A curious discussion going on in the bowels of cyberspace apparently launched by an atheist radio personality. I would think the answer is pretty clearly "yes," given that a number of important metaphysical and epistemological issues are raised in the context of philosophy of religion, both contemporary and historical, though it is certainly true that too much of it now functions as Christian apologetics.
Peter Godfrey Smith (philosophy of biology & mind), Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center, has accepted a half-time appointment at the University of Sydney, where he will spend every Northern Hemisphere summer and every other spring term.
Christian Wüthrich (philosophy of science and physics, metaphysics), associate professor of philosophy and of science studies at the University of California, San Diego, has been offered an associate professorship for philosophy of science at the Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
UPDATE: Prof. Wüthrich has accepted the offer from Geneva, where he will start in August 2015.
Lucy Allais, a specialist in Kant who currently teaches at the Universities of Sussex and Witwatersrand, has senior offers from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the University of California, San Diego (the UCSD offer is for the new Henry Allison Chair in the History of Philosophy). Hopefully her situation will be resolved before the fall PGR surveys.
UPDATE: Prof. Allais has accepted the post at UCSD, where she will spend the Winter and Spring quarters each year, remaining the rest of the time at Witwatersrand. This appointment may well push UCSD, already a strong place for Kant studies, into the very top ranks.
There is a news account here; I have not seen the opinion, so am only going on this account (though it strikes me as plausible, given what I know about the local judiciary). The result is a case study in what is wrong with American defamation law, and helps explain why our media, including our cyber-media, are such cesspools of falsehoods and garbage.
Consider: a student accuses Jon of groping her breasts and buttocks; Jon's behavior is both wrongful and illegal--it is both tortious and criminal. The newspapers, however, report that Jon is accused of "rape," which is defined in most jurisdictions as non-consensual penetration of the vagina or anus of another person, or non-consensual contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth, vagina or anus of another (this is not, however, the precise definition in Illinois, which probably helped the defendants here). Legal definitions aside, everyone knows that being accused of non-consensual groping is not as heinous as being accused of rape. Even the defendants know that, since they revised their original misdescription of the allegations and removed the word "rape"!
So what really explains this outcome? Two things: first, American libel law provides enormous cover for egregious misrepresentations of any topic that might be deemed of "public" interest" (in almost every other Western democracy whose libel law I am familiar with, Ludlow's case against the newspaper would have been a slam dunk); and second, and this is really crucial, the local judges in the Chicago state courts are, I have been told, mostly graduates of non-elite law schools and have contempt for elite academics. Judge Flanagan, who handed down this decision, graduated from John Marshall here in Chicago, a regional school that ranks well behind other very good regional schools in Chicago like Loyola/Chicago, Chicago-Kent and DePaul. I do not know Judge Flanagan, but I am familiar with the general problem. A couple of years ago, I was considering bringing a defamation action that would have to be filed in the local state courts in Chicago (rather than the federal courts), but I was advised by a Chicago lawyer with considerable experience in these matters that the local Chicago judges would view with skepticism and contempt any such lawsuit by a University of Chicago professor. I am, like any experienced lawyer, a legal realist, that is, I know that non-legal factors have a significant influence on outcomes in the court. This is yet another case in point.
I should emphasize, given the general level of insanity surrounding this whole issue, that everything I have written above about Ludlow's lawsuit against the newspapers is correct even if every actual allegation against Ludlow by the student is correct.
UPDATE: I respect the important work philosopher Heidi Lockwood has done to assist victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and have benefitted in the past from her knowledge of Title IX. Her intervention on this particular issue is, however, confused and irrelevant. Rape is always a kind of sexual assault, but not all sexual assaults are a kind of rape, and this is true even in jurisdictions that do not use the term "rape" but define sexual assault in terms of degree, with rape always being first-degree (i.e., not all sexual assaults are first-degree sexual assault). The latter is the only issue here, not the former. More to the point, Illinois defines rape as "criminal sexual assault" involving "sexual penetration," the latter defined as follows:
Means any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person and an object or the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or of any animal or object into the sex organ or anus of another person, including, but not limited to, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal penetration. Evidence of emission of semen is not required to prove sexual penetration.
There was never an allegation of sexual penetration against Ludlow by the undergraduate student, so there was never an allegation of criminal sexual assault, i.e., rape. Defendant Sun-Times recognized this once contacted by Ludlow's attorney: that is why they revised their headline, removing the word "rape" and replacing it with "sexual assault." In other words, defendant newspaper recognized the meanings were different. Judge Flanagan, according to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, found that the "the defamation and false light claim...fail on the basis of the fair-report privilege":
That privilege protects a publisher of defamatory matter when the matter fairly and accurately summarizes statements in public documents or proceedings at official public meetings, such as court documents or hearings.
