Here's another from the American and less polished version of Led Zeppelin, best-known for their covers of other songs, but with an occasional memorable original, like this one from their second album:
And here's a great cover of an old Howlin' Wolf number, from their third album (also 1971):
PhilJobs is starting to fill up with ads, though not as many ads as one would like to see (at least not yet). But what is striking is the pattern in areas of interest: lots of value theory and history of philosophy (esp. early modern, but also a fair bit of 19th-century), some currently "trendy" areas like philosophy of race and gender, but very little "core analytic" (as the Stanford ad puts it), i.e., very little philosophy of language and mind, metaphyscis & epistemology, the latter being the historical "prestige" trackers in the profession for the last half-century. But as I've remarked before, what is prestigious and central at the top PhD programs may no longer bear much relationship to most of the jobs that exist. That seems increasingly true (we've seen other signs of it).
Far too many PhD programs currently operate on what we might call "the MIT model": little or no history of philosophy or post-Kantian Continental philosophy, certainly no non-Western philosophy, but lots and lots of "core analytic" (sometimes with some philosophy of science thrown in), plus a bit of value theory, though mostly to the extent it is close to the former areas. The MIT model served MIT well when Robert Stalnaker was active and training tons of students, and before Stephen Yablo was, tragically, taken ill (though Yablo is still teaching happily). Perhaps the MIT model can survive as a viable model for graduation education, and might do so if MIT were the only purveyor--but the University of Southern California, despite being a much larger faculty, has adopted the MIT Model with a vengeance, and Rutgers has largely migrated in that direction. Other "MIT model" programs--wholly or heading in that direction--include Michigan, Texas, U Mass/Amherst, Rochester, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, among others.
A close, but preferable (at least by my lights) relative, is the "Princeton Model," where the investment is heaviest in "core analytic," but there is also a substantial commitment to history of philosophy and sometimes even post-Kantian Continental. NYU followed the Princeton Model, more successfully than Princeton, which no doubt explains its dominant position in Anglophone philosophy. "Princeton Model" departments include Pittsburgh, Yale, Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, Brown, and Cornell, among many others.
Over at the "safe space" philosophy blog run by Justin Weinberg, I was surprised to learn that 3 of its 6 ads under "paid advertisements" are, in fact, not paid advertisements, but gratis gifts of the editor (one to himself).* This may be a reflection of the rise of Facebook-as-blog noted the other day, or a consequence of the fact that the safe space philosophy blog conceals its visitor stats, or because the ads there aren't very big, or something else. Certainly the proliferation of blogs has put pressure on those seeking advertising--the APA blog, for example, still has no advertisers, perhaps because it has no readers, I'm unsure--and even I've seen a slight advertising dip from the heady days of 2012 or 2013 when I took to selling 4th-from-the-top spots due to demand (now I rarely sell 4th spots). Be that as it may, what amused me in particular is that one of the "free" ads was for Clifford Sosis's great site What is it like to be a philosopher?, to whose usually interesting and entertaining interviews we have often linked. Now if you look at the row of photos that is 7th from the top at Clifford's site, you will see a photo of me in the middle spot, as I was one of those he interviewed. Amusingly, Weinberg went to the trouble to edit me out and replace my photo with the photo of another interviewee for purposes of the free ad on his site. Poor Justin! I must have hurt his feelings on my unsafe-space blog.
*For those keeping track, 5 of my current 6 are paid, with the 6th being exchanged for non-monetary services.
It’s easy to understand why so many colleges want to increase their share of faculty members who are underrepresented minorities: research suggests that cultural diversity means diversity of thought and experience -- boons to any intellectual enterprise -- and both minority and white students benefit from learning from professors who look like them, and those who don’t.
No support is offered for either claim, and there exists no uncontested or decisive support for either. (I noted this in my CHE column last week.) And there is no evidence that even if these claims were true that they are the primary reason universities are trying to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities on their faculties. Some are acting for justified reasons of compensatory justice, some are acting for craven reasons of self-interest (fear of legislatures or students or alumni demanding to see results), and some probably are acting because they've been successfully brainwashed by endless repetition of the quoted claims, the facts be damned.
