The announcement is not yet on their webpage, but Prof. Rescher kindly shared the news of this latest recognition for his long and distinguished philosophical career. Past winners include Chomsky and Habermas.
(Thanks to Mark Murphy and John Schwenkler for pointers.)
UPDATE: Via Prof. Schwenkler in the comments, a statement of protest (well-written, and with links to useful background information). Please sign, with title and institutional affiliation, so that at least the Board of Trustees at this institution can get a sense for the depth and breadth of concern about this.
...taken by the North. It's indicative of the depth of ideological delusion in the United States that to this day no one in the mainstream public discussion refers to the U.S. invasion of South Vietnam, or refers to the war as an atrocity--instead, it was a "mistake" or "ill-advised."
Putting aside the ordinal ranking, the top ten mostly makes sense. I was astonished that Guthrie was not in the top 20. I was also astonished that Code was not in the top ten. In any case, comments are open for discussion.
The New Hampshire primary is tomorrow [ed.--day after tomorrow! Feb. 9], and unlike Iowa, it's a regular primary: no meeting in groups to caucus and schmooze with your fellow citizens before choosing a candidate. You just go and vote. This will favor Trump, whose ground-level organization has been fairly poor everywhere. Of course, Trump is favored in the polls, though it's worth emphasizing that despite leading in the polls here and elsewhere for many months now, he can barely crack the support of one-third of Republican voters; two-thirds still want someone else. So while Trump is expected to win New Hamphshire, the real action is who comes in second and third. New Hampshire, unlike Iowa, does not have a large bloc of evangelical Christian voters, which will be a problem for Senator Cruz from Texas; that, together with the Trump-generated perception of Cruz's dirty politics in Iowa and the doubts about his eligibility, will take the wind out of his sails, though I expect he will carry on through at least March 1.
New Hampshire has in recent cycles generally preferred so-called "moderate" Republicans, though there actually aren't any this time, unless you remember that given the freak show that is the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan would count as a moderate. The mindless journalists have taken to describing Senator Rubio as a "moderate," even though a simple comparison of his views with Senator Cruz shows how far to the right he is. Rubio is another Tea Party crazy, but unlike Cruz, he doesn't throw bombs and he doesn't grandstand quite as much: i.e., Rubio, when told by his masters not to shut down the government because it's bad for business, will listen. In a field of intellectual midgets, Rubio may stand out for being the biggest lightweight of them all, and his polish and poise may be wearing off. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if he pulls out a second place finish in New Hampshire. My bet is that the real action tomorrow will involve Governor Kasich of Ohio. Make no mistake: Kasich is extremely conservative, so much so that he'd look like a man from Mars in most other capitalist democracies. But in the current Republican field, he's easily the sanest: in Congress, he worked with Democrats on legislation; in Ohio, he took advantage of the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor; he has criticized Trump's and other's anti-immigration hysteria. If he finishes second or third, a few things are likely to happen: Bush will probably drop out; so will Christie (who stands no chance in South Carolina or Nevada without a really strong showing in New Hampshire, which seems very unlikely); Fiorina is likely to fold too. A lot of the supporters of these candidates are more likely to migrate to Kasich than to Trump, though Rubio may pick up some as well. Carson may linger on, but expect him to be gone before the big March 1 contests. (If, in fact, Bush captures third place in New Hampshire, then all bets are off again!) While Rubio will certainly be trucking on through at least March 1, his situation is going to be compromised if he doesn't win in South Carolina or Nevada; his best bet is Nevada, especially if, by then, the field is less crowded. But until the field thins, Trump will be able to carry on with his 30% of the support. Of course, the longer Trump and Cruz last, the better for the Democrats. I predict, however, that either Rubio or Kasich will get the nomination, and that Cruz will leave the race before Trump.
Lots of philosophical/conceptual objections to Libet's famous research have been made over the years (by Alfred Mele, Gideon Yaffe, and others), but now comes new "empirical" evidence purportedly at odds with Libet's findings. Any thoughts from readers working on these issues?
