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Monthly Archives:

July 2014

1. “Discrimination Is Un-Christian, too” — philosophy graduate student Kathryn Pogin (Notre Dame, Northwestern) on the Hobby Lobby decision, in the NYT.
2. The genetics of belief: “If these predispositions [towards certain beliefs] are…to some degree genetically rooted, they may not lend themselves to rational debate and compromise.”
3. HooPs—the Hardwood Philosophical Society—uses “‘the basketball court as a transformation for African American men’ by integrating the sport with Eastern and African philosophies.” More here.
4. Read the introduction to the best-titled book in political theory, ever.
5. How you broke peer review, and what you can do to fix it (via David Wiens).
6. Plato’s Timaeus is called “the first pop science book ever” in Forbes.
7. How to mitigate bias in philosophy job searches.
8. “the statutes of [Oxford] required … an original contribution to knowledge. But what was presented by a candidate was either already known to [H.A.] Prichard and therefore not original, or else mere opinion and therefore not knowledge.” That’s J.O. Urmson, quoted in a letter to the editor in the LRB. (via Danny Woods)
9. The science of chaos in the brain.
10. “Isaiah Berlin was capable of bitching with the best of them” says a reviewer of a new book about Berlin and Isaac Deutscher.
11. Annoying strawman.


Relationships with Students

Slate’s Rebecca Schuman reports on recent discussions in the philosophical community on relations between professors and students. Several philosophers were interviewed for the article, including Carla Fehr (Waterloo), Meena Krishnamurthy (Manitoba), Rachel McKinnon (College of Charleston), and Eric Wiland (University of Missouri–St. Louis).


The Philosophical Underclass Group

The Philosophical Underclass is a Facebook group of philosophers who request and provide electronic copies of philosophical works from and to each other. It is the idea of Kevin Timpe (Northwest Nazarene University), who explains how it came about:

I work at a university that has very poor journal access. The librarians are great at getting me just about anything vi..


Daily Nous Blocked in Russia

Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge) writes: “Dear Daily Nous, I have just tried to access you from Russia and you are blocked (see screenshot). My sincere congratulations! You are doing something right clearly.”


1. Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins makes some personal resolutions about how to treat other philosophers.
2. Students prefer administering painful electric shocks to themselves rather than just sitting and thinking. [Insert joke here, folks] 3. On the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website you can view 142 works of art with “philosopher” in their title and 149 with “philosophy“. (I haven’t checked whether there is much overlap.)
4. Also in art & philosophy news, you can now purchase an Aesthetics for Birds sticker, created to celebrate that blog’s one-year anniversary. Proceeds go to charity.
5. Is American anti-government individualism owed, in part, to a deleted punctuation mark? Political theoriest Danielle Allen investigates.
6. String theory and the space brain threat.
7. “The players of any given sport have a moral responsibility to adhere to their agreed code. But it doesn’t at all follow that the sports with less restrictive codes are morally inferior.” David Papineau on morality and fakery in sports.
8. Why is the non-academic job market “much more humane and sensible” than the academic job market?
9. Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef discuss human nature at Rationally Speaking. (via Philosophy TV)
10. How Plato invented the alarm clock.
11. A reminder about the old Wikipedia philosophy conspiracy, in case you missed it.
12. Happy Independence Day! Here’s a little article on The Virtues of Captain Americaa book by Mark White (College of Staten Island / CUNY).


1. Vivian Feldblyum may have earlier wooed you with “The Deductive Logic Love Song” but now she is singing the epistemology break-up song, “Do I Have Hands?” Perhaps she is seeing someone else?
2. The new edition of Onora O’Neill’s Acting on Principle, an “incisive and thoughtful defence” of Kant’s moral theory, is reviewed by Michael Rosen in The Times Literary Supplement.
3. Your loved ones? “I think most of them would sacrifice one more line on your resume for one more day of quality time with you.” Thoughts on work-life balance from the widow of an academic star.
4. Relatedly, if you think you are feeling burned out, but want to know more about the phenomenon, there is the new interdisciplinary journal Burnout Research.
5. Goal Imperialism and The Great 21st Century Fun Crisis, as described by Patricia Marino.
6. Ethics and economics in The Wire.
7. John Martin Fischer takes on the boredom and lack of motivation objections to immortality.
8. Zombie bats. Ha.


