The full announcement from Philosophicall Quarterly: "Congratulations to the winner of the 2013 Essay Prize - Mahrad Almotahari from the University of Illinois at Chicago for his essay entitled The Identity of a Material Thing and its Matter."
MOVING TO FRONT--ORIGINALLY POSTED FEBRUARY 20, 2014
It's that time of year again...I am opening comments on this thread for people to post news about junior, tenure-track hires in philosophy departments or of philosophy PhDs, i.e., hires made during this year of new assistant professors who will be starting in summer or fall 2014 (or thereafter). (For schools outside the US, please list new Lecturers who are on presumptively permanent appointments--not temporary lecturers.) As in prior years, you may also post information about post-doc appointments, since there are an increasing number of those in philosophy, many quite attractive. No anonymous posts will be allowed. (Please e-mail me about any errors.)
The format of the postings should be as follows: candidate's name (name of PhD-granting school) hired by [name of school]. AOS: ________; any prior positions (e.g., a postdoc, a lectureship, a visiting asst prof position). In the case of a post-doc, it should say not 'hired by' but 'post-doc at' [name of school].
Here's a fictional example:
Jane M. Jones (Rutgers) hired by University of California, Santa Barbara. AOS: Philosophy of Language. Previously a post-doc at Yale.
"Hired by" means a tenure-track or permanent position; a post-doc should be listed as "John Smith (Harvard) post-doc at University of Michigan."
Remember: tenure-track jobs and postdocs only. Please submit information only once; postings should appear within 24 hours.
THE ONLY PERSONS ELIGIBLE TO POST INFORMATION ARE: the candidates themselves; the chair of the hiring department; or the placement chair of the candidate's department. Four years ago, however, a placement chair jumped the gun in posting, so please, placement chairs, make sure it is OK with your students that the information appear!
...and I will have more to say about it either later or more likely tomorrow, due to some pressing deadlines. Thanks to many different readers, on all sides of these issues, who have e-mailed me.
ADDENDUM: As I will explain in more detail, but probably tomorrow, I also want to issue a public apology to "Current Student" for the way I expressed myself, which was intemperate and unfair to the concerns she raised, which some others have helped me see. I would gladly apologize in person if I knew who she was. I still do disagree with some of the content of what she said (which I will try to explain more constructively), but I lost my temper and made statements that were utterly disproportionate and harmful. I retract them and wish "Current Student" nothing but success in her future academics pursuits, and hopefully in a climate free of sexual harassment and gender inequities.
We find the alleged behavior of gross professional misconduct recently leveled against a faculty member in our department to be deplorable. Further, we judge that the university has failed our community in the way that they have handled these allegations of gross professional misconduct. In addition, we stand in solidarity with the victim of the aforementioned misconduct, with victims of sexual harassment and violence globally, as well as with their advocates (whom we do not consider to be vigilantes). As students, and educators, we take seriously the wellness of every member of our community. The members of our philosophy department have been genuinely dedicated to promoting inclusiveness at Northwestern, as well as within the broader philosophical community. It is among our highest priorities that we create and sustain a safe environment for all members of our community. In the spirit of these affirmations, we are deeply saddened that a member of our department has been found to be in violation of these moral and professional obligations.
We feel, however, that it bears saying that the behavior outlined in the recent lawsuit leveled against Northwestern is not representative of our sense of the prevailing culture in our department. The overwhelming majority of our community — both professors and graduate students, male and female — are engaged jointly in a project of inclusiveness and mutual support.
Since 2011 our department has maintained a committee to promote and sustain inclusiveness among the graduate student community. Among their duties, the Climate Committee hosts the Annual Inclusiveness Lecture on implicit bias and other issues affecting underrepresented and marginalized groups in the discipline. That same year we also founded an initiative geared towards fostering female undergraduate majors: WiPhi is a female-only group of members of the philosophical community at Northwestern at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, and professors) who regularly meet. WiPhi also hosts the Annual Gertrude Bussey Lecture, in honor of the first woman to receive a PhD in philosophy from Northwestern. Additionally, our course listings represent our shared commitment to exploring issues of diversity and underrepresentation in the field, and in the broader community at large: Our department makes it a priority to regularly teach courses with substantial feminist philosophy content, as well as substantial focus on issues of race. We, the graduate students, feel that our community is home to several upstanding, vocally feminist, junior and senior faculty members. Our community is committed to fighting the sexism that has long been rampant in the broader philosophical community. And while we jointly feel compelled to express our deep sadness in response to the alleged behavior of a faculty member in our department, we also feel compelled to express our commitment to our community.
