To φ Or Not To φ
by Tanya Kostochka
How is it that analytic philosophy came to be the dominant philosophical style in the 20th Century in the United States? From inside the practice, the answer seems to be, “because it is a particularly good way of doing philosophy.” But “that it seemed good to them at the time” is not much of an historical explanation. For any other historical development, we’d want ..
Can science help us answer philosophical questions? Hanoch Ben-Yami, professor of philosophy at Central European University (CEU), in an interview at 3:AM Magazine, suggests that the question is too broad. The answers are different for different scientific inquiries. (more…)
A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), “The Costs and Net Returns to College Major,” finds that offering a philosophy major may be as good an investment of educational dollars as offering engineering and health majors. (more…)
Most of the students in our undergraduate philosophy course, even most of philosophy majors, and quite a number of those with graduate degrees in philosophy—do not become professors of philosophy. What do they do with their degrees? Who can we point out to our current students as examples of those who make use of what they’ve learned studying philosophy outside of..
What passages of philosophy are worth thinking about today, January 20th, the day that Donald Trump is to be sworn-in as president of the United States of America? I imagine that there will be a diversity of suggestions. (more…)
MARGY (Managing Academic Recommendations Gratis Yay), the free service for emailing confidential letters of recommendation developed by philosophers David Faraci (Georgetown) and Graham Leach-Krouse (Kansas State), previously reported on here, is entering its second phase of beta testing. The team is inviting hiring departments to participate in the testing, and inv..
“It’s in the syllabus,” we tell our students—so often there should be a t-shirt. Oh wait, there is. But perhaps we could make that information easier to spot? ChiaHua Lin, a PhD student in philosophy at the University of South Carolina, tries to do so by creating infographic supplements to her course syllabi. They highlight some of the important information about ..
Sally Haslanger, Ford Professor of Philosophy and Women’s & Gender Studies at MIT and former President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association (APA) has issues a challenge to fellow philosophers in a public post on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt: (more…)
Ben Caplan, currently professor of philosophy at Ohio State University, will become professor of philosophy at the University of Kansas, starting in Fall 2017. Professor Caplan works mainly in metaphysics and philosophy of language, and also has interests in philosophy of art and the metaphysics of gender. You can learn more about his work here. (more…)
Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, will be delivering the 2017 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The Jefferson Lecture is a program of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is “the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in ..
When you suspect something has gone awry with the manuscript you submitted to an academic journal, when is it appropriate to contact the journal about it? And what are the clues that something has gone awry?
In response to that second question, here are some possibilities: (a) you have not received any acknowledgment that your manuscript has been received, (b) th..
A committee responsible for assessing how Eastern Illinois University (EIU) should best handle severe cuts to state funding and declining enrollments has recommended, among other things, that the school stop granting bachelor’s degrees in philosophy. The committee, known as “Workgroup No. 7,” was apparently unmoved by previous appeals from members of EIU’s Departmen..
The American Philosophical Association (APA) announced plans last fall to launch a graduate student council that would be responsible for “reporting to the board of officers on issues of interest, concern, and relevance to philosophy graduate students.” The council has 12 seats. Four positions will be filled by graduate students elected by a vote of the student asso..
Via the interesting and often rather amusing Twitter feed of Nolen Gertz, a philosopher at the University of Twente, we learn of what is surely just some of the work that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has done on philosophers. (more…)
With the inauguration of the reckless, narcissistic, thin-skinned, lying, authoritarian Donald Trump around the corner, reasonable people everywhere are asking “what should we do?” Here’s what law professor and political theorist Paul Gowder (Iowa) did: he created a tool for anyone to use that monitors public data and sends alerts and documentation of its change. He..
by Ryan Lake
Gerald Gaus (Arizona) reminds us of the law’s limited power for social change in a new essay at The Critique. There is only so much that the legal declaration of a right can do,and when controversial rights are imposed on a society, we should not be surprised by backlash. This is supposed to be part of what explains the electoral success of Donald Trump.
I was attracted to philosophy because it is the most minimalistic art I can think of. To express ideas, you use only the most minimal, the most reduced resources: no body (as in theatre), no figures (as in pictorial art), no voice or sound (as in music), no story (as in literature)—just thoughts. They are ordered, ideally crystal-clear and sharp, but they are just..
A philosopher writes in seeking advice on starting a new program at his college:
I teach at a Catholic small liberal arts college. My department teaches philosophy in the core and offers a minor. I’m thinking of pushing for an integrated major common to many colleges and universities called PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). I need to gather evidence, tes..
The weekly update took a couple of weeks off during winter break, when there aren’t many updates to update you about, but now it’s back. Here’s 2017’s first weekly report of what’s new at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (NDPR), and Wi-Phi. (more…)
Malala Yousafzai, a 19-year old human rights activist advocating for women in Pakistan and co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, who survived being shot in the face by the Taliban for her work, is “anxiously waiting” to hear whether she has been admitted to the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program at Oxford University. (more…)
The Department of Philosophy at Penn State will receive an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue and expand upon its previous work to promote diversity in philosophy. (more…)
The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. So-called higher education often rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture has elevated bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit, then take advantage of our lowered g..
State legislators in Iowa and Missouri have introduced legislation to eliminate tenure for public colleges and universities in their states. While the Missouri bill would have schools cease tenure-track hiring in 2018, the Iowa bill goes further, proposing to take tenure away from those who already have it, according to reports from Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicl..
It took a while for Jonathan Dancy (University of Texas, University of Reading) to come around to the idea that he had any philosophical talent, he says, in an interview with Clifford Sosis (Coastal Carolina) at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? As a result, he did not publish much in the early part of his career.
He received his BPhil from Oxford in 1971, for w..
At the time of this post, bibliographic philosophy database PhilPapers has 1,975,719 entries. Of these, only 74 works seem to be about “implicit bias”—subconscious bias concerning, for example, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexuality. One might think, then, that the idea of implicit bias hasn’t been of much importance in philosophy. Yet, while there is n..