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Alyssa Ney from Rochester to UC Davis

Alyssa Ney, currently associate professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester, will become associate professor of philosophy at UC Davis, starting this July. Professor Ney works in metaphysics, philosophy of physics, and philosophy of mind.

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“The Cuts Make No Academic Sense”

As reported last month, the University of Southern Maine has announced drastic cuts to faculty and staff and an academic restructuring so as to make up for a budget shortfall. The philosophy department there was merged with the English department, and there is one (unconfirmed) report that one philosopher was forced into retirement on pain of termination with reduce..

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1. “Something as ‘mundane’ as coffee tasting generates one of the most challenging philosophical questions…” Anna Marmadoro (Oxford) on Aristotle on perception.
2. The mayor of Sao Paolo, Brazil, who has a PhD in philosophy, has been trying to implement progressive transportation policies in his city. He “has succeeded so far in unifying voters: They want him out.
3. A psychologist discusses the relationship between happiness and being focused on others, at Big Questions Online.
4. The Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry has a new blog.
5. Peter Singer is interviewed about the animal rights movement, “4 decades after he started it.”
6. True Detective continues to get the philosophical treatment at The Critique, with a post on the show’s ethical outlook. Previous entries in this series are here and here.
7. Joe Cole (Guilford College) has authored a bilingual “heartwarming parable of perseverance” for children called I Built My House on a Volcano. A brief article about how the book came about is here.
8. Alex Byrne (MIT), along with Wi-Phi and Kahn Academy, have put together a video about mind-body dualism.
9. Ezekiel Emanuel, director of clinical bioethics at the NIH, explains why he hopes to die at age 75. Related.
10. Thanks so much for your criticism!

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1. Why are they so angry? Amia Srinivasan (Oxford) makes the case for anger, arguing that it can be a huge source of strength and power, particularly for the apparently weak and powerless, on the BBC. (via Aidan McGlynn)
2. When people who have been blind their whole life are given the power of sight, what do they see? — on the puzzle William Molyneaux posed to John Locke regarding touch and sight (via Matt McAdam, Robert Long). More here.
3. The current multi-chapter issue of Nautilus (#16) is dedicated to nothingness. One part: an article by physicist Alan Lightman on consciousness of nothingness.
4. Parasites affect our thought and behavior. The most studied of these parasites is toxoplasma gondii, which affects perhaps half the world’s human population. There’s some new research on how it operates.
5. A now-classic poem which you should send to all of your students at this time of year.
6. “Has anyone ever tried to date a philosopher?… Because if you ever have… you will know you never should date a philosopher” — and so begins Jess Zimmerman’s rather funny telling of “When Your Asshole Boyfriend is a Philosopher of Neuroscience,” a story about her dating her philosophy professor (click the white ►on the bottom of the screen).
7. Some profs think that Richard Dawkins would fail PHIL 101.
8. I’m thinking of how fun the next APA could be if everybody would do Somebody. Get your mind out of the gutter, perv — Somebody is a messaging app that is also a performance art project. That’s possible, right, philosophers of art?
9. Three logicians walk into a bar.

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1. Do athletes need more philosophy?
2. Bertrand Russell plays himself, being interviewed, as part of a 1967 Bollywood movie. A Buddhist monk explains, and links to the clip.
3. Are people abusing Jonathan Bennett’s earlymoderntexts.com? Eric Schliesser comments.
4. What do our students want from us? For us to challenge them, and for us to care.
5. A review of a new novel composed entirely of fictional letters of recommendation, itself written as a letter of recommendation.
6. Plato’s Symposiumlive!
7. Berlin didn’t ask what makes foxes into foxes and hedgehogs into hedgehogs, but Alison Gopnik does, in the Wall Street Journal.
8. Peter Worley gives a TEDx talk on doing philosophy with children.
9. Relatedly, this three-minute animation is a great introduction for kids to cogito ergo sum.
10. The Philosopher’s Diet, by Richard Watson, starts with “Fat. I presume you want to get rid of it. Then quit eating so much.” I have no idea where it goes from there. It came out in 1985 and is still available at Amazon and also as a free Google doc of unknown legality.
11. Not the, uh, deepest thing you’ll read about holes.

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Philosophy Tag

Gillian Russell (Washington University in St. Louis) was tagged last week by Franz Berto (Amsterdam) in the logic playground, where the game has been playing for a while now. Let’s see where Russell’s tag takes us.

There’s a pervasive thought in many cultures and religions—one that I’ve found attractive in the past—that moral anxiety in human agents is a ..

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Philosophy Tag

Last week, Sara Bernstein (Duke) made Roberta Ballarin (University of British Columbia) it. Who’s Ballarin going to tag? Let’s find out…

Atomicity is the thesis that everything is ultimately composed of atoms, entities that lack proper parts. Atomicity is standardly defined as “for every x there is a y such that y is an atom and y is a part of x”, i.e. ever..

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1. Don’t call your college students “kids,” says Sean A. Valles (Michigan State).
2. Jakob Hohwy (Monash), who works in philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology, and is the author of The Predictive Mind, is guest-blogging at Brains this week.
3. A thought experiment shows that the psychological arrow of time hooks up with the thermodynamic arrow of time and provides a useful definition of a memory, to boot.
4. Africa Must Be Modern, writes Nigerian philosopher Olúfémi Táíwò.
5. Can we learn anything from imagining what it is like to be a tick?
6. “Doping expresses the spirit of sport” — Savulescu on why we should allow performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
7. Brief report from the 6th Annual Wittgenstein Conference is good PR but it might be called “journalism goes on holiday.”
8. Four professors apply to share the job of university president.
9. Performance art: “Plato’s Porno Cave” — no, they don’t really mean porn, they mean, er, “fantastical idealized version of relations between human beings.” And no they don’t really mean Plato either, it seems (SFW, BTW).

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