No one, of course, said that advocates for victims of sexual harassment are vigilantes.
Philosophy graduate student Nick Byrd asked me to share this study he is conducting to explore the relationship between personality traits and philosophical views. He says it should take only 5-10 minutes to complete the survey.
UPDATE: This has nothing to do with sexual harassment, that much I can now report with confidence. It also appears to be a disproportionate university response, that raises, to my mind, anti-discrimination legal issues. I would encourage Prof. Kaufman to consult an attorney.
Berit Brogaard (philosophy of mind, psychology & language), Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, has been offered a senior position in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami. Students thinking about either program will want to keep an eye on what happens; hopefully, it will be resolved before April 15.
Several readers have sent this report (also this) according to which Peter Ludlow has had to withdraw from the classroom in the wake of various student protests demanding his firing. Northwestern disciplined Ludlow based on its findings, and it is quite debatable whether the punishment was serious enough. But that he should be driven from the classroom because of this debate? That seems an unhappy outcome for a university. Or as one correspondent put it: "not exactly a victory for due process and/or academic freedom." (This correspondent, a senior philosopher with tenure elsewhere, did not want to be quoted by name making this mild observation.)
Here. It's unfortunate no one working in 19th-century philosophy is an Associate Editor, but so it goes (there are two good 19th-century scholars on the advisory board, happily). The proof will be in the pudding, i.e., what actually gets published. The editor has ultimate responsibility, as I understand it, and the associate editors will do more of the work than the advisory board.
Students admitted to graduate school have until April 15 to respond. You can't be made to respond sooner--let me know of schools violating that rule!--but if you can respond sooner that helps a lot of people! Philosopher Kristen Inglis (Pittsburgh), for example, writes:
Because many prospective philosophy graduate programs read this blog, I’d like to reiterate Anthony Laden’s and Keith DeRose’s suggestions that prospective graduate students aim to decline admissions offers in a timely way. As the chair of an Admissions committee, I agree with DeRose that nearly every program appreciates knowing as early as possible that an admitted student is declining an offer. Most importantly, declining an offer early greatly helps waitlisted students who are otherwise in the tricky position of having to decide whether to accept an offer or to wait to get off the waitlist at a better program.
Of course, no one is suggesting that prospective students decline offers before they’ve had the chance to gather the relevant information, think the decision through, and discuss the decision with their advisors. Still, if one knows before April 15 (most schools’ decision deadline) that she will decline an offer from school X, then she can do a good service by declining the offer from X before April 15.
Student protestors had planned to sit-in and then walk out of Peter Ludlow's Spring term class, leading to the class's cancellation today, according to the Facebook page. The students' position appears to be that someone found guilty of violating the Univeristy's sexual harassment policy should simply be fired. I am actually not aware of any university where that is the punishment for a first offense, though I am sure it also depends on the gravity of the violation.
A colleague elsewhere showed me the response to a rejection letter from a candidate who basically wrote back to say, sarcastically, "I can understand why you hired John Smith, even though he has far fewer publications than me in the same area." In fact, people are not hired by counting up their total publications; responsible hiring committees actually read the publications and writing samples of their finalists. Someone who sends a response like this assumes, falsely, that quantity of publication is what should matter and implies, probably unfairly and obviously self-servingly, that the hiring committee was unable to make a qualitative evaluation of the work. Since word of these kinds of replies do get around, the candidate is not doing himself any favors.
Michael Tooley (Colorado) has asked me to share various documents he has put on-line related to the Site Visit Report on his department; an explanation of the documents and links are here. Among other things, he claims that the Site Visit Committee breached a confidentiality agreement with the Department, and objects to the failure to release more of the underlying facts about what transpired. Professor Tooley writes: "I am very definitely not a blogger, so I hope that no one will take offense if my participation in any discussions to which these documents may give rise is rather infrequent. My goal now is that of finally getting back to actually doing philosophy, so my plan is to leave it to others to debate the merit, or otherwise, of what I have written." If there are such responses, please call them to my attention, and assuming they are substantive, I will post links.
UPDATE: I should note that last week, Prof. Tooley had posted on his website a letter from the Sexual Harassment Office at Colorado reporting that no complaints had been filed against him.
