Welcome back to Ought Experiment! Today’s letter comes from a student who just struck out on all their grad school applications, and wants to know what they can do to improve their chances next time:
I have well over a 4.0 GPA, and had great letters of recommendation from my professors. I also have published one paper in an undergrad journal. On to..
The plans for growing and diversifying philosophy can’t be a shotgun approach. We need to find places every year where we can advocate and promote philosophical growth with precision because of our limited resources. We can do this through a robust development and advocacy process along with PR and advertising campaigns. There are lots of ways to grow and diversify ..
Colleen Cressman (MIT) draws our attention to the Open Syllabus Project. The project is a work in progress aimed at creating “the first large-scale online database of university course syllabi as a platform for the development of new research, teaching, and administrative tools.” It has a collection of over a million syllabi culled from the internet and other source..
Last March, University of Colorado associate professor of philosophy Dan Kaufman filed a lawsuit against the university “alleging the school both discriminated and retaliated against him because he has a disability,” following his being banned from campus by the administration. Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed these claims, reports the Daily Camera. In exchange ..
A philosophy professor has written in with some questions about anonymous or “blind” grading, in which the identity of the student whose work is being assessed is not known to the grader. The majority opinion in philosophy appears to be that there are strong moral reasons in support of anonymous grading. Yet, there are questions about evidence for it, as well as abo..
In light of the previous post, we might ask, are there too many philosophy PhDs? Some people think so, and take that as a reason to think that some departments should stop offering PhDs. Let’s talk about this.
First, a general point: though the number of PhD studentships is not the result of an open market, there are still good Hayekian reasons for caution about ..
To φ Or Not To φ
by Tanya Kostochka
On a recent trip I was introduced to a senior philosopher who soon turned the conversation away from the standard opening pleasantries with this: “If it were up to me, the internet—especially blogs and social media—would go out of existence. It is just a place philosophers go to do terrible philosophy and act thoughtlessly. It’s embarrassing.”
Naturally, I aske..
Below are last week’s additions and updates to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (NDPR), and Wi-Phi Wireless Philosophy, appearing here via special arrangement with Philosophical Percolations. They were first posted in PhilPercs’ “Saturday Linkorama” along with a collection ..
This is a great public service and a great idea.
Stefan Schubert, a visiting philosophy professor at the London School of Economics, and Spencer Greenberg, a mathematician and entrepreneur who started Clearer Thinking, a site aimed to help people “avoid thinking traps and make improved decisions, to better achieve the goals they value most,” are producing videos ..
One thing that a Philosophy Head or Chair has to bear in mind continuously is “out-of-sight, out-of-mind.” I’ve always made it a point to tell higher administrators about the many accomplishments of Philosophy faculty—probably to the point of annoying them somewhat. But there’s simply no substitute for self-promotion with administrators who often don’t think of th..
The Philosophy Documentation Center‘s mailing lists provides a breakdown of how many U.S. and Canadian philosophers claim various areas of specialization. I don’t know how accurate the list is—it gives a total count of approximately 14,600 philosophers, including about 2,500 graduate students and 450 independent scholars—but I don’t have any reason to think it i..
Last spring we discussed some issues regarding self-promotion in philosophy. The focus then was largely on egotistical and boorish online behavior. The current discussion of Academia.edu here has brought renewed interest to the topic, particularly on the question of how to do it well, and a request for a guide to online self-promotion in philosophy.
In what is being referred to as “an unprecedented example of library-author-publisher collaboration,” a new philosophy book and accompanying digital archive of its material were recently launched. The book is The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources, by Margaret Battin (Utah). Professor Battin worked with her publisher, Oxford University Press, and the University o..
Here are last week’s additions and updates to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy(IEP), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (NDPR), and Wi-Phi Wireless Philosophy, courtesy of Philosophical Percolations. They were first posted in PhilPercs’ “Saturday Linkorama,” along with lots of other philosophy-related links, by Jon..
Nuance is not a virtue of good sociological theory. Sociologists typically use it as a term of praise, and almost without exception when nuance is mentioned it is because someone is asking for more of it. I shall argue that, ..
Richard Dawid, currently research fellow at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, has accepted a position as senior lecturer at the University of Stockholm. Dawid works mainly in philosophy of science and philosophy of physics. You can read an interview with him here.
I’ve been teaching high school students a week’s worth of philosophy each summer for the past three years, and I’ve had tremendous success doing it.
So writes Kristopher G. Phillips (Southern Utah), in a post at Philosophical Percolations on the Lyceum Program for High Schoolers, which he co-founded as a graduate student at the University of Iowa with Greg Stoute..
About 9 p.m., the Bible study concludes. As the group prepares to share a concluding prayer, Roof suddenly stands, pulls out a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and says he has come to kill black people. He shoots the Rev. Pinckney first, at near point-blank range. Simmons tries to protect the pastor, a father of two young children, but Roof shoots him multiple time..
Nick Huggett (UIC) and Christian Wüthrich (Geneva) have won a $1.1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to support their project, “Space and Time after Quantum Gravity,” on the philosophical implications of theories of quantum gravity (a continuation of their “Beyond Spacetime” project).
Professor Wüthrich writes:
The premise of the project is that..
Tommy Maranges, AKA Philosophy Bro (@PhiloBro) has written a book. It’s a translation of Descartes’ Meditations. A translation into which language, you ask? Modern vernacular. Or, as the kids say, “as the kids say.”
His version starts off with:
HOLY SHIT FUCK ME, it feels like my eyeballs are going to explode. I barely remember shit and I lost my phone, I blew..
The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy is out! By philosopher Michael Patton (Montevallo) and illustrator Kevin Cannon, the book stars Heraclitus as the reader’s guide and companion through various philosophical topics, including logic, perception, minds, free will, god, and ethics. At over 150 pages, it has the heft and look of a big graphic novel, and it’s all ab..
There’s an interesting post at Show and Tell about the speaking styles of philosophers. It begins with this:
There is a telling anecdote about G.E.M. Anscombe and A.J. Ayer. Anscombe said to Ayer, “You know, if you didn’t talk so fast, no one would think you were so clever.” Ayer rapidly replied, “And if you didn’t talk so slowly, no one would think you were so v..
Kyle York at McSweeney’s presents a very funny selection of lesser-known trolley problem variations. Here are just a few. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
The Time Traveler
There’s an out of control trolley speeding towards a worker. You have the ability to pull a lever and change the trolley’s path so it hits a different worker. The different worker i..
Seven philosophers were awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Johnny Brennan of the ACLS writes with the details:
The Canadian Minister of State recently announced the recipients of 150 new and renewed “Canada Research Chairs.” Two new Canada chairs have been awarded to philosophers: Travis Dumsday (Concordia U. College of Alberta), who works in philosophy of science, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and medieval, and Gregoire Webber (Queen’s University), who works on quest..
A graduate student in philosophy who prefers to remain anonymous writes in with questions “concerning self-promotion and marketing oneself in order to move up in the world of philosophy.” He asks: “Is blatant self-promotion just a feature of the discipline now? Is doing anything necessary to sway the public opinion a necessary evil? Or should we be calling these p..