What are philosophers to do in the face of cataclysmic events occurring on so many fronts at once – the pandemic, a pivotal election in the US, a flood of protests against racism and police brutality, the Brexit upheaval, natural disasters associated with climate change …? Business-as-usual philosophers aren’t just fiddling while Rome burns – maybe their focus keeps them sane and they’re on the verge of important insights – but we do especially need public philosophy in times like these.
Elizabeth Scarbrough discusses what should be done with the monuments – the ones knocked off their pedestals as part of the summer of protest. Alida Liberman explores the injustices involved when largely peaceful protests are misrepresented as breaches of “law and order.” Alex Madva responds to doubts about implicit bias training as a way to overcome racism.
We also have essays that could have appeared before the convulsions of 2020 but still help us come to grips with our disordered world. Jason Brennan tells us we have to grow up about democracy, arguing that elections don’t legitimize our leaders in the way we would like to think Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke focus on a new pathology especially evident in online debate—“moral grandstanding.” And Berit Brogaard write on a familiar bias – misogyny – but with a twist: she distinguishes four types of female misogynists.
Last, we escape our century and go back to Cambridge University in the 1920s. We have an extract from Cheryl Misak’s biography Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers and Emily Thomas shares a Halloween-appropriate “tripos” created in 1925 by C.D. Broad. Thomas explains that Broad was just having fun writing about broomsticks and vampires, but apparently did in fact believe in some spooky psychical powers.