The latest edition of the APA newsletters was posted online recently. In a short series of posts, I’m providing a brief synopsis of each issue (read the first and second posts). The APA newsletters are often overlooked, but they don’t deserve to be. Their pages contain a wide variety of scholarly material, discussion on relevant and timely topics, book reviews, and much more. You can download the newsletters on the APA website.
The spring 2017 issue of the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers features a paper by William Rapaport, winner of the 2015 Barwise Prize. Dr. Rapaport delivered the paper, “What Is Computer Science?,” which defines computer science from a philosophical standpoint, at the 2017 Eastern Division meeting in Baltimore, MD.
In “Why Think That the Brain Is Not a Computer?” Marcin Miłkowski addresses objections to computationalism—the view that brains are machines, or information-processing mechanisms. The author shows how each of the objections fail and argues that there is support for computationalism in cognitive neuroscience.
“From Biological to Synthetic Neurorobotics Approaches to Understanding the Structure Essential to Consciousness” is the second installment in a three-part series by Jun Tani and Jeff White (Part 1 was published in the fall 2016 issue, and Part 3 will be published in the fall 2017 issue). In the current paper, Tani and White review research in predictive coding as a platform for testing competing theses about the functionalities of consciousness in both biological and artificial systems.
Next, Richard Evans rearticulates Kant’s vision of a self-legislating agent in computational terms and provides a philosophical background for a constructivist model of artificial cognitive architectures in “Kant on Constituted Mental Activity.”
In the final article, “I Am, Therefore I Think,” Don Perlis argues that reflexive self-knowledge is at the heart of cognition and can be studied computationally as an engineering problem.
The spring 2017 issue of the APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy includes several discussion papers on the impact of the current U.S. political landscape on Hispanics, the winner of the 2016 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought, and essays on Tsotsil epistemology, the philosophy of Luis Villoro, and Leopoldo Zea’s connection to the Greeks.
In the first article, “The Solace of Mexican Philosophy in the Age of Trump,” José-Antonio Orosco draws on the work of José Vasconcelos (The Cosmic Race, 1925) to explain Trump’s victory in the context of the cultural and political differences between North and Latin America that began during colonialism and developed over time.
In “Repealing Obamacare: An Injustice to Hispanics,” Susana Nuccetelli discusses the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health-care coverage for Hispanics in the United States. Citing Rawlsian and Pluralistic grounds, she argues that “no morally acceptable reason can justify the narrowing of health-care benefits” by repealing the ACA.
Next, in “Latinx and the Future of Whiteness in American Democracy,” José Jorge Mendoza shows how American whiteness has changed over time, finding ways to maintain its majority status despite the country’s changing demographics.
The winner of the 2016 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought, “Eudaimonia and Neltiliztli: Aristotle and the Aztecs on the Good Life,” is also featured in this issue. L. Sebastian Purcell’s prize-winning essay compares the rooted virtue ethics of the Aztecs’ conception of the good life, neltiliztli, to Aristotle’s view of eudaimonia.
The next two papers have been translated into English by the editor of the Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy, Carlos Alberto Sánchez. The first, “Tsotsil Epistemology: An Intangible Inheritance” by Manuel Bolom Pale, discusses various philosophical concepts and their significance to Tsotsil culture.
And in “Luis Villoro: Universal Mexican Philosopher,” Mario-Teodoro Ramírez provides an overview of Villoro’s primary contributions to philosophy in the areas of epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics.
The issue ends with Django Runyan’s paper, “In Search of the Philosophical Impulse: Zea and the Greeks,” which shows how Leopoldo Zea’s approach to philosophy is reminiscent of the pre-Socratics.
The next post in this series will cover the remaining newsletters. I encourage you to read the APA Newsletters and to share them with your colleagues and students!
The APA Newsletters are a great place to publish your work! Individual guidelines for preparing and submitting material are posted on each individual newsletter’s webpage. You can find links to all of them here.