There's now an actual website that features some concrete (some less concrete) policy proposals that, I assume, the Trump Administration will put forward. (Scroll to the bottom of the page: under the "Making American Great Again" section, you can click on various topics, though not all are filled in.) A lot of the sections are, at this point, just fluff. But here are a few highlights that are more specific:
The section on "Immigration" includes the idiotic "build the wall" proposal, and many other harsh measures, but there's no mention of mass deportations. There is the suggestion that that issue will be revisited after the borders are "secure," which is to say he will never revisit it.
The section on "Energy Independence" makes clear that environmental concerns, including about climate change, are going out the window, in favor of letting oil companies, and coal companies, do what they want, where they want.
The section on "Transportation and Infrastructure" reaffirms a commitment to spend $550 billion on public infrastructure, which Trump mentioned in his acceptance speech. This is really quite remarkable, both for being so explicit and so dramatic an expenditure. It is sorely needed in America. This is likely to be a first point of conflict with the Tea Party lunatics in the House of Representatives.
As one would expect from a representative of the ruling class, Trump proposes to deregulate "financial services," specifically by gutting Dodd-Frank.
The Affordable Care Act will go first to the chopping block, that seems clear. An unknown is whether they will target the two provisions that are popular with well-to-do people who vote Republican: namely, the bar on insurers rejecting people with pre-existing conditions; and the ability to keep children on parents' health plans until they reach the age of 26. Previously Republican attempts to repeal the ACA have, tellingly, preserved those two. There are no meaningful details of Trump's alleged alternative.
Trump commits to the "original public meaning" view of constitutional interpretation. What, if anything, this really means we will not know until we see which judges he puts forth. (Amusingly, the folks who wrote this do not realize that the first written constitution still in force is in Sweden, not the United States!)
Nothing meaningful about Social Security or Medicare here (fluff about "modernizing" Medicare is it), which is actually a good sign. All of the actual policy is bad, except the "Transportation and Infrastructure" commitment. An unknown is how the rhetoric about tax cuts--standard fare for the imprudent wing of the ruling class--will be squared with spending $550 billion on public infrastructure, which is the only hopeful proposal.
Notice there is also nothing about LGBT rights, same-sex marriage or the like. Silence on this is also hopeful, but consistent with my hypothesis about the New Yorker Trump: he's not scared of LGBT people (Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. probably are close friends with lots of them!), unlike Mike Pence and the Christian bigots.
Maybe focus on the states, at least the civilized ones? This is, of course, to give up on millions of other people living in the more benighted states, so I'm not sure this counts as "doing something," as opposed to fleeing.
* I am surprised by how many people will, in one breath, note that Trump is an inveterate liar (which he is), and, in the next breath, lament all the awful things he has said he would do. But most of those, I suspect, were lies too. Again, putting aside the issue about his mental disturbance (which is the really serious and alarming issue in all this), he's a lifelong New Yorker, not a "movement conservative." While Trump isn't going to turn out to be a liberal, I will be astonished if he turns out to be Paul Ryan. His two closest "advisers" are his basically liberal, cosmopolitan daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, a lifelong Jewish Democrat, and also a product of the New York metro area his whole life. (This is one reason why Trump has never conformed to the ugly Mike Pence line on gay and transgender people.) The Republican Party has been taken over from the inside, but it hasn't yet figured out for what ends. Nor have we. (See this NYT piece, which gives a good representation of his differing views at different times.)
*Trump lost the popular vote nationally. That is not quite as meaningful as it seems: because of the electoral college system, campaigns devote divergent efforts to rallying the vote accordingly, so we have no way of knowing what the outcome would have been in a pure popular vote system. But that is also irrelevant: the simple fact is that while nearly sixty million people voted for Trump, a couple hundred thousand more voted for Clinton.
*The crucial fact of the election appears to be low voter turnout among Democrats. This diagram makes it vivid. (Even Latinos did not surge to the polls, despite Trump's provocations: voter suppression laws passed by Republicans probably played some role, but I fear that it may just be that most Latinos, like most voters, weren't really paying that much attention.) Clinton should have chosen an African-American or Latino running mate. Indeed, she should have stepped aside for Bernie Sanders, who would have captured many of the white voters who went for Trump. Clinton's narcissism, though not rising to the level of psychological disorder as with Trump, played a mighty role in this catastrophe. In any case, what the relatively low turnout means is that the Democrats, if they nominate more competitive candidates, can easily reverse things (assuming there are future elections).
I've noticed you had a couple of good quotes sent in on the Trump global catastrophe. Much of WB Yeats' explicitly political stuff has something applicable and insightful in this case, but I thought I'd share a few:
"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."
"And what rough beast,
its hour come round at last,
slouches towards [Washington] to be born?"
(both from The Second Coming)
"They must to keep their certainty
accuse all that are different of a base intent; pull down established honour, hawk for news whatever their loose phantasy invent"
(from The Leaders of the Crowd)
And my own favourite:
"We have fed the heart on fantasies,
the heart's grown brutal from the fare, more substance in our enmities than in our love"
The FTSE 250 (Britain) is actually up today, and the Dow Jones industrial average is fairly calm, even up slightly at the start, now down slightly. What's going on, pundits are wondering? Here's what: A Republican President and Congress means giveaways to the rich and to corporations, and stock markets like that. Who would have guessed? Will the markets price in the global uncertainty involved in a Trump Presidency? Maybe not until it happens.
*21st-century polling is meaningless. (The good news: we will be spared endless polling going forward and, in any case, no one will pay attention. Why did the polls fail so badly at the state level? I suspect it has to do with the fact that suspicion of the media has become so widespread that the voters who put Trump over the top simply don't respond--and with response rates of 10% to most polls, that was fatal.)
*Trump is not a Republican in any meaningful ideological sense, though it's hard to know what he really believes. But the Republicans that control the Senate and the House have an ideological agenda that, as far as one can tell, he does not share, except with regard to making the rich richer through tax cuts.
*Trump ran as a "populist" against the elites and a "rigged" system. Now the system, of course, is "rigged" in all kinds of ways, and the pathologies of global capitalism have made that vivid to tens of millions of people. While Senator Sanders would have been a rational voter response to that fact, Trump plainly is not. And still, if he moves, as he said he would, to repudiate existing trade agreements, and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, he will be on a collision course with the actual Republicans in Congress. Those folks would surely prefer Mike Pence, the Christian conservative from Indiana, in charge (and, of course, he may be in charge de facto). Will the Republican House move to impeach Trump? It is not at all inconceivable, since he is likely to give them grounds one way or another.
*Putting aside his dubious psychological stability, and the enormous risk that poses, he is less likely to start wars than Hillary Clinton or any recent Republican Administrations. Recall John Mearsheimer's commentary.
With the real polls set to start closing in some places (it's 6 pm ET), I'm shutting down this poll. Let us hope the "confident in a good outcome" folks are right (assuming they're not all Trump voters!).
After going through some of the current students pages on philosophy department websites I'm seeing a lot of double majors out there at high-end departments. For example, virtually every other current Phd student at Rutgers has a degree in math in addition to the philosophy degree. I'm wondering if you could make a post and open it up to comments about the effects of having another degree, from what the degree is specifically to the simple fact of having one, etc.
I do not have the impression that double majors are anywhere near the norm. I would think a double major is an asset when it complements a student's philosophical interests: e.g., a double major with psychology for someone wanting to do philosophy of cognitive science; a double major with physics for someone wanting to do philosophy of science; and so on. What do readers think?
MOVING TO FRONT FOR LAST TIME--ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 4
The CFP is here. Two of the three papers chosen last year were by PhD students. We are able to cover travel and lodging costs for those whose papers are chosen. All papers presented at ISNS appear in a special issue of Inquiry each year.
