For starters, I want to thank Brian for the opportunity to once again guest blog here at Leiter Reports. When I was last blogging here back in 2006, my goal was to satirically rant about the dangerous political state of affairs at the time. For this upcoming week, however, I will try to be a bit more serious. Rather than stirring the political pot (and trying to get a few laughs along the way), my goal instead will be to highlight some issues within the profession that I feel deserve attention and to generate some discussion about what, if anything, can and should be done about these issues. Given that it’s presently job market season, I thought one issue that merits discussion is the interviewing process—especially people’s experiences with video conferencing.
Three years ago, there was a series of posts here on Leiter Reports about whether departments should forgo using the Eastern APA for the purposes of first round interviews when video conferencing technology was both widely available and largely free (see here, here, and here). Before I say more, I should confess that I was the “young[ish]” philosopher who originally emailed Brian in the wake of the debacle in Boston at the Eastern APA. So, it’s unsurprising that I think departments should use video conferencing for first round interviews (which has been the practice of my own department here at College of Charleston since last year). And while I am happy to rehash some of those arguments in the present discussion thread, I think it would be more helpful to hear about people’s actual experiences with video conferencing, both good and bad, since it's been a while since we've discussed this issue.Given that more people have now had the chance to navigate job interviews via video conferencing, it would be helpful to hear not only from those who have been interviewed but also from those who have been doing the interviewing. It would be just as illustrative to hear from those of you who belong to departments that choose instead to continue interviewing at the Eastern APA. If you think your department should make the switch, let us know why. If you think instead that your department should stick with interviews at the APA, it would be helpful to hear from you as well.
In the meantime, you can read more about the supposed trend towards video conference interviews here, here, here, and here (although you can read a more recent cautionary tale here). You can also get some advice concerning how to prepare and what to avoid during video conference interviews here, here, here, here, here, and here. If some of you have found any additional helpful articles, please post the links in the discussion thread.
p.s. I will be moderating comments, so please be patient. Also, as always, signed comments are preferred (although I appreciate the importance of anonymity for those of you presently on the market--which is why I needed to remain anonymous three years ago!)
A full list is here; at the senior ranks, the new appointments include: Peter Hacker (Wittgenstein, history of analytic philosophy, philosophy of language and mind), who is emeritus at Oxford, who will be roughly quarter-time for at least the next three years, giving graduate seminars and public lectures; and Dominic Scott (ancient philosophy), who will move to Kent in fall 2014 from the University of Virginia.
Alex Rosenberg (Duke), a leading philosopher of economic and biology, shared the following apt thoughts about this year's unusual prize:
So, the Swedish Central Bank's ersatz Nobel Prize for “economic science” gets awarded to a guy who says markets are efficient and there are no bubbles—Eugene Fama (“I don’t know what a credit bubble means. I don’t even know what a bubble means. These words have become popular. I don’t think they have any meaning”—New Yorker, 2010), along with another economist—Robert Shiller, who says that markets are pretty much nothing but bubbles, “Most of the action in the aggregate stock market is bubbles.” (NY Times, October 19, 2013) Imagine the parallel in physics or chemistry or biology—the prize is split between Einstein and Bohr for their disagreement about whether quantum mechanics is complete, or Pauling and Crick for their dispute about whether the gene is a double helix or a triple, or between Gould and Dawkins for their rejection of one another’s views about the units of selection. In these disciplines Nobel Prizes are given to reward a scientist who has established something every one else can bank on. In economics, “Not so much.” This wasn’t the first time they gave the award to an economist who says one thing and another one who asserts its direct denial. Cf. Myrdal and Hayek in 1974. What’s really going on here? Well, Shiller gave the game away in a NY Times interview when he said of Fama, “It’s like having a friend who is a devout believer of another religion.” Actually it’s probably two denominations in the same religion.
As was said of the Sokal hoax, there is simply no way to do justice to the cringe-inducing nature of this text without quoting it in its entirety. But, in a nutshell, Basic Structures of Reality is an impressively inept contribution to philosophy of physics, and one exemplifying everything that can possibly go wrong with metaphysics: it is mind-numbingly repetitive, toe-curlingly pretentious, and amateurish in the extreme regarding the incorporation of physical fact. With work this grim, the only interesting questions one can raise concern not the content directly but the conditions that made it possible; and in this connection, one might be tempted to present the book as further evidence of the lack of engagement of metaphysicians with real science — something that has lately been subject to lively discussion (and I myself have slung some of the mud). But I would insist that to use this work to make a general point about the discipline would in fact be entirely unfair. For one thing, while contemporary metaphysicians are often tokenistic in their treatments, I think most would appreciate that looking at the pictures in a book is of limited value qua research into unobservable entities, even if it is the auspicious ‘1700-page textbook University Physics’ (p. 129) that informs McGinn’s critique. Furthermore, McGinn has scant interest in getting to grips not only with the relevant science, but also the work of fellow philosophers wrestling with questions similar to those he himself is concerned with. Despite defending dispositional essentialism, for example, there is no mention of Mumford, Ellis, or Bird; he cites nothing by Maudlin, or Albert, or pretty much any of the philosophers that naturalistically inclined metaphysicians rely upon for philosophy of physics input, with the result that his philosophical argumentation is strewn with undergraduate-level errors. Similarly, while given the title one would expect some meaningful engagement with the field of structural realism (something, I add, that he fundamentally misrepresents, as aficionados can confirm on page 10), instead we find a single reference to a contemporary work in that area — namely, ‘Mark Lange’s article ‘‘Structural Realism’’ in the online Stanford Encyclopedia’ (p. 5). Since Marc (that’s ‘Marc’) Lange is not a structural realist, and it was in fact James Ladyman who wrote said Stanford article, one can only assume it is the latter’s piece that McGinn has in mind here. (One also cannot help but assume, of course, that he never actually bothered to read it.)
