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…)
What’s the state of Indigenous philosophy and Indigenous philosophers in the US? Kyle Whyte (Michigan State University), himself an Indigenous philosopher, has an informative post answering that question over at Philosopher, the blog edited by Meena Krishnamurthy (University of Michigan). (more…)
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 ..
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…)
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..
The following is a guest post* by Katja Grace, a researcher at Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) and philosophy PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University. It first appeared at her blog, Meteuphoric. (more…)
A persistent challenge to philosophy is whether it is rendered obsolete by science. Consider this exchange on the philosophy of mind:
Cognitive scientists are working to understand many issues raised by Kant—do you think the scientists are going to get conclusive answers to the question about consciousness and the mind—and other minds—and if they are, doesn..
Peter Adamson, professor of philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and creator of the podcast History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, has put together a list of 20 rules or “suggestions of best practice” for doing the history of philosophy. (more…)
Philosophy has what could best be described as an adversarial disciplinary culture, something that manifests itself most clearly in how the Q&A goes after a research talk. Basically, after people present their philosophical views, the audience members try to tear them apart. Every question is a variation on “here’s why I think you’re wrong…” It is not supportive. Al..
In her interview at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? (a part of which we discussed here), Sally Haslanger (MIT) draws attention to three problematic tendencies in philosophers. The first concerns the idea of multiple intelligences:
To be honest, I think most philosophers are pretty limited in their intelligences. They may be amazing along a certain dimension ..
A conversation about Continental philosophy between Fordham University philosophy professor Babette Babich and game-designer and “outsider philosopher” Chris Bateman is being published in parts on Bateman’s blog, Only a Game (part one, part two).
Bateman attributes to Babich the view that “the art of continental philosophy is dying out.” Babich, who works in Cont..
Every once in a while I read something that brings to the fore both how strange analytic philosophy can be and how useful it is that we’re accustomed to its strangeness. The latest, this morning, was in an interview with Sarah Moss (University of Michigan) at 3:AM Magazine. Interviewer Richard Marshall asks her about four-dimensionalism. Moss replies: (more…)