Immortality Project Grant Winners Announced

The Immortality Project at UC Riverside, headed up by John Martin Fischer, has announced the winners of grants totaling $1.5 million. The winners include a number of philosophers working on a variety of projects.

Philosophers among the winners include Yuval Avnur (Scripps), Christopher Belshaw (Open University), Stephan Blatti (Memphis), Ben Bradley (Syracuse), Mik..


1. Jason Stanley (Yale) brings political philosophy to bear on Detroit and the idea of “emergency managers” in The New York Times. Detroit’s Metro Times  calls it the “most interesting read on the situation.”
2. “Things you should know before publishing a book.”
3. Looking for a brief, clear, and motivated explanation of likelihoodist, Bayesian, and frequentist methods in statistics that doesn’t already depend on you knowing a lot about math and probability? Greg Gandenberger, a PhD student at Pittsburgh, has two posts for you.
4. John Protevi (LSU) on path-dependence and merit in the philosophy job market.
5. How to deal with the fact that, for many of us, while “our salaries only reflect nine months’ worth of work, obligations from our colleges and universities often do leach into our summer time, time that is ostensibly our own.” In IHE.
6. Next time you see someone doodling while you’re giving a talk or teaching a class, don’t get offended—that person may, like Jesse Prinz (CUNY), just be trying to “help himself pay attention,” says The Wall Street Journal.
7.  The inaugural issue of Recreational Mathematics is out, and looks kind of fun. (via Bookforum)
8. Myisha Cherry (John Jay College) at the Huffington Post on why love isn’t all we need.
9. When it comes to love, we are the highly suggestible types. “The ideal situation is… to both be told you’re a good match, and at the same time actually be one. [But]… if you have to choose only one or the other, the mere myth of compatibility works just as well as the truth.” The head of OK Cupid writes, rather amusingly, about the experiments OK Cupid has performed on its users.
10. While we’re on love, this may be related. This probably isn’t.


1. Is Žižek a plagiarist? Update: Newsweek gets on the story. Update 2: Žižek’s response.
2. “Philosophers ought to do their best to find a female captain, not merely a ship’s figurehead,” says Susannah Kate Devitt, reviewing the latest Australian Association of Philosophy (AAP) Conference.
3. The ethics of sex with dead people? Of course, there’s dignity. But maybe, there’s Louis CK.*
(*This is Louis CK talking about sex with dead people; you figure out whether that is NSFW.)
4. A discussion of “liquid democracy,” under which each person is “allowed to delegate the task of voting to someone whom he considers to be superior to himself.”
5. “I don’t think that what is needed is more eye-catching public performances by professional philosophers… What I wish for is better philosophy, and better history of philosophy, from those intellectuals and scientists who are in the public eye already and who wrongly believe they know what they are talking about when they venture into philosophy.” An interview with journalist-philosopher Anthony Gottlieb.
6. How an invention of Leibniz’s anticipated the central idea of modern computing.
7. A wide-ranging interview of Mark Okrent (Bates College) that touches on his entry into philosophy, changes to teaching and to universities, capitalism, phenomenology, pragmatism, and other topics.
8. The lifestyle section ofThe Times of India lists ten “leadership tips” from philosophers, complete with animated gifs. Meanwhile, leadership is the topic of the week at Philosophy Talk.
9. There’s a series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith featuring “insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective” Isabel Dalhousie. I have no idea if they are any good. The first is called The Sunday Philosophy Club.

Friday Fun bonus link:

10.  “The front of the palate introduces profound blackcurrant flavour, followed on the middle palate by Maraschino cherry, dark chocolate and mocha coffee fruit elements with savoury oak… Drink with: Wagyu beef sirloin with horseradish and grilled mushrooms” –from a review of “The Philosophy” (cabernet sauvignon – shiraz blend). What a wasted opportunity. Proper reviews of a wine called “The Philosophy” are welcome in the comments.


Philosophy Tag

In our previous round, Anthony Shiver (University of Georgia) tagged A.J. Cotnoir (University of St. Andrews). The game continues, as Cotnoir makes his move… What is the logic of negation? And how could disagreements over this question ever be genuine, and not — as Quine thought — amount to merely changing the subject? In his ‘A Modality Called Ne..