My eyes fall sometimes on the objects in my room A stolid desk the cabinet that holds my music's breath The bookshelves colorful and slim an Afghan rug still Clinging to its rhythmic red the busy reproductions On the walls the table buried under scribbles much like these All familiar housemates co-conspirators of dreams Who in their kind restraint ask nothing that I do not ask of them These gentle things enablers of my living Neither unforgiving nor forgiving but in a state Of readiness when in my need I turn to lean on them
Here. And now that Senator McCain has chosen a woman as his running mate, we will find out whether Senator Clinton's supporters are really committed to justice and sanity, or just to identity politics of the most vile sort.
The Democratic party bills itself as an advocate for the common man, but here, the lobby was suffused with the balm of power and money. Justified or not, their sense of entitlement, a confidence that the wheel of government will be back in their hands soon, was manifest. Important men and women came clomping by, trailed frantically by their posses, a cloud of badges, officiousness and fealty. Physical movement, ingress and egress, is how dominion is expressed and these people stepped aside for no one, save Chelsea Clinton and her coterie on their way to the Pepsi Center to make ready for the speech from the second most popular Democrat in the land.
Significant number of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top fund-raisers remain on the sidelines and unwilling to work for Senator Barack Obama....
The lingering rancor between the sides appears to have intensified at the Democratic convention, with grousing from some Clinton fund-raisers about the way they are being treated by the Obama campaign in terms of hotel rooms, credentials and the like....
My God, if you don't get the hotel room to which your sense of entitlement leads you to expect, then by all means you should support a far right war-monger like Senator McCain.
“I’ve had more contact from the McCain campaign since the nomination than from the Obama campaign,” said Calvin Fayard, a New Orleans lawyer, major Clinton fund-raiser and longtime Democratic donor who is not in Denver this week.
Mr. Fayard said he was considering supporting Senator John McCain, the Republican, citing what he perceived as Mr. Obama’s inexperience....
Perceived snubs leading up to the convention have not helped. Only a handful of Clinton donors got rooms at the coveted Ritz-Carlton, where the biggest Obama fund-raisers are staying.
I guess this is a case study in the decadence of empires in decline. For the first time, I'm living somewhere that has basic cable TV, so have been watching, for amusement, bits and pieces of the Prudent Wing of the Republocrat Party's annual convention in Denver on C-SPAN. It really is an amazingly substance-free zone, in which people are packaged by advertising pros like new automobiles, and talentless speaker follows talentless speaker. Last night featured former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who has the dubious distinction of sounding even more like a total fake than Senator Clinton. Meanwhile, Senator Clinton was celebrated as a great feminist trailblazer without any mention of the most relevant fact about why she's a Senator, let alone a national candidate, namely, her husband. (There are some actual feminist trailblazers in the Prudent Wing of the Republocrat Party, one can only imagine what they were thinking watching this spin job.) I am told that the speech of the Iowa Republican Jim Leach, who is pro-Obama, is already being marketed by sleep disorder specialists for those suffering chronic insomnia. The one bright spot was the funny, and unpolished, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who delivered a few good populist punches that were otherwise sorely missing. But overall, the whole thing was so bland and dreary that one almost wishes they'd retain George Galloway to deliver a thirty-minute address to say something substantive about the war criminals in Washington, D.C., and their annointed successor, Senator McCain.
Maybe Senator Biden--chosen as the Vice Presidential candidate, I suppose, for his ability to appeal to Catholics and working-class voters, to pretend to foreign policy expertise, and to deliver some good zingers--will liven things up a bit.
I was delighted to receive in the mail today copies of the newest volumes in The Routledge Philosophersseries: Merleau-Ponty by Taylor Carman (Barnard College & Columbia University) and Spinoza by Michael Della Rocca (Yale University). Anyone familiar with the work of these scholars knows that these books are likely to quickly become the leading works on these philosophers for both students and scholars seeking an authoritative introduction to these thinkers.
writes a law colleague in Ottawa when, "You open up the pages of the *right* wing Globe and Mail and there's a piece on Friedan and feminism by revolutionary marxist Stephanie Coontz, an actual member of the small revolutionary socialist group Solidarity."
The Philosopher's Magazine asked me awhile back to write an essay for their 10th anniversary issue reflecting on the state of the discipline in light of the passing of so many of the 'greats' of post WWII philosophy during the last decade. That essay, "The State of the Vocation," is now finally on-line.
A philosopher at a selective liberal arts college writes:
I am a tenure-track faculty member in a relatively small philosophy department (4-6 tenure lines) at a highly selective college on the East Coast. Given that our department is so small, in the past 4 years I have had the pleasure of serving on 3 searches for tenure-track positions in philosophy. Over the course of these searches, I have increasingly become aware of the fact that many applicants from a number of top institutions in the profession do not even submit applications for the positions we advertise, even when those positions are directly in the areas of specialization for which we are searching.
Here's my question: is this simply a function of preference on the part of the applicants themselves or are some programs actively discouraging their most promising graduate students from applying to non-research institutions? If it's the former case, I would argue that these applicants are perhaps not acting in their best interest, but I would accept in such a case that that would not be an issue of concern for the profession as a whole. If, however, as I suspect, it is the latter case, then I would suggest that those programs who are dissuading their best students from applying to high quality jobs at non-research institutions reconsider their practices.
The actions of professors and placement advisers at graduate programs steering their best students away from even applying to jobs at high quality liberal arts colleges might be in the interest of the "brand" of their graduate program -- even a casual student of the sociology of philosophy would have to recognize that placing students at research institutions is often considered the pinnacle of placement success for graduate programs. However, those practices might not be in the best interests of their students; teaching loads, salaries, leaves and other sources of research support, and student quality at highly selective liberal arts colleges -- whether those colleges have teaching loads of 2/2 or even 3/2 -- are often highly competitive with conditions at all but the top 20 or 30 graduate programs. Indeed, the quality of life of professors at such colleges would compare very favorably with that of their peers at most institutions.
Of course, I'm not suggesting that graduate students with job offers from top-30 programs ought to choose instead to teach at liberal arts colleges. I am suggesting, however, that the choice to apply to jobs such as those at high quality liberal arts colleges should be the candidates' and should be based on considerations of what would be in the best interests of the candidate, rather than what would be best for the reputation of the graduate program from which the candidate receives his/her degree.
My sense that some programs are not always considering the best interests of their graduate students was exacerbated by a visit this summer from one of our college alumni. This recent graduate is now an ABD at a top-10 graduate philosophy program, highly regarded by his/her professors there. S/he was so pleased with his/her experience at our college that s/he would in fact prefer to teach at a highly selective liberal arts college. However, when s/he expressed this preference to his/her professors, s/he was actively steered toward applying only to research schools and strongly discouraged from planning on applying to jobs even at the most selective liberal arts colleges, so much so that s/he reports that s/he now keeps her job preference a secret in her discussions with professors at her grad program. Since his/her program only writes one departmental recommendation per job, s/he is concerned that s/he will not even be taken seriously by liberal arts colleges should s/he apply to them, in addition to being concerned about the ramifications for him/her within his/her department should s/he insist upon applying to those schools.
This anecdotal case might be an isolated incident; certainly, I hope that it is. Writing as someone who deliberately and actively pursued a job at a highly selective liberal arts college over jobs at lower-ranked M.A. and Ph.D. programs, I can suggest that the profession is very vibrant and the opportunities very rewarding outside of the rarefied settings in which graduate programs often encourage their students to search for jobs. And writing as someone who will be serving on searches for tenure-track hires at my college in the coming years, I can assure you that no candidate who demonstrates a genuine interest in a career at our college would be considered overqualified; indeed, an active and strong research program is now a requirement for tenure at schools like mine. Certainly, it is in my interest -- and that of my departmental colleagues and institution -- to help to hire the most interesting and stimulating colleagues that we can find.
Comments are open, for others to share their experiences on these scores and/or their opinions about the underlying issues. I wuold prefer that comments be signed, but as long as there is a genuine e-mail, which identifies the writer, which also corresponds to the IP address's location, I'll permit anonymous postings. (When you post your comment, you will need to supply the e-mail address, but it will not appear when you post.) Post only once, and be patient!
Adam Elga (Princeton University), "Reflection and Disagreement," Nous 41 (2007), 478-502.
Justin C. Fisher (University of British Columbia), "Why Nothing Mental is Just in the Head," Nous 41 (2007), 318-334.
Michael N. Forster (University of Chicago), "Socrates' Profession of Ignorance," Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 22 (2007), 1-36.
Clark Glymour (Carnegie-Mellon University), "When Is a Brain Like the Planet?" Philosophy of Science 74(2007), 330-347.
Sally Haslanger (Massachussetts Institute of Technology), "'But Mom, Crop-Tops Are Cute!' Social Knowledge, Social Structure and Ideology Critique," Philosophical Issues 17 (2007) The Metaphysics of Epistemology, pp. 70-91.
Thomas Hofweber (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), "Innocent Statements and Their Metaphysically Loaded Counterparts," Philosophers' Imprint 7 (2007), 1-33.
Nadeem Hussain (Stanford University), "Honest Illusion: Valuing for Nietzsche's Free Spirits," from B. Leiter & N. Sinhababu, eds, Nietzsche and Morality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 157-191.
Shaun Nichols (University of Arizona) and Joshua Knobe (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), "Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions," Nous 41 (2007), 663-685.
Peter Vanderschraaf (BU), "Covenants and Reputations," Synthese 157 (2007), 167-195.
Seth Yalcin (New York University), "Epistemic Modals," Mind 16 (2007), 983-1026.
The nominating editors for this volume were:Jason McKenzie Alexander, J.C. Beall, Ned Block, Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, David Danks, Keith DeRose, Owen Flanagan, Marilyn Friedman, Allen Hazen, Brian Leiter, Peter Ludlow, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Michael Otsuka, Greg Restall, Richard Scheines, Francois Schroeter, Laura Schroeter, Ted Sider, Michael Slote, J. Howard Sobel, Peter Spirtes, Jason Stanley, Johan van Benthem, Achille Varzi, Sam Wheeler, Jim Woodward, and Dean Zimmerman. Personally, I was pleased to see a stronger representation than in past years for first-rate philosophical papers on historical figures.
The strong showing of Nous--with three of its articles selected--is also, I think, especially notable, and perhaps an indication that, as the scuttlebutt on the philosophical street often has it, that it may be displacing Journal of Philosophy to join Philosophical Review as "the top choice" for article placement. Also notable is that the on-line and still fairly young Philosophers' Imprint has now had its second article chosen as among "the ten best" of the year.
Thanks to Marijo Cook, a student at LSU, for this neat map showing the location of most of the PhD programs in philosophy in the U.S. This is likely to be especially useful for those with real geographic constraints on where they attend grad school.
The complications of moving and settling the family in a new place mean that there isn't going to be a new PGR this fall, and it may not appear until fall 2009. I will post in September a very detailed update on faculty changes since the fall 2006 surveys, which should help prospective students use the 2006 PGR in planning for fall 2009 admissions. I should also note that the National Research Council report on graduate programs, including in philosophy, is due out in January, though as usual with the NRC, it is already a bit out of date, though not more so than the 2006 PGR. Hopefully the NRC will provide some good information, though I'm not optimistic given some of the very odd methodological decisions they made (I fear the NRC was "captured" by certain interest groups...whose interests weren't the well-being of students!). I'll certainly comment on that in detail when it appears.
