Prospect Magazine’s “World Thinker” competition is underway. Among the 50 candidates are 14 people listed as philosophers: Elizabeth Anderson, Nick Bostrom, Judith Butler, Patricia Churchland, Daniel Dennett, Jürgen Habermas, Rae Langton, Thomas Nagel, Martha Nussbaum, Derek Parfit, Janet Radcliffe-Richards, Amartya Sen, Roberto Unger, and Slavoj Žižek. You can vote..
“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see him, trapped, floating helplessly on the surface of the broth, spinning slowly near the vortex left by your quickly withdrawn spoon, much as humanity rides atop the surface of life, unable to escape its predicament yet unwilling to dive in and explore it, instead knocked about by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..
It used to be that a trip to the bookstore in search of a volume on metaphysics would bring you face to face with titles about spirits, crystals, energy, and the like. But now things are much better. I mean, you’ll still get howlers like this or this or even this when you search for metaphysics at a place like Amazon, but generally the selection is good and there is..
Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins has some cautiously encouraging words for junior faculty who have “things to say” about our profession. She knows you are quite possibly nervous, and not unreasonably worried about professional harm, yet:
Philosophers, even senior philosophers, are very far from being a unified bunch with respect to their opinions on current issues in the pro..
Perhaps you know how to solve the mind-body problem, or how to prove that eternalism is (and always has been) true, or even which dinner party rules can be known a priori. But do you know which philosophers have appeared in which movies? Or which philosophical claims are linked to which couples of philosophers? Or which nasty line from a philosophical book review wa..
Jeffrey J. Williams conducts a wide-ranging and thoughtful interview with Bob Brandom in the journal Symploke. The interview (PDF) covers Brandom’s thoughts about the enterprise of philosophy, its analytic and continental traditions, its major figures, as well as reflections on his own life and career.
From the interview:
Jeffrey J. Williams: What would you say, in..
A possible breakthrough in the analysis and science of humor, reported here.
Critical-Theory.com has set up a March Madness tournament, bracket and all, of “overrated philosophers.” You can enter your vote here.
Saint Louis University has received a grant of $2.7 million from the The John Templeton Foundation to explore the subject of intellectual humility. Contributions by SLU bring the total grant to over $3 million. The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility project will focus on a variety of philosophical and theological issues relevant to the topic of intelle..
How much service, and what kinds, are appropriate for junior faculty? Is more teaching preferable to more service? Do service burdens vary by gender? Brian Weatherson presents some anecdata and comments at And Another Thing, and Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins discusses her experience at her blog, Field Notes. Have any readers had noteworthy experiences in this regard? Does..
A team at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown (disclosure: my graduate alma mater), is putting together a massive open online course, or MOOC, on Bioethics, set to go live next month. In the meanwhile, they are maintaining a site about their efforts, which includes various posts on the making of the course, relevant data about MOOCs, and considerations of ..
Berit Brogaard (University of Missouri-St. Louis; philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of psychology) will be moving to University of Miami as full professor, starting in Fall 2014.
Douglas Lavin (Harvard; ethics, practical reasoning, action) will become a permanent lecturer in philosophy at University College London, starting Fall 2014.
UPDATE: There have been concerns expressed about the accuracy and completeness of this report. Comments are open.
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..
This week’s Friday Fun comes courtesy of David Boonin (University of Colorado). Thank you, David, for your suggestion, and for inspiring others to send in their contributions to this occasional series (seriously, be inspired people, or this series may not last).
David writes, “The idea is to come up with a single sentence that summarizes the most important thing(s)..
A screenwriter considers the question.
Inside Higher Ed has some further commentary on W’s negotiation debacle (or maybe it is better characterized as “Nazareth’s negotiation debacle”). Also, Chad Kautzer (CU-Denver) has posted a petition asking the APA to “publicly condemn the actions of the hiring committee of Nazareth College’s Philosophy Department” and “amend the APA Handbook on Placement Practices…
Mars One is a crowdfunded space exploration project that plans on sending humans to Mars. The trip is one-way, and after they have arrived the explorers will be expected to set up their own rules of governance and social organization. While the spirit of exploration and experimentation is admirable, certain ethical, legal, and political questions arise. These have b..
In case you haven’t checked recently, Philosophy Bites has conducted 292 audio interviews with philosophers. What a great service! Here’s the list of the interviewees.
And only two of them are employed in philosophy departments, according to UCL philosopher Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman, writing in the The Times Higher Education Supplement on bias, stereotype threat, and philosophy’s general neglect of the issue of race.
UPDATE (3/20/2014): Here is the audio from “Why Isn’t My Professor Black?”, a panel discussion on March 10th a..
Broadview Press is publishing a new version of the strangely-little-known-yet-intensely-loved-minor-philosphical-classic The Grasshopper, by Bernard Suits. This edition, its third, retains the introduction from the second by Thomas Hurka and reunites the text with the original illustrations by Frank Newfeld. The book answers Wittgenstein’s view that there is no sati..
Continuing with the recent theme of methodology, Robin Hanson, who holds an appointment in the Economics Department at George Mason University, writes often about rationality and decision theory, and is chief author at the Overcoming Bias site, has advice for contrarians. Observing that knowingly disagreeing is irrational or dishonest, he says contrarians should not..
Historian David M. Perry takes on the consumer model of college education in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Faculty Members Are not Cashiers.”
Kevin Elliott, a philosopher of science in the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University (and before that a colleague of mine at South Carolina), is interviewed on the CBC radio program “Information Morning Fredericton”. The program begins with an excerpt from an interview with a representative of the forestry industry; the segment with Elliott begins at the..
Ruth Groff (Saint Louis University) writes to inform me of a new, open, collective blog she writes for and coordinates called Powers, Capacities & Dispositions. She explains that the idea is “to establish a shared, non-competitive space for conversation and the exchange of work, resources and events related to non-Humean realism about causal powers at various levels..