John Searle was recently bestowed with a lifetime achievement hat by SCALP (Skull Covering Association for Lively Philosophers). SCALP, one of the oldest philosophical societies, is known for its unusual choices, and it lived up to its reputation this time with its selection of a deerstalker, which Searle is sporting in this photo. Previous awards include a shower c..
A recent argument from David Killoren (Coastal Carolina) has convinced me to shift the direction of the blog. He writes:
Case 1: You’re looking at the Daily Nous banner logo. Case 2: You’re looking at a hair salon’s logo circa 1986. How can you distinguish these experiences? A skeptical problem.
I have tangled privately with this for some time, but now it is time to..
William Harper, a philosopher at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University (London, Ontario), and one of the few philosophers (I’m assuming) to have an asteroid named after him, is the recipient of the 2014 Patrick Suppes Prize in Philosophy of Science. The philosophy of science prize, which includes a $10,000 honorarium, is awarded once every three y..
This informative and well-designed poster illustrates the work habits and daily routines of a number of famous “creatives,” including Kant. If it is to be believed, Kant wrote from 6-7am. Wait, what? One hour a day? Well if you add up enough days…
How about philosophers today? When do you typically get your writing done? Answer in the poll below, picking the on..
1. A philosophy undergrad reflects on anxiety and racial stereotypes in philosophy teaching (via Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, who shares her thoughts on the post here.)
2. At North Idaho College, the philosophy club arranged an event at which “impassioned students met with faculty to discuss the possibility of adding three classes into the curriculum.” The meeting and some of the issues surrounding it are reported in this article in the student newspaper. The article is nothing special, written with the kind of focused earnestness that is used as a comical device in publications like The Onion, and on the face of it this is a story that seems like it would be of interest only to the people who are mentioned in it. But there are some elements here that suggest there is a larger cultural story to be told. First, the students care enough about the philosophy curriculum to put on a meeting about it with the faculty. Second, where is this happening? Not at the kind of institution of higher learning you likely would imagine, but at a regional community college, which certainly cuts against stereotype! Third, there is the question of the relationship between 2- and 4-year institutions and the extent to which the latter should accept credit for philosophy coursework at the former.
3. But if it can wait, isn’t it in the future, and so…?
4. Daniel Fincke, the former philosophy adjunct who left academia to start his own philosophy enterprise, provides a lengthy response to God Is Not Dead, the new movie starring Kevin Sorbo as a caricature of a philosophy professor, set in an alternative world in which theists are oppressed for their beliefs. David Kyle Johnson, a philosopher at King’s College, provides another review of the movie in Psychology Today.
5. Product design gone wrong. Or, a visual lesson in how to appreciate the ordinary. I love the wine glass. And the broom.
6. A defense of studying philosophy in The Wall Street Journal, which you probably cannot access because it is currently behind a paywall and you are a philosopher.
7. Reflections on creativity, loneliness, power, and cooperation–in Minecraft and other video games.
8. This week’s best headline with the word “philosophy” in it: “Star Horse Trainer of ‘Walking Dead’ Fame Brings His Philosophy to North Georgia Ranch“.
As our editorial statement indicates, we favor clear, succinct papers that go out on a limb, papers that take a chance, papers exhibiting fresh perspectives on familiar problems. This is of a pi..
“Yes, I see him, trapped, floating helplessly on the surface of the broth, spinning slowly near the vortex left by your quickly withdrawn spoon, much as humanity rides atop the surface of life, unable to escape its predicament yet unwilling to dive in and explore it, instead knocked about by uncomprehended forces, heads set spinning by God’s hasty retreat, mere obse..
Today’s column by economist Gregory Mankiw in the New York Times provides an occasion to reflect on a problem for public philosophy. In the column, Mankiw contrasts a rudimentary form of utilitarianism with a thoughtless version of the precautionary principle. Even if you agree with the policy prescriptions that he concocts from this mix of ingredients, no philosoph..
Speaking of philosophical methodologies (and there is of course a lot that falls under that heading), one longstanding issue is the extent to which philosophy must ultimately conform with common sense. Of course there have been countless counterintuitive theses defended in the history of philosophy, but the dominant view today seems to be that philosophy is indeed i..
A new edition of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia is available, and contains a foreword by Thomas Nagel. Nagel describes not just the main themes of the book but also the intellectual environment from which it grew, as well Nozick’s own particular strengths, which in turn provides a view of Nagel’s thoughts about how to do philosophy well. From the forewor..
