How Political Should the APA Be?
An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses whether professional academic organizations should take overt stances on the political issues of the day. The American Philosophical Association is not mentioned in the article, though others are, such as the American Economic Association, the American Political Science Association, and the American History A..
The Anthropology of the College Professor
Anthropologist John Ziker (Boise State) applied the tools of his trade to the species homo academicus and reports the first of his findings on how professors use their time. Some excerpts:
On average, our faculty participants worked 61 hours per week. That is 50 percent more than a 40-hour workweek. It’s a good thing they love what they do. They worked just over 10 ..
World’s Largest Philosophy and Music Festival
I don’t know what the other competitors for this title are, but apparently the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, How The Light Gets In, will be taking place from May 22nd to June 1st in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. It is indeed a big event. Philosophers on the roster include Simon Blackburn, Nancy Cartwright, John Harris, John Heil, Angie Hobbs, Ted Honderich, ..
Solutions to the Jobs Problem?
Eleanor Dickey, professor of classics at University of Reading, has been soliciting possible responses to the problem of the high ratio of PhD holders to academic jobs. She writes, “I received nearly a hundred responses, most containing heart-rending tales of woe as well as exciting ideas for tackling the issue. Clearly the problem is a major one, and the people suf..
Dungeons and Dragons and Derrida
For the readership in that part of the Venn diagram where the “Dungeons & Dragons”, “Continental Philosophy”, and “Sense of Humor About Yourself” circles overlap: “The Orc-Paladin relationship is nothing more than an oppressive power structure, which can be traced back to the medieval relationship between the priesthood and the lepers.” (Note the mouse-over text is ..
AAUP’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession
There’s lots of information and analysis in the AAUP’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, which was released today. Find it here.
UPDATE: Analysis at Inside Higher Ed and a searchable table at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Helping Those Who Leave: What Can Departments Do?
For various reasons–personal, institutional, cultural, structural, etc.–some academics decide that the better course of action for them is to pursue careers outside of academia. Most PhD programs in philosophy, as far as I know, are not particularly interested in, or well set-up to be, helping their current students or recent graduates pursue non-academic careers…
I started Daily Nous on March 7 — one month ago today. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues in the profession for their encouragement of this project. I am also very appreciative of those of you who have sent in news items for me to post. Please keep doing so! Occasionally I have had posts that ask for your opinions and input; I am grateful to those who ..
The Sad Prospects for Reasoned Agreement
“And what kind of man am I? One of those who would gladly be refuted if anything I say is not true, and would gladly refute another who says what is not true, but would be no less happy to be refuted myself than to refute…”
That is Socrates (Gorgias 458A). I put that quote on all of my syllabi, as a reminder to my students of what I like to call the “philosophical d..
A Defense of the History of Philosophy
Graham Priest (CUNY, Melbourne) presents a brief defense of the history of philosophy over at the OUP blog.
One of my friends said that he regards the history of philosophy as rather like a text book of chess openings. Just as it is part of being a good chess player to know the openings, it is part of being a good philosopher to know standard views and arguments, so..
Philosophy of Choking
Massimiliano Cappuccio, an assistant professor of philosophy at United Arab Emirates University, has received a grant for over $100,000 for “examining the theory of ‘the choking effect’ – when less experienced athletes crumble under pressure – and looking for ways to overcome this.” Details here.
Nancy Snow (Marquette) Wins $2.6 Million to Study Virtue
Nancy Snow (Marquette University) has won a $2.6 million grant from the Templeton Religious Trust for a project called “The Self, Motivation, and Virtue.” More info here and on the Marquette Philosophy Department’s home page.
Chang on Sexual Harassment in Philosophy
Ruth Chang (Rutgers) is interviewed at 3am Magazine. Apart from a good discussion of her work on incomparability, the interview also includes some thoughts from Chang on sexual harassment in philosophy. Here’s one excerpt:
It’s not that we have to blog about it or call up the victim, whomever we might believe him/her to be, but even casual remarks to colleagues in a ..
Aphorisms, Quips, and Tweets
Epictetus, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein — they’re just some of the philosophers known for putting big ideas into small packages. They are great to read, yet the aphoristic or epigrammatic style is not very common among philosophers today. Sydney Morgenbesser comes to mind as a more recent master of the philosophical quip (e.g., “Of course pragmatism is true; the trouble..