I'm grateful to Jonny Thakkar for calling my attention to this nicely written essay by a recent Oxford DPhil. It includes some funny remarks about the "effective [sic] altruist" Church, though is perhaps too uncritical in the end about Williams, whose no doubt genuine interest in Nietzsche never translated into very much courage in criticism of morality. But the piece is an enjoyable read!
It's evidence of how little I know about blogs that I didn't realize there wasn't an option for subscribing to a "feed" for this blog. Now there is here. You can also get to it via the link, "Subscribe in a reader" in the left hand column, below all the ads and links.
I have no crystal ball, so I can’t tell you whether there will be...a return to the core values of robust expression and debate which are essential for academic life, as even Herbert Marcuse realized in his famous polemic against “Repressive Tolerance.” There is some portion of the younger generation of professional philosophers (grad students and assistant professors) who consistently have the wrong views on these questions. They may well take over the discipline, that I cannot predict. It’s ironic, because other humanities fields, like English, went through this totalitarian catastrophe in the 1980s while philosophy remained a paragon of wissenschaftlich seriousness. The real threats to philosophy as a profession do not come, of course, primarily from benighted youngsters who are victims of group polarization; they come from institutional and economic forces that are basically indifferent to intellectual merit. That’s the real battle that needs to be fought, though I fear we academics are not well-equipped to fight it.
Over at the latest incarnation of a metablog, there is a quite interesting commentary on this issue from someone with experience in both academic English and academic philosophy:
I am an English PhD with an MA in Philosophy from a top-twenty program, and I am struck and puzzled by what seems to be Philosophy’s repetition of the politicized “theory wars” of the 80s-90s. What is going on here? On the basis of pure anecdote and observation, I suspect in part the following:
1. External economic pressures that first hit English in a big way then also started to hit Philosophy in a big way.
2. Specialization exhaustion set in first in English, and now has also become steadily more pervasive in Philosophy.
3. Points 1 and 2 are not unrelated.
4. The new approaches of “feminist philosophy” and the like respond to points 1 and 2 by inventing a new and uncharted territory in response to specialization exhaustion; this new approach must first be justified politically and morally in order then to make itself intellectually fashionable, hence awarded, hence self-perpetuating.
5. The academic context in which this is now occurring is even more administratively heavy than it was three decades ago. Hence the moral and political necessity of the new approaches will also require more direct appeals to top-down administrative intervention than was necessary in English.
6. In both cases, the proponents of the new approaches are basically of two sorts: those already powerful and those not already powerful. The motivations of each group vary, but there is an observable tendency of the first to appeal to morality and justice (they can afford to do so) and of the second to appeal to intellectual novelty and smartness. The second group want to be admitted into the world of the first; the first group wants to pretend that they are not only more intelligent, but also more humane than their elite opponents, with whom they have their fiercest battles.
7. If one or two major Departments are won over to the new approach, the discipline can change very quickly indeed.
8. Thirty years later you’ll realize that the intrinsic conservatism of your discipline, the false certainty of its historical and conceptual divisions, “areas”, and so on, really did need an overhaul. Unfortunately, by then you might have forgotten some of best and most important insights and practices of your discipline prior to the Revolution. In the way that I am an outlier in my generation of English professors for having a pretty thorough knowledge of the Bible, and a bit of Latin and Greek, perhaps some decades hence some young maverick grad student in Philosophy will stand out for her interest in Frege and Quine, her unaccountable fascination with modal and second-order logic, her bizarre affinity for Chisholm.
(A brief aside about the metablog: like all anonymous fora, the metablogs have been a mixed bag: a mix of the stupid, the defamatory, and the obsessed, along with the insightful, the amusing, and the illuminatingly contrarian. The metablogs thrive because of the culture of fear and hostility cultivated by a small handful of philosophy academics active on social media. But if one can wade through the morass, as I periodically do, there are often genuinely interesting contributions. UPDATE: I've removed the link, since elsewhere on the thread, unrelated to what I had linked to, there is a lot of crap, even by metablog standards of "crap." I do wish the owner of the metablog would do a little moderation, stuff is appearing there that will lead to legal action.)
