The latest issue of Reason Papers, vol. 37, number 2 is now out; officially, it’s the Fall 2015 issue, but we only just managed to put it up on the website last night. This link will take you to a monster-size PDF to the whole issue (almost 250 pages). This link will take you to the journal’s Archive page, where you can access individual articles for this or any past issue (you have to scroll down a bit). Finally, this link will take you to three (time sensitive) Calls for Papers issued by the journal’s editors: one on “the philosophy of play” (March 1, 2016); one a fifteen-year retrospective on 9/11 (July 1, 2016); and one an Authors-Meet-Critics symposium on Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen’s forthcoming book The Perfectionist Turn: From Meta-Norms to Meta-Ethics (February 1, 2017).
There’s a lot of good stuff in the issue, but that doesn’t stop me from having my own favorites, or from making my own personal recommendations. Actually, in some cases, I only read/edited early but not final drafts of manuscripts, so the published versions are as new to me as they would be to anyone else.
I know it’s tooting my own horn (because I’m in it), but I think PoT readers interested in moral epistemology will get something out of the symposium on David Kaspar’s Intuitionism, which began as an informal Author-Meets-Critics session at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art back in June of 2014 (attended, incidentally, by PoT blogger Michael Young).
In a strange way, despite the differences between us, I think each of Kaspar’s three critics ends up making a different version of the same criticism: intuitionism is a realist theory that entails that there are mind-independent moral truths, but intuitionists haven’t given us good reason to believe that intuitions track the truth. I think Kaspar’s response to us is best interpreted as saying that all knowledge ends in basic knowledge, not justifiable on the basis of further knowledge, and that intuitionism successfully identifies this knowledge in the moral domain. Anyway, readers can adjudicate the disagreement for themselves, but I got a lot out of reading Kaspar’s book and engaging with him (and the others).
Michael Huemer’s The Problem of Political Authority has been hailed in some quarters as a sort of knock-down argument against the state, and in some moods, as the last word in contemporary political philosophy. I haven’t read Huemer cover to cover, and don’t quite agree with the line taken by Danny Frederick in his critical review of Huemer, but I think Frederick’s review throws some cold water on some of the more over-heated claims for Huemer’s book.
Depending on your interests, you may well get a lot out of any of the book reviews in the issue, but I myself found Brendan Shea’s review of Dennett’s Intuition Pumps, and Richard Burnor’s review of Mark Murphy’s God and the Moral Law of specifically philosophical interest. Patrick Webb’s review of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow gives readers a broad overview of the book’s contents, but doesn’t in my view quite convey the revolutionary character of its message. This link gives a better sense of the book’s overarching significance.
Finally, PoT’s Matt Faherty draws on his Bangladesh experiences (chronicled here) to beat up on Andrew Morgan’s anti-globalization film, “The True Cost” (2015). As you might expect of Matt, he gives the film a mercilessly libertarian rhetorical drubbing. Not having seen “The True Cost,” I can’t evaluate the accuracy of what he says, but I still regard the review as a smashing success (so to speak): having read it, I’m now strongly inclined to watch the film in order to figure out whether it’s the propaganda show Faherty says it is, or whether his review is a cold, capitalist hatchet job of the work of well-meaning activists trying to tame an industry out of control.
This issue is the journal’s first under a new editorial line-up. I stepped down as Co-Editor in early 2015; Carrie-Ann Biondi remains Co-Editor, and Shawn Klein is now Co-Editor alongside her. I was Book and Film Review Editor for 2015, but found the work overwhelming, and decided to cut and run. I didn’t manage to run very far, however: I’m now going to function as a sort of Editor at Large for the journal–which is another way of saying that I’ll shift my workload onto Shawn and Carrie-Ann, and make ad hoc contributions to the journal as the mood strikes. But I’m still officially on the editorial staff, so feel free to run ideas by me as I roam the world “at large.”