[UPDATED and moved to the front: two reader comments, below.]
Blair succeeded (just barely) in getting his proposal for tuition fees through parliament. Ever since Thatcher declared war on the public sector, including universities, in the 1980s, British universities have been in decline. The evidence has certainly been tangible in philosophy: there are now only a handful of senior philosophers of international distinction who are full-time in the United Kingdom (Timothy Williamson, G.A. Cohen, Myles Burnyeat, and Michael Frede at Oxford; Simon Blackburn and Raymond Geuss at Cambridge; Sarah Broadie at St. Andrews--and both Cohen and Blackburn have been doing a fair bit of US-visiting recently.). Contrast that with a generation ago, when Michael Dummett, Peter Strawson, R.M. Hare, Bernard Williams, John Mackie, David Wiggins, Richard Wollheim etc. were all full-time in Britain, as were John McDowell, Crispin Wright, Colin McGinn, Christopher Peacocke, Mark Sainsbury, and Simon Blackburn.
The list of philosophers of international distinction who, partly because of low salaries and high workloads, and partly because of an alarmingly early retirement age, have fled the UK at least part-time, and often full-time, in the past two decades include Julia Annas (University of Arizona), Nancy Cartwright (University of California, San Diego), Martin Davies (Australian National University and City University of New York), James Griffin (Rutgers University, New Brunswick), Paul Horwich (City University of New York), John McDowell (University of Pittsburgh), Colin McGinn (Rutgers University), Derek Parfit (New York University and Harvard University), Christopher Peacocke (New York University), Joseph Raz (Columbia University), Mark Sainsbury (University of Texas), Galen Strawson (City University of New York), Gisela Striker (Harvard University), Bernard Williams (late of Berkeley), Richard Wollheim (late of Berkeley and UC Davis), and Crispin Wright (New York University), among others. Jonathan Dancy (University of Reading) may be about to follow suit.
Even at the time of this writing, some of the leading philosophical talent in the U.K. of the next generation--for example, Michael Martin at University College London, Richard Holton and Rae Langton at the University of Edinburgh--are being wooed by the Americans, and others have recently made the move (for example, Jose Bermudez, who recently moved from the University of Stirling to Washington University, St. Louis).
(The financial problems of the British universities have had less effect on the law faculties, since law, unsurprisingly, is a less international discipline [a few fields--jurisprudence, international and comparative law--excepted]. British legal academic culture is also far too different from the American to make much migration possible: the Brits are still serious doctrinalists--what is the structure and conceptual logic of the rules and principles in the various areas of law?--while the top American law schools are increasingly interdisciplinary in their orientation, viewing, more often than not, doctrine as a superficial and unreliable guide to what goes on in the legal system, and preferring instead to turn to economics, game theory, political science, and psychology to understand the legal phenomena.)
There is no doubt the new fees are an inegalitarian measure, as was correctly charged by opponents. There is also no question that without some new source of funds, British universities would be finished as serious players on the international scene over the next generation or so. Since "New Labour" under Blair is in many respects "old conservativism under Thatcher"--most particularly in having acceded to the Thatcherite demolition of the public sector--there is little prospect of increasing public funding, leaving fees as the only remaining recourse. So for the academics in the UK, this vote was a good break; for equality values, it was not.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: The law affects only universities in England and Wales, not Scotland. Apologies to all my Scottish readers for this blunder!
The Village Voice hits the nail on the head regarding the brouhaha resulting from Michael Moore's "the general vs. the deserter" comment about Clark debating Bush:
"Fortunately for us, Michael Moore is crazy like a fox. By calling Bush a "deserter," he got the big-time journalists—horrified David Broder, incredulous Peter Jennings, outraged Robert Novak, nonplussed Tim Russert—to openly raise the deserter issue before millions. It is now a political topic once again. As the journalists damn Moore, the populace is once again wondering, well, maybe Bush is a deserter after all. And the idea of a deserter running this war makes it even more sick than it already is. Consider that this weekend warrior is already responsible for the following toll in Iraq: 513 GIs sent to their death; 8,000 medevacked out of Iraq; 2,919 wounded (missing arms or legs, or blinded, or psycho); and at least 22 GI suicides. God only knows how many Iraqi men, women, and children. And when it was his turn to fight for his country, Bush booked."
