(Thanks to Jim Nichols for the pointer.)
ADDENDUM: Steve Hales send an apt cartoon:
(Thanks to Jim Nichols for the pointer.)
ADDENDUM: Steve Hales send an apt cartoon:
Posted by Brian Leiter on May 31, 2011 at 08:04 AM in Texas Taliban Alerts (Intelligent Design, Religion in the Schools, etc.) | Permalink
Cosim Sayid, a PhD student at the CUNY Grad Center, comments on the latest.
Klaus Corcilius, a specialist in ancient philosophy at the University of Hamburg, has accepted appointment as Associate Professor of Philosophy (with tenure) at the University of California at Berkeley, effective July 1.
Authors and/or publishers kindly sent me the following books in May:
Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy Since 1960 by Gary Gutting (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Legal Interpretation: Perspectives from Other Disciplines and Private Texts by Kent Greenawalt (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Thinking with Whitehead: A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts by Isabelle Stengers (Harvard University Press, 2011).
Civil Society in Liberal Democracy by Mark Jensen (Routledge, 2011).
Conservative Reductionism by Michael Esfeld & Christian Sachse (Routledge, 2011).
Philosophers: Photographs by Steve Pyke (Oxford University Press, 2011). Photos of and short quotes about philosophy by Albert, Antony, Appiah, Arneson, Barry, Benacerraf, Block, Boghossian, Brandom, Budd, Burge, Chalmers, the Churchlands, Code, Josh Cohen, Danto, Darwall, Eco, Edgington, Field, K. Fine, Fodor, Frankfurt, Michael Friedman, Gibbard, Glover, Alvin Goldman, Graff Fara, John Gray, E. Harman, G. Harman, Haslanger, Hawthorne, Heck, Hintikka, Hornsby, Horwich, Susan James, Jeshion, Kahneman, Kamm, Kim, Jeff King, the Kitchers, Knobe, Langton, Leiter, LePore, Levi, Levy, Longuenesse, Ludlow, MacFarlane, Maddy, Malament, Marcus, Mike Martin, Maudlin, McGinn, McMahan, Millikan, Moran, Morgenbesser, Mothersill, Neale, Papineau, Ch. Parsons, Railton, Raz, Rorty, G. Rosen, Rumfitt, Scanlon, Schiffer, Schroeder, Scruton, Sider, S. Siegel, P. Singer, Skinner, Michael Smith, Soames, Sober, E. Sosa, Sperber, Stalnaker, Stanley, Stich, G. Strawson, Strevens, Stroud, Suppes, J.J. Thomson, Waldron, Weatherson, Robert Williams, Williamson, S. Wolf, Jo Wolff, Cr. Wright, Yablo, Zizek.
UPDATE: CHE has published Danto's introduction to the Pyke volume (plus some photos). (Thanks to Phil Gasper for this link.)
All collected in one place! It includes conversations (all from 20-30 years ago) with Bernard Williams, Herbert Marcuse, W.V.O. Quine, John Searle, Martha Nussbaum, and others.
(Thanks to Robert Stevens for the pointer.)
Steven Nadler (Wisconsin) writes:
This may be of some interest to the general philosophical community. For those who don't read Dutch, it says "Unknown Manuscript of Spinoza's ETHICS Found", and the article details how a Dutch scholar, Leen Spruit, discovered, in the Vatican archives, a Latin manuscript copy of the ETHICS from 1675. The manuscript apparently belonged to Spinoza's erstwhile friend, Nicholas Steno, who was living in Rome after his conversion to Catholicism; and Steno may have gotten the manuscript from Walther von Tschirnhaus, another friend of Spinoza's who was passing through Rome on a "grand tour" and whom we know to have had in his possession a copy of the ETHICS while he was in Paris (which Spinoza refused to allow him to show to Leibniz when the latter was also in Paris). This new manuscript would be earlier than whatever manuscript Spinoza's friends had on hand when, in 1677, they set to work preparing his writings for publication. Whether or not it differs from that later manuscript (and thus from the first published Latin edition) remains to be seen.