ANOTHER: Eric Schliesser (Ghent) replies to Tooley here.
I recently became aware of a scam philosophy journal called the Review of Contemporary Philosophy. Someone associated with the journal contacted one of my professors asking to publish an article on his website. Since this is bizarre behavior, my professor asked about the journal on Facebook, noting that the journal had what seemed to be a very impressive editorial board (see here: http://www.addletonacademicpublishers.com/editorial-board-rcp ) and asking whether anyone knew anything about it. Two people were contacted from the list and confirmed that they had never heard of this journal and their names are being used without their permission. Given that, I'd say there's a decent chance that others on the list are having their names used without their permission. I figured I'd give you a heads up in case you wanted to post something to warn off potential submitters and inform those who are listed as editors without their knowledge.
Readers: what do you know about this publication? Is it legitimate? It is worrisome that the editorial board lists two John McDowell's, one at Pittsburgh, one at Indiana! If you are listed on the editorial board, but never agreed to be part of it, feel free to note that here as well.
Casey O'Callaghan (philosophy of mind, metaphysics), Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rice University, has accepted a senior offer from the Department of Philosophy and the Program in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University, St. Louis. This will further consolidate Wash U's status as one of the two or three best programs in philosophy of cognitive science in the Anglophone world.
...and the philosophy graduate student who was its target ended up committing suicide after a number of difficult personal events, though it is hard to tell from this account (bear in mind it is The Daily Mail) what role, if any, the harassment played in the horribly tragic outcome. In this case, the philosopher, Jeffrey Ketland, was, according to the news account, issued a police warning under the UK's Harassment Act. If other news reports appear, please send them to me. (Thanks to Luke on Twitter for the pointer.)
AND STILL MORE: Here, here and here. (Thanks to Robert McGarvey for the links.)
AND MORE ON 'HARASSMENT WARNINGS': A philosopher in the U.K. writes: "I'm no friend of the British police and I can quite see the potential for them to tar someone's name without due process here. But anyone overseas who gets the impression that there's an epidemic of unjust applications of such warnings would be getting the wrong idea. In fact, in cases of which I have knowledge, it was very difficult to prod the police to do anything at all. That's also consistent with the general reluctance of law enforcement to help women in cases of domestic violence etc."
MARCH 2 UPDATE: Paula Boddington, a philosopher at Oxford, writes:
As someone - one of the few - who attended the inquest into the death of Charlotte Coursier, I can tell you that the most accurate report of the evidence presented at the inquest is actually to be found in the Daily Mail although of course any report is only a part of all the evidence presented. It should be carefully noted that the newspaper reports are reports of what was presented as evidence at the inquest, and should not be read as attempts to provide a 'full picture' of circumstances around Charlotte's tragic death. The Daily Mail report is taken more or less straight from the evidence presented at the coroner's court. Readers often assume that the 'quality' papers must be giving the best reports, but this is not always true, because they are often shorter, and if readers look carefully, they'll see that some reports are signed by named reporters, and some are merely agency reports.
These reports should also be read very carefully, noting that they are reports of the evidence presented at inquest, as indicated by the use of quotation marks, and of phrases such as 'the inquest heard'.
Readers should also bear in mind the purpose of an inquest under UK law, which is very limited. It is restricted to coming to a conclusion about the identity of the deceased, the date and place of death, and the cause of death. A coroner is specifically not allowed by law to make further conclusions and in particular, an inquest does not assign blame or legal liability. An inquest is not adversarial, so evidence presented is not tested in the same way as it would be in a criminal or civil case, although interested parties do have a right to question witnesses, which however did not as a matter of fact occur in this inquest.
Evidence is thus presented which the coroner considers relevant to reaching a verdict about the cause of death. In the case of Charlotte Coursier, this included medical evidence as well as evidence from various witnesses including persons known to her in a personal capacity and a police officer. This is all a matter of public record. Inquests are open to members of the public. Evidence from witnesses in an inquest will be taken under oath. In the case of a suicide, evidence will obviously include evidence about a person's state of mind. In this case, it was obvious that Charlotte had had a number of difficult events to cope with. The police attending did not find a note.
I hope that might help to clarify this complex and tragic case.
Kendall Walton, a leading figure in philosophy of art who is currently emeritus at Michigan, will be the Bonsall Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University for the Spring quarters of 2015, 2016, and 2017.
