Analogy lovers (or anyone who's befuddled by techie-things but embarrassed to admit it) might be interested in this tech dictionary that uses analogies to explain tech terms and concepts. Here's a sample...
2-Factor Authentication: It's like being a spy. You need to prove your identity to a contact but they are paranoid and demand something in addition to the password to prove who you are.
API: It’s like a LEGO brick. An application without an API is like a LEGO brick without nodules (are they called nodules?) – it’s not much fun and you can’t build anything new with it.
Does Philosophy have a dictionary like this? If it does, then direct me to it!
Last time around I wrote about elevator pitches (there are some really great comments on this post that you may find useful), and this time Barry Lam is sharing some really cool stuff he’s doing at Hi-Phi Nation (I’ll definitely be adding this to my bag of tricks). So, now seems like a good time to share a story about philosophy on a plane.
But first…like a lot of people I’ve been moping since the election. I can frequently be heard saying things like, “Oh my God! We need philosophy now more than ever!” Really what I mean is more people who aren’t philosophers need to know a little philosophy and be better critical thinkers. I’ve even said that philosophers may have a moral duty to push back against poor reasoning, to which my philosopher husband replied we’d first need to define moral duty (I rolled my eyes). Be that as it may, I still think “the people” need philosophy.
From my pitch post, it was clear that not all philosophers share my enthusiasm for spreading the good word. Luckily, people like Barry Lam, Stephen West, and countless others make sharing philosophy easy...
I recently took a transcontinental flight (in the middle seat). I usually refuse Kantian recognition to my seatmates, but on this particular flight I made an exception. The guy to my right moved furniture for a living--that he did physical labor was no surprise, judging from the size of his biceps. He spouted numbers at me: pounds lifted in a day, a week, a month. He was quite chatty. I learned of his new girlfriend who was driving an hour to pick him up, that he had an irreverent sense of humor, and that he sometimes liked to play online poker. With all that frenetic energy, I surmised he might benefit from a little Existential Philosophy (Schopenhauer is my homeboy).
I asked him if he liked listening to podcasts, to which he replied yes. I then asked him if he liked Philosophy, and while he wasn’t sure what I meant, he said…maybe. I pulled up Episode #79: Kierkegaard on Anxiety from Philosophize This! on my iPhone and handed it to him along with my headphones. It was just a hunch, albeit a good one. He listened to the podcast in full and even jotted down quotes.
Sure, it was just one podcast, and he was just one guy, but that’s how we do it! That’s how we make better thinkers--one podcast at a time. Well, that and a philosophy class. Seriously, though, talk to people (outside of the classroom and conferences) about philosophy, and meet them where they are--Existentialism seems like an easy place to start. I mean, who isn't endlessly fascinated by themselves?
I'm delighted to welcome three guest-bloggers next week: two familiar voices--Darlene Deas and Christopher Pynes--plus a new guest-blogger, philosopher Barry Lam from Vassaar, who will be blogging about his Hi-Phi Nation podcast project. I'll probably have a couple of items next week too, but these three will be the main attractions!
A little over a year ago, I posted a sort of how-to for being married to a philosopher. It prompted Mark Bernstein to send along this incredibly funny letter to the editor from vol 62. of the APA Proceedings, written by his (then) wife Nancy Daley. He had this to say about the letter, " I'm biased, but I think it's the best letter ever published by the APA Proceedings."
You should read the full letter at JSTOR. But, here are a few choice excerpts:
I was in my late twenties, just finishing a Bachelor’s degree in English, when the prospect of marrying a philosopher first materialized. I recall with vivid clarity that autumn afternoon in my poetry professor’s dormered office when I announced I had finally decided to marry Mark. Without even lifting his gaze from his cluttered desk, Mr. Conner announced. "Well. You’ll never win an argument.”
This. Oh, for the love of all that's holy, this.
And lest you think philosophy is the only topic open to interminable discussion, I will mention only in passing a certain night I spent on a sofa in Princeton listening to Mark and his friend, Stewart [Stew Cohen], analyzing the apparently unforgivable syntax of a passage in the Toyota Owner’s Manual on the topic of downshifting.
I know some philosophers find telling laypeople that they are philosophers or explaining what philosophy is tiring. On the other hand, some philosophers give a veritable conference paper to the simple question, “What do you do?”
I'm very happy to report that the always popular and insightful Darlene Deas and Christopher Pynes will be returning as guest bloggers this week, starting on Wednesday, October 12 and continuing for about a week. I will have a few posts too, but they will be the main attraction!
