I'm a longtime reader of your Leiter Reports. I have noticed that of late you have been tracking a trend in our society wherein some hypocritical notion of civility is used as an excuse to suppress speech. I therefore thought you might be interested in this piece of news I happened across today: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/police-637903-meeting-hat.html. In short, a city council meeting was cancelled and attendants (who refused to leave) were threatened with arrest because someone was wearing a hat that read "Fuck the Police" (it was deemed "offensive" and "disrespectful"). The most unsettling thing about this situation is that the Mayor of Santa Ana, the Mayor Pro Tem, and the Chief of Police all seem to have no idea that any constitutional rights were violated here--that is, these people who have the law in their hands have no inkling of even very basic constitutional law. On the other hand, this earlier article on this event (http://www.ocregister.com/articles/police-637732-council-meeting.html) is a little more reassuring, since it shows that at least the people know their rights and are willing to subject themselves to intimidation and threats of arrest in order to stand up for the free speech rights of a complete stranger (and a "disrespectful" one at that). Let's hope they don't sign a kindness pledge.
Three are new awardees: Ingo Brigandt (Alberta), Marc-Antoine Dilhac (Montreal), and C. Kenneth Waters (Calgary). One is a renewal of an existing Chair, to Brad Inwood, currently at the University of Toronto but moving next year to Yale.
My co-editor Brit Brogaard (Miami) and her RA have done a great job finishing the evaluator and faculty list spread sheets, and the IT professionals here should have a testable version of the survey ready for us to try out during the weekend. If all goes well, Brit will send out the invitations to evaluators early next week (Monday or Tuesday is our goal). We agreed to a somewhat shorter window for responses (two weeks, rather than three weeks) due to the late start date this year and our goal of getting the results out in time for students applying in the current cycle.
UPDATE: The IT folks are still working out certain bugs in the survey program, so we won't be able to test it before Monday. That means, at the soonest, Prof. Brogaard will be sending out invitations on Tuesday or perhaps Wednesday of next week (Oct. 21 or Oct. 22).
MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST WEEK IN LIGHT OF NEW COMMENTS--MORE WELCOME
A student in the UK writes:
I am applying for PhD programs this cycle but find it almost impossible to find useful resources on how to write a high-quality proposal specifically for political theory/political philosophy programmes. I am applying to UK universities. Could you recommend any resources or give any advice?
Over and over, we have the evidence that it is not Isis that “radicalises” Muslims before they head off to Syria – and how I wish David Cameron would stop using that word – but the internet. The belief, the absolute conviction that the screen contains truth – that the “message” really is the ultimate verity – has still not been fully recognised for what it is; an extraordinary lapse in our critical consciousness that exposes us to the rawest of emotions – both total love and total hatred – without the means to correct this imbalance. The “virtual” has dropped out of “virtual reality”.
At its most basic, you have only to read the viciousness of internet chatrooms. Major newspapers – hopelessly late – have only now started to realise that chatrooms are not a new technical version of “Letters to the Editor” but a dangerous forum for people to let loose their most-disturbing characteristics. Thus a major political shift in the Middle East, transferred to the internet, takes on cataclysmic proportions. Our leaders not only can be transfixed themselves – the chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, for example, last week brandishing a printed version of Dabiq, the Isis online magazine – but can use the same means to terrify us.
Six hundred and three people completed a survey measuring perceptions of traditional areas of philosophical inquiry and their relationship to empirical science. The ten areas studied were: aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, history of philosophy, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and political philosophy. For each area, participants rated whether it is currently central to philosophy (centrality), whether its centrality depends on integration with science (dependence), and whether work in the area is sufficiently integrated with science (integration). Centrality judgments tended to be high. Participants viewed nine of the ten areas as central to philosophy (the exception being aesthetics), although they made this judgment more confidently for some areas. Dependence judgments were more varied, ranging from clear disagreement (for logic and history of philosophy) to clear agreement (for philosophies of science, mind, and language). Integration judgments were also varied but exhibited more uncertainty. Some areas whose centrality depended on integration were judged to be well integrated (philosophies of science and mind), but a central tendency for all other areas was ambivalence. Demographic factors had small but statistically significant effects on all three sorts of judgment. Higher age predicted higher centrality judgments and higher integration judgments. Higher socioeconomic status predicted lower dependence judgments and higher integration judgments. Men recorded higher integration judgments.
There is a video of my introducing Salaita at University of Chicago the other night, and on the right-hand side you'll see links to videos of Salaita's talk at Northwestern, which I am told was essentially the same as the talk at U of C (I watched only a bit of it, and that seems right). That talk is in several parts, starting here. There's also a brief news video about the case from what I am told is a pro-Palestinian on-line news service.
(Thanks to John Dworkin and Jonah Rubin for the various links.)
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)