The latest Mini-Heap…

  1. “Humor is philosophically interesting because amusement can be justified… without any expectation that the reasons we give speak to rational beings, as such” — Kieran Setiya (MIT) on Terry Eagleton’s new book on humor
  2. “The disagreement over scholarly debate about gender identity rages on” — Inside Higher Ed covers the discussion of trans issues taking place in philosophy and elsewhere in the academy, and in response, 12 philosophers “condemn the too frequently cruel and abusive rhetoric, including accusations of hatred or transphobia, directed at [trans-exclusive] philosophers in response to their arguments and advocacy”
  3. “Joe Biden is the old professor still teaching off of notes he typed up in 1975 who gets handsy at the holiday party after one too many scotch and sodas” — Democratic Party candidates for president as members of a history department
  4. The psychology and philosophy of perverse (not necessarily perverted) actions — Paul Bloom (Yale) in The New Yorker
  5. To help students avoid their knee-jerk political reactions, “look more globally, to contexts foreign to students so that they must try to use the philosophical tools and concepts in their interpretation” — 廖顯禕 / Shen-yi Liao (Puget Sound) guides us through a good example
  6. Lower-ranked PhD-programs in philosophy admit students from a wide range of U.S. undergraduate institutions — data and analysis from Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside)
  7. An online Bernard Williams archive — it includes work by and about him, videos and interviews, and more

Mini-Heap posts appear when 7 or so new items accumulate in the Heap of Links, the ever-growing collection of items from around the web that may be of interest to philosophers.

The Heap of Links consists partly of suggestions from readers; if you find something online that you think would be of interest to the philosophical community, please send it in for consideration for the Heap. Thanks!


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Not a chance
Not a chance
4 years ago

It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that a bunch of senior members of the profession took the time to call out the treatment of other senior members of the profession but didn’t bother to criticize any actions by their colleagues directed against vulnerable populations like (say) graduate students.

Reply to  Not a chance
4 years ago

I think I agree… it would be nice, in these statements and open letters, if people could acknowledge the vulnerability of graduate students and call for extra caution when criticizing them in these debates. However, this can only be a reason for caution, and not a total ban on public criticism. I do think that it is important to see that when graduate students publicly descend to abusive or hateful language, they are basically walking around publicly waving a big red sign that reads “I WOULD BE AN AWFUL COLLEAGUE”. At that point, it feels a bit disingenuous to sit around and argue over whether senior philosophers have the right to call attention to the sign…

Matt Weiner
Reply to  Avalonian
4 years ago

It does depend on the context. Sometimes it is important for a colleague to stand up forcefully against injustice. I would rather have as a colleague a grad student who swears about a serious injustice in the profession than a senior philosopher who, when confronted with a clear example of injustice, waves it off as not particularly important, even if that waving-off is done with perfectly proper language.

Reply to  Matt Weiner
4 years ago

Sure. But: verbally abusing a fellow philosopher ≠ “swearing about injustice”. There is no way that you’d prefer someone who angrily abuses fellow philosophers over someone who finds other ways to criticize them.