Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma) writes in asking what PhD admissions committees think about master’s theses. Her query is below. Please share your thoughts.
Our MA program at the University of Oklahoma is increasingly serving as a stepping stone for students who are trying to get into PhD programs (our own and others), especially now that we have started to..
Wes Morriston, who retired this past summer after 42 years as a member of the philosophy department at the University of Colorado, has written a letter to the editor responding to the column by alumna Allison Blakeney (previously) asserting that the department has a “rape culture.”
There are several very basic things your readers need to know. No one in the departm..
Arthur Ward (Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State) teaches a unit on charitable giving in his ethics course and has come up with a way of doing so that gets the students really interested and involved:
I had heard of others doing some group work in class with this topic, asking students to research effective charities. It occurred to me that this was a great idea, b..
David Shorter, a professor world arts and cultures at UCLA, has published a list of “six key lessons” for people starting graduate school. Paraphrasing, they include:
1. Map out what the major requirements are for your program and for getting a job in your field and have a timetable for their completion.
2. Remember to act professionally and considerately with your..
1. “I’m not sure, for example, what the philosophy REF panel would make of Berkeley’s research on tar-water, or even Bentham’s on prisons, for that matter.” That’s Jonathan Wolff on exciting scholarship and whether disciplinarity is just a blip in the history of academia.
2. The History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh has launched “Instant HPS“, a series of brief videos on various topics, including “Is Your Brain a Computer?”, “Is Race Real?”, and “Einstein’s Astonishing Idea.” (via Edouard Machery)
3. Jeremy Waldron (NYU/Oxford) has an essay on Cass Sunstein’s (Harvard) work in which he says that Sunstein’s arguments for nudging (based on the heuristics and biases work in social psychology) are “remarkably tone-deaf to concerns about autonomy.” Nudges get a skeptical look at Aeon this week, too. And, by the way, the issue of the NYRB the Waldron essay appears in is chock full of articles by and about philosophers. Unfortunately, most of them are currently behind paywalls.
4. Kristen Andrews (York) is the new “featured scholar” at Brains. She works on human cognition in humans and non-human animals.
5. “The fossil fuel divestment campaign makes demands that no corporate executive could ever meet,” says Scott Wisor (Birmingham), at Ethics & International Affairs.
6. Eddy Nahmias (Georgia State) tests “willusionism.”
7. “In a perfect world, unlikely findings would be both published and scrutinized — and maybe that world’s not so far from the world we have. Still, the evidence appears to be badly mixed; can any conclusion – save that we’ve got a mess on our hands – be safely drawn?” — an excerpt from a new book by John Doris (Washington University in St. Louis) (via Leiter). Shen-yi Liao (Leeds) comments on it here.
8. A review of recent defenses of the humanities, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
9. The truth and nothing but the truth (with a comment at the end from God, in bold, related to this recent thread).
Miranda Fricker, Jennifer Saul, and Holly Lawford-Smith at the University of Sheffield are interested in hearing from anyone with an interest in epistemological, metaphysical, and normative issues that touch on, apply to, or might be extended to, Philosophy of Race broadly construed. They write:
“Our own interests range over issues of social construction, culpable i..
Helena De Bres (Wellesley) has created The Pink Guide to Philosophy, a place where students—especially those about to take their first philosophy course—can get acquainted with what philosophy is about and how to do it, all with the guidance of insect instructors Professor F. Lee Pink and Professor Philosa Flea, “your fearless guides to a better, brighter, more ..
Simon Cabulea May is assistant professor of philosophy at Florida State University. He works on a variety of topics in political philosophy. He is also the creator of the group political philosophy blog, Public Reason. In the guest post*, below, May explains why he thinks philosophers should sign the “September Statement“, declaring in light of recent events their r..
Certain subfields of philosophy, such as feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, and philosophy of disability, are sometimes accused of being improperly “political.” Lately, I have seen several defenses of these subfields that consist in saying that all or most philosophy is political. For example, Magicalersatz at Feminist Philosophers writes, “I can’t see any sen..
An anonymous donor contributed $3 million for the creation of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking, named for a tough professor the donor had there over 30 years ago. One task that comes with the position: “spread the gospel of critical thinking across the university, from engineering to the technical arts to the huma..
For the most recent information about the efforts to reverse the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s decision to rescind Steven Salaita’s offer, see Corey Robin’s blog. According to him, six departments have voted no confidence in the university’s administration, seven professional associations have condemned the decision, and many scholars, including a num..
As I noted here, and as he announced on his own site here, Brian Leiter has asked Berit Brogaard (Miami) to serve as a co-editor with him of the Philosophical Gourmet Report, along with another as of yet unnamed philosopher who is currently considering the offer. Of course At this point this is nothing but a nominal change in the management of the PGR. One or two pe..
Agnes Heller, a Hungarian philosopher who was, for a while, the Hannah Arendt Visiting Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate Studies Program of The New School in New York (now emeritus there), and prior to that taught at La Trobe University in Melbourne, will receive the 2014 Wallenberg Medal, an award bestowed annually at the University of Michigan “to a humanita..