Rebecca Roache, a philosopher at Oxford and a fellow at its Future of Humanity Institute, is interviewed at Aeon Magazine about the ways in which emerging and future technologies could be used to change how we punish criminals. An article about the interview appears in the Telegraph. Roache also discusses technology and punishment in a blog post here.
The NY Times Magazine has an article on MIT’s new Pantheon project, which aims to map “cultural production.” According to it, the top ten most famous people of all time, anywhere, include these philosophers: Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius, and Pythagoras. Philosophy: come for the money, stay for the fame.
You really have no choice but to check out this issue of Methode Journal featuring thirty short interviews with philosophers about free will. It’s a terrific line-up, and each interview is downloadable as its own pdf.
Take Parfit’s teletransporters, add “someone’s modus ponens is another’s modus tollens,” throw in a dash of existentialism, and you’ll get “The Machine“, an interesting philosophy comic from Existential Comics (there are some other goods ones there, too; be warned that at least one of them is bit racy). See also John Weldon’s animated story about teletransportation,..
NPR has a story about a new biography of civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael, who majored in philosophy at Howard University.
A new, peer-reviewed, open-access, interdisciplinary journal, Science, Religion & Culture, has been launched by Smith & Franklin publishing. There are a number of philosophers on the editorial board, including editor-in-chief Gregg D. Caruso (Corning Community College, SUNY), who explains what the new journal is about in this piece.
Amtrak is offering writing residencies aboard its trains. Lasting from two to five days, the residencies are roundtrip journeys that include accommodations on board a sleeper car equipped with a bed, a desk, and outlets. The program is open to all sorts of writers, not just philosophers. Amtrak says that “A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak..
1. Isn’t it supposed to be FAQ? So WTF (Where’s The “F”)? The truth of the matter is that this blog hasn’t been around long enough for any question to really have been asked frequently. Nonetheless, I have been asked some questions about this blog, and thought I might say a few words in response.
2. Is this blog an attack on Brian Leiter? Nope. Like many in philosoph..
Morton White, Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, died on May 27th. Over the course of his career he taught philosophy at City College of New York, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University. (more…)
Inside Higher Ed today discusses a report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) on faculty cuts at the College of St. Rose (previously). A number of faculty were let go, leading the AAUP to declare that at the College, tenure is “virtually meaningless.” Among the programs affected is philosophy:
This is not the first time a philosophy ma..
The following is a guest post* by Gregory Lewis, a medical doctor and amateur philosopher, in which he looks through a statistical lens at the formation of the Western philosophical canon. You can read more of his writings, including an earlier version of the piece that follows, at his site.
The actions of the present government to persecute Professor Öymen, using an ill-conceived law, applied inappropriately, endangers the standing Turkey now enjoys with the international philosophical community…
are accustomed to offering and receiving blunt criticism. The freedom to do so is a necessary condition for philosophical activity, and even more, part ..
3 Quarks Daily has announced the winners of its 2015 prize for best philosophy blog post:
- Top Quark, $500: Vidar Halgunset, Slow Corruption
- Strange Quark, $200: Daniel Silvermint, On How We Talk About Passing
- Charm Quark, $100: Lisa Herzog, (One of) Effective Altruism’s blind spot(s)
Of the top two posts, Judge John Collins (Columbia) writes: “they w..
In an essay at Aeon, Huw Price (Cambridge) writes about “reputation traps.”
His example of this is scientific research on cold fusion, or low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), “the controversial idea that nuclear reactions similar to those in the Sun could, under certain conditions, also occur close to room temperature.” Cold fusion held out the promise of clean an..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week I heap reflexive and excessive scorn on a philosopher who’s worried that their work is taking them in controversial directions, and that contemporary philosophy might not be all that welcoming a place for such work. Oh, wait.
One of the papers I’m working on has a significantly controversial (maybe e..
Burleigh Taylor Wilkins, who was professor of philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara for forty-five years, died last month at the age of 83. Wilkins worked in political and legal philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of history. His career also included appointments at MIT, Princeton, and Rice. A festschrift for him, Essays In Honor of Burleigh W..
In the movie Back to the Future II, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel 30 years into the future, to today, October 21st, 2015. The movie was ahead of its time, at least when it came to marketing, apparently.
The movie also raised an important question which, alas, is still with us today, namely:
Mathias Frisch, currently professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland, is moving to the University of Hannover to take up a chair in the philosophy of science. He will start there in the Spring (the German “Sommersemester”). Frisch works largely in philosophy of physics and philosophical issues concerning climate change.
(P.S. Junior folks on the mark..