For all the epistemic faux-modesty that this book purports to defend, the image that persists while grinding through its pages is of an individual ludicrously fancying themselves as uniquely positioned to solve the big questions for us, from scratch and unassisted, as if none of the rest of us working in the field have had anything worth a damn to contribute. It will however be clear by now that I take the reality to be substantially different. For me, then, the one pertinent question this work raises is why all of this went unrecognized: this book, after all, issues not from one of the many spurious publishing houses currently trolling graduate students, but Oxford University Press — a press whose stated aim is to ‘publish works that further Oxford University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education’. So why did they publish this? I can hazard no explanation other than that Colin McGinn is a ‘big name’; and if that is sufficient for getting work this farcical in print with OUP, then shame on our field as a whole. As such, McGinn’s foray into philosophy of physics may in the end provoke a worthwhile discussion, though sadly one focused on concerns rather different from those he himself had in mind.
(Thanks to Wayne Myrvold for the initial pointer, and several other readers who also kindly sent it along.) I invite discussion of the issue Dr. McKenzie raises at the end, but signed comments only: full name and valid e-mail address. (Anyone who has read Professor McGinn's book and wants to take issue with the substantive criticisms is also welcome to do so.)
ADDENDUM: For those new to the blog, this series of wicked book reviews began with Colin McGinn's savaging (correctly, as far as I can tell) of a book by Ted Honderich.
Authors and/or publishers kindly sent me these new books this month:
Death & the Afterlife by Samuel Scheffler, edited by Niko Kolodny (Oxford University Press, 2013) [this volume also includes responses to Scheffler's Tanner Lectures by Harry Frankfurt, Kolodny, Seana Shiffrin, and Susan Wolf].
Lectures on the History of Moral and Political Philosophy by G.A. Cohen, edited by Jonathan Wolff (Princeton University Press, 2013).
The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche edited by Ken Gemes & John Richardson (Oxford University Press, 2013). [I have an essay in this one, which is why I received a copy]
The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present by David Runciman (Princeton University Press, 2013).
Does God Exist? A Dialogue on the Proofs for God's Existence, 2nd edition, by Todd C. Moody (Hackett, 2013).
Aristotle's Modal Syllogistic by Marko Malink (Harvard University Press, 2013).
The Quotable Kierkegaard edited by Gordon Marino (Princeton University Press, 2014).
Confucian Reflections: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times by Philip J. Ivanhoe (Routledge, 2013).
Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind edited by Uriah Kriegel (Routledge, 2014).
Authorities: Conflicts, Cooperation, and Transnational Legal Theory by Nicole Roughan (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Joint Commitment: How We Make the Social World by Margaret Gilbert (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Liberal Rights and Responsibilities: Essays on Citizenship and Sovereignty by Christopher Heath Wellman (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Minds, Brains, and Law: The Conceptual Foundations of Law and Neuroscience by Michael S. Pardo & Dennis Patterson (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Divine Fury: A History of Genius by Darrin M. McMahon (Basic Books, 2013). [This is an entertaining work of history, that was illuminating, for example, on the cult of Napoleon as a "genius" in the 19th-century].
MOVING TO FRONT FROM OCTOBER 26--UPDATED
During his long career at Columbia University, Professor Danto wrote very widely, including well-known books and articles on philosophy of action, philosophy of history, Nietzsche, and Sartre, though he became best-known outside the academy for his work in aesthetics and art criticism, including a long stint as the art critic for The Nation. I will add links to memorial notices as they appear.
A FIRST OBITUARY: From The Art Newspaper.
ANOTHER: The AP obituary, which has appeared in various news outlets.
THE NY TIMES: Here.
AND STILL MORE REMEMBRANCES FROM COLLEAGUES AND FORMER STUDENTS here.
A student currently in an MA program writes:
How widespread a problem is this? Please provide links to other examples. I assume these policies are overwhelmingly set by the central administration, not the philosophy departments. Do any departments have their own policies/procedures to waive fees based on economic need? Signed comments will be very strongly preferred.
I am writing to you at the suggestion of several professors of philosophy, who thought this might deserve the attention of the greater philosophical community. I am in the process of applying to graduate schools in philosophy for Fall 2014 (in the United States and Canada).
I am shocked that there are several institutions that do not offer need-based fee waivers for applications. Many top programs do offer waivers for those with demonstrated need or who qualify based on participation in specific programs, but several major programs (Harvard, UNC*, Toronto, etc.) do not.
Students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are already playing a game pitted against them. Besides those things which I surely do not need to repeat, but which are known to keep promising students out of undergraduate and graduate programs, applying to graduate school also means paying $165 for the GRE and $25 for each school a report is sent to.
Everyone is aware of how difficult it is to get into graduate school, and I have not met anyone that is applying to less than 10 schools. Even if half those schools waive their fees, that's $250 in GRE reports and probably close to $500 in the other application fees. With small chances of admittance for even highly-qualified candidates, it seems a poor investment to put in so much money when one is lucky if they have that much disposable money at all. For a student like me, there is no option but to remove my application. What was a small chance becomes no chance.
Schools that do not provide the fee waiver option send the message that they have no interest in students who cannot afford hundreds of dollars in application fees. Financially disadvantaged students are faced with a decision: do they use their limited funds to apply to the (likely higher-ranked and more competitive) program they would love to attend, or do they apply to the program they are more likely to be admitted to?
*At UNC, it's not possible if you had any period of time for which you weren't enrolled; a condition is "no breaks in enrollment from point of entry at the undergraduate level." This seems to target a particularly vulnerable group: people who took time off to work, either during or after undergraduate programs.