“There is a fair abridgment of a proceeding where the sting of the defamatory statement in the proceeding is the same as a sting of the defamatory report,” Flanagan wrote. “The hallmark of the privilege is the accuracy of the summary, not the truth or falsity of the information being summarized.”
The only question, in other words, is whether the "sting" of being accused of rape is the same as the "sting" of being accused of sexual assault (not criminal sexual assault). The Sun-Times did not think so, but the Judge did. The most plausible explanation I can think of for so finding is bias against the plaintiff on the part of the judge--a bias consistent with what I have been told by a lawyer with twenty years of experience of litigating defamation cases in Cook County courts (where Judge Flanagan sits). More generally, American libel law tends to err on the side of sacrificing the plaintiff's reputation in the alleged interest of the "public"--the fair-report privilege, as applied in this instance, is an example. That line of law began with New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964, but it was Sullivan's progeny that adopted the foolishly capacious approach to "public figures" and "public interest." (Interestingly, when I ran a poll of law faculty on the 50th anniversary of Sullivan, the vast majority thought Sullivan itself rightly decided, but a majority thought its legacy had not been a good one, which is my own view as well.)
He appeals to anybody who is sincerely concerned about Israel’s safety and security to join him in telling Israelis the truth in plain language. “A real friend does not pick up the bill for an addict’s drugs: he packs the friend off to rehab instead. Today, only those who speak up against Israel’s policies – who denounce the occupation, the blockade, and the war – are the nation’s true friends.” The people who defend Israel’s current course are “betraying the country” by encouraging it on “the path to disaster. A child who has seen his house destroyed, his brother killed, and his father humiliated will not easily forgive.”
It is testimony to the remaining vibrancy of public debate in Israel that Levy can serve as a columnist with the country's most important newspaper; in the U.S., of course, he would long ago been driven to the margins by Abe Foxman, Alan Dershowitz, and the other smear merchants of the Israeli right.
It turns out that, mostly, they like it! With over 1400 votes (pretty good for the middle of summer, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), 34% thought philosophy of mind "a central, foundational part of the discipline," and another 26% described it as "a major area of research." 27% more deemed it "useful when integrated with psychology and the cognitive sciences": so that's 87% with the most favorable options. 4% described it as a "minor area of research," and only 8% chose the most dismissive option.
Marko Malink, Associate Professor of Philosophy here at the University of Chicago, and Jennifer Whiting, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, both have senior offers from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. (Malink also has a tenured offer from another top department, though I don't yet have permission to name the one.) While both Chicago and Toronto will continue to have strong ancient philosophy programs if they lose these faculty, Pitt will go from being strong in ancient to one of two or three best programs in the U.S. if they can recruit them both. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be resolved in time for the current PGR surveys. (Pitt has already made a junior lateral hire of Jessica Gelber in ancient from Syracuse.)
The National Academy of Sciences is somewhat more selective than the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, though has some of the same "friends of friends" problems in its membership, but perhaps not as bad. Many of the schools on this list do not have medical schools (e.g., Berkeley, MIT, Princeton, Cal Tech, among others), while some are essentially only medical schools (e.g., UT Southwestern and UC San Francisco). In any case, for your amusement, here are the American universities with the most elected Fellows
1. Harvard University (153)
2. Stanford University (144)
3. University of California, Berkeley (127)
4. Massachussetts Institute of Technology (114)
5. Princeton University (81)
6. California Institute of Technology (71)
7. University of California, San Diego (67)
8. Yale University (58)
9. Columbia University (51)
10. University of Washington, Seattle (49)
11. University of California, Los Angeles (39)
11. University of Chicago (39)
13. University of California, San Francisco (38)
13. University of Wisconsin, Madison (38)
15. Cornell University (36)
16. New York University (35)
17. University of California, Santa Barbara (31)
18. Rockefeller University (30)
19. Johns Hopkins University (26)
20. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (25)
20. University of Pennsylvania (25)
22. Duke University (24)
22. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (24)
24. Rutgers University, New Brunswick (23)
25. University of California, Davis (22)
26. University of California, Irvine (20)
27. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas (19)
28. Northwestern University (18)
28. University of Colorado, Boulder (18)
28. University of Texas, Austin (18)
28. Washington University, St. Louis (18)
32. Pennsylvania State University (14)
32. Scripps Research Institute (14)
32. University of Florida, Gainesville (14)
32. University of Maryland, College Park (14)
36. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul (12)
36. University of Southern California (12)
38. Arizona State University (11)
38. Ohio State University (11)
38. University of Arizona (11)
38. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (11)
42. State University of New York, Stony Brook (10)
Philosopher David Auerbach (North Carolina State) writes:
This Stone article [http://tinyurl.com/lmqsuf4 ] is remarkably flabby. But it had an interesting consequence (?)—the level of reader commentary was remarkably high (I’m grading on the usual curve here; there were the usual “there’s the trouble with academic philosophy…” comments). Here’s one of the comments:
"As a father of two sons, I actually conducted the experiment described in the article 25+ years ago (this was shortly before strong guidelines for human subjects research had been put into place nationally).