I find some of this plausible, some implausible, most of it intriguing. I wonder what readers make of this. I'd certainly welcome hearing from academics in English as well as Philosophy, and those in other fields that have gone through similar periods of transformation and controversy. Anonymous comments are fine, but please include a valid e-mail address (which will not appear) and choose a stable pseudonym so other commenters can target their responses accordingly.
My source in Turkey (who, for obvious reasons, does not want to be identified) writes:
We have some more horrible news. One of Boğaziçi's undergraduate philosophy students, Jülide Yazıcı, was arrested, along with 3 other students, and has apparently already been charged with the extremely serious charge of "being a member of a terrorist organisation". She had been posting in support of faculty under attack.
I'm trying to find out more about the other 2 students. One of them is from Bilgi University, the other one is from Bogazici too, named Heja Türk; nephew of Ahmet Türk, one of the most famous Kurdish politicians.
6 were detained in a police operation involving house raids in İstanbul two days ago. Out of the detainees, 4 students were arrested with charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda”. The names and affiliations of those arrested are as follows: -Jülide Yazıcı, Boğaziçi University Philosophy Undergraduate Student. She lately supported a petition in Philosophy Department to support 'Academics for Peace'. -Heja Türk, Boğaziçi University, Western Languages and Literature Graduate -Mehtap Demirci -Çağrı Kurt, Bilgi University, Political Science
I believe all 4 are still in custody.
Comments are open for more information and links.
UPDATE: More information here and commentary here.
Galen Strawson (Texas) calls to my attention that he received the following e-mail from academia.edu:
From: Adnan Akil <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wednesday, 27 January 2016 at 18:28 To: galen strawson <email@example.com> Subject: Certification Value
Hi Dr. Strawson, My name is Adnan, I'm the Product Director here at Academia. I noticed you had received a few recommendations on your papers. Would you be open to paying a small fee to submit any upcoming papers to our board of editors to be considered for recommendation? You'd only be charged if your paper was recommended. If it does get recommended then you'll see the natural boost in viewership and downloads that recommended papers get. Would love to hear your thoughts. Best, Adnan
He asked me what I thought of this, and I said it sounded a bit corrupt, but Galen reached out to Richard Price, the founder of academia.edu, who shared the following explanation with Galen (and gave me permission to share it as well):
Thanks for getting in touch. Yes - this is a somewhat radical and somewhat crazy idea. It has already caused a ruckus on Twitter. We are probing at how to develop an open access publishing model with a lower fee than the average open access journal. We want to start the conversation around how to fund academic publishing when paywall revenues dry up (which I think they will over the coming years). The sciences are switching to an APC-funded model, but that model doesn't straightforwardly work for non-grant funded people in the humanities. It seems to us that either you figure out a super low cost APC for humanities publishing ($50 or so) or you have the normal APC (around $1,500), and figure out a way for universities to cover the fee. Adnan's question was probing the first idea.
You heard it here first (way back in December!): Ted Cruz, the far right religious conservative from Texas, has won Iowa with about 27% of the vote. Even more notable is Trump's weak 2nd place showing, barely defeating Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (about 24% to 22%--no polls had predicted such a strong showing for Rubio). 75% of Republican caucus goers in Iowa preferred someone other than Trump. I suspect this means Trump is finished, though he may hang on a bit longer, though his ego is going to have a tough time with this humiliating result. We can at least thank Trump for having destroyed Jeb Bush, who may get 2 or 3% of the Iowa vote when it's all over.
Meanwhile, in the actual contest between candidates who do not belong in an asylum, the 1970s Republican Hillary Clinton is neck and neck with the run-of-the-mill social democrat Bernie Sanders: with about 85% of the vote, she is ahead by only a half a percentage point and her lead has been shrinking all evening. I'd be delighted if Bernie pulls out a victory, but for it to be this close is already a victory for Sanders, and will secure his triumph in New Hampshire. The real action will then be South Carolina and Nevada on the Democratic side.