A colleague at CUNY has sent to me the statement by the faculty union President, Barbara Bowen:
The CUNY Administration has developed a draft “Policy on Expressive Activity,” to be considered for adoption sometime after January 1 by the CUNY Board of Trustees. You can read it here. The draft policy proposes severe limitations on how the fundamental and distinct freedoms of speech and assembly may be exercised at the City University. Anyone who knows the importance of freedom of expression at CUNY or who understands the essential character of a university has a stake in whether the policy is adopted.
Proposed on the heels of faculty opposition to Pathways and student protests about tuition increases, the policy reads as an attempt to silence dissent and to stifle protest before it starts.
As drafted, the proposed “Policy on Expressive Activity” goes beyond existing regulations on individual and collective action at CUNY. It would ban demonstrations from the interior of CUNY buildings, forcing demonstrators into “designated areas”; it would require 24 hours’ advance notice of demonstrations involving as few as 25 people; it would limit the distribution of “materials” on campus to areas designated by the administration; and it would give college presidents or their designees the sole power to determine if a demonstration is “disruptive”—and to call the police onto campus to stop it. “Freedom of expression and assembly,” the proposed policy states, “are subject to the need to maintain safety and order.” The union takes extremely seriously the University’s responsibility to maintain a safe environment for those who work and study here. But safety is not the same as “order”; safety does not require repression.
Universities should uphold the highest standards for freedom of speech and assembly. As institutions devoted not just to the transmission of knowledge but to the production of new ideas, universities are inherently places of exploration, debate, dissent and, sometimes, protest. If CUNY is to be an intellectually vibrant university, it must recognize that “expressive activity” is a vital part of campus life, not a danger to be confined to narrow limits.
The PSC leadership believes it is important that every member of the faculty and staff have an opportunity to read the proposed policy, which we received informally this month—though not from CUNY. The draft, however, is dated June 27. The proposed policy potentially affects all of us, and our students. We urge you to discuss the draft policy in your union chapter meetings in preparation for further union action. The PSC leadership has begun to develop a comprehensive response to the proposed policy, using every possible means—including protest—to challenge it. On October 24, the
union sent CUNY a formal demand to bargain on the policy, as we believe it would have an impact on the terms and conditions of employment of the faculty and staff we represent. Union officers are also in discussion with the University Faculty Senate leadership and have asked First Amendment lawyers for their review. The PSC’s executive council and delegate assembly will fully examine the draft policy and consider resolutions in response at their next meetings.
CUNY was founded in 1847 as the result of disruption and dissent; several of its colleges have been saved from closing during fiscal crises because of protest and assembly. Chilling restrictions on “expressive activity” have no place here. I welcome your comments on the proposed policy and will update you as the union continues to act in response.
...and more philosophy food.
(Thanks to Jerry Dworkin for the pointer.)
Posted by Brian Leiter on October 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM in Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor) | Permalink
A reader writes:
I'm wondering if you could have a discussion for your website about manuscript referencing styles. Some journals, mostly European-based, require in-text citation referencing. My own work is usually written in the style typically seen in the top journals in my subfield (which involve the use of footnotes or endnotes), which happen to be American-based. I have found that if a paper of mine is rejected in these journals, I have difficulty getting them accepted for review at European journals; to my surprise, most seem to require manuscripts be submitted in their referencing style, which in some cases would require significant revision to meet (my work is footnote-heavy). I am wondering what philosophers think of this practice. It seems to me that journals should be willing to accept for review papers of any referencing style, and only later request the author to convert the paper to its style after it is accepted.
Now you can find out.
(Thanks to Craig Duncan for the pointer.)
Posted by Brian Leiter on October 28, 2013 at 01:45 PM in Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor), Philosophy in the News | Permalink
A curious story in CHE about some cases where things went wrong (it's behind a paywall); an excerpt:
[Sara Rachel] Chant and her husband, Zachary Ernst, were recruited [to Missouri] in 2006 from two faculty jobs at Florida State University. The philosophy department here wooed them with higher salaries, they say. The department also paid to transport Ms. Chant's horses from Florida and agreed to allow her dog—Alexander, a Great Dane—to accompany her to the campus....
Mr. Ernst went up for tenure first, in 2008, and got it without a hitch. But when it was Ms. Chant's turn three years later, the department voted her down. Most of the other decision makers up the line, all the way to the university's chancellor, agreed with the department's decision. They said Ms. Chant had failed to design new courses, that her syllabi weren't detailed enough, and that she had cowritten too many publications with her husband rather than publishing articles she alone wrote in top journals, Ms. Chant says.
To complicate matters, a few years before Ms. Chant came up for tenure she had had an affair with a philosopher outside Missouri, and Mr. Ernst, who was crushed at the time, is said to have told a colleague here that he actually wrote most of his wife's work. Mr. Ernst now says that's something he never claimed, but Ms. Chant says she believes that it was a factor in her tenure proceedings.
By the height of Ms. Chant's tenure battle, a few years after the affair had ended, Mr. Ernst had become a more outspoken advocate for her case than she was herself. He accompanied her to administrators' offices to wage appeals. And he dashed off a treatise he put on Facebook, accusing the philosophy department of sexism.
Some blogs covered Mr. Ernst's accusations at the time, though not this one--as I suspected, there was a lot more to the story. (Ms. Chant did subsequently get tenure after appealing the decision.)
We take a classic of philosophy and ask an outstanding scholar in the same field to review it as if it had just been published. This implies that the classical work must be contrasted with both past and current literature and must be framed in the wider cultural context of the present day. The result is a litmus test for the work itself: Failure in accounting for relevant issues raised by contemporary literature reveals that, in those respects, our classic has indeed been outpaced by later works. On the other hand, any success in capturing core topics of current discussion, or even anticipating and clarifying issues not yet well brought into focus by contemporary scholars, is the strongest proof of the liveliness of the work, no matter how long ago it was written.
