In a review of William MacAskill’s book “Doing good better,” Amia Srinivasan writes about the conservative aspects of effective altruism as a social movement:

The subtitle of Doing Good Better promises ‘a radical new way to make a difference’; one of the organisers of the Googleplex conference declared that ‘effective altruism could be the last social movement we ever need.’ But effective altruism, so far at least, has been a conservative movement, calling us back to where we already are: the world as it is, our institutions as they are. MacAskill does not address the deep sources of global misery – international trade and finance, debt, nationalism, imperialism, racial and gender-based subordination, war, environmental degradation, corruption, exploitation of labour – or the forces that ensure its reproduction. Effective altruism doesn’t try to understand how power works, except to better align itself with it. In this sense it leaves everything just as it is. This is no doubt comforting to those who enjoy the status quo – and may in part account for the movement’s success.

Philosopher Peter Singer writes in a Project Syndicate about a medical doctor Texas that facing criminal persecution because he “refused to let a vial of vaccine expire and sought out eligible recipients before the doses would have to be discarded.” In the article Singer makes some interesting reflections on ethical and rule based systems.

The Youtube channel Philosophy Overdose uploaded this great video. The video is a compilation of some people discussing the differences between positive versus negative liberty/freedom.

In the following interview from 1981, Michel Foucault gives a brilliant and eloquent overview of his philosophical project.

Een interessant essay van Eva Meijer, postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Wageningen over de huidige coronavirus pandemie. In haar eesay schrijft ze over hoe deze biologische processen verworven zijn met hoe we sociaal en politiek om gaan met dit virus.

Om te begrijpen dat we als mensen deel uitmaken van allerlei voorspelbare en onvoorspelbare processen in plaats van daarover te kunnen heersen, om voorzichtiger om te gaan met die kwetsbare sterke planeet waar we allemaal door een wonderbaarlijk toeval op terecht gekomen zijn, om nieuwe vormen van samenleven te ontwikkelen en nieuwe vormen van kennis, die niet het nut van de grote bedrijven dienen, maar dat van de regenwormen, de kunst, de Noordzee, en de mensen.

Het volledige essay hier.

Philosophy Overdose published this short clip of Michel Foucault discussing power in an interview with André Berten from 1981.

Martha Claeys heeft een mooi essay geschreven op de Bij Nader Inzien blog over schaamte en schuldgevoelens wanneer we het vliegtuig nemen. Haar artikel geeft een goed overzicht over de filosofische problemen, maar ook het nut van deze gevoelens. Lees het volledige artikel hier.

Het is niet omdat groene schaamte niet de meest efficiënte manier is om duurzamer te leven, dat het niet ook waarde kan hebben. Bovendien is de individuele nood aan verandering noodzakelijk om structurele veranderingen af te kunnen dwingen. Er moet immers draagvlak zijn voor maatregelen die ook voor die 100 grootste vervuilers gelden. Er moet een publieke vraag zijn. Schaamte maakt die vraag dringend.

Watching a video with excerpts from the Chomsly-Foucault debate via These shorts segments give a good quick look on the diverging view of Chomsky and Foucault and their views on power and human nature.

With the Vietnam War near its height, Chomsky and Foucault agree that contemporary power structures need to be attacked and dismantled. However, while Chomsky advocates for a system of ‘anarcho-syndicalism’ rooted in justice, sympathy and human creativity, Foucault argues that these concepts are products of the same bourgeois system that needs replacing. Probing age-old philosophical questions as well as the politics of the moment, the interview offers a revealing glimpse of the divergent styles, attitudes and outlooks of two enduringly influential thinkers.

Surprised to see an interview with Donna Haraway on The Guardian. In the interview she discusses the science wars and her current focus on climate activism. Read the full article here.

Fantastic lecture from Annemarie MolWhere is my Body? Notes on Eating and Topology”. This lecture was organised by the Research Center of Social and Cultural Studies Mainz (SoCuM) as part of their yearly Georg Forster Lecture series. More excellent speakers have been invited of the years, and I’m curious to look at those lectures as well. A page with all the Georg Forster lectures can be found here. The following is the original abstract from the SoCuM website for the lecture:

In the course of the twentieth century, the notion “das Volk” gradually lost its appeal. Natural and social realities got disentangled. The sciences came to take bodies as a basic layer and social phenomena as situated on top of it. In recent practice-oriented studies this changes, as in practice there are no layers, but bodily and social elements act together. Other topological configurations shift accordingly. For in practice “my body” is not necessarily be-neath my skin; as I eat stuff from everywhere, it stretches out. But while “my body” is wide-spread, knowledge about it is situated. The fact that “my body” needs 2000 kcal a day, may be relevant in a setting of scarcity, but in contexts of abundance it is counterproductive. In single settings, at the same time, different kinds of facts may come to clash. Economics may take feeding grain to chicken to be efficient, but for nutrition science it is not at all. The topological complexity of bodily spaces thus laid out, gives reason to conclude that while in practice scientific knowledge is highly pertinent, it does not offer conclusive grounds.