Alfred Mele has announced a new blog project called Free Will for All. He explained on Flickers of Freedom the other day one of its distinctive features: it is dedicated to interaction with any undergraduates who are using either of his two latest books in a course, A Dialogue on Free Will and Science and Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will.
“It’s part o..
11. Learn to count.
10. Take a poll.
9. Do some work around the house, such as tighten hinges, remove all fans.
8. Finally figure out exactly what makes something an “implosion” rather than an “explosion.”
7. Threaten to leave the playground and take my ball.
6. Replace old poll with new poll.
5. Take the opportunity to expand my ignorance of continental philo..
Cass Sunstein (Harvard) delves into the philosophy of history, particularly counterfactuals and causation, with his review in The New Republic of Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History by Richard J. Evans. (via Philosophy Matters)
Historians cannot conduct randomized controlled trials, because history is run only once. Yet they nonetheless develop hypotheses, and..
Allison Blakeney, an alumna of the philosophy department at the University of Colorado, has penned a column for The Daily Camera on her reaction to the recent allegations of sexual misconduct there and her view of what should be done.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has released a second version of its Humanities Departmental Survey, the aim of which is to “fill critical gaps in our knowledge about the state of the humanities in higher education; specifically, about the number of faculty and students in the field and the role of humanities departments in their institutions and society” ..
1. A defense of majoring in philosophy, by Joseph Tinguely (South Dakota).
2. Artist Tino Seghal’s latest installation places philosophers in the Roman agora in Athens to engage people in dialogue.
3. Don’t think for yourself, says Caleb Cohoe (Metropolitan State University of Denver).
4. Aristotle, the biologist. (via Johann A. Klaassen)
5. How to get your students to do the reading.
6. How Stoical was Seneca? Mary Beard takes up the question.
7. “Placing the question of violence at the forefront almost inevitably serves to obscure the issues that are at the center of struggles for justice.” — an interview with Angela Davis.
8. An iPad app that “provides the tools you will use most often in introductory symbolic logic courses,” by D.K. Johnston (University of Victoria)
9. A script for a sketch of talk show starring Zach Galafianakis as Socrates, with guest “Justin Beaver,” based on Plato’s Ion.
10. Embodied cognition, featured on Australian public radio (transcript, too). (via Philosophy Matters)
11. “The philosopher’s misfortune is to be a part of nothing. To stand apart from everything.” — Another review of Wittgenstein Jr. by Lars Iyer.
12. For the combative moral philosopher.
Helen De Cruz conducted a survey about submitting articles to the “top-5” philosophy journals and now has a post up analyzing the results.
This weekend, 60 years after his death, Locke is finally being given a permanent resting place in Capitol Hill’s Congressional Cemetery, where a polished-granite gravestone will sit across from the sandstone cenotaphs honoring early members of Congress and adjacent to the first director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Warren Robbins.
1. Has a time travel simulation resolved the grandfather paradox? Philosophers of science, let us know (via Ben Stein, Manolo Martinez).
2. A philosopher defends Zionism.
3. Meanwhile, the rabbinical ruling refusing to reverse Spinoza’s excommunication from Judaism has been made public.
4. PBS Newshour discusses philosophy and athletics with Mark Edmundson (Virginia).
5. While we’re on sports, check out David Papineau’s post on game theory and team reasoning.
6. Developments in human enhancement, part… let’s just say we’ve lost count: using electricity to improve your memory.
7. “The older people got, the more happiness ordinary experiences delivered.”
8. “When you’re a philosopher, you work so much with abstractions. You feel a longing for something more concrete. I think [art] is a nice complement to the abstractness of philosophy” — a brief interview with philosopher and artist Karsten Harries (Yale). Here’s one of his paintings.
9. What does informed consent have to do with self-driving cars?
10. I think they mean the first rule of philosophy club.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story on the recent events involving Brian Leiter’s emails to certain members of the profession and the future of the Philosophical Gourmet Report. According to the article, Leiter has appointed Berit Brogaard (Miami) as “co-editor” of the report.
Christoph Meiners (1747-1810), a philosophy professor at the University of Göttingen and prolific scholar, initiated “a successful campaign to exclude Africa and Asia from the history of philosophy.” In turn, Wilhelm Tennemann (1761-1819), the most important Kantian historian at the turn of the 19th century, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (who observed that “real..