"First, I imposed a delay of several minutes before the moment of my older son’s conception. As the article predicts, the procedure eliminated his birth and later existence. Not only that, instead of a son, my firstborn was a daughter!
"The first outcome could have been a fluke, so, a few years later when the time came to conceive my second son, I decided to replicate the initial trial, this time by slightly anticipating the moment of conception. Confirming the earlier study, the second experiment also produced a positive result: my younger son never came into existence either! And, conformant to the initial outcome, my second child was also a daughter. In other words, by slightly delaying or anticipating the moment of conception, not only I was able to block completely the existence of both of my sons, I was also able to substitute two daughters for them!
"Philosophy is truly a powerful tool. 'Ah ! la belle chose, que de savoir quelque chose!'"
UPDATE: Enoch's reply to Bell has been added at the link, as well as a link to an English version of the document where Prof. Bell does indeed defend the legal permissibility of "gross immoralities," as Prof. Enoch said originally.
The 2014 elections to the Fellowship have been announced; philosophers elected include: Susanne Bobzien (Oxford); Matthew Kramer (Cambridge, Law); Rae Langton (Cambridge); Christian List (LSE); and Cecilia Trifogli (Oxford). In cognate fields also elected were the classical philosophy scholar Stephen Halliwell (St. Andrews) and the criminal law scholar and theorist Jeremy Horder (LSE).
A propos this item, philosopher Kimberly Brownlee (Warwick) writes:
I’m writing on behalf of the British Philosophical Association Exec. Committee about your post this week on journal submission data. At the last BPA Exec. meeting, the committee agreed that we’d like to gather this kind of data from journal editors, as it will be useful for early career researchers deciding where to send their work and for faculty applying for promotion.
We hope to collaborate with the APA to set up a webpage that will make this information publicly available. We’ll keep you informed as this initiative develops.
We received requests from 17 departments in the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australasia for inclusion in the 2014 PGR surveys. Members of the Advisory Board were given the faculty lists and asked to vote on inclusion based on whether they thought the faculties in question might rank in the top cohort in their region of the world (top 50 in the US, top 15 in Britain, top 5 elsewhere). A majority of the Board voted in favor of adding two faculties to the 2014 survey: those at Texas A&M University and at the University of Manchester. The next draft of the faculty lists will include them. (Faculties not included in the 2014 surveys can still be included in the specialty rankings, based on past PGR performance and/or recommendations of members of the Advisory Board in the relevant specialties.)
(We can not include all PhD-granting faculties in the surveys because of the burden on evaluators. We are already including more faculties for fall 2014 than in the last iteration.)
An interesting development; hopefully similar efforts will be made in the U.S. to reverse our insane penal policies. (The Committee responsible for the report was Chaired by the distinguished philosopher of criminal law R.A. Duff [Stirling/Minnesota].)
Recently I have talked to a number of philosophers about the practice of giving honoraria to speakers for department talks. The practices differ from country to country, and department to department. It has struck me that opinions on best practices are correspondingly diverse, with some (especially junior people) quite strongly opposed to the practice. Reasons vary, but many of those who are opposed to the practice focus on what they argue are more deserving ways to direct the resources—more speakers, speakers from more diverse places, more funding for graduate interactions with the speakers, etc. Some have also mentioned that if honoraria are perceived to be the norm, departments will be under pressure to provide them as tokens of gratitude or respect even if neither the department nor the visitor herself supports the practice more generally. It occurs to me that this might make for an interesting topic for discussion on your blog, and that such a discussion might be of value to the profession.
The "more deserving ways to direct the resources" argument seems to me odd: surely there are more "deserving ways" to direct the travel costs of visiting speakers, indeed the salaries of most philosophers, and so on. (If we are tallying up "deserving" ways to spend resources, it seems to me extraordinary to think that "more speakers" would loom large.) If honoraria turn on a general theory of desert, and deserving causes, then most philosophers may be out of work.
The case for honoraria is fairly simple: a visiting speaker works, and the honorarium recognizes her work. The case against is probably equally simple: the work a visiting speaker does enriches her own research, she doesn't need to be paid for it as well.
What do readers think? What are the norms in your department/region of the world?
Sherrilynn Roush (philosophy of science, epistemology), Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calilfornia, Berkeley, has accepted appointment as the first Sowerby Chair in Philosophy and Medicine at King's College London.
