Ole Koksvik (Bergen), along with the help of friends, has put together a very useful set of tips for giving a philosophy talk. I appreciated the “rationale” section, in which he notes, among other things, that “giving a bad presentation is impolite.” There is some good advice throughout, much of which is consistent with the general rule that guides how I put toget..
We must find a method of caring without touching, of contacting without making contact. The physiological barriers are, for the time being, necessary. But we cannot stop people from caring about one another, so we must create, for the time being, mechanisms for caring. Since we will never be able to beat back humanity, we must coordinate humanity, at the family leve..
We’re confusing consumer satisfaction with product value.
That’s Philip B. Stark, a professor of statistics at Berkeley, discussing a mathematical critique of student evaluations of teachers he has written with a colleague, Richard Freishtat. There’s an article about the critique in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The study itself is here. Here’s a recap of major..
I normally don’t link to job advertisements but you should really check out the position they’re hiring for in the Philosophy Department at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople.
1. Coseru on Pigliucci on Priest, i.e., what does Buddhism really have to say about contradictions?
2. A guide to Plato’s early and middle dialogues, with outlines, interpretive essays, and other supplementary material, has been created by Mark Anderson and Ginger Osborn (Belmont University), and is available for free here.
3. “Exercise. I’m sorry, you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads, arching your eyebrows into a Cartesian curve as you watch the human movement mob winding their way through the miniature traffic cones of their existence. You are wrong and they are right. Well you’re half right. You think, therefore you are, but also you jog, therefore you sleep, therefore you’re not overwhelmed by existential angst… Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run, whatever, but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly 100… and this long luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed. But don’t despair. There is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise. Do it.” That’s Tim Minchin at the 2013 University of Western Australia graduation, in a funny address that ranges from the meaning of life to luck to power to learning and, well, exercise.
4. Speaking of philosophy and exercise, ancient philosophy is part of the training regimen at Saracens Rugby Club.
5. Moral philosophy is now part of the curriculum in New South Wales, Australia, according to a post at The Conversation.
6. Philosophy blogosphere news: Jon Cogburn (LSU) has quit NewAPPS and is now back to blogging solo, following a controversial post about ableist language, which appeared to be a reaction to, among other things, a complaint about ableism in the comments on a post about the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” protests following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
7. “Philosophers should listen to punk rock,” says Jesse Prinz (CUNY).
8. Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein (1993), starring Karl Johnson and Tilda Swinton, is available for viewing, free, on YouTube.
9. Daniel Dennett (Tufts) is interviewed about atheism on the Friendly Atheist podcast.
10. Relatedly, someone is very happy to have a surprising new follower.
A philosophy professor sends in the following inquiry for discussion:
One way to try to make introductory-level philosophy courses more appealing to women is to include more articles written by women on the syllabus. I have seen a good deal of discussion and suggestions about this. Another way might be to try to include more topics that are more likely to be of int..
1. “Scientists that talk philosophy down are simply superficial: they have a philosophy (usually some ill-digested mixture of Popper and Kuhn) and think that this is the “true” philosophy, and do not realize that this has limitations,” says scientist.
2. The Phaedo may be missing some painful, convulsive, gasping.
3. The Critique is a site that aims to bring philosophy to bear on a variety of current events, from police brutality to the Emmy awards.
4. A series of posts on philosophy and a basic income.
5. “How to solve the hardest logic puzzle ever in two questions” and the four other most-downloaded articles from Analysis this year are now available free of charge.
6. Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, a new online, open access journal, is now accepting submissions.
7. “Not all interactions with fellow humans are positive” — on the advantages of robot graders.
8. Philosophers of art, this is great but I don’t know why.
9. The bias towards the past.
People have been experimenting on journal referees and have learned some useful information. First off, whatever you do, don’t ask Professor Procrastinate to referee for you. He cannot be trusted. Second, shorten deadlines. Third, offer cash rewards or publicize how long the referees took to do the work.
We randomly assign referees to four groups: a control group wit..
Simon Blackburn gives us his version of a “kids, these days, let me tell you” cranky rant about selfies, which he rescues from crankyland only by saying we should respond to the vanity and conceit and narcissism encouraged in today’s society with mockery. Seems to me, though, that only someone completely full of himself would attempt such a sweeping characterization..
How does the epistemology of logical claims work?
Says Carnap: “Well, such claims are analytic: true in virtue of meaning. So we know them a priori, and in the same breath we appreciate their necessity.”
Quine retorts: “Don’t even mention ..
There is quite a bit that can be done to reconcile analytical and continental approaches, combining them into an expanded view of philosophy that has both depth and breadth, and is concerned both with specific technical “puzzles” as well as with broad socio-political issues.
At Scientia Salon, Massimo Pigliucci tries to get a grip on what the analytic – contintental..
1. Dave Chalmers on explaining consciousness: the TED talk version.
2. Traveling abroad to avoid long wait lists for a treatment, or to find less costly doctors, or to try out an experimental therapy? Jeremy Snyder (Simon Fraser), featured in an article in the National Post on the ethics of medical tourism, suggests you check out this site for some information and cautionary tales.
