The winner is Nathaniel Sharadin (North Carolina) for his project "Understanding Reasons." I can't recall the last time only one philosophy graduate student received a Newcombe. Past lists of winners can be found here (and follow the links).
It's here, and is no doubt designed with the 2011 fiasco in mind. Hopefully, it means that no more issues of the journal will be published in which the editors-in-chief append disclaimers (for which there has still been no apology...hence the boycott continues).
He writes: "I'm proud to report there is incredible interest in philosophical reflection among my high school students. Several follow your blog. 190 have signed up for an introductory class next year at our high school." That's really impressive!
Mr. Raisch (whose e-mail is on the syllabus, above) welcomes correspondece with others interested in teaching high school philosophy courses.
Professor Willard taught at the University of Southern California for more than forty years, and was especially well-known for his work in Christian philosophy, though he also worked extensively on phenomenology. There is biographical information here, his USC page is here, and a memorial notice is here.
...though Karl was five years younger. Reader Alan Daboin kindly shares two amusing links, asking, "What do you think the chances are that one of these garden gnomes will someday write The Germination Ideology."
We have touched on the topic of Templeton's now extensive funding of philosophy-related projects before, but over the weekend, Jason Stanley (Rutgers, moving to Yale) started a lively discussion on Facebook with this comment, which he gave me permission to repost here:
Because of Templeton, we may expect a huge number of papers and books in our field taking a religious perspective at the very least extremely seriously. This is not why I entered philosophy, and it is incompatible with my conception of its role in the university. I will not take any money from Templeton or speak at any Templeton funded conferences. Reasonable people may disagree, but I hope there are others who join me in so doing.
In the discussion that followed, the neuroscientist John Krakauer (Johns Hopkins) made a striking comment in support of Jason's suggestion, which he also kindly gave permission to repost here:
In the Wikipedia entry on Templeton, Dennett describes the experience of debating astrologers at an event and finding to his dismay that just doing this raised the respectability of astrology in the eyes of the audience. Templeton is not about the study of religion but about making sure that religion keeps a seat at the table when it comes to big questions. There is no better way to do this than to mix it up with scientists and philosophers. Can you imagine the reverse ever being necessary?
Drug companies love to be associated with whom they call "thought leaders" - these physicians are never explicitly asked to shill for the companies but they also rarely criticize the companies from that position. It is always good to institutionalize ( or pay) your rebels. Physicians who receive any kind of gift from drug companies from lunches to pens and free samples always say (there are studies on this) that they are not influenced and feel no pressure. The studies reveal otherwise.
Thoughts from readers? Please do check out the earlier links and discussions. Comments must include a full name and a valid e-mail address, or they will not appear.
It has come to my attention that my name has been used without my knowledge or permission to support a project in which I have no involvement whatsoever. Recently, 2,000 invitations have gone out asking for contributions to a planned series of edited volumes devoted to the writings of Mr. David Birnbaum to be published by a private press known as Harvard Matrix Press. In the invitation letter I was identified as co-editor of this series and I have discovered that I appear on the website for this press as an "editorial advisor" as well as an endorser of his work. I would like to let philosophers know of this alarming misrepresentation: At no time was I informed of or involved in the project, at no time was I consulted about it, and I have absolutely no connection to this undertaking. Furthermore I have written no testimonial or evaluation of Mr. Birnbaum's work, nor have I ever been asked to do so.
Varol Akman (Bilkent) calls my attention to Garrison Keillor's entries from The Writer's Almanac on the two philosophers who were born on April 26:
It's the birthday of the man who said: "The truth springs from arguments among friends," and "The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster." That's Scottish philosopher David Hume (books by this author), born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1711. While working as a librarian, he wrote the six-volume History of England (1762), which became a bestseller and gave him the financial independence to write and revise his philosophical treatises. He wrote A Treatise of Human Nature (1740), Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding (1748), and Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751). He was a strict skeptic, and questioned all knowledge [purportedly] derived from the senses.
David Hume said, "Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty."
And, "Reading and sauntering and lounging and dozing, which I call thinking, is my supreme happiness."
And, "He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances."
Today is also the birthday of another well-known philosopher: Ludwig Wittgenstein (books by this author), born in Vienna in 1889. He was described by his colleague Bertrand Russell as "the most perfect example I have known of genius as traditionally conceived: passionate, profound, intense, and dominating." He was the youngest of nine children; three of his brothers committed suicide.
Wittgenstein was born into one of the richest families in Austro-Hungary, but he later gave away his inheritance to his siblings, and aso to an assortment of Austrian writers and artists, including Rainer Maria Rilke.
He once said that the study of philosophy rescued him from nine years of loneliness and wanting to die, yet he tried to leave philosophy several times and pursue another line of work, including serving in the army during World War I, working as a porter at a London hospital, and teaching elementary school.
Wittgenstein was particularly interested in language. He wrote, "The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for."
IHE has a story, but a much more illuminating account is here. The Geneseo students who started a petition calling for the Administration to denounce the main speaker, Prof. Everett, should apologize; it is never appropriate for a university to express an official criticism of faculty speech (an issue we have encountered before).
MOVING TO FRONT FROM APRIL 20, TO ENCOURAGE MORE RESPONSES
A colleague elsewhere writes:
Are you aware of resources I might consult that would give me information about the various kinds of careers people doing graduate (MA or PhD) study in philosophy enter? Or other materials that might be useful in counseling students from underrepresented groups about the possible advantages of graduate study in philosophy? (Some of this information might be in the form of information originally directed at potential undergraduate majors.)
Please post links or pertinent information in the comments.
So our poll got over 650 responses; here's the top 20:
1. Aristotle (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Immanuel Kant loses to Aristotle by 364–227
3. Plato loses to Aristotle by 414–168, loses to Immanuel Kant by 349–241
4. David Hume loses to Aristotle by 494–95, loses to Plato by 378–197
5. John Stuart Mill loses to Aristotle by 493–102, loses to David Hume by 292–271
6. Socrates loses to Aristotle by 464–104, loses to John Stuart Mill by 292–250
7. Thomas Hobbes loses to Aristotle by 556–29, loses to Socrates by 319–192
8. John Rawls loses to Aristotle by 557–38, loses to Thomas Hobbes by 272–250
9. Jeremy Bentham loses to Aristotle by 543–39, loses to John Rawls by 273–250
10. Aquinas loses to Aristotle by 547–23, loses to Jeremy Bentham by 280–222
11. Augustine loses to Aristotle by 550–20, loses to Aquinas by 306–131
12. Friedrich Nietzsche loses to Aristotle by 542–57, loses to Augustine by 263–247
13. Soren Kierkegaard loses to Aristotle by 553–31, loses to Friedrich Nietzsche by 290–210
14. Epicurus loses to Aristotle by 554–21, loses to Soren Kierkegaard by 218–214
15. Henry Sidgwick loses to Aristotle by 542–27, loses to Epicurus by 286–181
16. Jean-Jacques Rousseau loses to Aristotle by 566–21, loses to Henry Sidgwick by 242–216
17. G.E. Moore loses to Aristotle by 563–20, loses to Jean-Jacques Rousseau by 264–191
18. Benedict Spinoza loses to Aristotle by 543–24, loses to G.E. Moore by 252–194
19. G.E.M. Anscombe loses to Aristotle by 555–13, loses to Benedict Spinoza by 268–165
20. G.W.F. Hegel loses to Aristotle by 546–14, loses to G.E.M. Anscombe by 227–161
I'm not surprised by the top five, all of which I would have picked for the top ten, except perhaps Kant. But thereafter I do marvel at what my colleagues think! Thoughts from readers on the results, and what they say about the current state of philosophy? Signed comments strongly preferred. You may, of course, lament the absence of your favorite philosophers from the poll, though do consider whether they would have likely craked "the top 20." (Of those that didn't make the top 20, the biggest surprise to my mind is Adam Smith.)
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)