"Embarrassingly, in the 21st century, in the most scientifically advanced nation the world has ever known, creationists can still persuade politicians, judges and ordinary citizens that evolution is a flawed, poorly supported fantasy."
At some point, there has to be a backlash by "people of reason" and friends of the Enlightenment against this nonsense--or at least a backlash by the Chamber of Commerce types who know full well that stuff like this makes Georgia look ridiculous. (May I propose that we all make a concerted effort to use "people of reason" as an honorific much as "people of faith" is bandied about as an argument-stopper?)
This perceptive piece makes some good points about John Kerry and about the coming election once the primaries are over (also check out Mr. Mahajan's blog, which you can get to from the preceding link). For example:
"There’s something I think the pundits are not paying attention to – the main election campaign will be run against Bush, not against Kerry or Dean or Edwards. Karl Rove has already announced that foreign policy is what Bush will run on, and the attacks on the Democratic candidate will be merciless. Once the Bush campaign really starts and all that money kicks in, the political landscape will be transformed.
"After that, the only thing I can predict is this: a Democratic candidate who has little intelligent to say about the war will be swallowed whole. If the candidate bases his objections, as many do now, on our not asking France to help pay for the war, he will be ridiculed. If he signs on completely, he will become irrelevant. Although Iraq is not the 'biggest' issue in the campaign, measured in gross terms, Iraq will be the defining issue, the issue the Democratic candidate has to get right if he wants to have a chance of standing up to Bush’s overwhelming advantage in money, Bush’s shock troops in the Christian right, Bush’s profound influence over the broadcast money, and the fact that the economy will be kept roughly afloat by extremely low interest rates."
Stanford has made a senior offer to Helen Longino (philosophy of science, feminist philosophy) at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul. (Note: this offer was made prior to Elliott Sober's decision, noted earlier, to return to Wisconsin.)
Pharyngula has a revealing case study of how the Discovery [sic] Institute conmen are trying to destroy science education (and despite their stunning rebuke by the Texas State Board of Education several months ago, they're still harassing textbook publishers here).
John Hawthorne (philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, Leibniz) and Ted Sider (metaphysics, philosophy of language), both at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, and Jason Stanley (philosophy of language) at Michigan, have turned down the Yale offers. Bad break for Yale. Stanley still has a Rutgers offer.
...National Public Radio this morning reported that Wesley Clark "finished third in New Hampshire," implying, of course, that Senator Edwards from North Carolina (who will be the nominee according to my crystal ball) suffered a severe setback.
In reality, Clark got 12.4% of the vote, or 27,254, while Edwards got 12% of the vote, or 26,416. Considering that Clark bypassed Iowa, and concentrated all his efforts on New Hampshire, while Edwards campaigned heavily in Iowa, and then had to campaign simultaneously in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the rational conclusion is that the Edwards performance was remarkably strong, and that he in effect tied for 3rd in New Hampshire against a candidate who had devoted 100% of his efforts to running there.
At least the leading Republican contender for the Democratic nomination, the shill for the insurance industry Joseph Lieberman, suffered a humiliating defeat, coming in a distant 5th. Now he needs to go away.
Tax law expert George Mundstock recently moved from the University of Miami to the University of Minnesota, but now he's heading back to Miami. No word on why. Climate shock? Perhaps. It's a good break for Miami, which has a nationally recognized tax faculty and program.
Further reason for thinking that Senator Edwards of North Carolina is the most electable of the Democrats (quite apart from the fact that he is also one of the most progressive, Kucinich aside): listening to National Public Radio yesterday morning, I heard a previously undecided New Hampshire woman, who usually votes Republican, explain why she liked Edwards's policy positions, positive attitude, etc. Then a moment later she added, "Not that this had anything to do with my support, but he is rather good-looking." Let us not underestimate the value of good looks. (We already know that they are a major determinant of student evaluations of teaching!) George Bush is many things--inarticulate, a ne'er-do-well rich kid, a student of such mediocre academic accomplishment that 30 years ago he could not get admitted to the University of Texas School of Law as a politically connected state resident (and so had to get a Harvard MBA instead)--but one thing he is not is handsome (those eyes are just too close together). Beady-eyed, stammering Bush at one podium, handsome, glib, upbeat Edwards at the other. This will not be a debate that advances the Republican cause.
