“I don’t know any academic field whose writing regularly indulges in sentence structure as complex as in analytic philosophy.” (more…)
“Here’s a radical suggestion, using the only weapon/motivational device editors have: If someone fails to fulfill their duties as referee, the journal will not accept submissions from that referee.” (more…)
Darrel Moellendorf, professor of political theory and philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt, survived. Nearly a year ago, he began chronicling his experience undergoing a stem cell transplant to treat his secondary myelofibrosis, a kind of bone-marrow cancer, that developed from his pre-existing essential thrombocythemia, at On Being (a) Patient. The treatment w..
“In a way that will be familiar to any reader of analytic philosophy, and is only too familiar to all of us who perpetrate it, this style tries to remove in advance every conceivable misunderstanding or misinterpretation or objection, including those that would occur only to the malicious or the clinically literal-minded.” (more…)
“It would be great for philosophy if more philosophical papers were written in a way that was appealing to scholars from across the academy.”
Micah T. Lewin, a recent PhD from Stanford who is currently an adjunct professor of philosophy at Perimeter College, Georgia State University, has created an impressively detailed and helpful rubric for grading philosophy papers. (more…)
Are you curious about your use of words and phrases in your writing? If so, you can play around with the text analysis tools at Voyant Tools. You can paste in the text of a paper, or upload or link to it, and Voyant will produce data about the frequency and location of words and phrases, presenting it in text and graph forms. (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 ..
David Chalmers (NYU & ANU), apart from being a prolific academic philosopher, does a good amount of public philosophy, is half of the team that runs PhilPapers and its associated endeavors, edits the philosophy of mind series for Oxford University Press and the philosophy of mind section at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and, I’m told, takes on an impressi..
Joshua Smart at the University of Missouri writes to let graduate students know about Virtual Dissertation Groups (previously):
Virtual Dissertation Groups
While advisors and committees are important, it can be incredibly helpful to discuss one’s work with peers in a lower-stakes environment, and it can be particularly enlightening to do so with those who take..
In an epic interview at Emotion Researcher, Martha Nussbaum answers questions about her life and her work and philosophy. At one point, the interviewer says:
Another distinctive aspect of your philosophical work is its ambition to have practical import. In your The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics, you cite approvingly Epicurus’ claim ..
In a comment in the ongoing discussion regarding the reaction to George Yancy’s “Dear White America,” University of Oregon professor of philosophy Naomi Zack puts forward the idea of an “American Society for the Protection of Philosophers.” She volunteers herself for it and asks interested others to contact her:
The American Philosophical Association should expre..
A little while ago there was a discussion on Reddit about “the most beautiful paragraph or sentence you’ve ever read.” I don’t know about you, but I could really go for some reminders about the beauty of our craft right about now. Let’s do a philosophy version of this. What do you think would be a good candidate for philosophy’s most beautiful sentence or paragraph?..
This stark opposition between analytic clarity and continental obscurity must be qualified. Certainly, analytic philosophers tend to see clarity as a virtue. Yet the very concern to be clear can lead to the creation of precise definitions and fine distinctions marked with technical terms. Especially but not only when logical formalization is used, the resulting writ..
Philosophers, I have been asked to ask you all about reference manager / bibliographic software, such as Endnote, Qiqqa, Mendeley, Zotero, etc. Do you use any of these? Is there one in particular you would recommend?
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week’s question comes to us from someone dealing with a bad case of writer’s block. Maybe.
I’m sure you’re going to say this is one of those problems everyone has, but I really struggle with writer’s block. It can hit when I’m just starting a new paper, or it can hit me when I’m already several drafts into a p..
Back in Fall of 2014 we discussed reference management software and apps. Bibdesk and Zotero seemed to be the most popular options at the time. A reader has written in asking us to revisit the topic, noting that when it comes to information technology, a year and a half is a long time. What new options are out there? Have people’s preferences changed? Let us know. T..
No, this is not a post about jerks who write. Rather, it is spurred by an inquiry from John Schwenkler (Florida State) about which programs philosophers use for writing. I am not very knowledgeable about the alternatives here, but Professor Schwenkler shares his recommendations:
· Lyx, which is a TeX/LaTeX editor that is easy to learn and install, and takes care of ..
Working on a dissertation? The latest round of the Virtual Dissertation Groups, organized by Joshua Smart of the University of Missouri, will be up and running soon. He writes:
While advisors and committees are important, it can be incredibly helpful to discuss one’s work with peers in a lower-stakes environment, and it can be particularly enlightening to do so w..
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, a philosopher who has written nonfiction for non-philosophers, as well as novels, is interviewed in The Chronicle of Higher Education about writing. Some of her insights about those kinds of writing seem just as relevant to—and helpful for—the kind of writing philosophers typically do.
Chronicle: Is there a way in which writing fi..
There are many little everyday steps leading up to the production of a philosophical manuscript. Charles Rathkopf (CUNY) writes in asking philosophers about “the daily habits of routine research.”
Do they take notes on paper, then transfer to a computer? Does anyone still try to write anything substantial with pen and paper? What bibliographic system is best? Do ..
“People have been asking me: what will you acquire? In most cases I gave the obvious response about seeking new directions in these fields and at the same time furthering established dialogues scholars are already engaged in. And that answer is true, but it’s not the full story. What I’m actually looking for is clear, vivid thought.” That’s Jenny Gavacs, the new soc..
A professor writes in with a question:
I’d be very curious what books or other resources your readers might recommend for graduate students looking to improve their writing skills. I have in mind anything from general style guides, to guides aimed more specifically at academics (or even professional philosophers!).
One thing that helps writers improve is read..
The following guest post* is by Marcus Arvan (Tampa). Marcus runs The Philosophers’ Cocoon, a helpful blog aimed at early-career philosophers. Last week saw the posting of a report on philosophers’ citation practices by Kieran Healy. Marcus has written on this topic a few times over the years at The Philosophers’ Cocoon (the latest is here), and so I asked him if he..
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, ..
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..