I have enjoyed reading some of the previous "Untimely Reviews," including for example Brandom on Hegel's Phenomenology (2008) and Leitgeb on Carnap's Aufbau (2009). Readers not familiar with the series should check it out.
(I should note that my "untimely review" will not include that many new ideas for those who have been reading some of my other Nietzsche essays of late--I've been working on, and writing about Twilight quite a bit over the last two years.)
(Thanks to Bob Hockett for the pointer.)
You would think this came from a Sinclair Lewis novel, but it's for real:
(Thanks to Mark Couch for the pointer.)
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama sent a letter this week to Carol M. Watson, the acting chairwoman of the NEH, in which he demanded the agency explain its peer-review process for funding grants that explore “very indefinite” questions.
Sessions pointed to seven grants the NEH funded that seek to explore the following questions: “What is the meaning of life?”, “Why are we interested in the past?”, “What is the good life and how do I live it?”, “Why are bad people bad?”, “What is belief?”, “What is a monster?”, and “Why do humans write?”
A junior philosopher writes:
While the vast majority of my students are perfectly happy to study philosophy in college and never crack open another book , I periodically meet with someone interested in pursuing graduate school. While these range from academically-inclined and hard-working students to those who clearly lack the academic credentials to be admitted anywhere, there are some for whom I just think graduate school would be a bad idea. I wonder if folks who’ve been in the profession longer have developed good strategies for talking to students who they wish to dissuade from pursuing a graduate career. Part of my concern is that such students may end up in poor PhD or expensive terminal MA programs that may result in great quantities of debt and few job prospects (I know that an MA can be a wonderful place to “try it out”, but in this economic climate, allowing students to accrue more debt seems morally troubling). I try to be as dire about the prospects for success in the profession as I can, but this doesn’t seem sufficient.
What do readers think?
UPDATED NOVEMBER 22, 2013
MOVING TO FRONT FROM OCT. 13--a couple more minor corrections.
These are the major changes at the (primarily) tenured faculty level since the fall 2011 surveys for programs ranked then or in 2009. I've generally omitted short-term part-time appointments. I try to always list areas of specialty under the appointing school's entry (sometimes under the school that lost the faculty member as well.) The list of tenurings since fall 2011 is probably incomplete, and I welcome corrections and additions. Just about all these changes can be expected to affect the specialty rankings, and some, due to their significance and/or number, might affect the overall results; I speculate at the end about that.
Australian National University: Appointed Victoria McGeer (philosophy of mind & cognitive science, moral psychology) and Philip Pettit (ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind & social science) half-time from Princeton. David Chalmers (philosophy of mind & language, metaphysics) has accepted a tenured appointment at NYU, but continues to be part-time at the ANU (details to be determined going forward).
Birkbeck College, University of London: Appointed Hallvard Lillehammer (ethics, political philosophy) from Cambridge. Lost Miranda Fricker (epistemology, ethics, feminist philosophy) to Sheffield and Ian Rumfitt (philosophy of language) to Birmingham.
Boston University: Jaakko Hintikka (logic, philosophy of language, logic, math & science) and Victor Kestenbaum (American philosophy) are retiring. Krzysztof Michalski (who was part-time) passed away.
Brown University: Appointed Paul Guyer (Kant, aesthetics) from Penn. Lost Richard Heck (philosophy of language, math & logic, history of analytic philosohy) to Rutgers and will lose Jaegwon Kim (metaphysics, philosophy of mind) to retirement at the end of this academic year. Joshua Schechter (epistemology) was tenured.
Cambridge University: Appointed Richard Holton (philosophy of action, ethics, philosophy of law) and Rae Langton (Kant, ethics, feminist philosophy) from MIT. Lost Fraser MacBride to Glasgow and Hallavard Lillehammer to Birkbeck.
City University of New York Graduate Center: Lost Alva Noe (philosophy of mind & cognitive science) back to Berkeley.
Cornell University: Lost Matti Eklund (metaphysics) to Uppsala. Nicholas Sturgeon (ethics) retired. Richard Boyd (philosophy of science, metaphysics) and Gail Fine (ancient philosophy) are on phased retirement. Nicholas Silins (epistemology, philosophy of mind) was tenured.
Duke University: Fred Dretske (epistemology, philosophy of mind), a part-time Research Professor, passed away. Peter van Inwagen (metaphysics, philosophy of religion) from Notre Dame will teach one graduate seminar each Spring for at the least the next three years.
Georgetown University: Patrick Heelan (phenomenology) retired. Bryce Huebner (philosophy of cognitive science, social science & mind) was tenured.
Harvard University: Appointed (jointly with Mathematics) W. Hugh Woodin (set theory, mathematical logic) from Berkeley. Jeffrey McDonough (early modern philosophy) and Bernhard Nickel (philosophy of language, also science & mind) were tenured.
Indiana University, Bloomington: Marcia Baron (ethics, Kant, philosophy of law) has accepted the Professorship in Moral Philosophy at St. Andrews, part-time to start, and full-time as of January 2014. Lost Karen Hanson (aesthetics, ethics, philosophy of mind) to Minnesota, where she is now Provost. Kate Abramson (Hume, ethics, early modern philosophy) was tenured.
King's College, London: Appointed Bill Brewer (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind) from Warwick and Nick Shea (philosophy of psychology, cognitive science, & mind) from Oxford.
London School of Economics: Appointed Michael Otsuka (political philosophy, ethics) from University College London. Lost Nancy Cartwright (philosophy of science) to Durham.
Massachussetts Institute of Technology: Appointed Kieran Setiya (ethics, epistemology) from Pittsburgh. Lost Richard Holton (philosophy of action, ethics, philosophy of law) and Rae Langton (Kant, ethics, feminist philosophy) to Cambridge University. Robert Stalnaker (philosophy of languagee, mind & logic) is on phased retirement, ending in 2016 (and visiting half the year at Columbia).