Meanwhile, the slimy David Brooks opines that the Edwards pitch that "we are actually a nation divided between the top 2 percent, the rich, powerful insiders — 'those who never have to worry about a thing,' as Edwards puts it — and the 98 percent, us [sic: Brooks shouldn't be including himself] ordinary folks" is "sociologically, politically, economically and demographically false." In keeping with the cherished tradition of shameless right-wing lying, no evidence is cited by Brooks in support of his sociological, economic, and demographic claim, and for obvious reasons.
(I've activated comments for this one, and invite further contributions. No anonymous posts. I will also delete idiotic, gratuitously insulting remarks etc. [non-gratuitous polemics are welcome, of course!].)
Leading administrative law expert and distinguished and prolific BU law professor Gary Lawson writes with the following comments:
"I'm puzzled by why you thought it was worthwhile to post Benjamin Hellie's empty screed on bloggers. I say empty because someone could write exactly the same piece, almost verbatim, but switch the characterizations of the left and right simply by defining justice as, e.g., keeping what belongs to you instead of evenly distributing wealth and power. In that case, left-wing bloggers become, on Hellie s reasoning, presumptive liars because they are consistently defending injustice. This does not seem like a very constructive line to pursue.
"The intellectual ball could be advanced by a serious discussion about the nature of justice. (If Hellie does not think that any such discussion is necessary because justice just is, self-evidently, evenly distributing wealth and power, he is in the wrong line of work.) The ball could also be advanced if someone clever could figure out a way objectively to assess the intellectual integrity of various blog sites and then survey a sufficient number empirically to test propositions about left-leaning and right-leaning blogs. But one hardly needs to smear Professor Hellie to harumph at his post. Way below the usual standards, I m afraid."
Philosopher Benj. Hellie from Cornell replies:
"Lawson should deploy the powers of exegesis he learned in law school on uncovering the causal mechanism I lay out in the following paragraph [from the original posting]:
'People do not like injustice. The knowledge that injustice is being done to others offends their sense of morality; the knowledge that injustice is being done to them makes them angry and resentful. Both these emotions contribute to a desire to use the political system in order to counter injustice. So it is very helpful for the right wing to achieve its goal if the existence of injustice, and the unjust effects of the policies it endorses, can be concealed.'
"Lawson alleges that you can substitute in `keeping what belongs to you' for justice rather than `evenly distributing wealth and power' (note I said nothing about the desirability to anyone of absolute equality: my claim is that we are at present in a state of obscene inequality and getting worse, and that it would be desirable to nearly all to make things more equal) and get an argument that left-wingers are liars. He seems to think I argued as follows: * right-wingers support injustice * therefore right-wingers are liars.
"This manoeuvre shows Lawson's grasp of the argument to be on a par with his grasp of psychology and his grasp of the intense degree of suffering the libertarian policies he endorses have caused, both in the third world and at home.
"What I actually argued was A. right-wingers support things that are against the interests of the vast majority B. if the vast majority knew this, what right-wingers support could not exist C. therefore right-wingers are liars.
Here's a curious site that ranks blogs based on average visits per day. Only blogs with Site Meter are counted. (I'm in the process of signing up for Site Meter, but when the instructions arrived about installation, they immediately exceeded my limited technical competence...so I'm waiting for help.) I'm not quite sure what period is used for calculating the average. If it's a 7-day-average, then this fine blog you are now reading comes in at 900 visits per day, or #123 (higher on weekdays, lower on weekends, like most others it appears).
This site does shed some light on why one might have the impression that the blogosphere tilts rather strongly to the right. Reynolds, Volokh and Bainbridge--all on the right--have total average visits per day of over 113,000. This is a bit more than my 900, or Balkin's 500 (and Balkin's is way up because of a recent link from Reynolds). Admittedly, there are lots of more-or-less liberal sites with lots of readers, but what's striking is that legal academics on the web are so skewed to the right. Some reasons why that might be so were addressed here.
Another interesting bit of data one can glean from this site: the correlation between number of other blogs that link to a blog and the actual number of readers of that blog is rather weak. You can see this by comparing the traffic ranking to the "blogosphere ecosystem" compiled at the same site. (This is really weird, isn't it?)
"Let's look this thing in the eye once and for all. To applaud the US Army's capture of Saddam Hussein, and therefore in retrospect justify its invasion and occupation of Iraq, is like deifying Jack the Ripper for disemboweling the Boston Strangler. And that after a quarter-century partnership in which the Ripping and Strangling was a joint enterprise. It's an in-house quarrel. They're business partners who fell out over a dirty deal. Jack's the CEO."
Princeton University has made an offer to Thomas Kelly (epistemology, ethics), currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and, prior to that, a Junior Fellow at Harvard's Society of Fellows.
"Is there any pertinent literature yet on the psychology and the sociology of the blogosphere?
"Psychologically, for example, it would be interesting to know whether there is any pattern to the 'types' of folks who blog, in particular, the folks we might call 'Blogopaths,' those for whom blogging appears to be a substitute for real life.
"Blogopaths pen lengthy tomes about every topic; they appear to blog 24/7; they pounce almost instantly at any slight or mention from another blogger; they are frequent 'commenters' on other sites, always with links to their own blog; their blogs include 'endorsements' by other bloggers, and so on. Blogopaths are the folks well-described in an e-mail by one trusted reader: 'These [types] are unfulfilled people not unlike, figuratively, the homeless who rummage through garbage bins. Cyberspace is their alley, their raison d'etre. It gives them a reason to get up in the morning.' (The same reader offered the most memorable description of the blogopathic part of Cyberspace, calling it a 'sub-universe of dementia' populated by 'marginalized sociopaths' who crave 'publicity, [which] allows them to fantasize that they are real and engaged and relevant.')"
It turns out there is not yet a scholarly literature on blogopathology. Still reader WMR offered some interesting observations on the blogosphere, by reference to an earlier (and more charming) adolescent fad:
"My reaction to the blogosphere is that it reminds me of science fiction fandom when it was still a fringe movement-before Star Wars became such a pop culture phenomenon. I sense the same adolescent thrill in discovering that there are people out there who not only like the same strange things I like, but who will listen to my opinions and even take them seriously. Perhaps your position as an academic, i.e., one who regularly takes part in serious discussions, insulates you from the sheer, visceral charge of finally having your ideas being taken seriously by total strangers and the joy of 'spirited' exchange with the 'all too common idiots' over some picayune 'critical point'."
Philosopher Dominic Murphy from Cal Tech (whose book Psychiatry in the Scientific Image is forthcoming from MIT Press) writes:
"I know of no psychiatric research on bloggers, although since there is research on everybody else I'm sure someone's doing it right now. But for rhetorical purposes I think that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is your best shot (although a lot of theorists think all the personality disorders are a crock).
Yes, the folks at the Discovery [sic] Institute are at it again, lying about evolution and science, with help from moronic journalists. Fortunately, Pharyngula is on the case. After reading this, the Discovery [sic] Institute "crackpots" shall no doubt be nostalgic for the days when I merely called them "pathological liars."
I'd be delighted if the Democrats were to nominate Ralph Nader, but that's even less likely than their nominating Dennis Kucinich. And since, as noted in an earlier posting, we're at an historical moment where it is genuinely important to choose the "lesser of two evils," I have to say I agree with the message here: "Ralph Don't Run."
The University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees has nominated Amy Gutmann to be the next President; the Board votes on the nomination on February 20, but in all likelihood, it's a done deal.
Gutmann is currently Provost of Princeton University and Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics; she is also one of that small number of political theorists in Political Science departments who does work that is always of interest to philosophers. (Others would certainly include Charles Beitz and Philip Pettit at Princeton, Dennis Thompson at Harvard, and Brian Barry and Jon Elster at Columbia, among others.)
Gutmann will replace Judith Rodin, who raised tons of money, helped yuppify the immediate neighborhood around Penn, and who raised gaming the US News undergraduate rankings to an art form. (A former Dean at Penn once said to me, "I wouldn't want to be around if someone audited the books.") My guess is that Amy Gutmann will take a more honorable approach, which may mean Penn's undergraduate ranking in US News will drop in the short term. But from what little I know, I have to say that Penn has made a splendid choice, and it's a real loss for Princeton.
The distinguished philosopher of science and biology Elliott Sober, who is currently teaching as a tenured professor at Stanford while on leave from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has decided to return to Wisconsin full-time in fall 2004. That's a big coup for Wisconsin, and something prospective students will want to keep in mind.
The January 2004 issue of The National Jurist has some eye-popping data on law school tuition for 2003-04, and increases since last year. Berkeley, for example, raised its tuition for state residents 48%, while UCLA raised it 39%. The University of Arizona led the pack, with a 81.5% increase in tuition: Arizonans paid $5,844 last year, and will pay $10,604 this year. De facto private "state" law schools like Michigan and Virginia also had big increases: 15% at UVA, 11.5% at Michigan. My school, where tuition is also on the way up, recorded a "mere" 5% increase.
Even scarier are the total tuition bills for students for 2003-04. And what are students getting for their money? For fun, I've listed below the 18 top law schools, from the cheapest (for a state resident--that only affects the state schools obviously) to the most expensive, followed by the school's rank along three dimensions: faculty quality as measured by reputation; faculty quality as measured by citations; and national placement of graduates in elite law firms. (All the data is from this site.)
1. University of Texas, Austin ($12,216/year; 8th, 11th, 12th).
2. University of California, Berkeley ($16,924/year; 7th, 6th, 16th).
3. University of California, Los Angeles ($17,012/year; 14th, 18th, circa 20th).
4. University of Virginia ($23,798/year; 10th, 11th, 4th).
5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ($27,863/year; 8th, 10th, 5th).
6. Vanderbilt University ($29,750/year; 18th, 23rd, 14th).
7. Georgetown University ($31,408/year; 12th, 8th, 8th).
8. Cornell University ($32,070/year; 14th, 9th, 15th).
9. Duke University ($32,384/year; 17th, 15th, 9th).
10. Stanford University ($32,424/year; 4th, 4th, 6th).
11. University of Chicago ($32/750/year; 2nd, 1st, 2nd).
12. University of Pennsylvania ($33,002/year; 11th, 13th, 10th).
13. University of Southern California ($33,280; 12th, 21st, n/a).
14. Yale University ($33,850/year; 1st, 2nd, 3rd).
15. Harvard University ($33,866/year; 2nd, 3rd, 1st).
16. Northwestern University ($33,966/year; 14th, 13th, 13th).
17. New York Univeristy ($34,083/year; 5th, 7th, 11th).
18. Columbia University ($34,907/year; 5th, 5th, 7th).
here courtesy of Michael Sevel. Quite amusing. (I'm not sure Sevel has got my title right, though--I'd prefer to not write In Defense of Constructive Interpretivism or The Case for Intuitions in Philosophy or New Philosophical Arguments for Intelligent Design.)
ADDENDUM: And Jerry Cohen is extremely unhaughty and unOxford!
UPDATE: 5 more choice books of philosophy that won't be written, courtesy of Noumenon.
I promise not to make a habit of commenting on the Democratic primary process in the U.S., but I can't resist this morning a few observations about the outcome in Iowa. But first, a few prefatory words for the benefit of non-U.S. readers.
Of the "major" contenders for the Democratic nomination, only one would be considered a mainstream social democrat in, say, Canada or Germany: namely, Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio congressman. He got 1% of the vote in Iowa last night--which pretty much sums up the morally depraved state of America, but that's a topic for a different day.
The other major contenders are all to the right of Kucinich but are, by American standards, relatively liberal: that would be John Kerry (Senator from Massachussetts), John Edwards (Senator from North Carolina), Howard Dean (former Governor of Vermont), and Richard Gephardt (Congressman from Missouri). (The two Republican candidates for the Democratic nomination, Senator Lieberman from Connecticut and the retired General Clark, didn't compete in Iowa. Lieberman is clearly to the right of all the other candidates, Clark is a bit harder to pin down.)
Last night, as all U.S. readers will know, Kerry came in first in Iowa, Edwards second, Dean a distant third, and Gephardt a distant fourth. Gephardt is dropping out of the race, which is a blessing, since while his substantive positions were usually liberal ones (again, by American standards), as a leader of the Democratic party, he epitomized, along with Senator Daschle of South Dakota, mealy-mouthed spinelessness in the face of right-wing villainy. He's also an exceptionally dreary public speaker--though Kerry rivals him--so it's good to have him out of the race.
The really significant result from Iowa is the very strong second-place showing by Senator Edwards of North Carolina. Things have gotten so bad in the United States, that I'm now ready to vote for a Democrat, and Edwards has been and will be my choice (I'm hopeful this endorsement won't be widely noted by anyone other than a few academics and grad students, so as not to do damage to the Edwards campaign). Why Edwards? Two reasons:
(1) He's a liberal, in many ways, a principled liberal, which is remarkable considering the reactionary state he's from. Here is a man, a politican from the South, who voted against a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. That one gesture is, in itself, a rather good sign that he has some regard for the rule of law and liberty values. On domestic policy issues, he is, in most respects, to the left of the previous frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, Howard Dean. Alas, Edwards voted for war in Iraq, but so did most of the leading Democrats, except for the one who can't win (Kucinich) and the one who couldn't vote (Dean). But, needless to say, this is a "lesser of two evils" discussion, and since the other "evil" is off the charts, we're going to forgive Senator Edwards this vote.
(2) He's electable, rather clearly so. Consider first: for 40 years, the only Democrats to be elected President in the U.S. have been from the South (Johnson from Texas, Carter from Georgia, Clinton from Arkansas). All the non-Southerners have lost: Humphrey from Minnesota, McGovern from South Dakota, Mondale from Minnesota, Dukakakis from Massachussetts. Gore from Tennessee won the popular vote in 2000, despite being dreary and spineless. California and New York and a few others will vote for the Democrat whoever he is; but only a Southerner is going to carry some of the swing states in the South. Such is the petty psychology of people, but there it is, and we can't ignore it.
Consider second: Edwards is a good talker. You don't become a multimillionaire trial lawyer unless you're good at talking to regular people, the kinds who sit on juries. And Edwards clearly is. (This must surely have something to do with the strong showing in Iowa, despite being outspent by the other candidates quite substantially.) He will plainly wipe the floor with Bush in debates, but will do so in a likable way--that's part of the rhetorical skill of the good trial lawyer. That he comes from a genuinely working class background will also help, especially when it comes to deflecting the anti-trial lawyer smears the Republicans will mount. (Trial lawyers are all that stands between unregulated and otherwise unpunished corporate malfeasance and the ordinary people who are often its victims; Edwards will make that case.)
I was certainly sorry to see the stiff and patrician Kerry come out first in Iowa, but I suspect he'll fade quickly once the primaries move South. And an Edwards/Kerry ticket wouldn't be bad at the end of the day. (As the reader may infer, I'm of the view that Dean is probably not electable [see above], and while his willingness to speak plainly about right-wing villainy is welcome, he is not, overall, a gifted public speaker, and he is not, obviously, as progressive as Edwards on most domestic issues.)
So from the perspective of this inconsequential citizen in Austin, Texas, the results in Iowa are pretty good news.
For Fox News, only when Republicans are the target. Details here.
UPDATE: Yet more on the subject here. (Thanks to a first-year law student at the University of Nebraska for this link. He also remarked: "I wish more law professors would blog. I really need more insight into what you people are thinking." Me too!)
Long Duke's most distinguished law faculty member, William van Alstyne has accepted an offer from the law school at the College of William & Mary, where his wife, Lan Cao, teaches. Van Alstyne, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and author of many seminal articles in constitutional law, is a serious loss for Duke, whose status in the top ranks of law schools, was already fragile. Meanwhile, of course, this appointment is a coup for William & Mary, which already has a very good, but generally younger and so less well-known, faculty.