But, rather than having that discussion all over again, I'd like to share a 1.5 minute video I created that promotes philosophy to girls and young women.
One thing to keep in mind with these promo videos is that they're not designed to teach philosophy, so it's a good idea to make the content a bit more user-friendly. If you want to give it a try on your own, here are two quick tips:(1) shorter is almost always better and (2) stick with a limited color and style palette. Also, consider tossing around ideas with a non-philosopher and have them review your videos--a lay person's perspective will more closely match that of your intended audience.
As with the two videos I posted earlier this week:
This video is shared under the creative commons copyright. Please feel free to use or modify it, but if you do so, please make it available to others.
The video was created with VideoScribe. If you have the software, you can download the raw file (file extension scribe) here.
As I mentioned in the last post, I'm willing to donate my time to help anyone interested in creating some cool 30-second promos. You can reach out to me directly at the following email address: mycoffeepotproductions at gmail dot com. If you don't want to email me, but you have some ideas to share, use the comments!
As the spouse of a philosopher, I often find myself acting as a sort of ambassador for you lot. People don’t know what you do, what it is, or why it’s important.
And, while it’s fantastic that a group of cool kids write pieces for the NYT, those people I mentioned above—the ones who don’t know about you or your discipline-- are most likely not reading the NYT.
I don’t know how to solve that problem, but last fall when I was guest blogging here, I had some ideas for easy-to-digest promotional philosophy videos that I kept meaning to create and share. Brian's recent invitation to blog here again provided the right motivation to finally complete that little pet project.
I'm sharing two very short (30 second) promotional videos with you. I hope to have a third by week's end that focuses on female philosophers and promoting the discipline to young women and girls. There is a fourth, but I doubt I’ll get to it this time around.
Here’s what you need to know:
The videos are intended for prospective students, although one could also target a general audience.
The videos are shared under the creative commons license. Please feel free to use or modify these videos, but if you do so, please make them available to others.
The videos were created with VideoScribe. If you have the software, you can download the raw files (file extension scribe) here.
And here's the important part: because I love philosophy, I'm willing to donate my time to help anyone interested in creating some cool 30-second promos. You can reach out to me directly at the following email address: mycoffeepotproductions at gmail dot com
If you don't want to email me, but you have some ideas to share, use the comments!
I’m going to talk a bit about reactions to my Women in Philosophy post, sexual harassment, and the APA. I’ll keep it short.
I wrote a fairly benign post about what philosophy isn’t doing to promote itself to girls and women. I was falsely accused of calling feminist philosophers names, of advocating covering up harassment, of siding with harassers, and of claiming that someone was benefitting from the negative campaign. This is exactly the kind of inflammatory and false rhetoric the NRA, the Tea Party, Ann Coulter, and Donald Trump use to whip up the crowd. And, while I’m using myself as a convenient example, this isn’t about me, specifically, as I’ve seen this exact tactic used to mischaracterize or blatantly misrepresent the views of other people who have spoken up about similar issues.
Each year around this time I can’t help but reflect on all those newly minted philosophy Ph.D. candidates who will be on the job market. If you land a job, you’ll probably walk around (who am I kidding…dancing…dancing is what you’ll be doing) feeling like a first round draft pick.
Over the last several years, I’ve been disheartened to read so much about how philosophy is hostile to women and that there simply aren’t enough women doing philosophy. While I’m not a philosopher, I care deeply about the discipline, hold it in high regard, and want to see it flourish.
Part of such flourishing is increasing diversity in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and, of course, women are a big part of that. But, the current approach of blame and shame, though it certainly has its place in a broader dialogue, is absolutely tone deaf in trying to recruit young women to philosophy.
Let me share my perspective with you via the Google search of “Women in Philosophy.”
*Since I have no advisory board, there will be a poll immediately following this post in which you can rank the list to provide adequate oversight.
Being married to a philosopher can be challenging. You’re often surrounded by smart people who use terms you’ve never heard before (simpliciter, mutatis mutandis, qualia, modus ponens—you get the gist), and you can easily find yourself drifting off when the conversations turn to very technical topics (the virtues of the Begriffsschriftzzzzzzz). But, with just a few simple tips, you can fit right in.
1. Survive the APA and the Job Market (because it’s coming up)
The APA can be a drag for people conducting interviews and a stomach-churning nightmare for candidates, but fun for you. It just takes a little chutzpah, an ill-gotten APA badge, and a handshake.
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)