3. Novelist/philosopher Clancy Martin (Missouri-Kansas City) on his journey from analytic philosophy to Walter Benjamin.
4. A profile of Michael Bratman (Stanford) and his work on shared agency.
5. “This Debate Has No Title” — a panel discussion of paradoxes of self-reference featuring Hilary Lawson, Patricia Waugh, and Peter Cameron. (via Frankie May)
6. Spinoza and others invoked by a rabbi to argue for the value of dissent in Jewish communities.
7. A blog about using pop songs to explain philosophy. (via Leiter)
8. A post about string theory and post-empiricism, in the wake of a conference that featured “two remarkable talks by prominent physicists, both of whom invoked philosophy in a manner unprecedented for this kind of scientific gathering.” (via David Killoren)
9. And while we are on physics, theoretical physicist Paul Steinhardt (Princeton) asks whether modern cosmology supports Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence. I’m sure it feels that way to Nietzsche scholars, who have to keep saying “that’s not what he meant.” (To be fair, Nietzsche is only mentioned in passing.)
10. Abuse of Philosophy Series: Descartes on brand/business dualism.
Update (6/30/14): The Philosophical Gourmet versus Jennings’ Placement Data.
Update (6/25/14): Jennings tells us which departments have relatively high placement rates.
Update (6/20/14): In a new pos..
The widespread perception is that most faculty members do not engage with the public—either because they don’t want to or because they know they won’t be rewarded for it.
In The Chronicle of Higher Education, historian David M. Perry (Dominican University) discusses obstacles to public engagement by academics. This is something that should be of concern to philosoph..
The primary value of Unger’s critique of philosophy may be that it generates good and thoughtful responses. There was Schliesser’s the other day, and also the post by Pigliucci (though he says in a comment it was not aimed at Unger directly). Now Marcus Arvan has a more sympathetic take on what Unger is up to, and it is well worth reading.
What I agree with Unger on..
Reading Quine’s “Two Dogmas”? You’re doing it all wrong, says Hilary Putnam.
A computer has apparently passed a version of the Turing Test.
Eugene Goostman seems like a typical 13-year-old Ukrainian boy — at least, that’s what a third of judges at a Turing Test competition this Saturday thought. Goostman says that he likes hamburgers and candy and that his father is a gynecologist, but it’s all a lie. This boy is a program created by compute..
Many philosophers travel for work, delivering talks or participating in conferences and the like. In deciding whether to attend another conference, or accept another invitation, one factor is whether one has traveled enough, or too much. But how much is that? While there will be a lot of personal factors involved in that assessment, let’s see if we can get a sense o..
If you could ask a long-dead philosopher any one question, who would you you pick, and what would you ask? (For our purposes here, “long-dead” will mean “died 50 years or more ago.”) Post your question in the comments. Folks are welcome to try to answer, too, as they think the philosopher asked would do so.
A recent event at Stanford raised the question of what good ethics courses do, with a particular focus on the question of whether such courses can and should make students more moral. Tamar Schapiro, Barbara Fried, and Benoit Monin (all Stanford) were the featured participants, and you can view their talks and the following discussion here. What is the job of the mo..
No, not me. Nor, alas, anyone related to me (as far as I know). But Marshall Weinberg, a University of Michigan alumnus, has donated $7.7 million to the University of Michigan for a new cognitive science institute, which will be a cooperative effort between the Departments of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Psychology. The Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science, as i..
St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, has received $1.5 million from an anonymous donor to endow a chair in Catholic philosophy. “The donor requested the gift be used to recruit and retain a distinguished Catholic philosopher who has a deep understanding of prominent Catholic thinkers, especially the Rev. Bernard Lonergan.” Details here.
If you can only be good at one thing, be good at lying. … Because if you’re good at lying, you’re good at everything.
Jerry Dworkin (who put together Philosophy: a Commonplace Book) shares some of his latest discoveries of “humorous quotes, epigrams, aphorisms, parodies, etc. that have some connection to philosophy” over at 3 Quarks Daily. (via Jerry Dworkin)
Kenny Easwaran, currently at the University of Southern California, has accepted an offer as associate professor with tenure at Texas A&M, starting Fall 2014. Easwaran works on formal epistemology, decision theory, and philosophy of math.
Traditionally, the liberal arts have been the privilege of an upper class. There are three big reasons for this. First, it befits the leisure time of an upper class to explore the higher goods of human life: to play Beethoven, to study botany, to read Aristotle, to go on an imagination-expanding tour of Italy. Second, because their birthright is to occupy leadership..
The American Association of Philosophy Teachers awarded their 2014 Lenssen Prize to Ann J. Cahill and Stephen Bloch-Schulman, both of Elon University, for their paper, “Argumentation Step-By-Step: Learning Critical Thinking through Deliberative Practice,” published in Teaching Philosophy 35(1) in March 2012. The Lenssen Prize is awarded to the best paper concerning ..
Platonic forms explained in an animation in the style of an old-fashioned video game. No, I don’t know why.
The female student who last year accused Colin McGinn of sexual harassment has now filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the University of Miami. Details here.