UPDATE: Daniel Garber (Princeton) writes:
It should be noted on the discovery of the new Spinoza ms. that Pina Totaro was a full collaborator in the project. She had predicted that there was a copy in the Vatican Library, given by Steno, on the basis of mss. she had found earlier, and it was she who had asked Spruit to look out for indications of it. When he found something he thought might be interesting, she is the one who actually identified the ms. as a ms. of the Ethics and traced its provenance. The Brill website lists her as the co-discoverer of the ms.
(Thanks to Tim O'Keefe for the pointer.)
I believe I've incorporated all corrections to the second draft of the faculty lists (from April 20) for the fall 2011 surveys. To that end, here is the third draft: Download PGR Faculty Lists 2011-12.
If I failed to incorporate a previously posted correction, my apologies: please either post again or e-mail me. (In a couple of cases, it seemed to me the proposed change wasn't warranted; I'm happy to explain via e-mail where that is an issue.)
Please note that no final decision has been taken on whether to add additional faculties to the survey; the Advisory Board will be asked to vote on that shortly.
Two other points to note: (1) we used to have a category for "emeritus faculty still teaching," but it has been eliminated, since it became clear it was being abused and it was too difficult to get accurate information; faculty who are emeritus at a school are not eligible to be listed (surely retiring means something!); however, faculty emeritus at school X can hold a teaching appointment at school Y, as many do; (2) I have removed in this draft all post-docs. This had only been an issue for some schools in Australia and the U.K., which had multi-year post-docs. But it turns out that many of those listed previously were actually not multi-year post-docs, and most moved on relatively quickly. If there are genuine cases of someone starting a 4+ year post-doc in fall 2012 at schools where post-docs are involved in graduate teaching and supervision, please let me know.
There are also still some issues being sorted out about part-time appointments. There are some faculty whose various appointments add up to more than full-time, usually because of teaching on different Continents. The criterion is time in residence during term time, not representations about how much work someone is doing even when not in residence; there is a presumption that, except in a very unusual case, no one should be more than 1.33 time in total. Part-time faculty are presumptively half-time, unless otherwise noted parenthetically; part-time fractions have been rounded to .25, .33, .66 or .75.
Remember: the benchmark for the faculty list is fall 2012, so, e.g., faculty who will be retired by then are not on the list, or faculty who have already committed to be elsewhere by then, are listed with the department they will be with 2012 (assuming it is part of the survey).
Please post corrections to the list in the comments, unless it pertains to a sensitive matter, in which case e-mail me.
All faculties from the 2009 PGR are included if they had a score of 2.1 or higher in those surveys. The only exceptions are faculties with a score lower than 2.1 that have had significant changes since then that might raise the score. In addition, of course, some faculties not surveyed in recent years have been added. Faculties not included this year will continue to be ranked in the specialty rankings based on the 2009 results, with adjustments, where appropriate, based on input from the Advisory Board.
Because the most frequent complaint of PGR evaluators concerns the large number of faculties they are asked to evaluate, it is necessary to keep the total number of faculties included at a reasonable number, which is why we can not survey all faculties every time.
Only faculty at the department in question should post corrections. Signed comments only.
Alan Code, Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University at New Brunswick (and emeritus at Berkeley), has accepted a senior offer from the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University, effective July 1. Code is best-known for his work on Aristotle's metaphysics and logic. At Stanford, he will join, among others, his former student Christopher Bobonich, best-known for his groundbreaking work on Plato's Laws. Stanford is now likely to be among the top choices in North America for students interested in ancient philosophy.
