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)