A group of faculty members believes the University of Colorado administration has created a sense of fear on the Boulder campus with recent cases in the sociology and philosophy departments. The five-person faculty affairs committee within the Boulder Faculty Assembly condemned the university administration for its handling of cases involving now-retired sociology p..
Most theories of well-being are defended entirely by good old-fashioned philosophical reflection. Michael Bishop (Florida State) defends his “network theory” of w..
Experimental philosophy is a young (and controversial) subdiscipline of philosophy, but enough of it has been conducted that potentially informative meta-analyses are now possible. The first ever x-phi meta-analysis to be published will soon be appearing in Consciousness and Cognition. It is by Adam Feltz (Michigan Tech) and Florian Cova (University of Geneva) and i..
1. Human civilization is over, says Noam Chomsky.
2. But in case it’s not: a forum on parenthood and academia, at Times Higher Education.
3. Using statistics in your philosophical work? Need help? You can get free one-on-one stats consulting.
4. “Philosophy emerges in society when it loses meaning and fails to provide a unified and coherent picture of reality” — from an interesting review of newly translated lectures by Jean-Francois Lyotard (that’s right, Lyotard; get over it) on the value of philosophy.
5. The “most memorable” conversation one retired airman ever had was with Marjorie Grene, who earned her doctorate in 1935; “unable to find work in philosophy she farmed near Chicago and raised her daughter and son while writing several books about philosophy between 1944 and 1959.” Eventually she became chair of the philosophy department at UC Davis.
6. A recently republished 2009 interview with Judith Butler about Israel (with a rather sycophantic introduction).
7. Should the military use a version of deep brain stimulation to modify soldiers? Matthew Liao (NYU) discusses the issues.
8. Need to get the creative juices flowing? This article explains why you should go for a walk.
9. If you have some time to kill you can see what people have to say about their “philosophy professor” on Twitter.
10. The canon of philosophy karaoke songs ❤. (via Jeff Engelhardt)
UPDATE : Ted Underwood, a professor of English at UIUC, tweets: “Regret to say that last night’s report from students appears premature. Faculty have since met with Wise, & report no change in position.” (via John Protevi, in the comments)
According to undergraduates who met with her today, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise “has f..
I don’t think the arguments for either theism or atheism lead to knowledge of their conclusions. But there are arguments on both sides from premises that someone might reasonably judge to be plausible. If you find it quite probable that God does not exist, I think it’s perfectly possible that you are reasonable to think as you do. But this doesn’t mean that someone ..
Brian Talbot (Washington University in St. Louis) has been pairing up well-known philosophers with the celebrities who look like them. He kindly agreed to let me share the idea with you. Here’s my favorite so far:
That’s David Hume and Jon Lovitz.
This match, owed to Julia Staffel, is also quite good:
Descartes and Richie Sambora, of course.
1. Why study paradoxes? Roy Cook (Minnesota) answers.
2. An argument for the following: “The maxim ‘my country must fight a war to end this episode of political violence and politically-induced suffering’ is approximately equivalent to the maxim ‘the political elites of my country may fight wars at the times and places of their choosing, for the reasons of their choosing, whether their motives are good, wicked, or opportunistic,'” by Jacob Levy (McGill).
3. NorMind is a new informal network of philosophers of mind and cognitive science working in the Nordic countries (and nearby). (via Ole Koksvik)
4. How Rudolf Carnap ended up in philosophy, according to Hilary Putnam.
5. Why is there something rather than nothing? Jim Holt explains in a recent TED talk.
6. “Wittgenstein Jr is about a Wittgenstein-wannabe, a pseudo-Ludwig, a despairing, tormented philosopher in contemporary Cambridge struggling to produce a proper thought, who is nicknamed Wittgenstein by his students.” The Guardian has a review of this new novel by Lars Iyer.
7. In the Dust of This Planet: Horror of Philosophy, Volume 1, by Eugene Thacker, is, according to Radiolab, “an academic treatise about the horror humanity feels as we realize that we are nothing but a speck in the universe.” Who knows, but apparently it is kind of a big deal in some entertainment circles.
8. Some people are trying to electrically stimulate their own brains to become smarter and happier. Please note that “plugging a 9-volt battery directly into your head is a bad idea, of course.” (via Matt Burstein). In other brain news, doctors have discovered a normal functioning woman with no cerebellum.