The book is now out, and OUP has done a lovely production job on it, and the photos are as distinctive and memorable as anyone familiar with Pyke's work would expect. But new to me were a number of quotes about philosophy from the photographic subjects. We've touched on this topic before, but here's a few from the new volume that caught my attention. (I should add that I strongly disagree with some of these, but find them all interesting and striking nonetheless.)
Malcolm Budd (UCL):
As I understand it, philosophy is the transformation of one's understanding of the world and everything of value within it by means of reflection on the nature of human life, the findings of science, and the great ethical, social, and artistic achievements of humanity.
Stephen Darwall (Yale):
What first attracted me to philosophy, and holds me still, is its universality. Philosophy is the great equalizer: anyone can do it, alone or with anyone else, anywhere, anytime. It requires no special equipment of expertise. It concerns issues everyone faces, and once they grab you, they don't let go.
Dorothy Edgington (Birkbeck/Oxford):
I was captivated by philosophy as soon as I discovered it. It's a wonderfully anti-authoritarian subject, making you figure things out for yourself from the start, and to subject all ideas to to severe criticism, including your own. It stretches the imagination to the limit. And it is an everlasting source of puzzles. The downside is that even on the rare occasions when you think you have managed to solve a problem, you never convince many others.
Elizabeth Harman (Princeton):
Philosophy can illuminate and vindicate our attachments and commitments.
Joshua Knobe (Yale):
What first drew me to philosophy was my admiration for those traditional thinkers--Aristotle, Hume, Nietzsche--who had no respect for disciplinary boundaries and just tried to think broadly about the questions of human life. My recent work in "experimental philosophy" is an attempt to go back to this more traditional conception of what philosophical thinking is all about, only this time to do so by conducting actual experimental studie using all the methods of contemporary cognitive science.
Here, from the journal Theoria. You may need to access this from a university computer that subscribes. Issues discussed including the increasing rate of submissions, referee reports (and sometimes the difficulty of securing them), timeliness of decisions, and the European journal rankings.
In light of the Synthese scandal, and the corresponding reputational hit the journal has taken, a couple of folks (PhD students and tenure-track faculty) have wondered whether publication in Synthese will have quite as much "CV value" as before. Time will tell, of course, but I think it is a reasonable bet that, while it will be easier to get published in Synthese due to the boycott (or its close cousins), it will, by the same token, not be worth quite as much as previously. Synthese was never at the level of the very top journals, like Philosophical Review or Nous, but as to its rough peer class--excellent journals like Philosophy of Science, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Journal of Philosophical Logic, Erkenntnis, among others--it would probably now be prudent for younger scholars to aim for these other journals first, at least as things presently stand. Of course, given the editorial misconduct, I would urge scholars to send their work elsewhere until amends are made; but even those unmoved by the editorial misconduct have obvious reasons of professional self-interest to aim elsewhere for the time being.
...a great existential philosopher, which leads me to think the author should stick to sociology!
(Thanks to David Leech for the pointer.)
MOVING TO FRONT AGAIN--SEE THE ADDENDA
do check it out. It's quite useful for both undergraduate students and beginning graduate students. It's not au courant (at least not the on-line version), but it is a useful guide to major literature other than the most recent stuff.
ADDENDUM: As an alert reader points out, this version of the Guide, since it is a bit dated, still includes references to what turned out to be plagiarized work (related to medieval philosophy and philosophy of religion) by Martin Stone.
ANOTHER: A philosopher in London writes: "The London Philosophy Study Guide is for exam papers that no longer exist for our now-defunct intercollegiate University of London degree, which explains why it’s not au courant."
UPDATE: Brad Delong is not only a sanctimonious jackass, he's an underhanded and dishonest slimeball. Professor DeLong sent me the following e-mail, in response to the original post, which I reproduce in its entirety (UPDATE: DeLong has now added some of the relevant context):
Dear Professor Leiter:
Perhaps you don't remember what Chris Bertram I wrote on the occasion of Fidel Castro's retirement? It began with a declaration that nobody on the left should welcome the retirement of the second-to-last Leninist dictator in the world:
"I haven’t looked yet, but I’ve no doubt that there’ll be lots of posts in the blogosphere saying “good riddance” to Fidel Castro (especially from “left” US bloggers like Brad DeLong who never miss the chance to distance themselves)."
