It is related to the incidents mentioned here. The allegations in this new case are, from what I can gather, much more serious than in prior cases. The interesting question will be how the university involved responds to a light being shone on events.
I know there are always some readers thinking about law school, but also hoping to continue in academia, so you may find this data of interest concerning the 2015-16 law teaching job market. Applications to law schools have declined by about 30% since 2010, as the recession took its toll on legal employment. Prior to this crash, 160 or more rookie tenure-track law faculty were hired each year; that dropped to about 65 in 2013-14, and held steady in 2014-15. This year we saw a slight uptick: there were about 80 new tenure-track hires nationwide. The law teaching market is different, of course, in that those seeking law teaching jobs generally have clear non-academic options (hence three of our candidates this year turned down good tenure-track job offers for personal reasons; all will return to lucrative legal practice opportunities, and try the academic market again in the future). With law school enrollments having stabilized, I expect there to be a slow but steady increase in the hiring of rookie faculty, though I very much doubt we will get back to the pre-crash numbers in the foreseeable future, but the new normal will probably be about 100 new positions filled each year. As the linked data suggest, hiring for law teaching positions is extremely pedigree-sensitive, much more so than in academic philosophy even.
...and a somewhat odd interpretation of it by Prof. Schwitzgebel, but it could be I am misunderstanding the data presented. Looking at data on PhDs awarded to women in philosophy, engineering, and physical sciences, he writes:
The overall trend is clear: Although philosophy's percentages are currently similar to the percentages in engineering and physical sciences, the trend in philosophy has flattened out in the 21st century, while engineering and the physical sciences continue to make progress toward gender parity. All the broad areas show roughly linear upward trends, except for the humanities which appears to have flattened at approximately parity.
But what the chart shows is that engineering and physical sciences started well below philosophy in percentage of PhDs earned by women, and the physical sciences have finally caught up to philosophy, while engineering still lags behind philosophy, but has improved over the time period examined. Only if engineering and the physical sciences continue to award more PhDs to women going forward would Schwitzgebel's interpretation make sense. As of now, it may be that all three fields have or will plateau in the 25-30% range. Am I misreading his data?
Jerry Dworkin calls my attention to this NYRB piece on Donald Chump, which includes this:
I recalled a remark that the philosopher Richard Rorty made back in 1997 about “the old industrialized democracies…heading into a Weimar-like period.” Citing evidence from “many writers on socioeconomic policy,” Rorty suggested that:
members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots….
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion…. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
Let's hope Rorty sticks to his track record, and is wrong about this too.
...and I'm sure at least Professor Van Norden knows that all too well. Huge stretches of European philosophy--from Hegel to the present, say, or in the 12th through 14th-centuries--are also neglected in many of the top 50 PhD programs. Most of the top 50 PhD programs do not have any faculty teaching American philosophy of the 19th-century. What unites the curricula at these programs is not a commitment to "European and American philosophy" but a commitment to a style of doing philosophy, that derives from some British philosophers, some Continental European ones, and some American ones (it's also a style that is increasingly popular in parts of Asia, by the way)--and it's a style whose leading practitioners now include Asian-Americans, Hispanics, and African-Americans. I empathize with the desires of Professors Garfield and van Norden to see their fields less neglected--I'd like to see my own fields less neglected too! But playing the "diversity card" in this context is a dangerous game to play, that will lead to changes in the field that I'm quite sure Prof. Van Norden won't welcome (I know Prof. Garfield less well, so can offer no opinion about how he might view the ramifications).
IHE has the story. And the data is bullshit: productivity without any screen for quality. The more shit shovelled per capita, the "better" a department is. Whoever cooked up this scam must be laughing all the way to the bank. But that some administrators actually pay for this is what's really amazing.
A new study finds no such effect. If it is accurate, that is hopeful: it may mean that norms, including the implicit ones, are changing in positive ways. Comments are open for any readers who know more about this latest study and its soundness.