9. Would philosophers be good on this upcoming game show?
10. What it is sometimes like putting together the heap of links.
It is not the purpose of a Philosophy class to transmit information or inculcate skills, however useful that may be. It is to introduce students to the life of the mind, with all the characterological as well as intellectual changes that requires. It is to welcome the young man or woman into a moral sphere in which argument, honesty, and a passion for ideas reign…
The American Philosophical Association has created “marketplace forums” for its members, in which they can barter with one another for various items (or simply sell or buy them, if they want to be boring). If you need something in particular, you can post a request in the “wanted” forum.
The only limitation on the goods sought or offered is that they be “of interes..
1. Greasy spoons and Gricean maxims. (via Gerald Dworkin)
2. The regress problem for consequentialism, robot version.
3. “In a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time.” — from “A Theory for Tattoos.”
4. Data on the use of “he” and “she” over time in Philosopher’s Index abstracts, as analyzed by Eric Schwitzgebel at The Splintered Mind.
5. The philosophical origins for parts of the U.S Constitution, particularly the proscription against cruel punishments in the 8th Amendment, may be in Italy.
6. Marina Warner, former professor of creative writing at University of Essex and current chair of the Man Booker Prize, writes about resigning from higher education, “where enforcers rush to carry out the latest orders from their chiefs in an ecstasy of obedience to ideological principles which they do not seem to have examined, let alone discussed with the people they order to follow them.” Additional piece here.
7. Political epistemology gets a special double-issue of Critical Review.
8. The latest episode of the BBC’s Philosopher’s Arms is on trolleyology.
9. PhD(isabled) is “a space for PhD students with disability or chronic illness to share their experiences.” The latest post is by a grad student in a philosophy program.
10. 8-Bit Philosophy takes a clip from True Detective as an opportunity to illustrate Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence.
11. By Bentham.
The University of Illinois’s Board of Trustees voted on Thursday to deny the appointment of Steven G. Salaita to a professorship on the Urbana-Champaign campus, in the latest chapter of a month-old saga that has inflamed academe.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has the story.
UPDATE: Salaita and his attorneys release a statement.
“People have been asking me: what will you acquire? In most cases I gave the obvious response about seeking new directions in these fields and at the same time furthering established dialogues scholars are already engaged in. And that answer is true, but it’s not the full story. What I’m actually looking for is clear, vivid thought.” That’s Jenny Gavacs, the new soc..
Jaded, Ph.D. one of the hosts of the Philosophy Smoker, is gathering data about first-round interviews in the philosophy job market. There is a short, two-question form here that job candidates and people on search committees can complete.
1. Martha Nussbaum (Chicago) is interviewed by Russ Roberts at EconTalk.
2. Chris LeBron (Yale) is interviewed at 3am Magazine on philosophy of race and “the struggle of humanity vs. humankind.”
3. Was Sartre indifferent to the slaughter of Jews? [Update: apparently this article was moved behind a paywall, so just below is a late addition to the heap:] 3a. Composer Scott Johnson’s latest work, “Mind Out of Matter,” features the words and voice of Daniel Dennett (Tufts). The chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound will perform the piece as part of the Peak Performances Series this coming weekend at Montclair State University.
4. A philosopy major and bioethics MA from NYU is the “mostly vegetarian” owner of Happy Valley Meat Company.
5. Gabriele Contessa has restarted Yet Another Philosopher’s Blog and has a post on analytic philosophy by people for whom English is a second language.
6. An interview with Nancy Sherman (Georgetown) about doing philosophy with the military.
7. A conversation between two AI chatbots on love, beauty, identity… they’ve got a ways to go.
8. Philosophy’s Western bias and what can be done about it: here and here.
9. Jacques Derrida interviews Ornette Coleman (from 1997).
10. Cynicism 101: “as much an anti-philosophy as it is a philosophy.”
11. Armand Leroi, the biologist and author of The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, is interviewed on NPR’s On Point.
12. A theory about why academic writing is so awful.
13. Stoic parenting. (A “cover” of this.)
Scholarly Open Access is a website run by Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at Auraria Library at the University of Colorado Denver, that provides “critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing.” In other words, it lists and discusses journals and publishers that look highly suspect, some of which may just be scams. (via David Boonin)
Asking some basic questions a..
The so-called Continental-analytic division within philosophy is not a philosophical distinction; it’s a sociological one. It is the product of historical accident. It is unreasonable to cleave to it, and the insistence on remaining closed to work that is either presumptively “analytic” or presumptively “Continental” is irrational and unphilosophical. Further, rejec..