[Pathways] Climate Change and the Long-Term Future – Winter School

Date:   February 24-25, 2020

Location: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 52, 9712GL Groningen, Netherlands  

More information on website: 

After six successful installments, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen will host its seventh yearly Winter School, aimed primarily at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. The theme of the Winter School this year is Climate Change and the Long-Term Future. It will consist of 6 lecture tutorials where topics related to the theme will be discussed from different disciplinary viewpoints: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).


Climate change is among the biggest challenges humanity faces today. How should individuals, societies, and humanity at large respond to climate change and other long-term challenges? Far from being a question for the natural sciences alone, a good answer also requires a 'PPE perspective', that is, a perspective that combines philosophy, politics, and economics. In this winter school, different researchers will take a PPE perspective in exploring climate change and our ethical and political obligations towards future people. The challenge is typically seen as a collective action problem. From this perspective, it calls for an institutional solution that facilitates widespread cooperation among individuals and countries. And it brings up empirical questions, such as what explains people's attitudes and actions towards the environment and future generations and how can those be improved? But it also has an important epistemic dimension. For example, what is a rational response to scientific disagreement and to the risk and uncertainty involved in climate predictions? Finally, the winter school also tackles fundamental normative questions, such as: What are our moral obligations to future people? Do they extend to all future people and, if so, does this imply that our longtermist moral duties trump any short-term concerns? 

Programme (speakers confirmed so far)

Prof Leah Henderson, 'The philosophy of climate science' 

Prof Lisa Herzog, 'Climate Science and Democracy – Considerations from Political Epistemology' 

Dr Simon Friederich, 'Climate change as a collective action problem and the importance of very cheap energy'

Prof Frank Hindriks, 'Sustainable institutions and a duty to join forces' 

Dr. Andreas T. Schmidt, 'Longtermism and our duty towards far-future people'

The winter school is aimed at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. It also offers students interested in studying the PPE Master in Groningen an insight into the kinds of teaching and research done at the PPE Centre. 


The Faculty offers up to three scholarships of up to EUR 200 for promising students enrolling in the winter school who express interest in later applying for a Master's programme in Groningen. Moreover, participants who later enrol in a Master's programme at the Faculty of Philosophy for the year 2020/2021 will have their registration fee for the winter school reimbursed. 

To apply for the scholarships, send a short CV (max 2 pages) and a letter (max 1 page) stating your interest in the winter school to winterschoolphilosophy@rug.nl with 'Application for winter school scholarship' as subject. Deadline to apply for the scholarships: January 7, 2020. Preference will be given to members of underrepresented groups. 


To register, send an email with your name, affiliation and status (undergraduate, graduate) to winterschoolphilosophy 'at' rug.nl with 'Registration for winter school' as subject, no later than January 15th 2020. As the number of spots is limited, you are encouraged to register early. Preference will be given to advanced undergraduate students. 

As the number of spots is limited, you are encouraged to register early. Preference will be given to advanced undergraduate students. 

General Information

  • Dates:                                                    February 24-25, 2020 
  • Scholarship application deadline:               January 7, 2020 
  • Registration deadline:                              January 15, 2020 
  • Registration fee:                                      EUR 40, to be paid online 

Further inquiries can be directed to winterschoolphilosophy@rug.nl

Hana Barkowitz

Marketing/Research Officer
Faculty of Philosophy
University of Groningen

[Pathways] The Blue Pill Dilemma: Is Knowledge a Blessing or a Curse?

Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy: www.jsfphil.org

Call for Papers: Vol. 3 (second round of reviews)

The Blue Pill Dilemma: Is Knowledge a Blessing or a Curse?

The question about choosing knowledge or willful ignorance is at least as old as Plato's Cave; older perhaps, down to the Tree of Good and Evil. Science Fiction writers can be as illuminating as they can be ambiguous. In the original The Matrix Neo took the Red Pill, choosing Truth – and got himself into a world of trouble. Wouldn't the Blue Pill (of "Ignorance is Bliss") have served him better?

In dystopian tales, deep questioning is proscribed to safeguard the (questionable) happiness of the general population. In pre- and post-apocalyptic scenarios scientific knowledge can be savior and culprit, both revered and feared. Brain-in-a-vat stories make the choice between harsh reality and simulated bliss vivid and poignant, while cyberpunk stories emphasize the double-edged dangers of making all our personal information conveniently available. The tension thus created in these stories merits examination. Which is preferable? Which is better? Can a truth cause more harm than a lie? Is there a danger of knowing too much? Is knowledge just a neutral tool, or is there, as Plato would have it, something inherently good about seeking knowledge?

 The deadline for the second round of reviews is February 29, 2020.

Contact the Editor, Alfredo Mac Laughlin, at editor.jsfphil@gmail.com with any questions, or visit www.jsfphil.org for more information. 

*General Articles, Response Essays, Book Reviews, accepted year-round. See www.jsfphil.org for details*

[Pathways] 'Quest of Reality' by D. R. Khashaba


The book traces the human quest for Reality from the first gropings of primitive humans through the speculations of modern philosophers to my own confessedly personal vision.


D. R. Khashaba

[Pathways] Mixed Martial Arts and Philosophy

Squaring the Octagon: Philosophers Grapple with Mixed Martial Arts

Edited by Jason Holt and Marc Ramsay

Call for Abstracts
Deadline: 15 January 2020
Apologies for x-posting

In mere decades, mixed martial arts (MMA) has exploded as a worldwide phenomenon, a sport as controversial as it is compelling, one that demands serious philosophical attention. Abstracts are sought for a prospective anthology on the philosophical significance of MMA.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Is MMA a true martial art?
• MMA vs. traditional martial arts and combat sports
• MMA epistemology: the nature of know-how
• Tournament of techniques: strikers vs. grapplers, cage vs. street
• MMA as illustrating philosophical theories
• Philosophically useful case studies: GSP, Ronda Rousey, BJ Penn, etc.
• Is it immoral to participate in or watch MMA and other violent sports?
• Ethical/legal dimensions of MMA (consent, legal moralism, paternalism, etc.)
• Respect, gamesmanship, and cheating in MMA
• Performance-enhancing drugs in MMA
• MMA and gender
• Beauty and ugliness in MMA
• Is MMA an art form?

An editor at Routledge has expressed interest in receiving a full proposal, to be submitted once abstracts have been finalized.

Initial submission should include an abstract (150-250 words) and CV, sent to both Jason Holt (jason.holt@acadiau.ca) and Marc Ramsay (marc.ramsay@acadiau.ca) by 15 January 2020.

Deadline for abstract/CV: 15 January 2020
Notification of abstract status: 30 January 2020
First draft: 1 June 2020
Final draft: 1 September 2020

(NB: Abstract acceptance does not by itself guarantee acceptance of the full paper.)

Prof. Jason Holt
School of Kinesiology
Acadia University
550 Main St.
Wolfville, NS
B4P 2R6
Website: https://kinesiology.acadiau.ca/faculty-staff/jason-holt.html

DR Geoffrey Klempner.

          RIP. Dr Geoffrey Klempner (1951-2022).           Absolute pleasure to have known and work with you since 2003. ...