Another Philosopher Gets a Google Doodle
Check out the Italian Google page for a google doodle marking what would have been the 296th birthday of Italian mathematician and philosopher Maria Gaetana Agnesi. One day only (as with the previous one.)
David Armstrong (1926-2014)
David Armstrong, a philosopher known for his work in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, has died. He had retired from the University of Sydney in 1992, and had previously held appointments at Birkbeck and University of Melbourne, and visiting positions at Yale, Stanford, Franklin and Marshall, University of Texas, and Notre Dame.
UPDATE (5/15/14): In the comme..
Watch What You Say Online, Profs
The new policy says that faculty and staff of the state’s six universities, 19 community colleges and six technical colleges may not say anything on social media that would incite violence, disclose confidential student information or release protected data. But it also says staffers are barred from saying anything “contrary to the best interests of the university.”..
Heap of Links
1. A Henry David Thoreau tumblr.
2. “Jean-Paul Sartre was literally obsessed with crabs. Also, mescaline.” That and other weird facts about some famous existentialists.
3. What can you do with a philosophy degree? Conduct secret negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC guerillas, for one. Meet Sergio Jaramillo Caro, Colombia’s high commission for p..
Diversity at Undergraduate-Oriented Departments
In the 50-plus years of its existence, the philosophy department has offered only one tenure-track position to a woman, and zero positions to people of color.
So writes undergraduate Emily Beszhak, about the Department of Philosophy at Western Washington University, in a letter to the editor of the school paper. The occasion of the letter was a recent hire by the de..
Andrew Cullison (SUNY Fredonia) to DePauw
Andrew Cullison, currently at SUNY Fredonia, has accepted a position at DePauw University as associate professor of philosophy and director of the university’s Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, effective July 1st, 2014. Cullison works in epistemology, ethics, meta-ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of religion. He is currently Secretary-Tr..
Do Ethics Courses Make Moral Students?
A recent event at Stanford raised the question of what good ethics courses do, with a particular focus on the question of whether such courses can and should make students more moral. Tamar Schapiro, Barbara Fried, and Benoit Monin (all Stanford) were the featured participants, and you can view their talks and the following discussion here. What is the job of the mo..
Judges Citing Philosophers, Kant Edition
Last week we had a judge citing Mill in a rather complicated case in England. This week we have a judge citing Kant in a rather straightforward case in the United States. The judge apparently needed Kant to weigh in on the sentencing of a tire slasher:
Instead of sending David Toledo, 46, to state prison for the recommended five to 10 years, Common Pleas Judge Edwa..
$7.5m Grant for Moral Robots
Move over, 6 Million Dollar Man, and make room for the 7.5 Million Dollar Moral Robot. The Office of Naval Research is doling out $7.5 million in grants to researchers at Tufts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Brown, Yale, and Georgetown “to explore how to build a sense of right and wrong and moral consequence into autonomous robotic systems.”
UPDATE: A related ..
Acknowledgments for Sale
Have you always wanted to be acknowledged in the preface of a philosophy book, but haven’t had the time or opportunity or insightfulness to do anything worthy of being so acknowledged? Or perhaps you have been thinking, “what have books done for me, lately?” Well Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski (both of Georgetown) have something special just for you. You can purch..
Last week we introduced Philosophy Tag, with Dana Howard (Ohio State) tagging Daniel Silvermint (Connecticut) for his piece, “Resistance and Well-Being.” That made Silvermint it. Let’s see who he tags:
“Oppression can make us angry, and perhaps even ought to. When defending anger, many will claim that it has instrumental value: for example, helping victims maint..
Yale Seeks Information About Sexual Misconduct
Jason Stanley (Yale) writes:
I just met with Professor Stephanie Spangler, Yale’s Deputy Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity and also the University’s Title IX Coordinator. She is responsible for oversight of the University’s policies and programs to address and prevent gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct (which are summarized at http://s..
Pigliucci the Pugilist
You and a number of your colleagues keep asking what philosophy (of science, in particular) has done for science, lately. There are two answers here: first, much philosophy of science is simply not concerned with advancing science, which means that it is a category mistake (a useful philosophical concept) to ask why it didn’t.
BOOM! By now you have probably read abo..
Dennis McKerlie (1948-2014)
Dennis McKerlie, a professor of philosophy at University of Calgary, has died. Professor McKerlie worked in moral and political philosophy. His final book, Justice Between the Young and Old, was published by Oxford in 2012. The Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary will be hosting a two-day conference on McKerlie’s work in February, 2015. More detail..
