In a perfect world, what would we do?

Open University Philosophy PhD student Christopher Yorke was interviewed recently by the blogsite Philosophical Disquisitions. You can hear him in an interview with John Danaher, in which he talks about utopias, games, and the relation between the utopias and games. If we lived in a world in which all our instrumental needs were met – a world in which we had no need to do anything describable as ‘work’ – what would we do? Play games, perhaps? Chris is not convinced…

Raamy Majeed’s new paper on Gestalt Effects and Aesthetic Perception is out now in Analysis

Raamy Majeed’s paper, ‘Do gestalt effects show that we perceive high-level aesthetic properties?’ is out now in Analysis.

ABSTRACT: Whether we perceive high-level properties is presently a source of controversy. A promising test case for whether we do is aesthetic perception. Aesthetic properties are distinct from low-level properties, like shape and colour. Moreover, some of them, e.g. being serene and being handsome, are properties we appear to perceive. Aesthetic perception also shares a similarity with gestalt effects, e.g. seeing-as, in that aesthetic properties, like gestalt phenomena, appear to ‘emerge’ from low-level properties. Gestalts effects, of course, are widely observed, which raises the question: do gestalt effects make it plausible that we (sometimes) perceive high-level aesthetic properties? Contra Stokes (forthcoming), this paper argues that they don’t. This is interesting in its own right, but it also points to a more general lesson, namely we should resist the temptation to appeal to gestalt effects to argue for high-level perception.

You can access the full article here

Luca Sciortino’s book

Luca completed a PhD in the philosophy of science with us in 2014. As well as being a philosopher he is a journalist and writer. And, it turns out, a traveller. He has just published a book, Oltre e un cielo in più. This documents his four-month journey from Skye to Japan. It is in Italian (he is Sicilian) but you can read a google-translated review from the newspaper La Repubblica here (original review here).

Sophie-Grace Chappell on ‘Virtue Ethics and Climate Change’

Our seminar speaker next week, February 7th, will be our very own Sophie-Grace Chappell. Details below.

‘Virtue Ethics and Climate Change’

This paper is more about virtue ethics than climate change. It discusses two possible virtue-ethical approaches to climate change and similar issues in “emergency ethics”, one that takes virtue ethics to be a systematic moral theory of the usual sort, the other that takes virtue ethics to be a broader and looser approach to ethics–an ethical outlook. It considers two objections, the timescale objection and the authority objection. To the former of these, either version of virtue ethics seems more vulnerable than other approaches in ethics, but I suggest remedies from McDowell and Aquinas. To the latter objection, I suggest that the general moral scepticism that underlies it is better outflanked than attacked directly. I aim to outflank it by proposing what I call enchanted realism, which is a metaethics which I think goes particularly well with virtue ethics, and which is also highly pertinent to the issue of climate change.

It will run from 2-4pm in CMR15. All welcome!

New Routledge collection, ‘Shadows of the Soul…’, with an entry by Carolyn Price is out now

Carolyn Price has contributed a chapter to a new collection – Shadows of the Soul: Philosophical Perspectives on Negative Emotions, which has just been published by Routledge. The collection, edited by Christine Tappolet, Fabrice Teroni and Anita Konzelmann Ziv, explores the nature and value of negative emotions, such as anxiety, shame and jealousy. The book is aimed at specialists and non-specialists alike. Carolyn’s chapter is on grief: she explores why some philosophers have held that we would be better off without grief, and she explains why she thinks they are wrong.

Global Philosophy Program on Free Speech

Join the global discussion……with Professor Michael Sandel 

Live Debate:

This is the latest philosophical question Professor Michael Sandel and the Global Philosophy Facebook group will be discussing live this Friday 26 January from 16.00 to 17.30.

The debate will be streamed live to the Global Philosophy Club Facebook group, so please do join us and share your comments and thoughts. . Some of your comments will be relayed to Prof Sandel during the session for live debate.

Everyone is invited, all you need is an internet connection.

If you want to join in the discussion, become a member of the group here:

The debate can be viewed here:

Radio Broadcast:

A shorter version of the debate will subsequently be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 6th February at 09.00-09.45.    A video version, as well as previous debates are also available on the BBC Global Philosopher website:


Our OpenLearn Global Philosophy pages also contain lots more information around philosophical themes, topic and questions.  Explore further by visiting Open Learn: