Among the more prolific polling firms, the most accurate by this measure was TIPP, which conducted a national tracking poll for Investors’ Business Daily. Relative to other national polls, their results seemed to be Democratic-leaning at the time they were published. However, it turned out that most polling firms underestimated Mr. Obama’s performance, so those that had what had seemed to be Democratic-leaning results were often closest to the final outcome.
Conversely, polls that were Republican-leaning relative to the consensus did especially poorly.
Among telephone-based polling firms that conducted a significant number of state-by-state surveys, the best results came from CNN, Mellman and Grove Insight. The latter two conducted most of their polls on behalf of liberal-leaning organizations. However, as I mentioned, since the polling consensus underestimated Mr. Obama’s performance somewhat, the polls that seemed to be Democratic-leaning often came closest to the mark.
Several polling firms got notably poor results, on the other hand. For the second consecutive election — the same was true in 2010 — Rasmussen Reports polls had a statistical bias toward Republicans, overestimating Mr. Romney’s performance by about four percentage points, on average. Polls by American Research Group and Mason-Dixon also largely missed the mark. Mason-Dixon might be given a pass since it has a decent track record over the longer term, while American Research Group has long been unreliable....
It was one of the best-known polling firms, however, that had among the worst results. In late October, Gallup consistently showed Mr. Romney ahead by about six percentage points among likely voters, far different from the average of other surveys. Gallup’s final poll of the election, which had Mr. Romney up by one point, was slightly better, but still identified the wrong winner in the election. Gallup has now had three poor elections in a row. In 2008, their polls overestimated Mr. Obama’s performance, while in 2010, they overestimated how well Republicans would do in the race for the United States House.
Instead, some of the most accurate firms were those that conducted their polls online.
The final poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys had Mr. Obama ahead in the national popular vote by 2.3 percentage points – very close to his actual margin, which was 2.6 percentage points based on ballots counted through Saturday morning.
Ipsos, which conducted online polls for Reuters, came close to the actual results in most places that it surveyed, as did the Canadian online polling firm Angus Reid. Another online polling firm, YouGov, got reasonably good results.
There are 10.7 million more eligible voters today than there were in 2012. More than two-thirds of net growth in the U.S. electorate during this time has come from racial and ethnic minorities. Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minorities had a net increase of 7.5 million eligible voters, compared with a net increase of 3.2 million among non-Hispanic white eligible voters.
The growth among non-Hispanic white eligible voters has been slower than among racial or ethnic minorities in large part because they are overrepresented in deaths due to an aging population. Non-Hispanic whites make up 69% of U.S. eligible voters, but accounted for 76% of all eligible voters who died (6.6 million of 8.7 million) between 2012 and 2016.
If, as Achen & Bartels argue in Democracy for Realists, social and group identity drives much of voting behavior, then this bodes ill for DDC.
From PEC and the NYT. Nate Silver, as we noted awhile ago, is not as reliable as he was in 2012. My theory is that, having ditched the New York Times, and ventured out on his own, he is now much more dependent on generating traffic and attention, which gives him an incentive to be an outlier in his results and to take risks the more sober Nate Silver of 2012 wouldn't have.
According to an affidavit written by [Martha] Nussbaum to support Lopez Aguilar’s 2014 pre-action filing against Yale, which was obtained by the News, Pogge was a candidate at the University of Chicago about a decade before he was hired at Yale. When there was a vacancy in the political science department around 2000, Iris Young — a senior professor in the department — thought Pogge would be a good appointment for the position.
But Larmore, who also taught at the University of Chicago at the time, told Nussbaum and Young about the Columbia incident involving Pogge, and Young dropped the idea of recruiting Pogge. In her affidavit, Nussbaum recalled that Larmore believed the matter was “quite serious” and likely part of “an ongoing pattern.”
Larmore said he remembers telling Nussbaum about the incident and opposing the idea of bringing Pogge to the University of Chicago, but he said he does not remember if the allegation was ever brought up before the political science department.
Luca Ferrero (philosophy of action, moral psychology), Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, has accepted a tenured offer from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calfornia, Riverside, effective for 2016-17. With John Martin Fischer, UCR is already a major destination for students interested in philosophy of action and agency, and this appointment will further enhance that status.
During college tours last year, we passed through Hamilton College, which my son liked, especially the open curriculum (he ended up going elsewhere in the end). But this decision is both pedagogically dubious and inconsistent with the absence of distribution requirements, which is probably one of Hamilton's most distinctive features in the landscape of elite liberal arts colleges.
From Gingrich to Trump. The only future for America is one in which what remains of that Party is vanquished for good, and then the Democratic party can divide into its two factions, the 1970s Republican faction led by Clinton, and the liberal faction led, for now, by Sanders.
Obsessing over last week's or this week's polls is irresistible, but they are pure noise (see here). This essay in the NYRB makes for timely reading (I've been reading the Achen & Bartels book, on recommendation of Jason Brennan, and it is instructive on a number of points). 10% of the electorate might actually be undecided; everyone else will largely vote their tribalist loyalties. Events in the world, or what the candidates say and do, are not wholly irrelevant, but apparently fairly close to being so. Here's two things that might matter:
1. An economic collapse of 2008 proportions in the next couple of months--that would favor Trump, not because he'd have a rational response to it, but because the Democrats would be blamed (also irrationally).
2. A catastrophic terrorist attack (e.g., a 9/11-scale event in the US) or catastrophic military event (e.g., Israel bombs Iran, Russia invades Urkaine). This might favor Trump as well. (Assuming ISIS favors Trump, which they presumably do [assuming they are somewhat instrumentally rational], then that probably raises the risk of a domestic terrorist incident in the coming months.)
I realize all of these are pretty dramatic scenarios. But read the NYRB essay. Clinton's pick of Kaine is explained pretty easily by the thought that there's only 10%, if that, of the electorate up for grabs. And barring one of the preceding extreme scenarios, it's still a very good bet Clinton will win, and win by the margin she's been leading for most of the last eight months, namely about 4% or so. If 1 or 2 occur, or something else comparable, then all bets are off. Anyone have contrary evidence? Informed criticism, with links preferably, of Achen & Bartels would also be welcome.
Scruton says chianti with Hegel. I say Bud Light with Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.” It’d be apropos because as Rand is to philosophy, Bud Light is to wine — improperly categorized, and still pretty lousy when regarded within its proper category.
Here. Dreger is an historian of science, who has herself been the victim of the thought police because she has discussed, sympathetically, disfavored views about transgender people. Her main theme is that threats to academic freedom in universities come from three sources: the "left" (as she calls the "identity politics left," which, of course, isn't the left, since for the actual left, only one identity counts, the human), the right (I.e., reactionary state legislatures that want to censor research and teaching), and corporate sponsorship (which wants universities to adhere to the "brand").
An American hard rock/blues outfit, started in 1969 by ex-Vanilla Fudge members Tim Bogert (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums). Led Zeppelin without the polish or the really memorable original songs, but anyone fond of the genre should check out the Cactology collection.
I'm inclined to think the Trump voters are unlikely to be academics (or even adults), but who knows? (They're probably the same people whose IP addresses are in the comment section spam filter!)
I'm curious to hear from those who participated in the poll about their thinking. I hope those voting for Jill Stein are doing so in safe states for Democrats! Any folks who usually vote libertarian or Republican voting for Clinton this time around? Who are "none of the above" voters going to vote for? For those who aren't voting, why not? (And anyone voting for Trump with a sincere explanation, that's also welcome!)
Philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers, now a Research Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, asked me to share this recent video (followed by a transcript of it). Comments are open at that site, and Dr. Sommers writes, "I will do my best to reply to questions and objections."
As longtime readers know, I'm skeptical that the underrepresentation of women in philosophy is due to the "argumentative" nature of the subject, lack of female authors in the canon or on syllabi, and the like. The evidence of stereotype threat based on gender is also very weak, though implicit and explicit bias is more real. What Dr. Sommers ignores, I fear, is the role of a previously permissive culture of sexual harassment, but that, fortunately, is changing (at last).
Andrew Chignell (Kant, early modern philosophy, philosophy of religion), Associate Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University, has accepted a tenured offer from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, where he will start in January 2017. That's a big catch for Penn; with Chignell and Gary Hatfield, Penn will once again be a top destination for students interested in Kant.
Just to be clear: the question is not who would you most like to see elected, but who will you vote for come the fall? I list the four candidates likely to be on all (or almost all) ballots, but if the candidate who will get your vote is not listed, check "none of the above." And if you plan on not voting, there is a choice for that too.
But few were as dark about the Republican Party’s future as former President Bush himself. In a more intimate moment during the reunion, surrounded by a smaller clutch of former aides and advisers, Bush weighed in with an assessment so foreboding that some who relayed it could not discern if it was gallows humor or blunt realpolitik.
“I’m worried,” Bush told them, “that I will be the last Republican president.”
Two revealing articles have recently appeared, which one can only read for amusement if one assumes, as I still do, that my country will not elect this vermin (with apologies to vermin, who do something useful). Quoted in the NYT piece is lawyer Richard Seltzer, whom I worked for almost 30 years ago, on various real estate litigations, though none (at that time) against Trump. (Seltzer was the partner who thought I was "crazy" to leave law practice to go get a PhD in philosophy, as I discussed in my interview with Clifford Sosis.)The New Yorker piece, quoting at length from the Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer of Trump's fake book The Art of the Deal, is even more damning. An excerpt:
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”
"[I]t’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said....
The APA Ombudsperson for Discrimination and Sexual Harassment, philosopher Ruth Chang (Rutgers), asked me to share the following statement:
As former students of Thomas Pogge, we suspect that there is one group of people who have been harmed in relation to the recent allegations against Pogge, who have not been much considered in the discussion surrounding them. It is not our intention here to take a stand on the truth or falsity of the allegations. Rather, regardless of their veracity, current and recent students of Pogge’s, male or female, may now feel that they cannot turn to him for mentoring, as any continued involvement with Pogge may taint them or call into question their accomplishments and abilities in the eyes of other members of the profession. Indeed this is one of the reasons we’ve chosen to keep our own identities anonymous. For those who are finishing their PhDs, or have not yet secured tenure track employment, that loss of mentoring is a great loss indeed. Though we both secured tenure track employment before the allegations were made public, we empathize with the situation of Pogge’s graduate students and post-grads who have not yet done so.
Accordingly, we are reaching out to current and recent students of Pogge’s to determine whether they are in need of alternate mentoring. If so, and the demand is great enough, we propose to develop a list of senior philosophers in related areas who would be willing to step in and provide such mentoring. Please note that while a letter of recommendation for use on the job market is a desirable and certainly possible outcome of a mentoring relationship of this type, being paired with a mentor would by no means guarantee such a letter. Rather, it would provide an opportunity to gain feedback on some papers or dissertation chapters and to receive general advice on professional issues. The exact extent of that mentoring would be up to the junior and the senior philosophers to determine on an individual basis.
The identity of anyone requesting mentoring would be kept confidential, and be known only by us (the two former graduate students of Pogge’s organizing the connection), and the eventual mentor. At this point, we are only asking for expressions of interest from current or past students of Pogge’s – both male and female – who have not secured permanent employment and who would like to be connected to an alternate mentor. Registering your interest now does not commit you to eventually being paired with a mentor – it only helps us to determine how many potential mentors to contact. You may decide at a later date whether you would actually like to be paired with a mentor. Please contact us by September 1, 2016 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help to spread the word to Pogge’s current and former students.
I think this is a sensible undertaking for the reasons given. But I'd like to emphasize that it's also clear that Professor Pogge has worked with and written letters for many students, including female students (and including female students "of color"), in which there have been no allegations of misconduct, quid pro quo endorsements, or anything of the kind. (I say it is "clear" because I've been told that by various students and others for whom Prof. Pogge has written.)
There's been lots of discussion over the years on the blog about journal practices, but usually in regards to the submissions and review process.
What I don't think has been discussed is in many ways a much more important issue: how are editors - that is, editors in chief, those who usually are the first to look at and do the initial screening of submitted papers - chosen by philosophy journals? Since these are among the most powerful people in the profession, that would be good know. I've asked around about this over the years and no one really knows. And the process by which these editors are chosen, and the rules (if any) that set out their duties, and regulate their official actions, are less than clear. For example, in most cases, there seem to be no declared procedural rules by which they are chosen, no term limits, and (implied) absolute discretion in fulfillment of their functions as editor. Indeed the people I have met who have served in that role have usually reported stepping down from the position, not by rule or any formal process, but simply because they'd grown tired of it and wanted to get back to their own writing.
I wonder if journals ought to have something like by-laws, whereby the procedures by which these appointments are made are written and public.
Thoughts from readers? (An earlier, related discussion is here.)
...site of a highly publicized police killing of an African-American man a couple of weeks ago. The only thing this guarantees is that there will be more police shootings of innocent people, since increased and justified paranoia among police in certain neighborhoods will now be the norm: those afraid of being shot are more likely to fire in what they take to be self-defense. (Earlier coverage of these issues here and here and here.) The only possibly hopeful note is that just maybe this kind of violence against the police will lead to stricter gun control. I admit that is a remote hope.