It continued with a concession-in-advance that Castro was not perfect:
"And, of course, Castro ran a dictatorship that has, since 1959, committed its fair share of crimes, repressions, denials of democratic rights etc."
And then got to his main point: that this second-to-last Leninist dictator was a shining beacon of anti-capitalist hope to the world:
"Still, I’m reminded of A.J.P. Taylor writing somewhere or other (reference please, dear readers?) that what the capitalists and their lackeys really really hated about Soviet Russia was not its tyrannical nature but the fact that there was a whole chunk of the earth’s surface where they were no longer able to operate. Ditto Cuba, for a much smaller chunk. So let’s hear it for universal literacy and decent standards of health care. Let’s hear it for the Cubans who help defeat the South Africans and their allies in Angola and thereby prepared the end of apartheid. Let’s hear it for the middle-aged Cuban construction workers who held off the US forces for a while on Grenada. Let’s hear it for Elian Gonzalez. Let’s hear it for 49 years of defiance in the face of the US blockade. Hasta la victoria siempre!"
I can understand that people might approve of Chris Bertram I's claim that Castro and his tenure in office are to be celebrated rather than regretted, and that his retirement ought to be mourned rather than celebrated.
But I cannot understand how anybody who agrees with Chris Bertram II that the Leninist left is "washed up, marginal, authoritarian and unappealing" can still wish to endorse Chris Bertram I.
I urge you to reconsider...
J. Bradford DeLong
To which I replied:
Dear Professor DeLong:
Thanks for taking the time to write. I thought Chris Bertram’s response to you was correct, and I don’t have much to add to it: Castro did lots of good and humane things, despite being a dictator; but the bottom line is U.S. hatred of Castro had nothing to do with his being a dictator, but with his being an anti-capitalist, unlike his predecessor, the fascist Batista. I understand Chris to be a democratic socialist, more or less; he is certainly no Leninist or fan of Leninists, but he is also no fan of U.S. plutocracy or fake U.S. posturing about human rights and democracy. I do genuinely think it’s odd the way you respond to some to your left.
I appreciate your good work on Paul Ryan and the other disgraceful Republicans. But no need to pillory Chris Bertram unfairly.
And which DeLong then represented like this, without noting any of the context, e.g., that he had elicited my response and that I was paraphrasing Professor Bertram's response. (UPDATE: As noted above, Professor DeLong has now added some of the pertinent context.) And without asking if he could post our e-mail correpondence. And without indicating his intent to post my answer. And without noting the aspects of Castro's rule that Bertram had praised, such as "universal literacy and decent standards of health care" as well as the Cuban role in helping to "defeat the South Africans and their allies in Angola and thereby prepared the end of apartheid."
I think the only conclusion is that DeLong is a dishonest scumbag. (I had reason to think that previously, especially given his treatment of my friend and colleague Judge Posner on prior occasions, but now it's confirmed.) And I'm trying to be as nice as a former New York litigator, who does not suffer dishonest scumbags gladly, can be under the circumstances.
ADDENDUM: Since Professor DeLong did add some context to our exchange, after I called attention to its absence, it may be that he is not really a dishonest scumbag, just a blogger who likes a cheap shot. (I confess to not being able to demarcate the categories clearly.) The puzzle here, remains, why he would do this to someone who was not, prior to this stunt, antagonistic to him. Was it only because I called him a "sanctimonious jackass"? But isn't everyone in the blogopshere? Goodness.
Mohan Matthen (Toronto) has produced some interesting information about the underlying data and its misuse.
