Suggested readings, #16

Here are some interesting articles I’ve come across recently, for your consideration:

Pandora’s Vox: thousands of years ago, the ancient Greeks anticipated robots and artificial intelligence—and they didn’t trust them. (Foreign Policy)

In search of lost time: on the current role and future tasks of philosophy. (Eurozine)

Tainted by association: would you carve a roast with a knife that had been used in a murder? Why not? And what does this tell us about ethics? (Aeon)

The problem with HR: for 30 years, we’ve trusted human-resources departments to prevent and address workplace sexual harassment. How’s that working out? (The Atlantic)

Aristotle and the good ruler: what politicians can learn from Aristotle’s Politics. (Philosophy Now)

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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

3 thoughts on “Suggested readings, #16”

  1. The Foreign Policy piece seems overinterpretating. I do know classical Greece raised an eyebrow at robots; witness the myth of Hephaestos’ creation Talos. But to say kore or Pandora smiles show that?

    Aeon piece seems to make a different type of overjump. I get that it’s trying to move from bad people to bad things. But with people, the links aren’t necessarily chance; certainly not with the examples offered.

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  2. What’s your take on that Eurozine, piece, Massimo?

    Contra Frodeman/Briggle, one need not look at the high tech of nanotech sensors swimming in the blood to ask questions of identity; one can look at the low-tech, and already-known, fecal bacteria, etc.

    Beyond their specific examples of applied philosophy, which I know is something they market, is the problem with academic philosophy as much a thing as the author indicates? And, to the degree it is a problem, while the author doesn’t place the blame entirely within academic philosophy, would you put it even as much there as he does?


    1. Socratic,

      not sure. I think there is a problem within academic philosophy, in terms of not being relevant enough and engaging in hair-splitting arguments to show how clever one is.

      Then again, I think a lot of science falls in a similar category. And science is far more expensive than philosophy…

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