A ____________ of Philosophers (Friday Fun)
A pride of lions, a murmuration of starlings, a dazzle of zebras, an eloquence of lawyers, a pack of lies — the English language has some unusual names for collectives. Sometimes the collective names apply only when the members of the groups are engaged in certain actions, for example, a group of ducks swimming is a raft of ducks, while a group of ducks flying is a..
Bookforum’s Omnivore has an assortment of links up about Rawls, distributive justice, and related topics.
Philosophers and Science in the News
Were Einstein’s complaints about quantum theory evidence of his senility? Some people think so, but Thomas Ryckman (Stanford) says no, defending Einstein and the importance of philosophy to physics, as reported at phys.org. Also, over at Huffington Post there’s a story on how the idea of a multiverse might be owed to 13th Century philosopher Robert Grosseteste.
Philosophy in Childrens’ Books
Once upon a time, there was a website called History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, run by a man named Peter Adamson. On the website was a blog that Peter Adamson wrote. And on that blog, boys and girls, was a very nice collection of philosophical excerpts from childrens’ books. Take a look and live happily ever after. The end.
Design and Violence
The Museum of Modern Art is hosting a series of debates on issues at the intersection of design and violence.
Too often, and naïvely, we only celebrate the positive impact that design artifacts have on the world. However, design also has a history of violence that, unless linked overtly to political and social suppression and upheaval, often goes unexplored. Humanit..
The Oxford Case and University Responses to Harassment
Times Higher Education has published “Let’s Discuss The Way We Live Now,” an essay by Luke Brunning, a DPhil student in philosophy at Oxford, on the importance of universities taking students’ perspectives seriously in the aftermath of allegations of harassment or sexual misconduct by faculty.
The Ethics of Driverless Cars
Would you buy a car that would drive you off a cliff, to your death, in order to save the lives of several pedestrians your car would otherwise run over? The world of driverless cars will likely soon be upon us, and with them a number of questions like that and scenarios that make something like this seem simple. Aeon Magazine has a new article from Tom Chatfield on..
“A Genius or a Crank?”
Have you ever seen the obituary of Ludwig Wittgenstein written for Mind by Bertrand Russell?
Quite at first I was in doubt as to whether he was a man of genius or a crank…
While I was still doubtful as to his ability, I asked G. E. Moore for his opinion. Moore replied, ” I think very well of him indeed “. When I enquired the reason for his opinion, he said that i..
Rutgers Students Protest Ludlow’s Candidacy
The Rutgers University student group, Women Organizing Against Harassment, is leading a protest against Peter Ludlow’s candidacy for a job there, owing to allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Details in The Daily Northwestern.
New Appointments in Philosophy, from the PhilJobs Folks
David Bourget and David Chalmers have announced a new service at the PhilJobs website called “New Appointments in Philosophy,” through which people can post information about the jobs they’ve obtained or the people they’ve hired, as well as search through the data. In an announcment at the APA website, Bourget, Chalmers, and APA Executive Director Amy Ferrer write, ..
Philosofict is a free online magazine of philosophical fiction and poetry. Editor Ellie Farnsworth writes to tell me that the magazine “gives philosophers an avenue for creative release.” The second issue just came out.
News Scrunchie (Daily Mousse)
1. L. A. Paul has a new article on the lack of rationality involved in hairstyle choices called, “What You Can’t Expect When You’re Expecting To Have Your Life Totally Transformed By a Kicky New Look.”
2. Presence of bald man in first row has rest of audience absolutely riveted during APA session on vagueness.
3. Derek Parfit grows out “mad bangs” to test self-eff..
Martha Nussbaum Cuts Her Own Hair (Daily Mousse)
With a remark that was at once completely unexpected yet in retrospect totally unsurprising, Martha Nussbaum, in the middle of a talk at the World Bank about how Greek tragedy can inform our understanding of same-sex marriage policy in India, revealed that she is her own hair stylist and gives herself regular haircuts. The highly accomplished, glamorous, and toned 6..
Trolley Problem Solved (Daily Mousse)
After years combing through the details and knotty issues of the Trolley Problem, Judith Jarvis Thomson has come up with what she says is a novel solution. In a new article appearing in the journal Capillus, she first irons out what the problem is:
A trolley is speeding down the track towards five people who are stuck to it and will be killed if the trolley hits the..