Two sobering charts. Assuming philosophy isn't an outlier among humanities fields (in either direction), this would suggest that a program placing about 65% of its graduates in tenure-track jobs is about average (recall the earlier chart).
(Thanks to John Doris for the pointer.)
UPDATE: An alert reader points out that the employed figure (roughly 65%) is not necessarily all tenure-stream employment, so the data is sobering indeed.
I think it would be very helpful if philosophy journals would make publicly available much more information on acceptance rates and submission statistics. At dialectica, we have been doing this for the last 14 years:
- The acceptance rate over the last ten years is 8.36% (2320 submissions, of which 194 were accepted).
- In 2013, we published 28 articles and a total of 611 pages (549 excluding commissioned book reviews). Of 298 articles submitted in 2013,
34 were accepted.
- Our turn-around time is reasonably quick (median of 3 months) and our backlog is small (currently accepted papers are published in 4/2014).
- Between 2007 and 2013, 28% of our submissions came from people working in the US, 20% from the UK, 6% from both Germany and Canada, 5% from Italy, 4% from Spain, and 3% from each of Australia, Spain and Switzerland. 12% of the submissions came from Asia (mostly Israel, China, Iran and Hong Kong) and only 1% from Africa.
- Currently, about 12% of our submissions are authored by women. This has been constant over the last 14 years and is surprising, given that about a third of PhDs and a quarter of jobs in philosophy are (held) by women. The acceptance rate of female submissions (16%) is higher than the one of male submissions (14%).
The only other two bits of information I know of are:
- Mind: around 350 submissions a year, cf. http://mind.oxfordjournals.org/ Does anyone know about others? I have heard that the Philosophy Documentation Center has information on acceptance rates, but my institution is not subscribed to it. Does anyone know whether that information is in the public domain? If so, I'd be very interested.
Many readers have sent version of this story about the fraud Zizek. All I have to say is that if it isn't true, then the white supremacist has a strong libel case against those who made the accusation.
UPDATE: Zizek's reply. It's good to know he can express himself clearly and directly when the charge of plagiarism is at issue. (Thanks to Steven Gross for the pointer.)
[H]ere’s the thing about the generation of 10-13 year old boys who came just after me – those born after, say, 1992 – and all 10-13 year old boys since: any one of them can see more naked women on their phone in 10 minutes than most grown men in history saw in their entire lifetimes. They can also, of course, see women performing acts most men in history would never have dreamt up, let alone witnessed. And unsurprisingly, in overwhelming numbers, this is precisely what they choose do. The government, slowly waking up to the issue, issued a cross-party report in 2012 that revealed one in three boys of this age had viewed explicit material online, with four out of five becoming regular uses by the time they were 16.
...[I]ncreasing numbers of men who have reached their early twenties having grown up on this diet of unlimited porn are reporting some draw backs, including a decreased interest in “real” sex, an inability to ejaculate during it and – worst of all for most – erectile dysfunction. At the same time, the young women they’re sleeping with are reporting their own problems, chiefly unrealistic expectations for things like anal sex, facials and general “porn star” behaviour: pressure to look and perform in ways they’re often not comfortable with....
On 16 May 2012, a video of a Ted Talk called “The Great Porn Experiment” was placed on YouTube, and has been watched two-and-half-million times since. In it, a retired physiology teacher called Gary Wilson claims: “The widespread use of internet porn is one of the fastest moving global experiments every conducted.”
His argument is that we don’t know what happens to young men when they can watch an unlimited amount of pornography – both in terms of volume and variety – before they’ve had any kind of real-life sexual experience, because it has no precedent in history. Only now are the “guinea pigs” of the internet era reaching the age where they can tell us.
Any philosophers working on this? Any links to relevant empirical literature on these developments?
Filippo Contesi asked me to share the following message:
To interested academic philosophers in the UK:
In order to examine and address issues of participation faced by minority and underrepresented groups in academic philosophy (e.g. gender, race, native-language, sexual orientation, class, and disability minorities), a number of UK departments have recently started to build a UK network of chapters of MAP ( www.mapforthegap.com ).
With 24 active chapters to date, MAP (Minorities And Philosophy) is already a successful and widespread organization in the US and elsewhere. If you would like to have a MAP chapter at your own institution, this Call For Collaborators is for you. MAP chapters are generally run by graduate students (typically 3 or 4 per department), with some help from academic staff members; undergraduate participation is also encouraged.
At this stage we would be happy to hear especially from graduate students (groups or individuals) at UK Philosophy departments as well as from UK Philosophy academic staff who would like to coordinate graduate student interest in their institutions. Please contact Filippo Contesi ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Yena Lee (MAP Director) & Filippo Contesi (MAP UK Director)
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)