New York University: Appointed David Chalmers (philosophy of mind, language & cognitive science) from the ANU (though Chalmers continues to spend some time at ANU), Cian Dorr (metaphysics) from Oxford, and Jessica Moss (ancient philosophy) from Oxford. Robert Hopkins (aesthetics, philosophy of mind, Nietzsche) from Sheffield is currently visiting and has a permanent offer. Thomas Nagel (moral & political philosophy, philosophy of mind) has retired. Ronald Dworkin (political & legal philosophy), whose primary appointment was in the Law School, passed away.
Ohio State University: Appointed Chris Pincock (philosophy of math and science, history of analytic philosophy) from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Declan Smithies (epistemology, philosophy of mind) was tenured.
Oxford University: Appointed Susanne Bobzien (ancient, philosophy of language) from Yale, Karen Nielsen (ancient) from Western Ontario, Ian Phillips (philosophy of mind) from UCL, and Tom Porter (political philosophy) from Manchester. Lost Tim Bayne (philosophy of mind) to Manchester; Krister Bykvist (ethics) and Anandi Hattiangadi (philosophy of mind & language, metaphysics, epistemology), both to Stockholm; Cian Dorr (metaphysics) and Jessica Moss (ancient), both to NYU; Antony Eagle (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science & probability) to Adelaide; and Scott Sturgeon (epistemology) to Birmingham. David Charles (ancient) will leave for Yale in 2014 and John Hawthorne (metaphysics, epistemology) will leave for Southern California in 2015. Daniel Isaacson (philosophy of math, logic) retired.
Princeton University: Lost part-time faculty member John Hawthorne (metaphysics, epistemology) to Southern California. Victoria McGeer (philosophy of mind & cognitive science, moral psychology) and Philip Pettit (ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind & social science) will now be half-time at Princeton and half-time at the ANU. Sarah-Jane Leslie (philosophy of language) was tenured (and promoted to full professor at the same time!).
Rutgers University, New Brunswick: Appointed Elisabeth Camp (philosophy of language and mind, aesthetics) from Penn, Richard Heck (philosophy of language, math & logic; history of analytic philosophy) from Brown, and Peter Ludlow (philosophy of language, mind & cognitive science) from Northwestern. Lost Jason Stanley (philosophy of language, epistemology) to Yale.
Saint Louis University: Appointed Jason Turner (metaphysics) from Leeds.
Syracuse University: Appointed Janice Dowell (philosophy of language & mind, metaphysics, metaethics) and David Sobel (ethics, political philosophy), both from Nebraska.
University College London: Appointed Daniel Rothschild (philosophy of language) from a post-doc at Oxford (he was previously tenure-track at Columbia). Lost Michael Otsuka (political philosophy, ethics) to LSE and Ian Phillips (philosophy of mind) to Oxford.
University of Aberdeen: Appointed Beth Lord (history of modern philosophy) from Dundee. Aberdeen has also added several part-time Professorial Fellows. Lost Catherine Wilson to York.
University of Alberta: Appointed Katherin Koslicki (metaphysics, philosophy of language, ancient) from Colorado and Jack Zupko (medieval, metaphysics, philosophy of religion) from Winnipeg.
University of Birmingham: Appointed Ian Rumfitt (philosophy of language) from Birkbeck College, University of London and Scott Sturgeon (epistemology) from Oxford, as well as a number of prominent part-time visitors. Lost Helen Beebee (metaphysics) to Manchester, Alex Miller (philosophy of language, metaethics) to Otago, and Tom Sorell (ethics, applied ethics) to the Politics Department at Warwick.
University of British Columbia: Appointed Evan Thompson (philosophy of mind & cognitive science) from Toronto. Roberta Ballarin (metaphysics, philosophy of language & mind) and Matt Bedke (ethics, metaethics, political and legal philosophy) were both tenured.
University of Calgary: Appointed C. Kenneth Waters (philosophy of biology) from Minnesota.
University of California, Berkeley: Appointed Alva Noe (philosophy of mind & cognitive science) back from CUNY (after just a year away). Appointed Kwong-Loi Shun (Chinese philosophy) to a half-time position, beginning Spring 2014. Seth Yalcin (philosophy of language) was tenured.
University of California, Los Angeles: Joseph Almog and Terence Parsons (both philosophy of language) have both taken emeritus status.
University of Chicago: Lost Michael Forster (Kant, 19th-century German philosophy, ancient philosophy, philosophy of language, epistemology) to a Humboldt Professorship at Bonn (though Forster is still roughly quarter-time at Chicago, teaching most of each Winter Quarter). Tenured Kevin Davey (philosophy of physics) and Marko Malink (ancient philosophy).
University of Cincinnati: Appointed Tony Chemero (philosophy of cognitive science, mind & science) from Franklin & Marshall College and Heidi Maibom (philosophy of mind, psychology & cognitive science; moral psychology) from Carleton College. Angela Potochnik (philosophy of science, esp. biology) was tenured. In addition, Valerie Hardcastle (philosophy of mind & cognitive science) has left her administrative position and returned to full-time teaching and research (she is half in Philosophy, half in Psychology).
University of Colorado, Boulder: Lost Katherin Koslicki to Alberta. Chris Heathwood (ethics) was tenured.
University of Connecticut, Storrs: Appointed Dorit Bar-On (philosophy of language & mind, metaethics) and Keith Simmons (philosophy of language & logic), both from North Carolina; also appointed Lewis Gordon (Africana philosophy, phenomenology, existentialism) from Temple, Mitchell Green (philosophy of language & mind) from Virginia, and Susan Schneider (philosophy of mind & cognitive science, metaphysics) from a tenure-track position at Penn.