Meanwhile, look for the detailed update on faculty moves since 2006 in about a month. My apologies for the delay in getting out a new PGR.
UPDATE: There will be a Memorial Service for Tony Woozley on Sunday the 7th of September, at 2 PM in the Caplin Pavilion of the University of Virginia School of Law. You are cordially invited to join his friends, colleagues and relatives in remembering Tony and celebrating his life. There will also be some music that Tony loved. If you would like to say a few words at the service, or if you have any questions, please contact Cora Diamond at 434- 296-7608 or at cad2m at virginia-dot-edu
The 2008 update of the Philosopher's Lexicon is a bit exasperating. A
preliminary concern is that the treatment of continental figures
continues to be shabby -- contemptuous and dismissive.
Perhaps a bit more distressing is the PL's continued heavy slant toward a certain generation of philosophers. It's hard to find a philosopher
on the list born much after 1950 (the sole exception I find being
Neander, with Korsgaard and Shapiro born in '52 and '51, respectively).
This isn't plausibly due to the unlikeliness of a philosopher's doing
anything worthy of being immortalized in this way until their late 50s.
First, the previous edition of the PL was compiled in 1987. At the time,
only philosophers born before 1930 were that old, but there are plenty
of entries younger than that (Plantinga, AO Rorty, Searle, Stroud,
Block, Boyd, Chihara, Follesdal, Dennett, Parfit, Desousa, Donnellan,
Dretske, Dworkin, ... just to get through the Ds). And second, just to pull a few out of the sky,
such entries as the following are as amusing and informative as many current entries: luddite (a philosopher who likes technology), side (an
aspect of a time-slice), William (a father of a necessary being), to
chalm (to control the behavior of a zombie), to leit (to control the
behavior of an academic discipline).
Much more credible as an explanation is that Dennett, the compiler of
the PL, was himself born in 1942, and the doctrines, peculiarities, and insider humor of philosophers after his generation have largely eluded his attention. Seen in this light, the PL as currently
constituted can be plausibly regarded as a (perhaps somewhat self-congratulatory) joke among
the members of Dennett's generation.
The top-heaviness of the PL might be thought to be not entirely without negative
consequences. It is natural for an undergraduate major or beginning grad
student to regard the PL as a guide to the stereotypical doctrines or styles of
the most important philosophers; absence from the list, by contrast, would signal
marginality. If so, the PL hegemonizes Dennett's generation and
marginalizes those who come afterward.
If the PL were a mere samizdat or internet barnacle collecter (deaths of
philosophers, breakup lines of philosophers, and the like), this would
not matter much or at all. But as published by Blackwell, the PL has a sort of
canonical status as capturing humorously the profession's
self-conception. While the 1987 version was an amusing relic or snapshot
of the field at the time, the 2008 update takes on a somewhat darker tone.
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Here. From Professor Sarkar's generous conclusion:
[T]he lack of depth or insight in this book is more than compensated by the entertainment it provides, at least to a philosopher or historian of science. No one should begrudge us our simple pleasures. I'm happy to have read this book, and even more so not to have paid for it.
Copies of this review should be circulated whereever Professor Fuller peddles his nonsense.
MOVING TO THE FRONT FROM JULY 29, SINCE THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS.
Cleaning up my office, I came across faculty lists for the top ten-ish departments of 1996-97. I thought it might be interesting to look at where those on tenure-track that year at the top departments are twelve years later. Please e-mail me corrections. It's striking how many got tenure, even at these highly competitive departments--and note that many who are now teaching elsewhere did get tenure, but then left, while still others left before a tenure decision (for personal and/or professional reasons).
The tenure-track faculty of 1996-97 are listed by the school where they were teaching then. Affiliations are for 2008-09.
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY Sarah Buss (PhD, Yale) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Elijah Millgram (PhD, Harvard) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. Gideon Rosen (PhD, Princeton) is Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. Gopal Sreenivasan (PhD, Berkeley) is Professor of Philosophy and Medical Ethics at Duke University.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY John Gibbons (PhD, Brown) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Sigrun Svavavrsdottir (PhD, Michigan) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ohio State University.
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, NEW BRUNSWICK Ruth Chang (DPhil, Oxford) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, ANN ARBOR Stephen Everson (PhD, London) is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York. Jim Joyce (PhD, Michigan) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Eric Lormand (PhD, MIT) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Ian Rumfitt (DPhil, Oxford) is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH James Conant (PhD, Harvard) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Stephen Engstrom (PhD, Chicago) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Laura Ruetsche (PhD, Pittsburgh) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Jamie Tappenden (PhD, Princeton) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Michael Thompson (PhD, UCLA) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY Richard Heck, Jr. (PhD, MIT) is Professor of Philosophy at Brown University Jim Pryor (PhD, Princeton) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at New York University Alison Simmons (PhD, Penn) is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY David Gill (PhD, Arizona) appears to be out of philosophy. Martin Jones (PhD, Stanford) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oberlin College. Paolo Mancosu (PhD, Stanford) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. Daniel Warren (PhD, Harvard) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
I'm at the early stage in my career where I'm just starting to be approached with some regularity to referee journal submissions. So far, I've been asked to referee four papers; I accepted all four invitations, and rejected all four papers. In three cases, the papers struck me as quite bad -- I would have considered them substandard work for a mid-level graduate student. (The fourth appeared to me to be merely seriously mistaken.)
I'm starting to wonder, now, whether I'm judging too harshly. Am I just not very good at recognizing philosophical merit? I know that four isn't a very big sample size, but I'm starting to wonder whether the problem is me. Or are most journal submissions really that bad? I'd be interested to hear discussion from more experienced philosophers about any of the following questions:
Roughly what proportion of papers you referee are accepted, rejected, or returned for R&R?
As a younger, less-established member of the profession, am I likely to receive disproportionately low quality work to referee? (Maybe editors send papers by better-established authors to better-trusted reviewers?)
Is there any good way to calibrate my reviewing process? Any tips about how to make sure I'm treating papers fairly?
What standards do you use for judging papers? Might you recommend acceptance even if you thought there was a decisive objection to the central claim? Under what circumstances?
Do editors keep track of who the good reviewers are? How do they judge them?
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It's one of those that survived the initial flurry of philosophy blogs a couple of years ago and has flourished. Check it out if you're interested in ethics. They also run conference and fellowship anouncements on a fairly regular basis.
I am still at The World Congress of Philosophy, attending talks and socializing. One impressive aspect of it is the large amount of attention given to it by the Korean press. It's such a huge event, with so many talks in several different languages, that it's hard to gain a perspective on the whole thing. But one small window into it has been generously provided by Peter Ludlow and friends (Herman Cappelen and David Chalmers), who have been pictorially live-blogging their own idiosyncratic paths through Seoul and the WCP. Update: Julian Baggini also is reporting on the World Congress for the Guardian.
Hans Kamp (philosophy of language, formal semantics, formal philosophy), emeritus at the University of Stuttgart, has accepted a half-time appointment in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught full-time during part of the 1980s before his move to Stuttgart. With Kamp, David Beaver in Linguistics, and Joshua Dever, A.P. Martinich, Mark Sainsbury, David Sosa, and (also part-time) Nicholas Asher, among others, in Philosophy, Texas must now have one of the five or six strongest programs in the U.S. for work at the intersection of philosophy of language and linguistics (NYU, Rutgers, UCLA, and USC may still dominate, but that would be it).
As a point of personal privilege, I must note that the flipside, alas, of developing excellence in this particular area (philosophy of language and linguistics) has been that it has come at the cost of much less breadth and depth in most other areas of philosophy, a source of some frustration for me personally and some of my former colleagues not interested in these areas. 'Tis a shame for a department so large to have become so narrow.