Philosopher David Wallace (Southern California) notes a couple of others, beyond the attack on the contractual and constitutional rights of faculty:
1) The Code of Conduct has this sentence: “Beyond this, teachers should take positive measures both to overcome their own implicit biases and to protect students from the effects of negative stereotypes”. But the replication crisis in psychology has not been kind to either theory: in both cases there have been some large-scale meta-analyses that have found little or no effect. So I’m rather surprised to see the APA adopting this into policy when at the least it’s highly contested science.
2) The Code of Conduct notes that the APA “rejects as unethical all forms of discrimination based on race, color, religion, political convictions, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification, or age, whether in graduate admissions, appointments, retention, promotion and tenure, manuscript evaluation, salary determination, or other professional activities in which APA members characteristically participate.” From which follows in particular that the APA rejects as unethical discrimination based on religion in graduate admissions or appointments. But then the Code goes on to say that “it is not inconsistent with the APA’s position against discrimination to adopt religious affiliation as a criterion in graduate admissions or employment policies when this is directly related to the school’s religious affiliation or purpose, so long as these policies are made known to members of the philosophical community and so long as the criteria for such religious affiliation do not discriminate against persons according to the other attributes listed in this statement.” That looks straightforwardly false: an inconsistent pair of statements can’t be made consistent merely by declaring them to be. I assume this is poor drafting: what they mean to say is that they regard discrimination as unethical *except* in this particular circumstance.
There would be an injection of $500 billion — $275 billion of which comes from federal coffers — into rebuilding roads, highways, mass transit, airports, seaports, broadband networks, electrical grids, water pipes, and other forms of infrastructure. This would be the largest public works push from the federal government since the building of the interstate highway system in the 1950s. Much of that money would go to directly hiring workers, particularly youth in minority communities. The Clinton campaign estimates that the $500 billion would create about 6.5 million jobs, more than half of which come from public money.
...about Trump and the Repugs. I am confident, per Sam Wang the Princeton scientist whose data analysis was the best in 2012, that Clinton will win on Tuesday (he puts the odds at greater than 99%). But we won't be done with Trump, or the racist reactionaries he has unleashed, or the dysfunctional Republican Party, all of which will do their best to undermine democracy, thus paving the way for a more skilled fascist than Trump to try to take the reigns of power down the line. Until the Republican Party is destroyed as a viable political force, there really is little reason to be hopeful about America's future. Fortunately, the country's demographics make that destruction a real possibility.
ADDENDUM: And for those in a state of anxiety, see also this.
This Greek psychedelic/progressive band was formed in 1967, and included two members who went on to later fame (Vangelis [who became internationally known for composing the score for the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire] and Demis Roussos, who had a successful solo career [though not in the U.S.] from the 1970s onwards). The band enjoyed some popularity in Europe, but never made it in the U.S. This is from their third album:
The dramatis personae of the liberal class are all present in this amazing body of work: financial innovators. High-achieving colleagues attempting to get jobs for their high-achieving children. Foundation executives doing fine and noble things. Prizes, of course, and high academic achievement.
Certain industries loom large and virtuous here. Hillary’s ingratiating speeches to Wall Street are well known of course, but what is remarkable is that, in the party of Jackson and Bryan and Roosevelt, smiling financiers now seem to stand on every corner, constantly proffering advice about this and that. In one now-famous email chain, for example, the reader can watch current US trade representative Michael Froman, writing from a Citibank email address in 2008, appear to name President Obama’s cabinet even before the great hope-and-change election was decided (incidentally, an important clue to understanding why that greatest of zombie banks was never put out of its misery).