University of Durham: Appointed (half-time) Nancy Cartwright (philosophy of the sciences) from LSE (Cartwright continues to teach at UCSD as well). Also appointed Julian Reiss (philosophy of science & social science) from Erasmus. The Law School appointed Thom Brooks (political and legal philosophy) from Newcastle. Lost Nick Zangwill (ethics, metaethics, aesthetics) to Hull.
University of Edinburgh: Appointed Michela Massimi (history & philosophy of science, Kant) from the Department of Science & Technology Studies at UCL. Lost Campbell Brown (ethics) to Glasgow and Matthew Nudds (mind) to Warwick. (Edinburgh also has some short-term senior appointments and many junior appointments as well.)
University of Glasgow: Appointed Campbell Brown (ethics) from Edinburgh and Fraser MacBride (metaphysics, philosophy of math, history of analytic) from Cambridge.
University of Illinois, Chicago: Walter Edelberg (philosophy of language & logic) and Neal Grossman (early modern philosophy) both retired.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Appointed Andrew Arana (logic, philosophy of mathematics) from Kansas State University and Colleen Murphy (political philosophy, applied ethics) from Texas A&M. Robert Cummins (philosophy of mind and cognitive science) retired. Tenured Kirk Sanders (ancient philosophy), Helga Varden (moral, political & legal philosophy, esp. Kant; feminist philosophy), and Jonathan Waskan (philosophy of cognitive science).
University of Leeds: Appointed Matthew Smith (etihcs, political) from a tenure-track position at Yale. Lost Jason Turner (metaphysics) to Saint Louis.
University of Miami: Colin McGinn (philosophy of mind & language) will resign at the end of 2013.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Appointed (roughly .20 time) Timothy Williamson (philosophy of language & logic, epistemology, metaphysics) from Oxford. Kendall Walton (aesthetics) retired. Lost Matt Evans (ancient philosophy, ethics) to Texas. David Manley, Sarah Moss, and Eric Swanson were all tenured--they all work in various aspects of metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: Appointed Karen Hanson (aesthetics, ethics, philosophy of mind) as Provost and Professor of Philosophy, from Indiana. Lost C. Kenneth Waters (philosophy of biology) to a Canada Research Chair at Calgary.
University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Lost Janice Dowell (philosophy of language & mind, metaphysics, metaethics) and David Sobel (ethics, political philosophy), both to Syracuse
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Lost Dorit Bar-On and Keith Simmons to Connecticut. Marilyn Adams (medieval, philosophy of religion) and Robert Adams (metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, early modern philosophy) both retired. Matthew Kotzen (epistemology, philosophy of science) was tenured.
University of Notre Dame: Lost Marian David (philosophy of language, epistemology, history of analytic) to Graz. Peter van Inwagen is only teaching fall semesters for at least the next three years.
University of Nottingham: Lost Gregory Currie (aesthetics) to York.
Universiy of Otago: Appointed Alex Miller (philosophy of language, metaethics) from Birmingham, and Elisabeth Ellis (Kant, political philosophy) and Michael LeBuffe (early modern philosophy), both from Texas A&M University. Lost Peter Anstey (early modern) to Sydney.
University of Pennsylvania: Lost Elisabeth Camp (philosophy of language & mind, aesthetics) to Rutgers and Paul Guyer (Kant, aesthetics) to Brown; Charles Kahn (ancient philosophy) retired. Tenured Adrienne Martin (ethics).
University of Pittsburgh: Appointed to a tenure-track position Japa Pallikkathayil (ethics, political) from NYU. Lost James Allen (ancient philosophy) to Toronto and Kieran Setiya (ethics, epistemology) to MIT.
University of Reading: Appointed Gabriel Segal (philosophy of mind, psychology, language & linguistics) from King's College, London to a half-time post. Lost Bart Streumer (metaethics) to Groningen and Galen Strawson to Texas.
University of Sheffield: Appointed Miranda Fricker (epistemology, ethics, feminist philosophy) from Birkbeck.
University of South Florida: Appointed Lee Braver (Continental philosophy, metaphysics, Wittgenstein) from Hiram College.
University of Southern California: Appointed John Hawthorne (metaphysics, epistemology) to a roughly one-third time position from Oxford University, which will become full-time in 2015. Also appointed (full-time) Jonathan Quong (political philosophy) from Manchester. Lost Gideon Yaffe (philosophy of action, philosophy of criminal law, early modern philosophy) to Yale. George Wilson (philosophy of action, philosophy of film) retired.
University of St. Andrews: Appointed Marcia Baron (ethics, Kant, philosophy of law) from Indiana/Bloomington, full-time starting January 2014.
University of Sydney: Appointed Peter Anstey (early modern philosophy) from Otago.
University of Texas, Austin: Appointed Galen Strawson (philosophy of mind and action, metaphysics, early modern philosophy, Nietzsche) from Reading and Michelle Montague (metaphysics) from Bristol. Also appointed Matt Evans (ancient philosophy, ethics) from Michigan. Adam Pautz (philosophy of mind) was tenured. Nicholas Asher (philosophy of language) is no longer part-time at Texas (he is now full-time in France).
University of Toronto: Appointed James Allen (ancient philosophy) from Pittsburgh. Lost Evan Thompson (philosophy of mind & cognitive science) to British Columbia.
University of Warwick: Appointed Matthew Nudds (philosophy of mind) from Edinburgh. Lost Bill Brewer to King's College, London. Politics appointed Tom Sorell (ethics, applied ethics) from Birmingham.
University of Washington, Seattle: Laurence BonJour (epistemology) has retired. John Manchak (philosophy of physics) was tenured.
