essentialism (Oxford UP, 2023), Michael Devitt argues for a new form of biological essentialism in which intrinsic essences, probably largely genetic properties, are part of what tie species together and that the actual explanatory practices of biologists commit them to this view. Devitt, who is distinguished professor of philosophy, emeritus, at CUNY Graduate Center, responds to many philosophers critical of his position, and applies his essentialism to debates about race realism and anti-realism. Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Feb 10
1 hr 7 min
Lisa Herzog, "Citizen Knowledge: Markets, Experts, and the Infrastructure of Democracy" (Oxford UP, 2023)
For better or worse, democracy and epistemology are intertwined. For one thing, politics is partly a matter of gathering, assessing, and applying information. And this can be done responsibly or incompetently. At least since Plato, a leading critique of democracy has focused on the ignorance of ordinary citizens. Historically, this kind of critique has supplied the basis for several nondemocratic proposals. Yet it has also worked in the background of a range of views within democratic theory. Among these are views that have relied on markets as mechanisms for sharing and distributing information. But there are hazards to market-based thinking about democracy. In Citizen Knowledge: Markets, Experts, and the Infrastructure of Democracy (Oxford UP, 2023), Lisa Herzog explores three conceptually distinct sites where democracy interfaces with epistemology: markets, expert communities, and public deliberation. The result is an integrated political epistemology for democracy. Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/philosophy
Feb 1
1 hr 7 min
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