The world is a very puzzling place. If you’re not willing to be puzzled, you just become a replica of someone else’s mind.
Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is an interesting-looking animation of a conversation with Noam Chomsky, directed by Michel Gondry (of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame) last year. You can check out a trailer of it here, and read a review..
After yesterday’s heap of links included an unusual Wikihow article, it was brought to my attention that the Wikihow site is home to a number of illustrated articles that are more relevant to philosophy, if no less ridiculous. They include: How to Become a Philosopher (“Think about the world, what it means to live, to die, to exist, and what the point of it is“); Ho..
In September of 2011, the Yale Daily News published an article that detailed two stories of sexual misconduct at Yale. Now, a woman who says she is the victim in “Case 2” in that article has claimed to be the person initiating the lawsuit mentioned in the anonymous blog post, “The Moral Philosopher and His International Affairs” (previously), and has started a site ..
1. Want to annoy a metaphysician? Send him or her a link to this video, which purports to answer the question, “How Many Things Are There?”
2. Rousseau, pranking, and spanking.
3. You won’t believe who is saying that there is such a thing as a free lunch.
4. “Real philosophy has always flourished outside institutional walls,” says Scott Samuelson at the Huffington Post, who then goes on to recommend the study of seven philosophers who are probably known mostly to folks inside said walls. (UPDATE: Montaigne, one of the recommended philosophers, was featured in a 7-part series in The Guardian a few years back. Here is Part 1.)
5. An article about Dora Russell, “British feminist, sex radical, progressive educator, peace activist, and second wife of the philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell.”
6. The Wall Street Journal reports that philosophy, or something like it, is making its way into business school curricula, while Fast Company discusses the relevance of Aristotle to tech startups.
7. Don’t be a robot, says Evan Selinger (Rochester Institute of Technology) over at CNN.
8. Philosopher and “follower of Christ” Paul Gould (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) offers an explanation of why the Baptist Church needs philosophers.
9. In a better world, would most adjuncts be tenure-track?
10. A pop philosopher curates an art exhibition aimed at solving your personal problems (more).
11. I’m happy to admit: neither do I.
BONUS UPDATE: 12. On What Matters on what matters, the tumblr. (Not new, but new to me.)
1. A defense of the lecture.
2. Harvard’s internal report on the scientific misconduct case of Marc Hauser.
3. “Socrates and the Crisis of the Universities“, a lecture by MM McCabe (video).
4. “The Philosophy” is a new shiraz-cab blend from McGuigan Wines. A bit pricier than these.
5. Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” — non-ideal theory version.
6. “I enter the teletransporter.” One step closer?
7. Did Socrates play the harp?
8. Massimo Pigliucci asks, “What Has Philosophy Ever Done for Us?” in a short video.
9. The philosophical owl, now available as a greeting card. More wonderful animals by Grandville.
10. Internal: the threads on how much you travel for work, conformity to journal style, philosophers in government, and the pragmatism map are still open for your comments. Also, the post on philosophical critiques of Piketty has been updated with new links to critiques by others.
1. “No one goes into the humanities for reasons political, professional, or merely personal. We do so because devoting ourselves to some particular field strikes us an especially exciting and appropriate way of leading a life, because the work required seems to us noble, challenging, and rewarding, and because we love it.” David McCabe (Colgate) on how not to defend the humanities.
2. “Where will they all sleep and dine? How do philosophers party? What should we print on the pillows and promotional cups?” That’s from a very strange piece on the 2018 World Congress of Philosophy, which will be held in Beijing. “The question is, can China–with its largely untapped resources, ideas, and innovations–revive the once exceedingly gorgeous but now sadly torpid and dour discipline?”
3. Pills to fall in love, and pills to fall out of love: it’s likely not a matter of if, but of when. “We’re trying to get ahead of the technology and ahead of the science with some ethical arguments.” Australia’s ABC Radio hosts a discussion of the ethics of the pharmacology of love with Brian Earp (Oxford) and others.
4. “Throughout its 10-year run, Watterson made Calvin and Hobbes his mouthpiece for profound insights in aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, and existentialism” — a short piece on the upcoming documentary, Dear Mr. Watterson, about the beloved comic strip that adorns the doors of many a professor’s office. There’s a trailer at the link, too.
5. “The division of labor is not that philosophy is speculative while physics is not; rather, each discipline looks for different kinds of answers.” M. Anthony Mills, a philosophy graduate student at Notre Dame, responds to Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
6. Áine Mahon, a post-doc in philosophy at the University of Dublin, is interviewed in the Irish Times about philosophy in literature.
7. The Philosophy School of Phish, at Oregon State University, “is an experiment in engaged philosophy that will use a variety of venues to facilitate collaborative and experiential learning in the Phish community.” Uh huh. Taught by assistant professor Stephanie Jenkins, “This class will use Phish’s mythology, live performances, and social media presence in order to introduce key ideas in the history of philosophy in public settings. Specifically, we will explore possibilities publicly engaged scholarship holds for social transformation, community-building, and experiential learning.” And jamming, I am sure they meant to add.
8. “Even though Player 1 wants a health pack, he believes it is his duty to give it to Player 2.” 8-Bit Philosophy on Kant on freedom and moral responsibility.
Today is the start of phil.Cologne, a week-long philosophy festival featuring an international slate of philosophers taking up a wide range of questions. Also included: a philosophy slam. Check out the program.