In his contribution to A Teacher’s Life: Essays for Steven M. Cahn, David Rosenthal (CUNY) raises questions about philosophy’s fit with the humanities and the sciences, framed around the study of history.
A striking difference between those fields we classify as humanities and those we regard as sciences is the attitude within each field toward its history. Learning..
Here are some discussions going on elsewhere. Feel free to point to others in the comments.
1. The Brains blog is hosting a symposium on “Against Division: Consciousness, Information, and the Visual Streams,” by Wayne Wu (Carnegie Mellon) with commentaries from David Kaplan (Macquarie), Pete Mandik (William Paterson), and Thomas Schenk (Erlangen-Nuremberg).
Wikipedia has a page dedicated to common misconceptions (via Kottke). While the page has sections for history, math, science, and food (among other things), there is no section for common misconceptions about philosophy. Might I suggest we create a list for one? I’ll start:
1. There are no common misconceptions about philosophy.
David Chalmers has, with the help of some crowdsourcing, put together a list of “guidelines for respectful, constructive, and inclusive philosophical discussion.” They are “intended primarily for oral philosophical discussion in formal settings: colloquia, conferences, seminars, classes, and so on.”
It is a work in progress, and suggestions and comments are welcome.
“One of the striking features of people on psychiatric wards is how much their conversation is about topics also discussed in philosophy journals.” One thing they have in common is an awareness that “the common-sense interpretation of the world is not the only one”.
That’s Jonathan Glover (King’s College London), quoted in a review at New Scientist of his latest boo..
1. A sculpture of Edgar Allen Poe, crafted by philosopher Stefanie Rocknak (Hartwick), will soon be unveiled at the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South in Boston. This story’s a triple win: philosopher, art, and, of course, aptonym. Here’s other sculptural work by Rocknak. And here’s a post about how Poe anticipated the idea of the Big Bang.
2. A search for resources for teaching students how to read philosophy.
3. A new blog, Second Shift, features several philosophers and other academics and “is aimed at bringing academic feminist analysis (broadly construed) into conversation with politics and pop culture.”
4. “In a new study, researchers used a smartphone app to track moral and immoral acts committed or witnessed by more than 1,200 people as they went about their days,” reports Wired and the New York Times.
5. “I’ve always been puzzled by the way that some moral philosophers create extraordinarily far fetched examples and then ask us to see what sorts of intuitions we have about these cases. I am skeptical that any intuitions we might dig up contain important ethical insights. But I’m also puzzled by those who argue from abstract general principles, for example, about the unethical treatment of causing other animals to suffer or fail to flourish, without knowing many details about particular animals and what might constitute their well-being.”– from an interesting and wide-ranging interview with Lori Gruen (Wesleyan).
6. Say goodbye to the “American Philological Association.”
7. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross on the Frankfurt School and its influence.
8. Several philosophers are name-checked in these reflections on how environmental considerations may alter our understanding of human progress.
9. “Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat?” asks the Chronicle of Higher Education, in an article featuring Nick Bostrom (Oxford) and others.
10. Sometimes it ain’t a bad move.
In the comments to the last heap of links, dmf points to a post on Terence Blake’s blog, Agent Swarm, entitled “16 Traits of Continental Philosophy.” It’s a précis of a series of earlier posts defending the approach of Slavoj Žižek against critiques by Noam Chomsky. I think something like this list would be useful for overcoming certain philosophical prejudices, but..
Eric Schwitzgebel, inspired by the recent article “What is the State of Blacks in Philosophy?” by Botts, et al (previously), looked further into the figures on race and discovered that “overwhelming whiteness” is not unique to philosophy among the humanities. He provides some figures:
Latin American History: 50% white
Spanish Literature: 51% white
Asian History: 5..
In the previous game, Charlie Kurth (Washington University in St. Louis) tagged Valerie Tiberius (University of Minnesota). Now, Tiberius makes a move that is especially suited for today, if you have the day off (as many in the U.S. do, owing to Labor Day). Check it out.
Many of us have had the experience of going out into nature (a weekend at a lakeside cabi..
McCormick said she… enjoys the concept of team-teaching because each faculty member has the opportunity to introduce students to the different topics of philosophy they specialize in.
Wednesday’s post on the future of the Philosophical Gourmet Report has a lot of thoughtful comments on it, with some interesting ideas for and alternatives to the PGR. Thanks to those who commented. In this post, I’d like to leave behind discussion of Brian Leiter and focus on the evaluation of the programs. Below the fold are my own thoughts on the matter. Your com..
Here’s a sentence you might never have expected to read:
“Drawing on his research on presentism, he has suggested a variety of ways in which we might refine the product.”
Elizabeth Harman and Daniel Wodak (Princeton) have created a list of recurring philosophy conferences. It’s a Google document; if you know of any philosophy conferences that occur on a regular basis (annually, biannually, etc.) that are missing from the list, please add them. Note that the conferences are listed in order of submission deadline, so when adding a conf..
“Nietzsche stayed in Sils-Maria during the summers of 1881 and 1883-1888. In Sils itself is Lake Sils, where the Chasté peninsula was a favorite site of Nietzsche’s – he fantasized about building a hermit’s hut.”
Don’t we all, sometimes?