The far-sighted innovators of Silicon Valley are also here in force, interacting all the time with the leaders of the party of the people. We watch as Podesta appears to email Sheryl Sandberg. He makes plans to visit Mark Zuckerberg (who, according to one missive, wants to “learn more about next steps for his philanthropy and social action”). Podesta exchanges emails with an entrepreneur about an ugly race now unfolding for Silicon Valley’s seat in Congress; this man, in turn, appears to forward to Podesta the remarks of yet another Silicon Valley grandee, who complains that one of the Democratic combatants in that fight was criticizing billionaires who give to Democrats. Specifically, the miscreant Dem in question was said to be:
“… spinning (and attacking) donors who have supported Democrats. John Arnold and Marc Leder have both given to Cory Booker, Joe Kennedy, and others. He is also attacking every billionaire that donates to [Congressional candidate] Ro [Khanna], many whom support other Democrats as well.”
Attacking billionaires! In the year 2015! It was, one of the correspondents appears to write, “madness and political malpractice of the party to allow this to continue”.
Although I am not a member, it has come to my attention that the American Philosophical Association has adopted a very unusual Code of ethical conduct, quite unlike that adopted by other disciplines such as the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, or the American Psychological Association. None of these other codes purport to proscribe extramural speech beyond one's campus, let alone speech that might constitute what is capaciously defined as "bullying and harassment"; they focus instead on actual professional obligations in dealings with faculty colleagues, students, and research subjects.
Yet the APA purports to proscribe "bullying and harassment" quite generally, meaning, inter alia, "verbal agression...spreading malicious rumors; calling someone conventionally derogatory names or using derogatory stereotypes to describe them...'cyber-bullying' through email, text messages, or social media...subjecting an individual to repeated, unsolicited criticism, except when this is clearly limited to a matter of scholarly dispute; subjecting a person to public ridicule..."
Most of these terms admit of considerable interpretation, meaning the reach of the Code may be very broad. As the sociologist Randall Collins has noted, there has been massive inflation of the term "bullying" over the last generation so that it encompasses more and more ordinary interactions in which one party says something critical about another. By incorporating this inflation into the APA Code, you purport to expand the APA's authority over matters no other professional organization purports to regulate.
UPDATE: So with nearly 530 votes cast, the results are not very favorable for the APA. Only about one in three philosophers (34%) have a favorable opinion of the job the APA has been doing, while 41% have an unfavorable view. (25% were neutral or had no opinion.) Only 14% have a "very favorable" opinion of the APA, while 18% have a "very unfavorable" opinion. I wonder if there is another professional organization held in such low regard by the academic community it supposedly represents?
DeNiro remarked (with remarkable New York restraint) that Trump is a "mutt," a "dog," who should be "punched in the face." Please watch around 21:00 this video about the effect of Trump's rhetoric on human beings (here children). "Mutts" deserve a lot better than Trump.
(Thanks to Daniel Buk for pointer to the video, which is worth watching in its entirety.)
Philosopher Michael Loughlin from MMU Cheshire writes:
[P]hilosophy is one of a number of academic subjects currently offered on the Cheshire campus of Manchester Metropolitan University. The whole campus is potentially facing closure as part of a commissioned "review" of its "financial sustainability" by a team of management consultants. The board of governors is considering options that include the survival of the campus with a significantly reduced range of academic provisions on offer to students, and its outright closure. In that event, a key provider of education in the Cheshire region for over 100 years would be lost and while some academic staff might be relocated to a city campus in Manchester, many academics - and many more support staff - could be facing redundancy.
We are trying to persuade the board of governors to consider less drastic options, arguing that campus closure would be a disaster for the local region and contrary to the university's commitment to "widening participation" - the region has been identified as an area with "a low density of HEIs" and we're concerned the students that commute from the local community may no longer be able to access university if the campus is closed. Too many academic provisions are being lost across the UK as universities 'streamline' their offerings, and this tendency represents a serious concern for those of us who believe that a traditional academic education should be an option for people from a broad range of backgrounds - social, geographical and economic. There is a case for a sustainable future for this campus, and in support of that case we're trying to get as many people as possible to sign a petition calling on the board to consider seriously the alternatives to closure. The petition can be accessed here:
The comments that many of our former students who have already signed are instructive, and we hope members of the board will read them - but they are more likely to do so if the petition has many supporters. So please consider clicking on the link and signing.
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)