MOVING TO FRONT: THIS POLL WILL BE CLOSING TOMORROW MIDDAY!
So the earlier poll gave us a "top ten" list of generalist philosophy journals, but since it omitted too many possible "top twenty" contenders, we're going to run a new poll to identify 11-20. Have fun!
(Journal of the American Philosophical Association seems a bit too new to include just yet.)
The Trump candidacy continues to collapse--his unfavorable ratings, even among Republicans, are very high, and he hasn't been able to break into the 30% range in polls (even the braindead Rick Perry did that four years ago). This is a tragedy on many levels: Trump single-handedly guarantees a Democratic victory, so the longer he lasts, the more confident the Democrats can be that even if they nominate an empty vessel like Clinton, they will still get the votes of almost all Hispanics, women, Asian-Americans and young people. It bears emphasizing that the other Republican candidates are on the spectrum between appalling and disgusting, with only one or two rising to the level of "fit to be part of civilization." Meanwhile, Sanders--who in most of Europe would just be a banal social democrat running for office--continues to close in on Clinton, the candidate of the prudent wing of the plutocracy. (Obviously the Sanders surge is due to the influence of the philosophical vote.) Interesting times in America.
...Jason Stanley (Yale) on his book How Propaganda Works (and Donald Trump!). Stanley's sense of propaganda is a bit unusual, but this interviewer does a really good job clarifying it. Because it was an interview by telephone, the sound quality isn't always great, alas.
I think it would be interesting and appropriate to see discussion of academic boycotts as a tool of political protest and persuasion, specifically in relation to the BDS movement and Israeli policies in the occupied territories. A recent article in the Electronic Intifada raises issues that some American philosophers might be interested in.
Comments are open. Please try to keep it substantive and calm.
I will state my own view (which everyone is welcome to reject or dispute): while there might be situations in which academic boycotts would be effective tools of political persuasion, Israel is not one of them. An academic boycott would punish innocent parties, without any prospect at all that the government would change its policy because of the inconvenience to academics. Economic boycotts or sanctions would surely make a much greater difference to Israeli policy towards the occupied territories.
We've gotten a remarkably strong (and quick) response to the invitations to participate in the inaugural workshop in Bonn of ISNS, and since we are trying to keep the event relatively small to facilitate serious discussion, we are capping acceptances at around 20 (though there will be a waitlist).
Anyone may submit to the Call for Papers; authors of accepted papers will be invited to present in Bonn and the papers will appear in Inquiry.
ADDENDUM: For those interested in Nietzsche, I discuss a recent paper by Andrew Huddleston (one of the three invited speakers for the inaugural ISNS workshop) here.
Rob Townsend, Director of the Washington office of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, writes:
Quick note to let you know I’ve posted up another item that philosophers might find of interest—this time on the relationship between funding and time to the humanities PhD (at http://bit.ly/1LqJMc4 ). On average, we find that recent humanities PhDs who relied primarily on personal savings or income take more than a year longer to earn their degrees—almost a year-and-a-half longer than graduates who relied on fellowships and assistantships. The other finding that will be of interest to philosophers is that in comparison to the other disciplines, philosophy PhDs who rely on personal sources of income (including loans and family support) seem to spend more time at the dissertation stage. I hope it will provide some useful data points for discussions about reforming PhDs.
Comments open for readers who have thoughts about this data.
Kate Manne, an assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell, has an op-ed on "trigger warnings" in the New York Times. She makes some good points contra this piece (though that piece was not primarily about "trigger warnings"), but elides the real issues which are: (1) PTSD is a clinical diagnosis, and no one I know has argued against (legally required) accomodations for someone with that medical condition; (2) instructors, with no clinical competence, making ad hoc judgments about what warnings *might* be necessary for students who *might* have PTSD is an invitation to both insufficient accomodation and unnecessary "warnings" that may have, as their consequence, precisely what the critics claim, namely, shutting down discussion. Prof. Manne is aware of the latter risk, but says only that, "Common sense should tell us that material that is merely offensive to certain people’s political or religious sensibilities wouldn’t merit a warning." Common sense is sometimes in short supply, alas (The Atlantic article is actually full of useful examples.)
ADDENDUM: The AAUP statement is also useful, and see esp. its discussion of the Oberlin policy, which was distinctly lacking in "common sense."
Details here. They seem to have a strong interest in Chinese philosophy in particular, though there are plenty of fairly conventional Anglophone philosophers represented as well. I suppose the million dollar prize is going to take on the appearance of a "Nobel" in philosophy, though it will depend on how it goes to.
Comments are open for those who know more about Beggruen and what the goals are etc.
(Thanks to Chin Leong Teoh for the pointer.)
ADDENDUM: Here's the philosophy prize "jury":
Berggruen Philosophy Prize Jury
Kwame Anthony Appiah – Professor of Philosophy at New York University
Leszek Borysiewicz – Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Antonio Damasio –Director, Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California
Amy Gutmann – President of the University of Pennsylvania
Amartya Sen – Nobel Laureate, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University
Alison Simmons – Samuel H. Wolcott Professor of Philosophy and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University
Michael Spence – Nobel Laureate, William R. Berkley Professor in Economics & Business at New York University, Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University
Wang Hui – Professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature and the Department of History at Tsinghua University, Director of the Tsinghua Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences
George Yeo – Chancellor of Nalanda University and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
...that exactly four years ago Rick "I'm actually dumber than I appear to be" Perry was leading the polls at nearly 30% for the Repug nomination. In other words, there's a lot more mischief ahead of us, long after the Republican Establishment destroys Trump. It's true that Trump is the most overtly racist of the current contenders, but he's far more sane on almost every other issue than the rest of them. So watch what you wish for!