A colleague of one the two European EICs of Synthese writes in the comments of Professor Contessa's post about a subscription boycott the following:
I know one of the EiCs fairly well on a professional level, and suspect that at least one of the other EiCs has a similar personality, and my guess is: threats and pressure are simply not likely to make them adopt a different attitude. This is one of the things I think has worsened the situation: these are people who won't give in to this kind of pressure. If the goal is to make them reconsider their (public) position, this approach is just not likely to succeed. (I won't go into the merits of their attitude, just stating my suspicion here.)
This leads another commenter to remark:
Catarina's comments on the EiCs worries about losing face confirm what I've long suspected - they are now acting only out of concern for their egos, and not Synthese or the profession....
I do hope this interpretation is mistaken, but I guess it is, now, a real worry that vanity may have become an obstacle to remedying the mistakes that have been made.
UPDATE: Catarina Dutilh, author of the original comment, writes to correct the record as to her point:
I just came across your post highlighting a comment I had made at It's Only a Theory. I'm afraid that, without the overall context, the quotation doesn't convey the point I was actually making. I was remarking that the idea of the EiC having caved to pressure of the ID lobby seems highly unlikely to me, NOT that they EiCs are not coming forward with apologies because they are "now acting only out of concern for their egos, and not Synthese or the profession". I would much appreciate it if you could qualify that the inference drawn does not in any way follow straightforwardly from my comment. It would be a true distortion of my comment if it was read as supporting the view that the EiCs are acting out of vanity. This is absolutely NOT what I was saying: who am I to infer anything about the EiC's states of mind? For the record, I haven't even spoken to J. van Benthem since this affair started, as he spends Spring term at Stanford.
From "some grey bloke," of course.
Posted by Brian Leiter on May 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM in Of Cultural Interest, Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor) | Permalink
Thom Brooks (Newcastle) has the latest.
David Wallace, a leading young philosopher of physics at Oxford University, writes:
A random thought on the topic of “boycotting Synthese”. A boycott, to me, sounds like a decision not to use some product or service so as to send a signal, independent of the usefulness of that product or service to the signaller. I’m not sure if I’d want to boycott Synthese or not, but in a sense it doesn’t matter, because the current position of the EiCs means that I don’t feel confident that Synthese is a sensible place for me to publish, and so I don’t intend to send work to them; similarly, I’m not confident of the rules under which any referee report of mine would be treated, so I don’t intend to referee for them. I suspect quite a few people may be in the same position: ambivalent about officially “boycotting” Synthese, but not in fact planning to continue any involvement with it until the EiCs clearly signal a change of policy.
ADDENDUM: Mohan Matthen (University of Toronto) writes:
David Wallace has struck a note very similar to my own feeling about a Synthese boycott. An organized and official boycott would suggest that Synthese is a valuable commodity that one is prepared to forego, at some cost to oneself, in order to force some action. Given what has happened, the value of Synthese has fallen. Accordingly, my motivation to submit to or referee for Synthese has weakened. But I wouldn't refuse to read something just because it's in Synthese and I wouldn't urge my library to cancel its subscription (though there are consumer reasons for action on the subscription front). And frankly, I no longer care very much whether the editors apologize or not. At this point, it wouldn't rehabilitate them or the journal in my eyes if they did--I wouldn't become more motivated to submit or referee.
...when one party is bonkers. Being a loyal Democrat (I am not) is itself a case of bipartisanship, since the Party is now home to a handful of genuine social democrats, as well as large numbers of politicans who would have been Republicans in the 1970s. Yet another consequence of the pernicious Reagan legacy.
I'll have a third draft up during the week; the 2nd draft is here.
The poll is now closed, after 925 votes (there were only a dozen or so votes each of the last two days, so I think the poll has exhausted itself at this point).
71% of the 925 respondents report that their opinion of Synthese under the current editorship is now lower because of this scandal, a pretty dramatic result. 39%, or 359 philosophers, report that they are either less likely to submit to or referee for Synthese now or certain that they will not do so; 185 philosophers, or 20% of the total number of respondents, report that they are in the latter camp.