Being an early riser, I'll have to wait until morning to see the final result!
UPDATE 2/2 7:30 AM: So it's still a tie between Clinton and Sanders, with Clinton holding a very small lead of about a quarter of a percentage point. As even The New York Times, the house organ for the prudent wing of the ruling class, acknowledges, this is a victory for Sanders, and the Clintons are nervous. Meanwhile, here's Sanders's "victory" speech; open class war on behalf of the vast majority hasn't been waged like this in the U.S. since FDR. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Trump trailed Cruz by 3.5 percentage points, and only leads Rubio by about a point. Rubio, just to be clear, is as much a deranged reactionary as the other two (maybe even more so than Trump), but unlike Trump and Cruz, he's better at keeping it under wraps. So the longer Cruz and Trump continue in the campaign, the better for the Democrats, even if they nominate Clinton.
AND IN CASE YOU THOUGHT IT WASN'T A CIRCUS this story is amazing.
Philosopher Jack Zupko (Alberta), Editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy, kindly shares the following news:
The Board of Directors of the Journal of the History of Philosophy has awarded the prize for the best article to appear in volume 53 (2015) of the JHP to Therese Scarpelli Cory for “Rethinking Abstractionism: Aquinas’s Intellectual Light and Some Arabic Sources” in JHP 53.4: 607–46. Professor Cory is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.
What makes the surging presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont so unusual is that he is the first serious contender since Reagan's election in 1980 who really wants to change the fundamental terms of debate and of politics, to repudiate once and for all the Reagan consensus which, through Republican and Democratic Administrations, has now delivered us the America of 2016, one with massive economic inequality, crippled labor unions, and economic stagnation for most Americans.
Sanders embraces the old Roosevelt consensus with a vengeance, and echoes Roosevelt's own campaign against "government by organized money," a power which, as Roosevelt famously said in 1936, was "unanimous in their hatred" of him--to which Roosevelt famously replied: "I welcome their hatred." The Clintons, with their long track record of commitment to the Reagan consensus, could never be as bold as FDR, which explains, of course, why they too are beloved by "organized money" ; nor can Obama, with his only modest deviations from the Reagan consensus and his apparently personal incapacity for genuine conflict with the forces of "organized money" that dominate his own party (let alone the reactionary class warriors on the Republican Right).
UPDATE, 2/1: Thanks to the readers who helped propel this to the "Front Page" of the Huffington Post this morning. And I've asked them to fix the typo (48 years not 38!).
1. Saul Kripke (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. W.V.O. Quine loses to Saul Kripke by 141–74
3. H. Paul Grice loses to Saul Kripke by 161–51, loses to W.V.O. Quine by 114–88
4. J.L. Austin loses to Saul Kripke by 159–62, loses to H. Paul Grice by 104–91
5. Donald Davidson loses to Saul Kripke by 168–50, loses to J.L. Austin by 104–101
6. David K. Lewis loses to Saul Kripke by 160–42, loses to Donald Davidson by 104–90
7. Noam Chomsky loses to Saul Kripke by 154–60, loses to David K. Lewis by 96–92
8. Hilary Putnam loses to Saul Kripke by 174–41, loses to Noam Chomsky by 100–92
9. Rudolf Carnap loses to Saul Kripke by 162–47, loses to Hilary Putnam by 100–86
10. David Kaplan loses to Saul Kripke by 176–23, loses to Rudolf Carnap by 88–83
11. Michael Dummett loses to Saul Kripke by 175–41, loses to David Kaplan by 89–82
12. P.F. (Peter) Strawson loses to Saul Kripke by 179–37, loses to Michael Dummett by 96–77
13. Alfred Tarski loses to Saul Kripke by 180–21, loses to P.F. (Peter) Strawson by 90–71
14. Tied: Gareth Evans loses to Saul Kripke by 189–23, loses to Alfred Tarski by 80–75 Robert Stalnaker loses to Saul Kripke by 183–16, loses to Alfred Tarski by 80–68
16. John Searle loses to Saul Kripke by 193–17, loses to Gareth Evans by 87–76
17. Tyler Burge loses to Saul Kripke by 192–12, loses to John Searle by 81–65
18. Keith Donnellan loses to Saul Kripke by 192–10, loses to Tyler Burge by 68–57
19. Peter Geach loses to Saul Kripke by 192–10, loses to Keith Donnellan by 62–57
20. Robert Brandom loses to Saul Kripke by 178–32, loses to Peter Geach by 76–62
Just outside the top 20 were Ruth Marcus, John Perry, and Wilfrid Sellars.