Wow. If these allegations pan out, I wonder what the Hoover Institute will do? Hoover does have some serious right-leaning academics affiliated with it, but it also has more than its share of second-rate hacks. I am unfamiliar with this particular person, so have no idea which camp he is in.
In a bit less than 24 hours, we got about 400 responses to the poll on how readers use Facebook; here are the results:
Which of the following best describes how you use Facebook?
Almost entirely for sharing personal stuff: photos, family news, etc.
Almost entirely for professoinal purposes: networking, sharing my work, intellectual interchange
Almost entirely as my political platform: sharing my political opinions and outrage, news, op-eds
A mix of personal, professional, and political
Mostly personal, some of the others
Mostly professional, some of the others
Mostly political, some of the others
A couple of readers wrote to say they don't use Facebook at all ("it's evil" said one philosopher!). I have to say that it's not the case that one-third of my FB friends use it "almost entirely for sharing personal stuff." In any case, comments are open for folks to opine about why they avoid Facebook, or about how they use it, or about what they make of these results and so on. (Folks who commented at the poll site should feel free to repost their comments here.)
I went to high school with John Paterakis in the late 1970s; he is a lifelong Republican and fairly conservative guy, both more conservative and more religious than I am needless to say (though a lot of what he describes, fairly enough, as conservative seems to me benign and sometimes congenial). In high school, we were fellow nerdy kids. John, to his credit, really loathes Trump, not quite in the way liberals do, but perhaps in an even more interesting way that tells us something about the rot in the national Republican Party that nominated and then elected this guy. John's full post is public here, but here are a few gems:
Hopefully, it is clear to anyone with half a brain that Trumpians share no values whatsoever with conservatives.
-- Conservatives believe in small, limited government. The primary purpose of government is to ensure the ability of every person to reach his or her potential. -- Trumpians see the government as a big cudgel to keep people in line. It shouldn't interfere with your rights personally, but everybody else had better toe the line. Otherwise, it's the responsibility of government to get people fired, deported, or imprisoned if they get too uppity.
-- Conservatives value personal liberty. As a nation, we all partner together in our local communities to support a strong, just society. Civil society, communities of faith, fraternal organizations, etc. are encouraged to participate together across their spectrum of beliefs as co-workers in keeping America great, without compromising their beliefs or right to speak their mind. -- Trumpians despise civil society. Groups are evaluated according to their "loyalty." The ones that don't tow the line should keep quiet and lay low, or else.
-- Conservatives value a strong national defense. They encourage the development of the military, but as an institution always under civilian control and authority. They encourage a "citizen army" through state militias and the National Guard, and encourage citizens to participate as a way to acquire skills that they can translate into later careers outside the military. -- Trumpians believe that "the generals" are the only ones who know how to run things. Civilians are second-class citizens who couldn't cut it in the armed forces. If you offer any suggestion that you don't "support the troops", you should have your citizenship stripped from you (the 14th Amendment be damned.)...
-- Conservatives understand and appreciate the rights afforded by the First Amendment to practice any religion, or no religion at all. However, they believe that a strong moral foundation is an important part of American society. We are a nation "under God"; not because this makes us superior, but because it imposes a collective responsibility upon us to act and think according to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature." -- Trumpians think that church is a place you go to get your little wine and cracker. Their leader follows no recognizable creed except that of Gordon Gekko. "Greed is Good." Mosques, obviously, aren't houses of worship; they're terrorist cells. Americans are encouraged to fear and loathe the people who go there. Of course, they need to be kept under strict government surveillance because it's not like they're really Americans.
-- Conservatives honor and respect the flag and other national symbols for the freedoms that they represent, and because of Americans who paid the ultimate price to preserve those freedoms. They know that some people don't salute the flag because of sincere moral or religious conviction. They may not be thrilled about it, but they get that this is what happens in a free society, and that people having this right makes us greater and stronger as a nation. -- Trumpians see the flag as an idol. They happily make shorts and T-shirts out of it (even though this is a direct violation of the United States Flag Code.) They see no conflict in celebrating both the American Flag and the Southern Cross (a symbol of rebellion against the American Flag and the Constitution.) If you don't show the proper deference to the flag, you should have your citizenship stripped from you (the 14th Amendment be damned.)...
So when you meet a Trumpian and he or she self-describes as a "conservative," you need to appreciate that like their leader, Trumpians aren't very good with words and what they mean.
The real term that they're fishing for is "Fascist."
Story here, with links. (Thanks to David Zimmerman for the pointer.)
As I said early on, "academic freedom protects Jorjani's right to be a monstrous fool; as long as he is discharging his pedagogical duties in a competent manner, his institution should not penalize him." If he has been suspended solely because of the NYT story putting a spotlight on his views, then the New Jersey Institute of Technology has acted wrongfully.
When I joined Facebook, I conceived of it mainly as a way for sharing "personal" stuff: photos from vacations, funny stories, family news, that kind of thing. That's one reason I try to only friend people I know "in real life." But as Facebook has evolved, it is clear that many, perhaps most, of my friends are using it for other purposes: political venting and discussion, professional self-promotion and networking, and so on. Facebook has become for a lot of people "their blog." Now I have a blog for all that stuff, so of course I don't feel inclined to use Facebook that way. But I'm curious to hear from readers who are also on Facebook how they are using it. Please choose the option that best fits.
...and given the Republican nomination to reactionary religious zealot Roy Moore, who has the distinction of having been twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court because of his defiance of the law. (I discuss the circumstances of his first removal on p. 4 of this article.) Steve Bannon--yeah,that guy--riled up the "rubes" a few days ago to reject the "establishment" candidate favored by the Senate Majority leader, the loathsome and nefarious Mitch McConnell, who increasingly looks like the "adult" in the Republican room. The happy news is that soon-to-be Senator Moore will make the Republican Senate even more dysfunctional than it already is (and thus more unable to enact the wicked agenda of the imprudent plutocrats), and hopefully hasten the collapse of the Republican Party. Whatever succeeds it will soon own the benighted states, like Alabama and Texas, making secession ever more likely. The Civil War is apparently not over yet, though hopefully it will be resolved this time with simple political dissolution.
Graham Leach-Krouse and I are pleased to announce that MARGY, our free letter delivery service, is up and running for the 2017 job market season. Applicants are invited to use our system to send confidential letters of recommendation to schools that are accepting submissions via email. For more information, people can go to https://margymail.com or email email@example.com.
Graduate students at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), have been protesting for increasing the stipend they receive, which is significantly lower than other schools in the SUNY system. The situation gets worse when they have to pay the university fee (with interesting heads like "academic excellence fee" etc.), which knocks off about $3000 per year. The philosophy department, for example, pays $13250 per annum, which after university fees, insurance and taxes hovers to just about $10,000-- which makes a "hand to mouth" kind of living condition.
As memorably quoted by Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents:
Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door; and if God wants to make my happiness complete, he will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one's enemies -- but not before they have been hanged.
CHE has a good account (though behind a paywall), but here's the crux of it:
By some measures, the protest that occurred at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln on August 25 was relatively minor: Courtney Lawton, a graduate student and lecturer was caught on video making rude gestures and using profanity as she confronted Kaitlyn Mullen, a student promoting the conservative group Turning Point USA. Ms. Lawton and Amanda Gailey, an associate professor who brought a sign to the student union, were called out on Turning Point’s website after the protest, though Ms. Gailey had largely stood off to the side and only engaged the student by offering help....