University of Western Ontario: Appointed Stathis Psillos (philosophy of science, metaphysics) from Athens to the Rotman Canada Research Chair. Also appointed Carl Hoefer (philosophy of science & physics) and Genoveva Marti (philosophy of language), both from Barcelona. Lost Karen Nielsen (ancient) to Oxford.
University of York: Appointed Gregory Currie (aesthetics) from Nottingham and Catherine Wilson (early modern philosophy, ethics) from Aberdeen.
Washington University, St. Louis: Appointed Anya Plutynski (history and philosophy of science, esp. biology) from Utah.
Yale University: Appointed David Charles (ancient philosophy) from Oxford (effective July 2014) and Jason Stanley (philosophy of language, epistemology) from Rutgers. The Law School hired Gideon Yaffe (philosphy of action, philosophy of criminal law, early modern philosophy) from Southern California, who has a secondary appointment in philosophy. George Bealer (metaphysics) will retire in 2014; Susanne Bobzien (ancient philosophy, philosophy of language) left for Oxford; and Jules Coleman (philosophy of law), with a primary appointment in the Law School, left for a senior administrative position at NYU.
Now some speculations about how these moves will affect the "overall" rankings from 2011. I'd expect to see noticeable bumps up for Berekeley, British Columbia, Western Ontario, Texas, Otago, Southern California, Connecticut, Durham, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Cambridge, Syracuse, York, and Glasgow, among others. I'd expect to see noticeable bumps down for Reading, MIT, Nebraska, Indiana, Penn, BU, and Cornell, among others. But I think in each case it's more relevant for the students to focus on the areas of specialty of the faculty appointed and lost. Bear in mind, too, that many of the schools that suffered significant losses, like MIT and Penn, will likely be making new appointments this year.
A student considering graduate school in philosophy writes:
My own view is that such explanations are worth offering if there is something pertinent and substantive to say: e.g., "Y had the flu when he took the GRE," or "his grades last fall were anomalous, no doubt due to the death of his mother." Comments are open; what do readers think? (Signed comments strongly preferred; all comments must include a valid e-mail address, which will not appear.)
I was hoping to receive comments on the attitude of admissions committee members towards the attempts of a letter-writer to defend a weak element of a student's packet. For example, when professor X vouches for student Y, despite Y having something like low GRE scores or a poor mark in a core philosophy course. If the letter-writer goes on to explain why such blemishes should not immediately disqualify an applicant, will committee members take such reassuring remarks seriously? That is, can such remarks really serve as justification for why a weak element of an application should be discarded? Or does skepticism about the potential of the applicant often creep into the picture in cases where the letter-writer has to defend the applicant in some way, shape, or form? Are committee members worried that the letter writer might be inflating a student's performance by downplaying a smudge on an application? Lastly, is it even appropriate to ask a professor to defend weaknesses in your application? Or should one simply let the rest of the application do the talking?
Fritz Allhof (Western Michigan), Patrick Lin (Cal Poly) and B.J. Strawser (Naval Postgraduate School) will investigate.
(Thanks to Joe Hatfield for the pointer.)
(Thanks to Guy Elgat for the pointer.)
Posted by Brian Leiter on October 22, 2013 at 12:25 PM in Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor), Philosophy in the News | Permalink
Posted by Brian Leiter on October 22, 2013 at 06:26 AM in Personal Ads of the Philosophers (and other humor), Philosophy in the News | Permalink
This is apt, and often outrageously funny, from the poet Amiri Baraka; an excerpt:
The terrorists have been here a long time. The ones who took the slaves
The ones who ran and underbossed
the plantations. Especially those
who made money from them. They still at it.
They never stopped. These old guard terrorists. And
they still at it. Still terrorizing....
We get clear enough to elect Obama
the terrorists take off they Klan clothes
put on some suits , they the t party, now. TEA
The Evil Assholes, they terrorists & Nazi's
like always. They do anything to stop America's getting rid of it's craziness.
They never let all of us
be Americans. They terrorists
And the Republicans they even got negroes
Real Public Coons, they terrorists too
like Tom Ass Clarence & his evil wife
Citizens United , they terrorists, hurt us worse than
the Taliban. GOP, Grand Old Psychopaths.
What Al Queada can't do the Republicans can
Been doing it in one costume or another
for hundreds of years
Now they so frustrated, they Racist Addiction
coming down on them, Boehner's nose running,
Got new maniacs to please, old jones coming down, Ted Cruz, a Texas junkie
had a crying jag in Congress, , or the other nut, Ryan
trying to stop you from sending your kids to college
He's a real mullah for sure
Terrorists took over congress, listen to them
absolute nuts . What the Taliban can't do
they are doing, close down
the United States government.! Now who
would do that? Think about it. What
the Taliban and Al Quaeda couldn't do. Terrorists in the congress
locked down the govt because
the black dude there , just as they would in the 19th century
when a blood wanted to vote. We facing the sickness
of terrorists. Been terrorizing all of us
for hundreds of years. When we gonna catch em
and lock `em up! These terrorists. Catch em
and lock `em up! Then we can cure ourselves,
America, of what has always
The Black Bloc has been in the news a fair bit over the last few years. They have made appearances at G5 meetings, at the WTO meetings in Seatle, at the NATO meetings in Chicago, and currently they are very much in the news here in Brazil.
The Black Bloc is, strictly speaking, a tactic. In protests, a horizontally organized group of individuals will wear black and cover their faces, generally move about as a unit and they may engage in some aspects of violence. In theory this is done to distract the police -- ideally in a way that enables the free movement of the main protest group. By dressing in black, they allow other protestors to know who they are and to stay away from them if they choose to.
Chris Hedges recently wrote a piece calling the Black Bloc “The Cancer in Occupy”. Hedges, like many others, believes that The Black Bloc is not tactical, but involves “feral” acts of violence, is “adolescent,” scared people away from Occupy, and made it easier for the State to demonize the Occupy movement.