A student in a PhD program in Europe, who has completed a BA (three years) and MA (two years), and is now in the third year of a PhD program and in his/her mid-20s writes:
Being dissatisfied with my program, I am looking for ways to transfer my Ph.D. abroad or even to start a new one and I am planning to apply for some Ph.D. programs in the US as well. I am aware that my choice is not going to be looked on favorably by everyone and, from what I heard, some American universities would consider me too "academically old", so to say (I am already in my third year of Ph.D.).
Therefore, I would like to know whether you and your blog readers think this issue is going to be considered as a real drawback in my application and whether there are any universities where this is not going to be a problem instead.
Thoughts from readers, including students who may have made a similar transition from a European PhD program to a US PhD program?
I have been sent a copy of Northwestern's answer to the Title IX lawsuit noted earlier. (Filings in lawsuits like this are public documents.) Note that the admissions in the lawsuit represent Northwestern's position, not Professor Ludlow's. According to the answer:
1. Northwestern admits that it "substantiated some, but not all, of [the plaintiff's allegations against Ludlow]; found that Ludlow had violated the University's policy against sexual harassment; and imposed several disciplinary sanctions and other corrective actions against Ludlow." More on each of these, below.
2. The allegations that Northwestern admits finding include that "Plaintiff e-mailed Ludlow information regarding an art event in Chicago, informed him that she was planning to attend, and suggested that he should attend as well"; that "Plaintiff and Ludlow drove in Ludlow's car to Chicago and attended one or more art exhibits"; that "Plaintiff and Ludlow went to a restaurant at which either Plaintiff or Ludlow ordered Plaintiff an alcoholic beverage"; that "either Plaintiff or Ludlow ordered Plaintiff alcoholic beverages during the course of the evening"; that "Ludlow and Plaintiff visited Ludlow's apartment during the course of the evening"; that "Ludlow engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances towards Plaintiff by initiating rubbing her back and kissing her"; and that "Plaintiff woke up in Ludlow's bed at approximately 4:30 am with Ludlow's arms around her". Northwestern "did not find that Ludlow groped Plaintiff's breast and buttocks." Northwestern's answers omits any mention of a finding of sexual assault, just a violation of the sexual harassment policy.
3. The investigation, conducted by Joan Slavin, Director of Sexual Harassment Prevention at Northwestern, involved review of "documents and other information" (e.g., e-mails, I infer) and interviewing "Plaintiff, Ludlow, and several other witnesses."
4. Northwestern admits it "imposed...disciplinary sanctions and corrective action" against Ludlow including, for example, "precluding him from receiving a raise for the 2012-13 academic year"; "rescinding his appointment to an endowed professor position"; "requiring him to complete a multi-session, individualized sensitivity/harassment-prevention training program with an outside consultant"; "directing him not to have any contact, whether in person or by any other means [including social media], with Plaintiff"; and "officially warning him that any similar behavior in the future or failure to comply with specified disciplinary sanctions or other corrective actions would subject him to further sanctions, up to and including separation from the faculty."
5. Northwestern "denies that any University committee ever determined that Ludlow should be terminated or that the University ever ignored such a decision or recommendation." Northwestern also admits that "Ludlow appealed the multiple disciplinary sanctions" and "that a six-person faculty Committee on Cause unanimously approved the disciplinary sanctions...and that the Committee on Cause could have suggested additional sanctions against Ludlow but did not do so."
Northwestern's admissions do not bind Ludlow and may, in fact, be denied by Ludlow in whole or in part. I will post any additional statement I receive from Ms. Case, Professor Ludlow's attorney, regarding Northwestern's answer.
Hanna Pickard (philosophy of mind, philosophy of pyschiatry), currently Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Clinical Research Fellow at Oxford University, will take up a half-time Readership in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, effective January 2015. She will continue with the other half of the time her work as a clinical therapist.
Elizabeth Barnes and Ross Cameron, both Associate Professors of Philosophy at the University of Leeds, and both leading young figures in metaphysics, have accepted tenured offers from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Virginia, where they will start this fall. That's a big investment in metaphysics for UVA and, given its existing strengths, will likely push UVA into the U.S. "top ten" in metaphysics, among other areas.
UPDATE: UVA has also appointed, with tenure, Walter Ott (early modern philosophy), who is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at Virginia Tech. He will join several other faculty at UVA who work primarily or partly in early modern philosophy.
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)