On August 25, Ms. Mullen, a second-year student, set up a table near the student union to promote Turning Point USA, which is not yet a registered student organization at the university. (Reached by email, Ms. Mullen offered to comment for this article but failed to do so before publication.) A university staff member mistakenly told Ms. Mullen that she was not in the university’s "free-speech zone" and asked her to move to another area near the student union, but she declined....
Ms. Gailey, an associate professor of English, also went to the protest, and carried a sign that asked for Turning Point USA to put her on the group’s controversial Professor Watchlist. Ms. Gailey, according to numerous accounts, did not confront Ms. Mullen and even offered to help her when she appeared distraught.
"I showed up that day to oppose Turning Point," Ms. Gailey said, "not to censor them. I never questioned their right to be on campus."
By that evening, however, a video of the protest from Ms. Mullen had been widely shared on social media, and the negative reactions began pouring in....
On his legislative website, State Sen. Steve Erdman calls for Ms. Gailey to be fired, saying she "berated and intimidated" Ms. Mullen. He also cites Mr. Daub’s saying her actions were "a premeditated and organized effort to intimidate and shut down Kaitlyn Mullen."
In an interview, State Senator Erdman acknowledged that he had spoken with university officials and that their findings are far different. Supposedly, Ms. Gailey "went to her aid," he said, "that’s their explanation."
1971's Rock On album was, by my lights, one of the best albums of the "classic rock" era, but it didn't even crack the Billboard "top 100." One occasionally hears this hard rock number, but little else from this well-crafted album featuring Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton. After this album, Humble Pie enjoyed its most successful years in the U.S. with Rockin' the Fillmoreand (without Frampton) Smokin', but I still am of the opinion that Rock On is their best album. Here's one lesser-known song for a taste:
Here are the new interim guidelines. On the contested issue of the standard of proof, the new guidelines mandate consistency across all kinds of student misconduct: if preponderance, for example, is the standard in plagiarism investigations, then it should be preponderance in sexual misconduct investigations. I haven't had time to read this carefully, so may have more to say later.
MOVING TO FRONT, SINCE IT'S LETTER-WRITING SEASON (originally published January 10 2010, and moved to front periodically since)
A young philosopher writes:
We all know how important letters of reference are and how much weight they have in the decision who to interview at the APA or at least for making the first cut. There were comments in an earlier thread on this blog that seem to suggest that at some point of the decision process this is the most important factor and many of my colleagues share this view.
The problem is the following: not every letter writer seems to be playing the same game. And I am not referring to the notorious US/UK difference in this respect. Some professors are very explicit about giving comparative statements about their student, e.g., “she is among the best three students I have ever had” and then if this professor does not make such a statement in the case of another student, it is to be assumed that this student is not so great. But there are professors who do not follow the same rules in their letters: they just never make comparative statements. And this is true of some excellent philosophers from some excellent departments. So how are we supposed to assess these letters? Are we, letter readers, supposed to know the idiosyncratic habits of all letter writers?
Part of the problem with these letters--besides their uniform inflation and hyperbole--is that the code is hard to interpret. For example, letters will frequently conclude with one of the following recommendations:
I recommend X warmly/highly.
I generally assume that this is a weaker recommendation than:
I give X my highest recommendation.
But maybe not: it could depend on the writer?
And how does "highest recommendation" compare to:
I recommend X without reservation.
The same? Stronger? Does it depend on the author again?
And how does the warmly/highly recommendation compare with,
I recommend X with enthusiasm.
And does one writer who says the latter necessarily mean to convey less enthusiasm than a different writer who says,
I recommend X with great enthusiasm
I'm not always sure. Nor am I always sure whether "warmly" means the same as "highly" or whether "warmly" is really code for "not enthusiastically," and so on.
I have chatted with others, here and elsewhere, about this subject, and if there is a consensus among readers of such letters it is this: what is most meaningful in a letter of recommendation are explicit comparisons with other graduates of the program or other philosophers working in the same area. All the "warmlys," "highlys" etc. just don't help. Philosophers ought to drop them, and say, "X is the best student since Y and Z that we've had" or "X's work is comparable to the work of A and B," where A and B are employed philosophers working in that area. Such comparisons are slightly distasteful, and there's no guarantee that Y and Z, or A and B, won't see the comparisons; but there's no question they are MUCH MORE informative than the code words.