The "top ten" living philosophers of language were Kripke, Chomsky, Putnam, Kaplan, Stalnaker, Searle, Burge, Brandom, John Perry, and Hans Kamp.
This poll had a somewhat larger number of errors of omission, including Dennis Stampe, Frank Veltman, Jeroen Groenendijk Martin Stokhof, Richard Montague, Max Cresswell, Irene Heim, Terence Parsons, Richard Heck, Jeff King, Robert Harnish, and Howard Wettstein. I imagine one or two of these folks might have been competitive for the "top 20," but I welcome reader thoughts. Wittgenstein was not an error of omission; he was left out on purpose given that he did not write in English; we know from earlier polls that he, in any case, tends to dominate all other philosophers of the past two hundred years.
A band from Wales, the album recorded in Norway. If you hold my view (idiosyncratic and indefensible, but nonetheless true) that the best rock 'n' roll was recorded between 1967 and 1973 and, in particular, if you are a fan of Jethro Tull's early Stand Up album, you will dig this.
MOVING TO FRONT FROM JANUARY 27--THE POLL WILL CLOSE LATER TODAY
Following a suggestion after the last poll, I've changed the question from "most important" to 'best" (in your judgment). Only Anglophone philosophers; among those who are still living, only those age 50 or older in 2016 are included. Have fun!
TWO NOTES: Alas, an omission already flagged for me: Dennis Stampe. In addition, while the description of the poll, above, is accurate, on the poll itself, it sounds as if the poll only includes living philosophers over 50, which it obviously does not!
ANOTHER: Thony Gillies (Rutgers) points out another unfortunate omission, namely the Dutch philosophers/linguists/logicians Frank Veltman, Jeroen Groenendijk, and Martin Stokhof, whose work is in English. Alas.
AND EVEN WORSE I got Hans Kamp on the list but forgot Richard Montague! Well, folks can "discuss" that omission when the results are in. I guess he might have made the "top 20," but I'm not enough of an insider to know.
AND SOME MORE NAMES: Max Cresswell, Irene Heim, Terence Parsons, Richard Heck (I had thought Heck was not over 50, but am told that is wrong).
AND: Jeff King (Rutgers) should have been on the list. Another important philosopher of language betrayed by his youthful looks (turns out he is over 50).
TWO MORE: Philosopher Jeff Helmreich (UC Irvine) mentions Robert Harnish (late of University of Arizona) and Howard Wettstein (UC Riverside). I'm particularly embarrassed about Wettstein, whom I know and like very much--but I'd forgotten he began his career as a major contributor to debates about theories of direct reference.
A philosophy professor will be put on trial. Note that under Turkish law, insulting the President is an actionable offense. It is the law, and not necessarily its application in this instance, that is rotten.
UPDATE: A philosopher in Turkey writes: "I think it might be worth pointing out that Orsan is an important part of Turkish philosophical community - being the person behind 'Philosophy in Assos'": http://www.philosophyinassos.org/assos.htm. These events are an important part of Turkish philosophical calendar. Ironically he was supposed to be giving lecture in Assos on 'Freedom, Justice and Courage' and I think this falls on the day they set for his Trial."
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)