Are these numbers representative of philosophers at large? Probably not, even though this blog is quite widely read. But one suspects that those with the strongest interest in this matter--both the supporters of the EICs and the critics--probably voted disproportionately. (There were a relatively large number of votes, for example, from IP addresses in two relatively small Northern European countries with strong connections to Synthese.) If that's right, then there are probably a goodly number of philosophers with no opinion either way. Even if there were only 185 philosophers who were now going to boycott Synthese, that will still have a significant impact for the obvious reasons: what journal could survive unscathed the loss of 185 potential contributors and referees? (Recall that the poll distinguished between those who had a lower opinion of Synthese but who don't contribute to it and those who do.) And, of course, some number of the 174 who declare themselves "likely" to stop submitting and refereeing will presumably do so as well. Even if we assume that fewer than 39% of all the philosophers in the Synthese community feel similarly, the numbers are going to be substantial, and some decline in quality is inevitable.
Now for reasons Eric Schliesser (Ghent) pointed out, Synthese will fare better with its European contributors, meaning more of the loss of contributors will come from the Anglophone philosophical community. But if that happens, the international profile of the journal will recede and, at some point, that will even affect the ESF rating of the journal. Of course, time will tell whether or not those committed to a boycott maintain their resolve for long enough. I hope they will (though, of course, I hope even more that Synthese or Springer will rectify the situation long before that time).
A number of philosophers who have already begun boycotting (withdrawing papers and/or declining to referee) have communicated that fact to me, but some of them prefer to do so privately, rather than in public. At this point, therefore, I am leaning against asking boycotters to sign a petition to that effect, though I'm happy to hear from boycotters who think it a better strategy to go public.
Here are the full results from the 925 votes cast over the last five days:
|How has the controversy surrounding the special issue of Synthese on "Evolution and Its Rivals" affected your view of the journal under its current editorship?
Gabriele Contessa (Carleton) makes an interesting proposal, and invites signatories in support. (He is mistaken, alas, in thinking anyone is "rejoicing" about this fiasco--in any case, I have seen no evidence of that.)
(Thanks to Nate Gould for the initial pointer to this story.)
Posted by Brian Leiter on May 21, 2011 at 06:16 PM in Texas Taliban Alerts (Intelligent Design, Religion in the Schools, etc.) | Permalink
Posted by Brian Leiter on May 21, 2011 at 11:43 AM in Texas Taliban Alerts (Intelligent Design, Religion in the Schools, etc.) | Permalink
...but the Synthese tribulations continue.
Posted by Brian Leiter on May 21, 2011 at 09:37 AM in "The less they know, the less they know it", Of Cultural Interest, Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor) | Permalink
MOVING TO FRONT FROM MAY 15--MORE INPUT FROM SIGNATORIES OF THE PETITION WELCOME
The recent response from the EICs of Synthese, together with other information in the press, confirms several of the allegations to date: that Synthese was lobbied by Beckwith, as well as friends of Beckwith and Intelligent Design; that Synthese received legal threats, some deemed unserious, some deemed "meaningful" (though some came from philosophers who were not "Christian," though the relevance of that is not wholly clear at this point); that the disclaimer was inserted "behind the backs" of the Guest Editors; and that there were only two articles to which objections were lodged. The EICs have offered neither to apologize nor to retract the disclaimer.