It's hard to escape that conclusion after reading this account. And there's a sad lesson here, which is don't walk into a meeting with a former prosecutor hired to do an investigation by your university without having your own attorney present. What a shame that an apparently devoted teacher should be smeared by her institution.
(Thanks to several readers for sending this on; I'm sorry I only just got to read it.)
ADDENDUM: Some readers appear to have drawn the wrong inferences from this brief comment of mine and the link to Prof. Wolff. Allen Wood's book on Marx is terrific; Allen was my first choice to write the volume on Marx for my Routledge Philosophers series, but he was then working on Kant, so declined. He famously defended in the 1970s the (correct) view that Marx did not criticize capitalism for its injustice. But all that being said, his remarks in the quoted interview are vulnerable to the criticism leveled by Prof. Wolff.
This essay discusses a lengthy review by Professor Michael McConnell of the Stanford Law School in the Yale Law Journal of my 2013 book WHY TOLERATE RELIGION? (Princeton University Press). I identify two important objections that Prof. McConnell raises, but also identify eight different mistakes or misunderstandings that mar other parts of the review. I conclude by taking Prof. McConnell to task for several rhetorical cheap shots that, together with the other errors, suggests that his essay was more a partisan brief than a scholarly evaluation of the arguments. Most surprisingly, the fact that Professor McConnell, in his lengthy review, never actually responds to my book's central thesis--namely, that the inequality between religious and non-religious claims of conscience is not morally defensible--suggests that there may really be no serious argument on the other side.
Jonathan Wolff (political philosophy, ethics & public policy), a longtime member of the faculty at University College London, has accepted a Chair in Oxford's relatively new public policy school, the Blavatnik School of Government, effective this fall (though he will be part-time at UCL for 2016-17, moving full-time to Oxford thereafter).
...in NYRB. Interestingly, since I chided NYRB for its inadequate coverage of philosophy a few years back, there seems to have been a bit more in its pages: I note just in the last year, for example, philosophical essays and reviews by Samuel Freeman, Tamsin Shaw, Peter Singer, Rebecca Goldstein, John Gray, and Jeremy Waldron. Cause and effect? Who knows? What's still the case is that Boston Review still publishes more philosophy, and more high quality philosophy across more topics, than NYRB.
...at 3AM. The interview gives a nice, synoptic account of his (revisionary) account of Kant's ethics in particular. As always, Allen also offers fierce and bracing judgments on matters philosophical and political. Three examples from this interview (I disagree with them to varying degrees, but that's not the point). First, on utilitarianism (vide "effective [sic] altruism"):
The problem I see with utilitarianism, or any form of consequentialism, is not that it gets the wrong answers to moral questions. I think just about any moral theory, worked out intelligently, and applied with good judgment, would get just about the same results as any other. Mill developed utilitarianism with great humanity and insight. Perhaps that is why many utilitarians (those with less humanity, insight and judgment) say he is not a true utilitarian. I have said to two of my friends: David Lyons and John Skorupski — both excellent philosophers, who have made a deep study of utilitarianism — that they are my favorite utilitarians. The reaction of both was the same: “But I am not a utilitarian!” To this my reply was: “Ah, so that explains it.”
Consequentialist theories begin with a very simple and undoubtedly valid point: Every action aims at a future end, and is seen as a means to it. (This is precisely Kant’s conception of action.) So one rational standard of action is how well it promotes the end it seeks. Another standard is whether it aims at ends which are good. Both of these, but especially the former, depend on judgments of fact. Utilitarians are usually empiricists who think they can solve every problem by accumulating enough empirical facts. They do not realize that thinking as well as experience is necessary to know anything or get anything right.Philosophy is about getting the facts right, but it is also about thinking rightly about them. Philosophy is more about the latter than the former. That’s why empiricist philosophy always tends to be anti-philosophy (and is often proud of it). People are often most proud of precisely those things of which they should most be ashamed. (The rightward side of American politics illustrates this very well.)
