Recently, mainstream philosophy journals have tended to implement more and more stringent forms of peer review (e.g., from double-anonymous to triple-anonymous), probably in an attempt to prevent editorial decisions that are based on factors other than quality. Against this trend, we propose that journals should relax their standards of acceptance, as well as be les..
I used to teach a course in critical thinking at Ghent University. As behooves a good skeptic, I first presented my students with the usual laundry list of fallacies, after which I invited them to put the theory into practice. Take a popular piece from the newspaper or watch a political debate, and try to spot the fallacies.
I no longer give that assignment. (m..
There’s another great interview up at What Is It Like To Be a Philosopher?—this time with Graham Priest (CUNY). Interviewer Clifford Sosis (Coastal Carolina) asks Professor Priest about a his life, education, work, and the philosophical world. (more…)
“Since science took its modern form in the seventeenth century, it has been one long success story.” By contrast, we philosophers “don’t seem to have progressed much in the two and a half millennia since Plato wrote his dialogues.” That’s the conventional wisdom, as described by David Papineau (King’s College London) in The Times Literary Supplement. But if there’s ..
I can only speak for myself, but being trained by a philosopher, I often feel I was exposed to an expectation of argumentative rigor that, to be perfectly frank, I can’t say I always find in the field of political theory proper. But this can result in drawbacks. Philosophers sometimes look at the rest of the humanities in the way that social scientists look at socia..
…I expect there will be deep and lasting tensions going forward among feminist philosophers. Most of the tensions have to do with perceptions of harm: harm to the author, the journal, communities of people who are marginalized and threatened, and to feminist philosophy. I hope feminist philosophers will explore and critically discuss questions about the harms caus..
It is standard operating procedure at the University of St. Thomas (Houston) for faculty to receive and return their renewal contracts for the following academic year by May 15th. May 15th has come and gone, and not one of the 11 members of the university’s Department of Philosophy has received their contract (neither has anyone in the English Department there). (mo..
Many of my philosophical friends are puzzled by my interest in Anglo-American philosophy… If Anglophone philosophers—especially those who have studied in the U.S.—have done anything important, anything that matters, they tell me, surely there would be evidence in the other humanities, in the architecture and ambitions of the great universities, or in the visib..
What are the virtues of a philosopher?
I won’t pretend this is an uncontroversial question, but I leave aside the tasks of defending it and arguing for particular specifications of its concepts. What I have in mind are aspects of character in virtue of which philosophers are able to do whatever it is they are supposed to do, well—especially in light of the fact..
Below is a list of assorted commentaries on the ongoing Hypatia controversy, mostly lifted from one of the updates on the original post on the story. Recent additions at time of posting include: (more…)
Here’s a… hypothesis for why many habits of philosophical thinking might not come naturally. The hypothesis is that some tools for critical evaluation run counter to another valuable set of tools: our tools for effective social engagement. These tools help us make sense of what someone is saying by encouraging us to interpret underspecified claims in the most posi..
Below are three features of contemporary moral philosophy that I’ve observed, and that may be worth discussing. I present them largely without judgment, except to say here that each seems like a mixed bag. Feel free to discuss, evaluate, elaborate, etc. These aren’t the only observations I have about moral philosophy today, but they are ones that recent events have..
The following is an excerpt from “Degenerate Skepticism and the Thieves of Philosophy” by Amy Olberding (University of Oklahoma), an essay presented at a recent meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA) and posted at her blog, Department of Deviance. Though written in regards to the reception of Chinese philosophy in today’s profession, it elucidates a..
Adversarialism, eh? Alright then, to start I want to point out that philosophers have been pushing this macho schtick from the beginning. Socrates is indeed their hero; if only they could do what he does, whether it be reducing their debating partners to silence or, even better, extracting succinct concessions to their intellectual superiority: “Yes, Socrates,” “You..
This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has three pieces on protecting philosophy departments from budget cuts. All currently paywalled, they include an interview with Amy E. Ferrer, Executive Director of the American Philosophical Association (APA), an article on “how to help your department avoid the ax,” and some tips on supporting philosophy on campus. (more…)..
The following is a guest post* from Bharath Vallabha, former assistant professor of philosophy at Bryn Mawr College. In it, he raises questions about the relationship between the geopolitical location of a philosophy department and the philosophical work done in it.
London-based education firm Quacquarelli Symonds has published its annual “QS World University Rankings,” The Guardian reports, including a ranking of universities at which to study philosophy. (more…)
The rhetoric that describes philosophy as a kind of special calling has always struck me as smuggling in much overdetermined sociology. The most irritating version of this to me is the claim that one ought not pursue philosophy unless “one cannot imagine any other satisfying or worthwhile life for oneself.” (more…)
Joseph Raz, professor of philosophy and law at Columbia University and Kings College, London, has written reflections on his well-known and nearly 30 year-old The Morality of Freedom for a collection of critical essays by others on it, forthcoming in the Jersualem Review of Legal Studies. Rather than engage point-by-point with the criticisms the other contributors ..
Philosophy professors, is your job (A) just a way to pay the bills, (B), a “fun and challenging” career but certainly not the only thing worth doing, as “there is more to living,” or (C) the best career, and so, properly the overwhelmingly dominant focus of most of your life?
That’s a question Eric Schleisser (Amsterdam) asks at Digressions & Impressions and that..
Virtually everyone in the United States, and indeed throughout the developed world, is familiar with toilets. A typical flush toilet has a ceramic bowl filled with water. When the handle is depressed, or the button pushed, the water—and everything that’s been deposited in it—gets sucked into a pipe and from there into the sewage system. But how does this actuall..
Some thoughts on how “applied ethics” has changed over the years:
hen I was in grad school, ‘applied ethics’ was an embarrassment. It basically involved feeding concocted, simplistic, depoliticized case studies mechanistically through static, caricatured versions of ethical theories. It was also completely ghettoized, and no one else in philosophy paid the slight..
Should ethics professors be held to higher ethical standards in their personal behavior? A post on that topic by Eric Schwitzgebel (UCR) at The Splintered Mind (which I had put in the Heap of Links last week) asks that question. (more…)
Daniel Dennett (Tufts) is visiting the UK to promote his new book, but most of this interview with The Guardian is about US politics.
Some excerpts, including a bit about how some philosophy might be responsible for our current political predicament: (more…)