None of the new information does anything to justify what the EICs did or to mitigate the damage they have done to the contributors to the volume or to the integrity of science education in the United States. The points made some time ago by Hilary Kornblith (U Mass/Amherst) still stand, and bear repeating:
If I submit an article to a journal for publication, there are all sorts of reasons why they might decide either to reject it or to ask for revisions. Let’s focus on the issue of tone, since that is what’s at issue at Synthese. Suppose I submit an article which an editor wishes to publish, but the tone is somehow found wanting. There’s a wide range of reasonable views, I believe, about what tone is appropriate, and it’s a good thing that different journal editors have different views about this. And if, for some reason, the tone of a submitted piece doesn’t meet the standards a journal editor finds appropriate, then he or she might ask that the paper be revised in accordance with his or her concerns. Once that is done—assuming the author is willing to make revisions—the editor must decide whether to publish the paper. And if the journal editor’s standards fit into that wide range of reasonable views, then whatever decision the editor makes would be fine. What would not be fine, I believe, is to publish the paper and then include an editorial remark commenting that the tone is inappropriate. Authors have a reasonable expectation that their work, if accepted for publication, will not be accompanied by an editorial statement indicating deficiencies of any sort. Editors who believe that there are deficiencies which make publication inappropriate should fail to publish the paper. But if they decide that the paper meets their standards for publication, any remaining doubts they may have should be kept to themselves. Publishing editorial criticism of a paper which has been accepted falls very far outside the bounds of acceptable editorial conduct.
It does not help if the editorial remarks are of a more general sort, indicating only that there are problems somewhere in a particular issue of the journal, without naming names.... [B]y making very general remarks about problems with the issue, the editors do thereby call into question the appropriateness of the various contributions. If the editors thought that some of the contributors were guilt-free, why would they want to do this? And wouldn’t each of the contributors rightly feel aggrieved? This is not what authors sign up for when they contribute to a journal. Accept a paper or reject it. Bring whatever standards to bear that you think appropriate as an editor. But don’t accept a paper and then call its credentials, of whatever sort, into question. I have no trouble understanding why someone would think that when editors behave in this sort of way, their journal should be subject to very severe consequences....
It seems, at this point, that there are now two options, given the intransigence of the Synthese editors with respect to the core issues of misconduct. One option remains a boycott of the journal, by both contributors and referees. The second, which several philosophers have now raised (and one of whom, a distinguished senior figure in the fields in which Synthese publishes, has raised directly with the publisher), is to demand the resignation of the editors responsible for this mess. Right now, it would be fair to say, the stink of this affair hovers over what everyone agrees has been a very good and important journal in the field. Some philosophers feel that only a complete turnover in editorial management will suffice.
I invite signatories to the petition to weigh in with their thoughts on what should be done now. There have been extensive debates about the pros and cons at many blogs, to which I've linked previously. At this point, I would really like to gauge what signatories to the petition (or those supportive of the petition, but who did not learn of it until after it closed) think is the right course of action in light of where things stand now. Of course, if some signatories to the petition feel the new information resolves the issue, then they should also feel free to say so and explain why (my impression--admittedly anecdotal--is that most signatories are not at all satisfied, but if that's wrong, I want to know!). Thanks.
...we ain't done with Synthese yet! More next week...
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that one self-identified "European formal philosopher," who shares the concerns about the editorial misconduct at Synthese, has taken offense at my attempt to introduce a note of levity into this affair. So I hereby make clear that, of course, not all formal philosophers in Europe are willing to excuse the editorial misconduct; the title was prompted primarily with one particularly obtuse defender of the EICs in mind (Reinhard Muskens, a frequent commenter at the New APPS blog). I apologize for the unfair implication!
Posted by Brian Leiter on May 20, 2011 at 08:53 AM in Of Cultural Interest, Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor) | Permalink
Our earlier poll is closed, and the conclusion seems to be that there are lots of philosophers on each end of the disjunct. The five winning choices for "your opinion of 'analytic metaphysics?'":
|1. Worthwhile when playing a supporting role to real scientific results. (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)|
|2. It is the kind of stuff that gives "analytic" philosophy a bad name. loses to Worthwhile when playing a supporting role to real scientific results. by 500–392|
|3. An example of what Dreben meant when he said, "Philosophy is garbage." loses to Worthwhile when playing a supporting role to real scientific results. by 515–359, loses to It is the kind of stuff that gives "analytic" philosophy a bad name. by 414–270|
|4. Should be mandatory. loses to Worthwhile when playing a supporting role to real scientific results. by 541–296, loses to An example of what Dreben meant when he said, "Philosophy is garbage." by 453–419|
|5. The reason why David Lewis is the greatest philosopher of the past millenium. loses to Worthwhile when playing a supporting role to real scientific results. by 578–240, loses to Should be mandatory. by 377–299|
Now admittedly the choices were a bit extreme, but at least the most reasonable one prevailed. Thoughts from readers?
