A distinguished mathematical logician, he taught for more than twenty years in the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University, among other academic appointments. I will add links to memorial notices when they appear.
MOVING TO FRONT FROM FEB. 21, 2015--PETER ASKED ME TO REPLACE THE INITIAL VERSION WITH A VERY SLIGHT REVISED ONE (BELOW--MOSTLY FIXING SOME HISTORICAL DETAILS)
Many readers have written to me about this lecture, and Peter kindly agreed to share a draft of the lecture (which will be revised, and still needs references and the like): Download Dewey Lecture-drs-rev1
ADDENDUM: It is a rich, engaging, deeply humane lecture, do read it.
A leading contributor to metaphysics and philosophy of science, especially to the literature on causation, Professor Menzies was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Macquarie University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. I will add links to memorial notices when they appear.
Alan Patten, the editor of PPA and a professor of Politics at Princeton, kindly offered to answer some questions about editorial practices at PPA. My questions to him are bolded, his answers are in regular font.
PPA is unusual in that the Editor and Associate Editors do almost all the reviewing of submitted work. How and why does PPA use this model? And is the reviewing blind nonetheless?
When Marshall Cohen, Tom Nagel and Tim Scanlon founded the journal in 1971 they did not, I think, see themselves as creating a professional journal to serve or represent an already well-established subfield of philosophy. Rather, the journal was started in order to encourage members of several disciplines to publish work that reflected rigorously and critically about urgent public problems of the day, and in order to create a venue in which the exciting new work of the time in moral, political and legal philosophy could be published. The P&PA editorial model has its origins in the ferment of this time, in which, for better or worse, some of the questions of professional ethics in journal editing that we debate today were overshadowed by the urgent public problems of the day, and by the sense that the journal should encourage both established and younger scholars to take the intellectual and professional risks involved in contributing to what was essentially a new literature.
Over time, as the journal settled into its niche in the profession, questions about fairness in the editorial process came to loom more largely. After he took over from Marshall Cohen in 1999, Charles Beitz made blind reviewing a required part of the editorial process. Other editorial practices were revised under Beitz’s tenure, and I have continued to review and adjust them since I took over as editor in 2010. The journal’s website contains a statement on our editorial practices.
As you note, a distinctive feature of the journal is that much (although not all) of the reviewing of submissions is done by our group of associate editors. Because most reviewing is handled by this small group of people, who are distinguished scholars in their respective fields, the journal is able to maintain high and fairly uniform standards. The journal’s editorial model also encourages articles that are well written and that are not narrowly specialized or highly technical in character. And the fact that the Associate Editors have agreed in advance to handle much of the reviewing for the journal helps to speed up the decision-making process.
Someone wrote me alleging that in volumes 37 through 41, there were 57 papers, with the following characteristics: “Of those 57 papers, 17 had at least one author who received their doctorate from the same institution as the current Editor, Oxford. Another 13 were written by authors whose doctorates were from Harvard, where a number of editorial staff work or studied. The next most common place for authors to have received their doctorate is Princeton, where the journal is based. Of the ten papers in those five volumes published by authors who were last year employed by institutions in the western United States, four are by members of the editorial staff, three are by former visitors at Princeton, where the journal is based, and two are by people who were supervised by members of editorial staff. Only one of the ten has an author with no obvious links with editorial staff.” What should readers make of patterns like this? Are they worrisome? Should they be?
I`ve looked carefully at the first cluster of allegations about Harvard/Oxford/Princeton authors. Since your correspondent connects them with the current editor`s doctoral institution (Oxford), it makes more sense to look at volumes 38-42 (the years I have been editor) rather than 37-41. (I`ll briefly comment on 37-41 afterwards).
Out of the 57 articles in volumes 38-42, 25 had at least one author with a highest degree from either Harvard (13) or Oxford (12). This contrasts with the figure of 30 out of 57 arrived at by your correspondent. It’s also worth noting that 25 of the 62 authors were from Harvard or Oxford, so by this metric Harvard/Oxford accounts for 40% of our authors rather than the 53% figure generated by the previously reported measure. Moreover, the third most common PhD institution of P&PA authors in this period was Berkeley (6), not Princeton (4) which was tied with NYU for fourth.