The big problem for consequentialism is that facts of this last form are hard to obtain except for a few determinate ends in the fairly short run. Consequentialist theories pretend that we can set some great big ends (the general happiness, human flourishing), provide ourselves with definite enough conceptions of them to make them the objects of instrumental reasoning, and then obtain enough reliable information about what actions will best promote them that we could regulate our conduct by these considerations alone. In fact people do not know enough about themselves and what is good for them to form a sufficiently definite conception of the general happiness (or whatever the end is) to establish definite rules for its pursuit.
Further, we cannot predict the effects of our actions, especially our collective actions over generations or centuries, to use instrumental reasoning toward these big final ends to tell us what we ought to do. As a result, it is possible to use the simple point that it is rational to choose the right means to your ends to develop very elegant abstract formal theories of rational choice, and then turn these into what look like moral theories. Philosophers tend to be ravished by the formal beauty of such theories, and they don’t pay much attention to the fact that our human limitations make them pretty useless in practice, while the simple point about instrumental reasoning is too shallow to be of much real moral interest.
When consequentialist theories are developed in terms of an equally shallow psychology of the good — such as a crude form of hedonism — the results can sometimes strike sensible people as revolting and inhuman. People can be reduced to simple repositories of positive or negative sensory states, and their humanity is lost sight of entirely. When people think that moral problems can be solved by some simple strategy of calculation, that sets them up for ghastly overreaching. They think they can turn everything into a “science” the way mechanics was turned into a science in the seventeeth century. They want to turn everything over to technocrats and social engineers. They become shortsighted or simplistic about their ends, and they disastrously overestimate their ability to acquire the information they need to make the needed calculations. Utilitarians of the caliber of Mill and Sidgwick do not do these things, at least on particular moral issues about which they reflect as human beings.
Another English band to come out of the hard rock/blues explosion, whose most famous representative was Free; this tune is from their second album. Members of Trapeze later went on to join better known outfits in the 1970s, such as Deep Purple and Judas Priest. This is from their second album, Medusa, which has a couple of other good tunes, but this is the standout:
Votes of no confidence spread. President Cross is in a difficult situation; the Regents should all resign, they have more power and they have been complicit in laying the seeds for the destruction of what was a great state university system. Shame, shame.
This is quite interesting, though it does proceed on the assumption that Trump actually means what he says, but who really knows? But Mearsheimer is plainly correct that Hillary Clinton is a "super hawk" with a record of terrible judgment on foreign policy matters. Mearsheimer clearly likes that he hears Trump as moving away from the "liberal imperialism" of both the Republicans and Democrats, of which, of course, Mearsheimer himself is a critic (though, needless to say, a more nuanced one than Trump!).
Alexander Guerrero (political and legal philosophy), who is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Pennsylvania, has been voted a tenured offer from the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
Interesting piece, which helps explain why universities there seem to perform so much better than others in Spain. In our part of the academic world, we've seen this recently with the philosophers Carl Hoefer and Genoveva Marti, who recently moved to the University of Western Ontario, but are now returning to Barcelona.
Kenneth Shockley (environmental philosophy, ethics), Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, has accepted a senior offer from the Department of Philosophy at Colorado State University, where he starts this August.
The data and various charts are here. What I can't tell from this data is what is "held constant" when the authors say that women are more likely than men to get permanent posts all else equal. For example, does this analysis "hold constant" the quality of the PhD program from which the graduates come? I'm not sure. If more women are graduating from strong programs, proportionally, than men, then the result wouldn't be surprising. Comments are open for anyone who can clarify what's going on here.
This crazy legislation has passed in other benighted states (e.g., Texas), but lucky for Georgia, the Governor vetoed it; from his explanation for the veto (#9 at the link):
Perhaps the most enlightening evidence of the historical significance of prohibiting weapons on a college campus is found in the minutes of October 4, 1824, Board of Visitors of the newly created University of Virginia. Present for that meeting were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, along with four other members. In that meeting of the Board of Visitors, detailed rules were set forth for the operation of the University which would open several months later. Under the rules relating to the conduct of students, it provided that “No student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any spirituous or venomous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind…”
The approval of these specific prohibitions relating to “campus carry” by the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the principal author of the United States Constitution should not only dispel any vestige of Constitutional privilege but should illustrate that having college campuses free of weapons has great historical precedent.