Let’s do away with this shit. Many millions of Americans want their next president to be Carly Fiorina—an inept, failed CEO with no experience of public service who spent last night threatening to make war on half the fucking planet. She was like the eighth most irresponsible psychopath on the stage, and the rest of them, down to the least of them, all represent vast constituencies. This isn’t a failure of the political system—this is the political system working, expressing the will of the governed.
Any polity that can produce such an outcome should be abolished. Dissolve the United States, replacing it with a set of city-states, villages, and thinly-peopled hinterlands; let every public that wants one have their own Carly Fiorina or Bobby Jindal, and let everyone else go about their business. The candidate who proposes that will be the one to get behind.
I was sad to see this; many visitors to the Law & Philosophy Workshop over the last few years enjoyed terrific dinners (and I think conversation!) there. The menu was eclectic, but the sushi was very good, and the mix of French and Japanese influences on various dishes generally delightful. Not as fancy (and also not as pricey), but still good for sushi and other familiar Japanese dishes, are the Tsukiji Fish Market and Itto Sushi.
I'll post something in a bit about dining in Chicago, since I often get asked by friends for dining suggestions and I've now been here long enough to have some pretty good recommendations.
UPDATE: I should mention that many consider Katsu the best Japanese in Chicago--I've never been, as it's on the far north side, closer to Evanston than to Hyde Park!
Professor Card joined the philosophy faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1966; at the time of her death, she was Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy there. She wrote widely about issues in moral, political and social philosophy, often from a feminist perspective. You can learn more about her work here and there is a very nice memorial from her former student, the philosopher Kate Norlock (Trent), here.
I will add links to other memorial notices as they appear.
UPDATE: The Wisconsin memorial notice. (Thanks to Paula Gottlieb for the link.)
Nietzsche famously proclaimed the "death of God," but in so doing it was not God's death that was really notable--Nietzsche assumes that most reflective, modern readers realize that "the belief in the Christian god has become unbelievable” (GS 343)--but the implications of that belief becoming unbelievable, namely, "how much must collapse now that this faith has been undermined," in particular, "the whole of our European morality" (GS 343). What is the connection between the death of God and the death of morality?
I argue that Nietzsche thinks the death of God will undermine two central aspects of our morality: its moral egalitarianism, and its belief in moral responsibility and warranted guilt. I offer an account of how Nietzsche sees the connections, and conclude with some skeptical considerations about whether Nietzsche was right that atheism would, in fact, undermine morality.
UPDATE: A friend on FB, an historian at Harvard, posted the following excerpt from the preceding paper, which leads me to think it might be worth sharing:
Consider the Nietzschean Trolley Problem (apologies for anachronism): a runaway trolley is hurtling down the tracks towards Beethoven, before he has even written the Eroica symphony; by throwing a switch, you can divert the trolley so that it runs down five (or fifty) ordinary people, non-entities (say university professors of law or philosophy) of various stripes (“herd animals” in Nietzschean lingo), and Beethoven is saved. For the anti-egalitarian, this problem is not a problem: one should of course save a human genius at the expense of many mediocrities. To reason that way is, of course, to repudiate moral egalitarianism. Belief in an egalitarian God would thwart that line of reasoning; but absent that belief, what would?
There is a small paradox in the growth of effective altruism as a movement when it is so profoundly individualistic. Its utilitarian calculations presuppose that everyone else will continue to conduct business as usual; the world is a given, in which one can make careful, piecemeal interventions. The tacit assumption is that the individual, not the community, class or state, is the proper object of moral theorising. There are benefits to thinking this way. If everything comes down to the marginal individual, then our ethical ambitions can be safely circumscribed; the philosopher is freed from the burden of trying to understand the mess we’re in, or of proposing an alternative vision of how things could be. The philosopher is left to theorise only the autonomous man, the world a mere background for his righteous choices. You wouldn’t be blamed for hoping that philosophy has more to give.
A nice way of saying that the EA schtick is a pernicious reactionary distraction.
I am not a professional or academic philosopher, my interest in philosophy came to me rather lae in life, with family, house, daytime job already being factors in my life. I have read a lot in the 7 years since I took my initial course in "history of thought" evening time at Uppsala University. In my spare time, which is getting more substantial as my kids now are almost grown up--and unfortunately since the work situation for Swedish engineers in multinational companies is rather poor with the competition from low-salary countries--I read philosophy. Philosophy magazines, original works, internet forums et al.
Already having read a lot original works in philosophy(Sein und Zeit, Tractatus, much Nietzsche, Plato's dialogues...), I want to get in the business of reading academic papers. I've read a few, classical ones like "On Denoting", and some contemporary ones that I have found, but rather randomly and without knowing my way around. What I'm looking for, is there a place or an article that can suggest good papers for "beginners"? And "how to read academic papers"? Since I have no formal education in modal logic and the like, articles filled with such, looking like computer programming logic (which I know but not love) is not maybe my cup of tea. Papers on ethics, aestethics or other humanistic subjects seem to be more readable, and ethics, and political philosophy is of a great interest to me (I read ATOJ and ASU by Rawls/Nozick earlier this year, to get "background"). But I am also interested in logic and language. But are there some starting points for an amateur interested in the papers from the universities?
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)