Thoughts from readers on these issues? Signed comments preferred, as usual; submit the comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.
I had missed this in prior coverage (I couldn't bear to watch or read it):
Most alarming, to veteran leaders and diplomats from other democracies, was the larger message Mr. Trump carefully delivered about the sort of world he would like to see. It was a message that did not contain the words "democracy" or "human rights," to say nothing of the word "climate."
And it was a message that had its climax in this rather shocking passage, which seemed to have been cribbed from the darkest moments of the 1930s:
"Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations. For the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people and their patriotism. History is asking us whether we are up to the task. Our answer will be a renewal of will, a rediscovery of resolve, and a rebirth of devotion. We need to defeat the enemies of humanity and unlock the potential of life itself … The ancient wish of every people, and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul."
That steely talk of vengeful national will and angry patriotism, devoid of any scent of democracy or international co-operation, salted with praise for Saudi autocrats, coupled with a genuine threat to withdraw from the climate and nuclear-peace treaties that have kept the world safe from its worst futures, was all too familiar to many of the leaders seated in New York on Tuesday. They know this sort of language from their own 20th-century history – it was precisely the sort of language whose fearsome outcomes led to the creation of the United Nations.
If the leader of any other country talked that way, there would already be talk of "preventive war" to take them out.
Poor Les Green: Justin Weinberg, who is always fishing for blog content on social media, asked Green innocently enough whether he could repost Green's blog post about "conservatives" on campus, without mentioning that he (Weinberg) doesn't really moderate comments, unless they hurt his feelings or the feelings of his friends. The result was predictable, and rather pathetic (though Tom Hurka had a funny comment). The first comment sets the tone. Tim Hsiao, apparently a conservative Christian, responds:
So, in essence, the answer is more like “because conservatism/conservative beliefs are false, silly, or irrational.”
Well, it’s easy to say that if you’re already convinced your views are correct or enlightened. This explanation strikes me as patting yourself on the back. In reality, it is almost certainly more complex than that (and at any rate, there are *plenty* of good arguments challenging left-leaning beliefs). When it comes to the political disparity in academia (which varies from discipline to discipline), there are a wide range of other sociological explanations that have found support. The author seems to ignore them entirely in favor of the self-congratulatory explanation.
Prof. Hsiao doesn't say which of the true propositions Green mentioned are ones he cares to deny (climate change? natural selection?). After all, their denial would be false, silly and/or irrational. But many of these propositions are denied by prominent conservatives in the U.S.--anyone heard of Ted Cruz?--whose antipathy to the universities is well-known.
This time the outrage is aimed at Third World Quarterly. The objections are dressed up, in part, as objections to the "quality" of the article, which may in fact be low. But that doesn't matter, of course: if the editors made a bad decision, they have to live with it. Readers can lower their opinion of Third World Quarterly, stop submitting there, or ignore the article. What they have no standing to do is demand retraction. So far, the editors of the journal are behaving better than the now disgraced former Associate Editors at Hypatia. I encourage them to ignore the petition.
UPDATE: Much of the editorial board of Third World Quarterlyhas resigned in protest. That is most definitely their right when they believe there has been a failure of the editorial process.
ANOTHER: Here is the letter of resignation, stating the Board's objections. (Thanks to Walter Amoko for the pointer.) I confess I still see no grounds for retraction: referee reports offer advice to editors, editors are not bound to accept that advice. The Board members should resign, since they feel the editors made a bad decision, but that does not mean retraction is warranted.
Dermont Moran (phenomenology, medieval philosophy) will leave University College Dublin, where he has taught for many years, in summer 2018 to take up a Chair in philosophy at Boston College, where he will also be Chairperson of the Philosophy Department.