Jason Stanley (Yale) writes:
I just met with Professor Stephanie Spangler, Yale’s Deputy Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity and also the University’s Title IX Coordinator. She is responsible for oversight of the University’s policies and programs to address and prevent gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct (which are summarized at http://s..
In England, a judge who relied explicity on the writings of John Stuart Mill in his ruling granted an imprisoned mentally ill Jehovah’s Witness sex offender the right to refuse a blood transfusion after a suicide attempt.
The judge was told that had been moved to hospital from prison after cutting his arm with a razor blade and opening an artery. Specialists said ..
The students come to class having read a passage from a text and having prepared some questions or points for discussion about it. The teacher arranges the classroom seating into two concentric circles. The students in the inner circle discuss and analyse the text while the students in the outer circle remain silent, observing and commenting on the discussion via sh..
Luciano Floridi (Oxford) has been selected by Google to be a member of an advisory panel to help the company handle requests from European residents asserting their newly acquired legal “right to be forgotten” (also here).
Over at the Justice Everywhere blog, Anca Gheaus (Sheffield) takes up the question of whether the practice of asking for, reading, and giving weight to reference letters as part of our hiring decisions is on balance good or bad. She says bad, looking at the ways in which the practice of soliciting and relying on letters of recommendation reinforces the influence of ..
Very Bad Wizards is a series of fun and fascinating podcast conversations on morality and related issues between philosopher Tamler Sommers (Houston) and psychologist David Pizarro (Cornell) and occasional guests. They have recently put out their 46th episode, which features a discussion with Josh Knobe (Yale), and starts off with a discussion of how a person’s nudi..
Michael P. Wolf (Washington & Jefferson College) taught pragmatism this past semester and created a map to help keep things straight. A big map. Not unworkably big, of course, but big. Behold, “A Map of American Pragmatism and Its Roots.” Wolf is now looking for feedback on the map. Feel free to leave it in the comments here or email him directly at mwolf ‘at’ washj..
Lisa Bortolotti, a philosopher at the University of Birmingham, has won a European Research Council Consolidator Grant for 2 million euros (over 5 years) for “Project PERFECT”, as in Pragmatic and Epistemic Role of Factually Erroneous Cognitions and Thoughts (via Leiter). The goal of the project is “to establish whether cognitions that are inaccurate in some importa..
The app…asks the user to consider the implications of the option at hand according to five categories of “good”: utility (“Does this action produce the most good and do the least harm for all who are affected?”), rights (“Does my action best respect the..
You and a number of your colleagues keep asking what philosophy (of science, in particular) has done for science, lately. There are two answers here: first, much philosophy of science is simply not concerned with advancing science, which means that it is a category mistake (a useful philosophical concept) to ask why it didn’t.
BOOM! By now you have probably read abo..
An experiment on unwitting professors shows that racial and gender bias persists, even in disciplines much more diverse than philosophy.
That’s Neil deGrasse Tyson on majoring in philosophy. Chris Hardwick, over at Nerdist, interviews the famed astrophysicist and host of Cosmos, and one of the topics is philosophy (starting at 20:19). deGrasse Tyson thinks there is too much questioning in philosophy. Still, he has one question for philosophers: “Why are you wasting your time?” Sigh. There’s no one li..
In this series, I am interested only in the following question: supposing that Piketty is right about the nature of capitalism, what are the normative implications? My answer will be that it’s fa..
Julinna Oxley (Coastal Carolina) and Diane Perpich (Clemson), both philosophy professors who head up the women’s studies programs at their respective universities, have written a brief editorial in South Carolina’s main newspaper, The State, raising questions for the State Legislature about the closure of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University o..
Dan Kaufman, who had been barred since March for unspecified reasons from the University of Colorado, where he is associate professor of philosophy, is no longer “banished” from campus. Story here.
A “pip” is defined variously as a small fruit seed, a dot on dice or dominoes, an exemplar. It is a verb meaning to crack or chip a hole in a shell. Wonderfully evocative, no? (It’s also the name of a disease which causes a crust on the tongues of birds but let’s ignore that for now as it is gross and doesn’t really work for what I’m going for.) For here, PIP stands..
There is a great discussion on the thread about diversity in philosophy departments at undergraduate institutions, with many thoughtful comments and constructive suggestions still coming in.
One set of concerns that arises in these discussions has to do with the legality of trying to hire in a way that will make for a more diverse department. This was a topic addre..
Ned Markosian (Western Washington) has declined the offer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The U.S. Department of Education released the names of colleges and universities “under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.” You can check to see which institutions are on the list here and read an article about the investigations here. (via Jennifer Frey)
UPDATE: Though the official D..
In Slovenia, Alma Maruška Sedlar, a woman described in news reports as a philosopher and teacher, has been appointed by President Borut Pahor as a deputy chief of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. Sedlar is not an academic, but rather a journalist and labor activist who graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Maribor in 2007 with a thesis on censorship and hate speech. (Thanks to Friderik Klampfer at Maribor for that information.)
What professional philosophers have held government offices recently, say, in the past decade or so? There is Michael Ignatieff in Canada. And back in 2005, the government of Norway hired Henrik Syse to be the ethicist for its petroleum fund. I’m sure there are other examples. Readers?
Anja Jauernig, currently associate professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, has accepted a senior offer from New York University, starting in January, 2015 (via Leiter). One could say she works on Kant and early modern philosophy, or one could just defer to her own words, which include a brief defense of the history of philosophy:
My main interests i..