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Philosophers in Fictional Works

James Andow (Reading) has been compiling a list of philosophers in fiction, including novels, films, plays, etc. He says:

For no reason in particular, I thought it would be nice to have a list of fictional works in which one of the main characters is an academic philosopher. The rules are somewhat arbitrary. I am prepared to be flexible as to what counts as ficti..


Percentages of U.S. Doctorates in Philosophy Given to Women and to Minorities, 1973-2014 (guest post by Eric Schwitzgebel)

The following is a guest post* from Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside). It also appears on his blog, The Splintered Mind.

Percentages of U.S. Doctorates in Philosophy Given to Women and to Minorities, 1973-2014
by Eric Schwitzgebel

The Survey of Earned Doctorates is a questionnaire distributed by the U.S. National Science Foundation to doctorate recipients at a..


Academic Ice Bucket Lesson Plan

Arthur Ward (Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State) teaches a unit on charitable giving in his ethics course and has come up with a way of doing so that gets the students really interested and involved:

I had heard of others doing some group work in class with this topic, asking students to research effective charities. It occurred to me that this was a great idea, b..


New Blog on the Ethics of War

The Ethical War Blog is a new group blog hosted by the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace. The Centre’s Jonathan Parry writes:

The Ethical War Blog will publish short and timely opinion articles on war-related topics in the news, written by specialists in the field, in an accessible and digestible format. The blog launches with five articles, with n..


1. “I’m not sure, for example, what the philosophy REF panel would make of Berkeley’s research on tar-water, or even Bentham’s on prisons, for that matter.” That’s Jonathan Wolff on exciting scholarship and whether disciplinarity is just a blip in the history of academia.
2. The History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh has launched “Instant HPS“, a series of brief videos on various topics, including “Is Your Brain a Computer?”, “Is Race Real?”, and “Einstein’s Astonishing Idea.” (via Edouard Machery)
3. Jeremy Waldron (NYU/Oxford) has an essay on Cass Sunstein’s (Harvard) work in which he says that Sunstein’s arguments for nudging (based on the heuristics and biases work in social psychology) are “remarkably tone-deaf to concerns about autonomy.” Nudges get a skeptical look at Aeon this week, too. And, by the way, the issue of the NYRB the Waldron essay appears in is chock full of articles by and about philosophers. Unfortunately, most of them are currently behind paywalls.
4. Kristen Andrews (York) is the new “featured scholar” at Brains. She works on human cognition in humans and non-human animals.
5. “The fossil fuel divestment campaign makes demands that no corporate executive could ever meet,” says Scott Wisor (Birmingham), at Ethics & International Affairs.
6. Eddy Nahmias (Georgia State) tests “willusionism.”
7. “In a perfect world, unlikely findings would be both published and scrutinized — and maybe that world’s not so far from the world we have. Still, the evidence appears to be badly mixed; can any conclusion – save that we’ve got a mess on our hands – be safely drawn?” — an excerpt from a new book by John Doris (Washington University in St. Louis) (via Leiter). Shen-yi Liao (Leeds) comments on it here.
8. A review of recent defenses of the humanities, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
9. The truth and nothing but the truth (with a comment at the end from God, in bold, related to this recent thread).


1. “The fact you are unwilling to examine the philosophical foundations of what you do does not mean those foundations are not there; it just means they are unexamined.” Physicist George Ellis is interviewed at Scientific American’s site.
2. The researchers behind a study (previously) that concluded that students would rather self-administer shocks than spend time alone with their thoughts do not appear to have spent enough time with their thoughts. (via Bryce Huebner)
3. Reports about the findings from a study that purported to show that “children exposed to religion have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction” have come under scrutiny from philosopher Helen de Cruz (Oxford).
4. The leader of the Ukrainian rebels, Alexander Borodai, has a degree in philosophy from Moscow State University. He is the son of Yury Borodai, who is also a philosopher. Borodai the elder argues that humans evolved from apes through masturbation. Or at least so says an article in the Moscow Times, which notes that Borodai the junior “is not known to have a girlfriend.”
5. Teresa Marques, a philosopher at the University of Lisbon, critiques the Portguese Science and Technology Foundation’s employment of the European Science Foundation to review the country’s research institutes, arguing that it could lead to “disaster.”
6. Art and the philosophy and history of science come together in an exhibition called “Inventing Temperature” at the Korean Cultural Centre in London.
7. “Our actions in the concrete world and the manner in which we inquire into the world is premised on our concepts.  And this is precisely why philosophy matters,” says Levi R. Bryant (Collins College), at his blog, Larval Subjects.
8. The Independent has a series called “Book of a Lifetime.” A.C. Grayling reveals his pick here.
9. Debate continues over “Confucius Institutes.”
10. Socrates makes Buzzfeed… for seven times he was a total douchebag — like “when he invented the entire Socratic method.”

Update: oh, and 11 & 12: Two from around the philosoblogosphere: Martha Bolton’s remarks from the inaugural meeting of the Society for Modern Philosophy, at The Mod Squad; and Bas Van Der Vossen on “Why Philosophers Should Stay Out of Politics,” at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.


1. Hindu philosophy of religion.
2. A series of posts on Cusa and Hegel.
3. Artificial wombs are already being tested and developed, and according to some, will be widely used in a few decades. They’re a little controversial.
4. Physicist Lawrence Krauss squares off against philosophers Angie Hobbs and Mary Midgley on the relationship between philosophy and science.
5. Ethical carnivorism.
6. You can download a behavioral economics introductory text for free.
7. Will OKCupid be hiring an ethicist?
8. XKCD on what makes for a good thesis defense.
9. Academic Seinfeld on Twitter.


Philosophers Propose Boycott

Related to the earlier post of links to philosophers writing about the current conflict in Gaza and associated issues, some philosophers and political theorists are supporting “a principled refusal to associate with Israeli academic institutions that have not explicitly condemned the occupation.” They lay out their reasons here. (via Katharine Jenkins)

(Note: for ..