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..
Speaking of philosophical methodologies (and there is of course a lot that falls under that heading), one longstanding issue is the extent to which philosophy must ultimately conform with common sense. Of course there have been countless counterintuitive theses defended in the history of philosophy, but the dominant view today seems to be that philosophy is indeed i..
A number of philosophers will take up that question at the Edinburgh Women in Philosophy Group’s Spring Workshop on Philosophical Methodologies this May. The workshop’s organizer, Richard Stöckle-Schobel, informs me that they are looking for postgraduates (i.e., graduate students) to comment on the papers, and have some travel funds available.
UPDATE: See the comme..
David Papineau has begun a new blog, More Important than That, on “how philosophy can illuminate sport and vice versa.” Those interested in philosophy of sport may also want to check out this group blog, too. If you know of other related resources, please post them in the comments.
A new edition of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia is available, and contains a foreword by Thomas Nagel. Nagel describes not just the main themes of the book but also the intellectual environment from which it grew, as well Nozick’s own particular strengths, which in turn provides a view of Nagel’s thoughts about how to do philosophy well. From the forewor..
Owing, sadly, to Ted Cohen’s death, I learned of the Latke-Hamantash debate, an academic debate, begun in 1946, over the relative merits of these two Jewish foods. Here is one of Cohen’s contributions to the debate. To me, the latke seems the clear winner here, but I imagine this must be the semi-finals and that the winner will eventually square off against the matz..
The Chicago Reader sums up some of the latest news on the sexual assault allegations surrounding Northwestern University philosophy professor Peter Ludlow. The article includes a few brief excerpts from an interview the author conducted with the student.
Adrienne Martin, associate professor of philosophy at University of Pennsylvania, will be moving to Claremont-McKenna to take up the Murty and Shankar Professorship of Philosophy, Politics & Economics. Professor Martin is known for, among other things, her work on hope.
W, a candidate for an assistant professorship in philosophy at Nazareth College whose offer was rescinded mid-negotiation responds to criticisms in this article at Inside Higher Ed and also at The Philosophy Smoker. Karen Kelsky, of the website The Professor is In, offers her opinion and some advice about negotiation in light of W’s experience, as does Katy Waldman ..
Rebecca Roache, a philosopher at Oxford and a fellow at its Future of Humanity Institute, is interviewed at Aeon Magazine about the ways in which emerging and future technologies could be used to change how we punish criminals. An article about the interview appears in the Telegraph. Roache also discusses technology and punishment in a blog post here.
Ted Cohen, a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago, has died. Professor Cohen worked mainly in aesthetics, the history of aesthetics, and on some topics in the philosophy of language. He is especially known for his work on metaphor and the philosophy of humor, including his 1999 book, Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters.
Sara Bernstein (D..
Today is Open Borders Day, which seems to be the creation of the people who run the Open Borders website. The site is well put together, and considers various moral, economic, and practical considerations regarding migration. Though certainly pro-open-borders, they consider various objections, too. The site would certainly be of interest to social and political phil..
The NY Times Magazine has an article on MIT’s new Pantheon project, which aims to map “cultural production.” According to it, the top ten most famous people of all time, anywhere, include these philosophers: Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius, and Pythagoras. Philosophy: come for the money, stay for the fame.
If you were to rank undergraduate majors by average IQ, where would philosophy majors be on that list? Here is one such list, with IQ and SAT scores. I have no clue as to its methodology, but it has philosophy majors near the top. If accurate, it may cut against some claims often made about the benefits of majoring in philosophy.
Shelley Tremain has launched a petition asking the APA to develop a comprehensive accessibility policy and to create an advisory group to oversee its implementation. You can sign the petition, as well as read a response to it from APA Executive Director Amy Ferrer, here.
It’s Friday, and it is apparently a slow news day in the world of philosophy, so let’s make some fun. The Philosopher App Store is an idea some FB friends and I had a good time with several months back. At the time, one of them said, “someone needs to to post this on a blog.” Who am I to disagree? Here are some of my contributions from the first iteration of the sto..