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Monthly Archives:

May 2014

1. Want to annoy a metaphysician? Send him or her a link to this video, which purports to answer the question, “How Many Things Are There?”
2. Rousseau, pranking, and spanking.
3. You won’t believe who is saying that there is such a thing as a free lunch.
4. “Real philosophy has always flourished outside institutional walls,” says Scott Samuelson at the Huffington Post, who then goes on to recommend the study of seven philosophers who are probably known mostly to folks inside said walls. (UPDATE: Montaigne, one of the recommended philosophers, was featured in a 7-part series in The Guardian a few years back. Here is Part 1.)
5. An article about Dora Russell, “British feminist, sex radical, progressive educator, peace activist, and second wife of the philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell.”
6. The Wall Street Journal reports that philosophy, or something like it, is making its way into business school curricula, while Fast Company discusses the relevance of Aristotle to tech startups.
7. Don’t be a robot, says Evan Selinger (Rochester Institute of Technology) over at CNN.
8. Philosopher and “follower of Christ” Paul Gould (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) offers an explanation of why the Baptist Church needs philosophers.
9. In a better world, would most adjuncts be tenure-track?
10. A pop philosopher curates an art exhibition aimed at solving your personal problems (more).
11. I’m happy to admit: neither do I.
BONUS UPDATE: 12. On What Matters on what matters, the tumblr. (Not new, but new to me.)


1. A defense of the lecture.
2. Harvard’s internal report on the scientific misconduct case of Marc Hauser.
3. “Socrates and the Crisis of the Universities“, a lecture by MM McCabe (video).
4. “The Philosophy” is a new shiraz-cab blend from McGuigan Wines. A bit pricier than these.
5. Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” — non-ideal theory version.
6. “I enter the teletransporter.” One step closer?
7. Did Socrates play the harp?
8. Massimo Pigliucci asks, “What Has Philosophy Ever Done for Us?” in a short video.
9. The philosophical owl, now available as a greeting card. More wonderful animals by Grandville.
10. Internal: the threads on how much you travel for workconformity to journal stylephilosophers in government, and the pragmatism map are still open for your comments. Also, the post on philosophical critiques of Piketty has been updated with new links to critiques by others.


1. “No one goes into the humanities for reasons political, professional, or merely personal. We do so because devoting ourselves to some particular field strikes us an especially exciting and appropriate way of leading a life, because the work required seems to us noble, challenging, and rewarding, and because we love it.” David McCabe (Colgate) on how not to defend the humanities.
2. “Where will they all sleep and dine? How do philosophers party? What should we print on the pillows and promotional cups?” That’s from a very strange piece on the 2018 World Congress of Philosophy, which will be held in Beijing. “The question is, can China–with its largely untapped resources, ideas, and innovations–revive the once exceedingly gorgeous but now sadly torpid and dour discipline?”
3. Pills to fall in love, and pills to fall out of love: it’s likely not a matter of if, but of when. “We’re trying to get ahead of the technology and ahead of the science with some ethical arguments.” Australia’s ABC Radio hosts a discussion of the ethics of the pharmacology of love with Brian Earp (Oxford) and others.
4. “Throughout its 10-year run, Watterson made Calvin and Hobbes his mouthpiece for profound insights in aestheticsethicsepistemology, and existentialism” — a short piece on the upcoming documentary, Dear Mr. Watterson, about the beloved comic strip that adorns the doors of many a professor’s office. There’s a trailer at the link, too.
5. “The division of labor is not that philosophy is speculative while physics is not; rather, each discipline looks for different kinds of answers.” M. Anthony Mills, a philosophy graduate student at Notre Dame, responds to Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
6. Áine Mahon, a post-doc in philosophy at the University of Dublin, is interviewed in the Irish Times about philosophy in literature.
7. The Philosophy School of Phish, at Oregon State University, “is an experiment in engaged philosophy that will use a variety of venues to facilitate collaborative and experiential learning in the Phish community.” Uh huh. Taught by assistant professor Stephanie Jenkins, “This class will use Phish’s mythology, live performances, and social media presence in order to introduce key ideas in the history of philosophy in public settings. Specifically, we will explore possibilities publicly engaged scholarship holds for social transformation, community-building, and experiential learning.” And jamming, I am sure they meant to add.
8. “Even though Player 1 wants a health pack, he believes it is his duty to give it to Player 2.” 8-Bit Philosophy on Kant on freedom and moral responsibility.


Big Pragmatism Map

Michael P. Wolf (Washington & Jefferson College) taught pragmatism this past semester and created a map to help keep things straight. A big map. Not unworkably big, of course, but big. Behold, “A Map of American Pragmatism and Its Roots.” Wolf is now looking for feedback on the map. Feel free to leave it in the comments here or email him directly at mwolf ‘at’ washj..

Philosophical Critique of Piketty

Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green) has begun a five part series of posts assessing the normative political philosophy in Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. He writes:

In this series, I am interested only in the following question: supposing that Piketty is right about the nature of capitalism, what are the normative implications? My answer will be that it’s fa..


In Slovenia, Alma Maruška Sedlar, a woman described in news reports as a philosopher and teacher, has been appointed by President Borut Pahor as a deputy chief of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption. Sedlar is not an academic, but rather a journalist and labor activist who graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Maribor in 2007 with a thesis on censorship and hate speech. (Thanks to Friderik Klampfer at Maribor for that information.)

What professional philosophers have held government offices recently, say, in the past decade or so? There is Michael Ignatieff in Canada. And back in 2005, the government of Norway hired Henrik Syse to be the ethicist for its petroleum fund. I’m sure there are other examples. Readers?

Anja Jauernig (Pittsburgh) to NYU

Anja Jauernig, currently associate professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, has accepted a senior offer from New York University, starting in January, 2015 (via Leiter). One could say she works on Kant and early modern philosophy, or one could just defer to her own words, which include a brief defense of the history of philosophy:

My main interests i..