The Philosophy and Science of Creativity
Scientific American has published an excerpt from the introduction to The Philosophy of Creativity: New Essays, a new collection edited by Elliot Samuel Paul (Columbia) and Scott Barry Kaufman (NYU). In the various contributions, “philosophers draw on scientific research and scientific work is informed by philosophical perspectives.” Paul and Kaufman are two of the..
For years I provided very extensive comments on students’ papers. What stopped me was one of them, finally, saying “thank you.” It immediately struck me that hundreds of students over many semesters hadn’t cared enough to say anything to me about the comments, and in fact probably hadn’t cared about them at all. I switched to a more minimal commenting approach, at l..
Weinberg Donates $7.7m to Michigan
No, not me. Nor, alas, anyone related to me (as far as I know). But Marshall Weinberg, a University of Michigan alumnus, has donated $7.7 million to the University of Michigan for a new cognitive science institute, which will be a cooperative effort between the Departments of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Psychology. The Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science, as i..
A Name to Accompany the Accusations
The accusations of sexual misconduct against an as-of-yet-officially unnamed prominent moral and political philosopher (previously here and here) are no longer being made anonymously. They are now being advanced by a friend of one of the alleged victims, a Yale 2010 graduate named Emma Sloan. Ms. Sloan is soliciting funds for the legal case of her friend at this sit..
After yesterday’s heap of links included an unusual Wikihow article, it was brought to my attention that the Wikihow site is home to a number of illustrated articles that are more relevant to philosophy, if no less ridiculous. They include: How to Become a Philosopher (“Think about the world, what it means to live, to die, to exist, and what the point of it is“); Ho..
Professors Are Biased, Too
An experiment on unwitting professors shows that racial and gender bias persists, even in disciplines much more diverse than philosophy.
Heap of Links
1. Elizabeth Anderson discusses the history and varieties of egalitarianism at libertarianism.org.
2. “On Being Annoyed” by Tom Roberts (Exeter). A friend asks: the next “On Bullshit”?
3. I’m not sure how helpful it is to ask “What if Plato was an employee benefits professional?” though I do like Dilbert on this idea.
4. A “lost” video interview of Foucault on theme..
Non-Philosophers Teaching Philosophy
Several years ago, during an era of relative plenty, I tried to persuade our philosophy department to credit a new history course I was teaching on the Enlightenment. Neither the reading list, bursting with texts from Bacon and Locke to Montesquieu and Diderot, nor the publication of my own book on Hume and Rousseau undid the suspicion that a professional historian..
Service to the Planet, Sentence-by-Sentence
John Broome (Oxford) is among the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent “Fifth Assessment Report.” One of his tasks is to help the IPCC and its delegates craft the “Summary for Policy Makers” (SPM), a 30-page précis of the 2000-page report that, it is hoped, policy makers (or their assistants) will actually read. Every single sentence of..
The APA’s Collection of Syllabi
The American Philosophical Association has put together a collection of syllabi for courses that are dedicated in whole or part to underrepresented areas in philosophy. It’s a helpful resource for those looking to develop new courses or augment existing ones.
Wanted: Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory
Jeremy Waldron is leaving Oxford to return full-time to New York University (via Leiter), opening up Oxford’s famed Chichele Professorship in Social and Political Theory. Before Waldron, the chair was held by G.A. Cohen, Charles Taylor, John Plamenatz, Isaiah Berlin, and G.D.H. Cole. Who will be next?
St. Mary’s University Receives $1.5m For Catholic Philosophy
St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, has received $1.5 million from an anonymous donor to endow a chair in Catholic philosophy. “The donor requested the gift be used to recruit and retain a distinguished Catholic philosopher who has a deep understanding of prominent Catholic thinkers, especially the Rev. Bernard Lonergan.” Details here.
More on the Recent Anonymous Sexual Harassment and Assault Accusations
In September of 2011, the Yale Daily News published an article that detailed two stories of sexual misconduct at Yale. Now, a woman who says she is the victim in “Case 2” in that article has claimed to be the person initiating the lawsuit mentioned in the anonymous blog post, “The Moral Philosopher and His International Affairs” (previously), and has started a site ..
Way Too Much Going On Here, Mill Edition
In England, a judge who relied explicity on the writings of John Stuart Mill in his ruling granted an imprisoned mentally ill Jehovah’s Witness sex offender the right to refuse a blood transfusion after a suicide attempt.
The judge was told that had been moved to hospital from prison after cutting his arm with a razor blade and opening an artery. Specialists said ..