...via a new on-line journal, that is partly in English, partly in Chinese. We wish our jurisprudential colleagues in China much success with this new endeavor!
(Thanks to Scott Shapiro for the pointer.)
The winner is Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University), for a project on "Spinoza and German Idealism."
(Thanks to Ron Mallon for the pointer.)
MOVING TO FRONT FROM TWO DAYS AGO TO ENCOURAGE MORE MORE DISCUSSION
A graduate student in philosophy writes:
I recently was admitted to a PhD program in philosophy after completing an MA. This being the case, I'm, at most, four years removed from the job market. I've been following all of the recent craziness taking place in public university systems (i.e. the closing of the program in Nevada, the attack on public employees in WI, the email fiasco in MI, the Breitbart nonsense at UMSL, and, most recently, the Koch connection at FSU). The PhD program that I committed to is at a private research university though I received offers from three public institutions as well. My question is this: as a future professional philosopher, how big of a role, if any, should a school's affiliation with a state government play in one's decision to apply/accept a job and, to a lesser extent, a spot in a PhD program? It doesn't seem likely that these attacks (mostly from the right) are bound to stop any time soon, and it also seems unlikely that philosophers will be immune to this sort of thing. So, are private university jobs/PhD programs simply, all else equal, more desirable than jobs/programs at public universities, or am I just being reactionary?
I'll make two brief comments of my own, and then open this for discussion. First, there's no reason for anyone entering a PhD program in philosophy to think they will have much or any choice in the tenure-track job they accept. Second, I see no signs that the "neoliberal" dogma--roughly, private markets are to be preferred to public provision of services--that came to the fore with Reagan's reactionary revolution is abating in the U.S.; in most crucial respects, both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have remained committed to it, and the Republican Party (think of Paul Ryan) increasingly subscribes to an even more lunatic version. Given that neoliberal ideology is still the Geist of our time, I fear that public universities will continue to fare worse and worse relative to their private peers, as they have over the past 30 years. This may matter less in the choice of PhD programs. And there will, of course, continue to be exceptions, especially for those public universities, like Michigan, that increasingly adopt a private research university model or those, like Rutgers, that have unionized faculties. (The class war being waged by the plutocracy against collective bargaining rights bodes ill, however, for the latter cases.)
As usual, signed comments will be preferred.
As usual, PZ Myers has funny comments.
Since the petition did not succeed in getting the editors to either apologize or retract the disclaimer, I would like to now gauge professional opinion about this whole affair.
UPDATE AT 2:30 PM CST: So after two hours, and about 300 votes, 75% of respondents report that L'Affaire Synthese has lowered their opinion of the journal, which I suppose might qualify as a public relations disaster. The only good news for Synthese in that figure, however, is that a third of those whose opinion of the journal has been lowered are not working in areas which make it likely they would either submit to or referee for Synthese; on the other hand, more than 80% of those who do work in the journal's areas and whose opinion is lower also report that they are either likely or certain to stop submitting to or refereeing for the journal, at least until amends or changes are made. We'll see if those proportions hold.
UPDATE AT 7 PM CST: Not much change since earlier, but I wanted to note that this new polling service does record IP addresses, and while these will not be disclosed, it will make it possible to tell if votes in certain categories are coming disproportionately from certain places.