The proportion of Harvard/Oxford authors (25 out of 62 (or 57)) is substantial so it’s worth trying to look deeper into the data. Right from the start of this discussion, I’ve worried that that the multi-disciplinary character of P&PA was being overlooked. Throughout the journal’s history a significant fraction of the articles were authored by people whose highest degree was not in philosophy. Political theorists, lawyers, and (to a lesser extent) social scientists of various stripes have been frequent contributors to the journal.
This multidisciplinarity matters in several ways to this discussion. For one thing, it makes it harder to believe that all of the people coming from a particular institution belong to the same network. I think we all recognize how important disciplinary boundaries can be for shaping networks. The second point is mainly about political theory, though I suspect a version of it may apply to academic law as well. Philosophers should not underestimate the plurality of ways in which political theory is approached, especially in the United States. Many major political theory programs don’t have a substantial presence in the kind of normative analytic political theory that tends to be published in P&PA.
Of our 62 recorded authors, 22 have their highest degrees in a discipline other than philosophy. This proportion is strikingly different, however, for Harvard and Oxford authors. Only 6 of the 13 Harvard authors have philosophy PhDs and only 5 of the 12 from Oxford took their DPhils in philosophy. If one were just comparing P&PA authors with philosophy PhDs, there really isn’t much of a difference between Harvard and Oxford and other leading institutions of our authors. The differences that there are can, I think, be explained by variation in the size, quality, and (especially) the intellectual focus of the different programs.
The main factor explaining the Harvard/Oxford numbers are the political theory authors we published with PhDs from these institutions. Harvard and (especially) Oxford are among a fairly small group of strong graduate programs that have consistently over the years trained political theory students who do the sort of analytic and normative work that the journal tends to publish. Of course, Harvard and Oxford are not the only political theory programs meeting this description. Princeton is another such program. But I take it that the people who think there is some kind of bias problem at P&PA are not complaining on behalf of Princeton Politics graduates, since this is the institutional home of the current and previous editor. Indeed, the dearth of publications by Princeton Politics authors during this period is an embarrassment to the bias hypothesis. More generally, if one just thinks about the papers authored by political theorists, the outsized presence of Harvard/Oxford doesn’t strike me as especially surprising if one factors in size, quality, intellectual focus, pluralism in the subfield, and the noisiness entailed by looking at only five years of data.
If one were to look at volumes 37-41 (as your correspondent does), then the Oxford number does indeed go up to 17 (although, by my count, the denominator goes up to 59). But the same basic explanation of the numbers still apply. 4 out of 5 of the 2009 Oxford authors have their doctorates in politics, a result that is comprehensible if one considers the size, quality, and distinctive intellectual focus of Oxford`s political theory program in the preceding decades. Moreover, if one looks at an even longer stretch of time, Vols 36-42, something like the pattern discernible in 38-42 reappears. The proportion of Harvard/Oxford authors is 40% and the proportion of papers with at least one Harvard/Oxford author is 46%.
Years ago, Marshall Cohen told me that PPA did have a policy of publishing pieces submitted by those on the editorial board with rather de minimis review. Is that still the policy? If not, do you know when it changed?
Submissions by people on our masthead have been fairly unusual while I`ve been editor – around ten in total I would guess (a number of which we did not publish). (We did appoint some associate editors and members of the editorial board who were previous authors in the journal, but I doubt that anybody would object to that).
Submissions by members of the editorial board are subjected to the same procedures as everyone else and enjoy no more presumption of acceptance than anything else we receive. Submissions by associate editors are slightly more complicated since these individuals do the lion`s share of reviewing for the journal.
There is some discussion of how we handle submissions by our associate editors in the statement on editorial practices. In general, these submissions are handled in the same way as other submissions (e.g. they are fully anonymized) except that, as a rule, at least one of the reviews is done by somebody who isn`t a current associate editor.
These are the editorial practices I inherited from my predecessor in 2010. I`ve made some minor adjustments in the procedures and may tend to rely even more than Beitz on outside readers when handling associate editor submissions. These special safeguards are something our associate editors want. When they do manage to publish something in the journal they don`t want blog commentators questioning whether their achievement is tainted somehow by our reviewing practices. Since they work together closely as journal colleagues, they also don`t appreciate being put in the awkward position of having to evaluate one another`s work.
