Alfino Projects

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Alfino's Projects

  • My example sentence for "tree blindness":
  • From: "Deep Copy Culture," in The Aesthetics and Ethics of Copying, Bloomsbury Press, October 2016.
  • Bad Sentence in italics:
  • The answer to these questions will only be found in the results of the investigation, but we should not assume that the “Enlightenment matrix” of values handles contemporary problems better simply because it is more proximate in time. In fact many copyright intellectuals, such as Larry Lessig and Julie Cohen, argue that Enlightenment categories of rights and markets do not adequately frame the wide range of problems raised by contemporary aesthetics and ethics. When we wonder about the nature of contemporary forgery or plagiarism, whether someone can own a “style,” whether a DJ is violating someone’s rights by freely mixing copyrighted material, the nature and extent of fair use, and myriad public policies issues about the freedom of individuals to engage in non-commercial use of “propertied culture,” we are certainly working within a set of values that are familiar to us and which might guide us as we move from standard cases to novel ones. To the extent that the handling of contemporary copyright problems is a matter of negotiation of rights, the proximate resources of the legal tradition and the work of “normal” copyright ethics will be useful. But it does not follow that the patchwork of solutions from within the Enlightenment tradition will comprehend the changes that new technologies and new aesthetic and intellectual practices are creating. For this we might need a new kind of analysis which reaches beyond the current paradigm.
  • Better Sentence: The values and concepts of current copyright culture seem familiar to us as we look at novel cases such as whether you can own a style or whether a DJ's mix is infringing, and ...to the extent


I'm working on three main projects right now.

  • 1 Philosophy of Food
  • As I mentioned in class, I'm just starting to explore opportunities in this area, having spent some time getting a course together. My first conference paper was from this summer, a paper called, "Sourcing Values in a Food Philosophy" [1]. Before the conference I was approached by an editor about book ideas (This is pretty typical. Editors usually have assistants who comb the programs for prospects.) and I suggested investigating the possibility of an edited collection of essays on "philosophical diets" to see if traditional approaches still make sense in light of developments in the agricultural sciences, ecology, feminism, and food studies. The conference paper hints at this argument. The first part of this project is to do a literature search (it almost always is) and engage in some communication with scholars who I think might share this perspective. If it doesn't resonate with them, I can either propose the project as an authored book or pass. My goal is to report back to the publisher, hopefully around November with an assessment of the attractiveness of the project. Of course, there's also the option of turning the conference paper into an article.
  • 2 JIE special issue (2019) on "Naturalism and Moral Responsibility"
  • Naturalism poses challenges to traditional understandings of moral responsiblity. The more we can understand behavior in terms of organic states of the body, the harder it is to blame or praise people for how they are. In the extreme case, philosophers like Bruce Waller, argue against the concept of moral responsibility itself. Other, like Manuel Vargas, offer revisions to the traditional concept. The issue is tied up with the free will debate, so you will want to review your understanding of basic positions there. I'm developing bibliography on this for a couple of reasons. I want to put out an articulate call for papers and I want to personally contact some scholars who I think would be important to represent in the special issue. Everyone will get peer reviewed, but some articles might be also be invited.
  • This radiolab episode presents the problem in real life. [2]
  • Naturalism.org invited Daniel Dennett to review Waller's book. And they had an exchange.
  • Dennett review of Waller [3]
  • Exchange on Waller [4]
  • 3. Work on Freedom of Speech and related issues.
This is a longstanding interest in information ethics and freedom of speech, but recent work was motivated by contemporary controversies over free speech and an influential book I read, Timothy Garton Ash's, Free Speech. I wrote a review of that book, "Can the Enlightenment Bring Free Speech to Cosmopolis?" [5] and a conference paper, "The Universality of Free Speech"