They are: Jonathan Dancy ("Research Professor" at Reading; also Professor at UT Austin); Miranda Fricker (Sheffield, but who is moving to CUNY); and (as a Corresponding Fellow), Judith Jarvis Thomson (emerita, MIT). In addition, the political theorist Michael Walzer (emeritus, IAS) was also elected a Corresponding Fellow.
UPDATE: Philosopher Rob Stainton (Western Ontario) writes: "Robyn Carston, a linguist but also a very influential figure in empirically oriented Philosophy of Language, was also just elected to the British Academy. She's been one of the key figures working on the Semantics-Pragmatics boundary since her pioneering work in the 80s."
(Thanks to Howard Berman for calling it to my attention.)
UPDATE: This is a really rich essay, but here's one excerpt to give readers a taste:
Cops are under tension every time they stop a suspect. Tension is higher if conflict has escalated recently by previous incidents; higher if it is a neighborhood with a high crime rate; higher if there has been a chase, or alarming reports over police radio links.
(1) Over the last year, the gender breakdown of academics criticized on this blog was nearly 75% male, about 25% female. This fact (which is what it is) won't stop, however, some benighted souls from asserting otherwise. Why? Group polarization: when some malevolent dope says on Facebook that I criticize more women than men, other malevolent dopes concur, thus reinforcing the false belief.
(2) Those who make the most outrageous assertions about me, including contradicting the facts in #1, are, it turns out, overwhelmingly from religious Christian backgrounds, especially Catholic and various Southern Protestant denominations. This is true of the most extreme cases, as well as the more run-of-the-mill casual defamers. I hadn't really registered this until a reader pointed it out, and some checking confirmed many cases. I'm not sure what to make of this fact; possibilities are (a) they are already ill-disposed towards me because of my critical comments about religion; (b) they're (explicit or implicit) anti-semites; (c) they are simply timid and fearful people, perhaps drawn to their religion because of that, but in any case easily frightened by pugnacious criticism directed at anyone. Of course, all of this may simply be an accidental correlation: the numbers are small (a dozen or so diehard obsessives) and of course most philosophers with Christian upbringings do not engage in the ugly distortions and casual defamation characteristic of my special small "anti-fan" club.
We're being inundated with them in America, but not all pollsters are equal: this evaluation is useful. Note, in particular, that Rasmussen has a steady pro-Republican slant in its results, and has thus miscalled lots of major elections. Quinnipiac, Marist, Monmouth, NY Times, Washington Post, among others, generally do pretty accurate polling.
MOVING TO FRONT FROM JULY 10--MORE DISCUSSION WELCOME
Philosopher Cheyney Ryan, Director of the Human Rights Programs for the Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict at Oxford University (who taught previously at the University of Oregon), writes:
The University of Oregon recently settled a case against it for almost $1 million brought by a young woman who had been assaulted by one of its basketball players. The basis of her suit was that the University knew or should have known that the player had been involved in a sexual assault incident at his previous university but still admitted him and did nothing to address the potential danger to others. Her suit cited other instances where universities have been held responsible for admitting students with histories of sexual assault/harassment. The new U of O president, a distinguished law professor, thought there was enough merit in the argument to settle the case immediately.
I should think that universities would evidence the same level of concern towards professors with such histories. Yet the impression up to now is that the Yale Philosophy Department was entirely too passive in this regard, in the Pogge matter. This impression is now confirmed by the remarks of Seyla Benhabib in the New York Times.
"Professor Benhabib, who served on Professor Pogge’s selection committee, said that she and other committee members had heard about the Columbia case but did not discuss it.
“I didn’t think it was my place to go searching into his history at Columbia,” she said. “Everybody slips once. That was our attitude.”
One can only hope she was misquoted. Otherwise, her remarks are absurd. "Everybody slips once"-- was this really the search committee's attitude about acts of harassing/assaulting female students?
If Pogge had been involved in an incident raising a weapons charge, would it then have been her place to go "searching" into his history? (How many "slip ups" would have been permissible in a gun violation?)
It's a matter for serious discussion how such histories should factor into a hiring decision. But progress in providing a safe environment for students will only be made when departments treat these matters as of more than casual importance.
I, too, was astonished by the "everybody slips once" comment attributed to Prof. Benhabib. What do readers think about the issues raised by Prof. Ryan?
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)