How do you see PPA’s role in the profession as compared to Ethics, the other major journal publishing in similar areas?
I`d like to think that P&PA hasn`t completely lost touch with the original vision of the founders of the journal. We still aspire to publish work that is of the highest philosophical quality but that also engages directly or indirectly with important questions of public concern. We still anticipate publishing articles by authors from a range of different disciplines, and we still prefer articles written for a fairly broad audience rather than narrow and technical contributions to specific debates in some corner of the field. We don`t aspire to be the main journal representing a particular field or subfield, although we do recognize that publication in the journal has implications for professional opportunity and advancement and we are therefore committed to assessing all submissions in a way that is fair and unbiased.
I'm opening comments for further discussion, but I will moderate with a somewhat heavier hand. Since Prof. Patten has been kind enough to answer these questions, please engage the responses in a similar spirit and stick to substance. Thanks.
It includes, as always, a few philosophers and political theorists (this year: David Chalmers, John Gray, Jurgen Habermas), plus one of my personal favorites, Evgeny Morozov, who always cuts through all the self-serving bullshit about the Internet and technology.
A leading figure in 20th-century philosophy of language, Professor Donnellan was Emeritus at UCLA at the time of his death. He earned his PhD at Cornell, where he taught for a number of years before moving to Los Angeles. I will post links to memorial notices when they appear.
[I]f you are looking for a traditional understanding of modernism and of Deleuze and Guattari, you are bound to be greatly disappointed, because the idea of understanding as a stable and unified meaning is challenged and usurped here. This is not only because there are many different and sometimes incompatible views drawn together. It is also because many of the interpretations of modernism are often self-avowedly evasive and performed as such. At its most extreme, this effect brings us close to one of Deleuze's favourite authors, Lewis Carroll, and the mad tea-party. It turns out that to understand modernism we have to understand that we cannot understand what modernism is but rather experience what it does as something disunited and discombobulating....
I will conclude with a perhaps churlish qualm or cranky misgiving, not so much about the quality of this volume on the terms it has set itself with respect to artistic modernism and Deleuze and Guattari, but rather to extensions of the modern that seem essential 'in these times', as they say. The worry came about when reading the outstanding glossary entry on the rhizome, written by Eugene Holland. He is one of the foremost and most impassioned commentators on Deleuze and Guattari and politics, in particular in relation to their critique of global capitalism. So, in reflecting upon the idea of the 'rhizome-book' he remarks that 'the aim of such a book . . . is not to represent the world as it is or what it means, but to survey and map its tendencies and becomings, for better and for worse, so as to be able to affirm the former and avert the latter' (272). It is of course no coincidence that Holland reminds us of the debt to Marx in Deleuze and Guattari and political modernism. This progressive political and philosophical side of modernism is strangely lacking in the book. It is an absence that cannot be seen as a flaw on its own terms, yet it made me feel uneasy and fleetingly sad. I wanted to scream a new slogan: Modernism is collectively political, or it dies. No doubt the authors will respond that their works are political in the sense of seeking to change situations for the better on a micro-political plane. True. Yet I sensed too great an emphasis on individual ills and local connections, rather than collective action, for either Deleuze or modernism to be up to the challenges of the collapse of progressive late-modern societies and their eyeless tottering into something far worse.
This nonsense would surely have been enough to make Marx long for the philosophical sobriety of Bruno Bauer.
Various blogs have been remarking on this study about faculty hiring networks and hierarchies: the short version is that very few graduates of PhD programs place at higher ranked programs, and most research-oriented tenure-track jobs are secured by graduates of a small number of elite PhD programs. The same, of course, is true in philosophy, though that was not the focus of this study. Particularly striking is the data reported here to the effect that in 2013-14, 88% of all reported tenure-track hires were graduates of PGR-ranked programs, and that a whopping 37% of all reported tenure-track hires that year took their PhD from one of the PGR top five programs. Fortunately, the PGR makes the relevant information about the hierarchy available to everyone, not just a select group of undergraduates.
Much of the discussion pertains to whether there is any correlation between these patterns and "merit." The original study (the first lilnk, above) looks at this in terms of publications, which isn't a very useful measure in philosophy. Based on my own experience, I'm inclined to say that, on average, graduates of the top programs (or the top programs in some specialties) are stronger candidates on the merits than others, but there are substantial minorities who are mainly riding the prestige effect out of the top programs, as well as substantial minorities handicapped by not have the halo effect of a top program.