So religious crazy Ted Cruz--"Lucifer in the flesh" in the memorable phrase of the former Speaker of the House John Boehner (himself not exactly a paragon of cosmopolitan virtue and enlightenment, but still quite a bit saner than Lucifer)--has dropped out of the Republican race after losing to Herr Trump in the Indiana primary. It is true that, early on, I endorsed Trump for the Republican nomination, not realizing how much impact that would have. Clinton, alas, will be the Democratic nominee, which means however this ends, it will be bad for humanity at large. Bear in mind that the various polls about Clinton vs. Trump so far all show Clinton leading substantially (the exception is the consistently right-leaning Rasmussen reports), but often with 15-20% of the electorate undecided. Trump will begin his assault on Clinton soon, which may or may not inflict damage. Assuming Trump does not pick a woman as a running mate (e.g., his wife or daughter) or find a minority running mate, someone who would no doubt make Uncle Tom look like Frederick Douglass, Clinton would be well-advised to pick the liberal Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio, a crucial state to win, and a running mate more likely to appeal to Sanders supporters and working class white men. In the end, the demographics will propel Clinton to office: women, young people, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American voters will all vote for Clinton, or at least against Trump, by sizeable majorities (on the order of 60-90%), which will send not only Trump but hopefully many other Republican congressional candidates down in flames in November. With luck, the Republican Party will disappear from the face of the earth, or regroup in smaller factions, e.g., "the Lucifer Party," the "Libertarians" and so on.
A press release here. I have not yet read the complaint, but assuming his tenure contract with Marquette includes standard AAUP protections for academic freedom, he has a good claim.
ADDENDUM: I'm astonished to see that Justin Weinberg (South Carolina) continues to assert, falsely, that Prof. McAdam's original blog post was inaccurate; in fact, it was almost entirely accurate. The faculty committee report from which he quotes is astonishing, a formal confirmation that Marquette University is not a serious university that values either academic freedom or free speech. (As an amusing aside, even the committee report acknowledges at the bottom of p. 152 that the existence of inaccuracies in the original blog post is irrelevant!) It as written as though there is some legal ambiguity about whether Prof. McAdam's extramural speech is legally protected by his contract with the university; there is not. It acts as though it is up to the committee to redraw the boundaries of academic freedom; it is not. If the contract incorporates the AAUP standards, then the matter is legally closed. Most astonishingly, it invents a new obligation, namely that when faculty speak extramurally, they "avoid recklessly causing [others] harm, even indirectly." It is a shame there won't be a photo of the look on the judge's face when he or she reads this interpretation of Marquette's contractual obligations to protect the academic freedom of Prof. McAdams. There is no extant interpretation of freedom of speech or academic freedom that would license such a restriction, and for the obvious reasons that it is too vague for anyone to be able to anticipate what speech it encompasses.
Story here. This is all very sad, considering that Madison has been one of the great state research universities in the country. Will they be in the top 20 a decade from now? We'll know within a year or two the fallout of all this turmoil--not that it will matter to lowlife ignoramuses like Scott Walker.
An interesting essay by journalist Andrew Sullivan, who even works in some Plato, not implausibly. As with everything by Sullivan, the substance is mixed, but there are, as one of the several readers who sent this to me today said, some "gems." Herewith a few excerpts:
Could it be that the Donald has emerged from the populist circuses of pro wrestling and New York City tabloids, via reality television and Twitter, to prove not just Plato but also James Madison right, that democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention … and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths”? Is he testing democracy’s singular weakness — its susceptibility to the demagogue — by blasting through the firewalls we once had in place to prevent such a person from seizing power? Or am I overreacting?
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)