If you're a law student, professor, or practitioner, you'll likely get a good laugh out of Tom Smith's send-up of Justice O'Connor (and adulatory law professors) here. For those not familiar with American law, Justice O'Connor is well-known (notorious?) for what might be generously described as her "fact-sensitive" approach to decision-making--which often leads her to be the swing vote in many important cases--while at the same time making it very hard to say what set of legal principles has been guiding her decisions across cases. (The "players" in the mock interview are Doug Kmiec, right-wing law professor at Pepperdine, whose political prominence outstrips his intellectual achievements by a noticeable margin; Kathleen Sullivan, out-going liberal law Dean at Stanford; and John Yoo, conservative law professor at Berkeley, now visiting at Chicago.)
University of Southern California is making offers to Jeff King (philosophy of language) at the University of California at Davis and Scott Soames (philosophy of language) at Princeton University. (Texas has also made an offer to Soames.) If these offers are accepted--and with James Higginbotham already at USC--this would make Southern California one of the top handful of programs in philosophy of language in the United States (perhaps even the top program, especially for the intersection between philosophy of language and linguistics--a lot may depend on whether Jason Stanley remains at Michigan). This information may be coming too late for students making decisions about where to apply, but hopefully acceptances or rejections will be clear by the time decisions about admissions offers have to be made.
"[L]eft- and right-wing sources are not symmetrical....[T]he goal of the right wing is perpetuating and increasing injustice, whereas the goal of the left wing is increasing justice.
"People do not like injustice. The knowledge that injustice is being done to others offends their sense of morality; the knowledge that injustice is being done to them makes them angry and resentful. Both these emotions contribute to a desire to use the political system in order to counter injustice. So it is very helpful for the right wing to achieve its goal if the existence of injustice, and the unjust effects of the policies it endorses, can be concealed.
"Providing this concealment is the role of right-wing political writers. Thus, a priori, given that injustice exists and that right-wing policies are unjust, you might expect the ample use of lies, misdirection, and sophistry from these guys.
"By contrast, the role of left-wing political writers is to cause people to believe that there is injustice, and that right-wing policies make it worse. Given, once again, that both these points are true, all that left wing political writers need to do is report the truth.
"Of course, both these arguments rely on the empirical claims that there is injustice, and that right-wing policies make it worse. There's plenty of evidence that this is so, of course."
ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF CONSCIOUSNESS (ASSC)
The ASSC William James Prize for Contributions to the Study of Consciousness
Each year one prize will be awarded for an outstanding published contribution to the empirical or philosophical study of consciousness by a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar/researcher within 5 years of receiving a PhD or other advanced degree.
The prize consists of: a) An award of $1000 (USD), b) Invitation to address an ASSC meeting (Travel, accommodation, and registration paid by ASSC), c) Lifetime membership in ASSC.
Nominations, including self nominations, should be sent to Phil Merikle, Chair, ASSC Prize Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org). The nomination letter should include a brief statement as to why the contribution is outstanding, and for co-authored publications, there should be a statement describing the nominee's role. To be considered, the contribution must be published or accepted for publication. An electronic copy of the contribution should be attached to the nomination letter.
Ned Block, New York University
Christof Koch, California Institute of Technology.
Phil Merikle, University of Waterloo
Petra Stoerig, Henrich-Heine University Düsseldorf
Deadline for submission of nominations is April 1, 2004.
On Paul O'Neill: "Paul O'Neill is not a friend of the working man. Paul O'Neill is a plutocrat whose considerable vanity has been offended. Paul O'Neill has told us nothing about the Bush Administration that anyone paying any attention at all didn't already know."
Fred D'Agostino (philosophy of linguistics, philosophy of the social sciences, political philosophy, philosophy of science) of the University of New England has accepted a senior offer from the University of Queensland. This is the 3rd senior appointment for the Queensland department in the past two years; the others were Mark Colyvan and Phil Dowe, who've done important work in and around metaphysics, philosophy of math, and philosophy of science.
Yet another distinguished philosopher and PGR Advisory Board member, Keith DeRose (epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion) at Yale University, has turned down an offer from another top department, in this case the University of Arizona.
This leads me to wonder: is there a correlation between being a PGR Advisory Board member and market demand? So far this season, 4 PGR Board members are being recruited by top departments, and several others who are being recruited by top philosophy departments are regular evaluators in the PGR surveys. But, of course, there's the old correlation/causation problem...
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)