Meanwhile, David Graeber has responded to Hedges, arguing that Hedges has his facts wrong and that in any case even Gandhi never renounced people who shared his cause -- even when they advocated violence.
Gandhi made it clear that while he was opposed to murder under any circumstances, he also refused to denounce the murderer. This was a man who was trying to do the right thing, to act against an historical injustice, but did it in the wrong way because he was “drunk with a mad idea"… Gandhi remained resolute. It is always morally superior, he insisted, to oppose injustice through non-violent means than through violent means. However, to oppose injustice through violent means is still morally superior to not doing anything to oppose injustice at all.
The news media has been having a go at the Black Bloc’s actions in the teacher protests in Brazil, and even publications like The Raw Story seem to be painting the actions of the Black Bloc as senseless violence. However, yesterday I was speaking to a teacher here in Rio – a woman in her 50s – who said “no the Black Bloc was protecting us from the police!” So there is that.I know some of you have views about this. Is Hedges right? Is The Black Bloc the cancer in occupy? Or is Graeber right. And what do you think of Graeber’s interpretation of Gandhi here? Comments are open.
Two years ago I took part in panel in a conference on progress in philosophy. (The contributions of me, Jennifer Nagel and Dave Chalmers are still online -- I had a tech fail in recording Pettit’s contribution). My view was and is that philosophical progress is robust – the growth is Fibonacci (think of a tree branching). Just speaking from what I’ve seen in areas of philosophy that I am familiar with, the grown and development has been astounding over the last thirty years.
Fibonacci growth is impressive, but is it enough? The second part of my talk was that it is not nearly enough.
Many people are familiar with Kurzweil’s thesis about the exponential growth in technology leading to a kind of technological singularity. Singularity happens when you hit the elbow in the exponential curve and the curve effectively shoot straight up (or appears to). If that is right, then the technological curve is pulling away from the philosophy curve very rapidly and is about to leave it completely behind. What that means is that our technology is going to leave our critical thinking skills behind. You may think that is already happening, and I agree: I’m just saying the problem is about to get much worse.
It doesn’t have to get worse. The only reason that technology grows exponentially is that we keep feeding it resources. The only reason philosophy doesn’t is that we starve it for resources (we don’t have enough bodies to throw at philosophical problems). I say we need to seriously think about redistributing resources away from technological development and into philosophy, and allow philosophy departments to grow new programs that focus on new technologies and their development. Why would anyone do this? Well, someone needs to make vivid what can go wrong if we don’t. One idea is that if we don’t understand technology we become alienated from it – a view that I floated yesterday.
So here are some questions for discussion. Is philosophy making the kind of progress I believe it is? Is technology pulling away from us as Kurzweil believes it is? Is this a problem? Can we fix it? If so, how?
Lisa Guenther (Vanderbilt) on the radio in Australia.
(Thanks to Dirk Felleman for the pointer.)
David Papineau says yes in a TLS review of a new book on Ramsey (by Ramsey's sister no less).
I'll confess I'm among those who think Ramsey was possibly the greatest philospher of the 20th Century despite having died at 26. Any Ramsey fans out there want to back me and Papineau up on this? Anyone want to call BS on that? Comments are open...
Over the past year I have been involved in a couple of panels on Ted Kaczynski (aka, the Unabomber -- a serial killer, currently in a supermax prison, who in the 80s and 90s mailed bombs to persons involved with technology). Organized by Jeffrey Young of the Chronicle of Higher Education, the panels involved Dan Skrbina of UM Dearborn providing a partial defense of the Unabomber and me offering a criticism. We’ve done the panel at Rutgers and at SXSW in Austin.
In my view the the "Unabomber manifesto" is a smorgasbord of critical reasoning fails, and you could use it in a critical reasoning course if you wanted to task introductory students with finding basic fallacies in a written work (see my slides here). But I also have a positive thesis which is related to my interest in hacking, but which so far as I know is not advocated by anyone I know in the philosophy of technology.
The Unabomber believes that any post-hunter-gatherer technology is alienating and dehumanizing. But I believe that like bees and beavers and spiders and birds we are technological creatures. In my view, alienation comes not from technology (any more than a beaver can be alienated from its dam or a bird from its nest) but rather comes out when technology is “jailed” and we can’t tear apart the object and see what makes it tick. So it isn’t technology that alienates us, but corporate control of technology – for example Apple, when it makes it difficult for us to reprogram our iPhones.
This is the point where hacking becomes important. Hacking is fundamentally about our having the right and responsibility to open up the technologies of our everyday lives, learn how they work, repurpose those technologies.
Before I start reinventing wheels here, does anyone know of people in the philosophy of technology who have articulated such a view? Beyond that, any comments and criticism?
The U.S. Government keeps claiming “wins” in the “war against terror,” but who are these alleged terrorists? In the case of the Cleveland 4, it seems the FBI used a career criminal to manipulate a groups of indigent kids into a “terrorist plot” against a bridge. One of them, Joshua “Skelly” Stafford, was an impoverished developmentally impaired kid who did not take place in the planning of the event and it’s not clear he understood why he was in the car on the way to the bridge on the day in question, other than that he was promised a free meal and cigarettes.
A sane government might provide food, shelter, and psychological assistance for a kid like Skelly, but instead our government chose to coerce him and his equally indigent friends into being “terror trophies” – pawns that could be used to at once scare the public into thinking we have a terrorist threat within and at the same time to offer evidence of “success” in their fake war on fake terror.
As Vivien Lesnik Weisman reports in the Huffington Post, Skelly’s story and the fact that he was sentenced to 10 years in prison is an indictment of our security state. As she puts it, it is symptomatic of the failure of the rule of law.