Quick on the heels of the last one, another Mini-Heap…

  1. Bertrand Russell’s “theoretical antidote to the irrational, sectarian vitriol between European nations” was logic and analytic philosophy — Alexander Klein (McMaster) on the connection between politics and metaphilosophy, and the value of the history of philosophy
  2. “Illegitimately devaluing others’ goals and ignoring their opinions—this is the essence of being a jerk,” a vice that “works to prevent its own detection” — Eric Schwitzgebel (Riverside) provides a partial classification of academic jerks. What types did he miss? (Thanks to The Chronicle’s Evan Goldstein for the link)
  3. “Because people take subjectivism to be such a wildly implausible view they make no effort to see the world from a subjectivist’s point of view” — Liam Kofi Bright (LSE) on taking subjectivism seriously
  4. The philosophers who advised The Good Place got cameos in the show’s finale — Click for a photo of Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA) and Todd May (Clemson) on set with Kristin Bell, but if you don’t want spoilers don’t read any of the article
  5. Regulative epistemology: the aim is “not to describe what knowledge is, but to make people into better thinkers who are more aware of their cognitive limitations” — John Schwenkler (Florida State) looks at the ideas of Nathan Ballantyne (Fordham)
  6. Instead of asking students to write a short essay on their exam, how about have them develop a “structured question”? — Martin Lenz (Groningen) on the teaching of philosophical questioning
  7. Neural Mechanisms Online, a site about the philosophy of neuroscience, holds periodic webinars — up next is one with Ruth Millikan (Connecticut)

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. Discussion welcome.

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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Sam Duncan
Sam Duncan
4 years ago

Schwitzgebel’s little piece is just wonderful and the drawings add to it. But one serious point behind all this: To successfully deal with jerks of academe seems to require that one develop a certain level of abrasiveness and willingness to dismiss to discount or entirely dismiss the perspectives of at least some others (you’re certainly not going to get anywhere with the sadistic bureaucrat by admitting that he might be right or even that his requests might in any way be reasonable). So I do worry that jerkiness might be contagious, or that simply due to the prevalence of academic jerks maybe the only way to successfully navigate academia might be to become a bit of one. But I suppose maybe this is a good place to invoke the doctrine of the mean?
Also, I’d add one to the taxonomy: The Besserwisser. That’s guy who never ever has a positive suggestion or idea of any sort in faculty meetings or any other sort of group deliberation but immediately pounces on the supposed flaws of any positive solutions anyone else dares to offer.