ADDENDUM: Mason Westfall, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, writes:
While the correlation between graduates of top programs and tenure-track placement is robust, there are at least two causal hypotheses consistent with that fact. One explanation is the one that you highlight---a halo effect students enjoy by being from top programs. Another explanation is that the best undergraduates get into the best programs and choose them over less prestigious programs. That would mean the best students entering graduate school would be disproportionately at the most prestigious departments. It may be that the best students entering graduate school tend to be the best students leaving graduate school and then the best students leaving graduate school get the jobs. In order to test the contribution made by the department in particular, it seems like it would be necessary to locate a population of students who got into both higher and lower pedigree programs, but chose to go to lower pedigree programs. Even this would conflate the teaching/training contribution of the school with the halo effect, but it would give us substantially more information than the correlation highlighted.
I agree with all this. To be clear, I think there are some relatively weak candidates from top programs who nonetheless do well because of the "halo" effect or, in some cases, the loyalty of alums in teaching to graduates of the program.
ANOTHER: David Wallace (Oxford) writes:
Let me add to Mason Westfall’s two causal hypotheses a third: the training you get from top programs (undergraduate or graduate) makes you a stronger philosopher. I wouldn’t find it at all surprising, given two basically equally strong undergraduate philosophers who went to very different-strength grad programs, if one turned out much stronger than the other at the end. Indeed, I’d be depressed if that wasn’t so, at least on average and other things being equal: it would suggest that all the effort people put into providing a good education and good educational environment for students is pretty much epiphenomenal.
Nick Alvarez calls my attention to Brown's program:
The Brown Philosophy Department is pleased to announce a call for applications for the Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University. SIPP@Brown is a two-week residential program for members of traditionally underrepresented groups in philosophy, including women and students of color. This year's program will run from May 31, 2015 to June 13, 2015 and will feature seminars taught by Brown faculty and the SIPP@Brown research conference. Students will have travel and lodging expenses covered and will receive a $500 stipend. More information is available at http://www.sippatbrown.com/
...since Socrates taught Plato "on a rock." As the philosopher John Armstrong (Southern Virginia), an actual ancient philosophy scholar, notes in the first comment: "Plato observed Socrates in the public square. Aristotle studied at Plato's estate. Both had wealth that freed them to pursue their inquiries full time."
We were disappointed that Brian Leiter's survey of "Most Important Anglophone philosophers, 1945-2000: the top 20" omitted Hector-Neri Castaneda (1924-1991). At Leiter's invitation, we submit the following observations on his significance.
Castaneda was Guatemalan by birth and early education. However, his philosophical training at Minnesota and Oxford, his professional affiliations at Wayne State and Indiana, and his numerous publications surely qualify him as anglophone. For his autobiography (parts of which--notably section I.4--could easily be dramatized!), see Castaneda 1986.
We believe that there are philosophers on the poll who do not match Castaneda in influence or insights. He made significant contributions to both philosophy and the profession of philosophy.
His philosophical contributions include his groundbreaking work on:
(1) the private language argument (Castaneda 1967);
(2) reference, in particular, his theories of indexicals and quasi-indexicals (Castaneda 1966; 1977; 1989; 1999, Chs. 1-2);
(4) a unified ontology of physical objects and thought contents, notably, his ambitious guise theory of intentionality (Castaneda 1972a, 1989);
(5) the methodology and history of philosophy (especially the ontologies of Plato and Leibniz) (Castaneda 1972b, 1980); and
(6) imperative and deontic logic, on practical and normative reasoning, and on action theory and meta-ethics (see Castaneda 1974, 1976).
Perhaps his most significant contribution to the profession was his founding and editing of Nous, but it should also be remembered that he was a prominent philosopher in the analytic style who came from a socially and economically underprivileged background and thereby became an inspiration to many.
Surveys of his work include Tomberlin 1983 & 1986, Orilia & Rapaport 1998, Rapaport 2005, and Palma 2014.
William J. Rapaport
Associate Professor Emeritus of Computer Science;
Affiliated Faculty Emeritus, Philosophy and Linguistics;
Member Emeritus, Center for Cognitive Science
State University of New York at Buffalo
Written with the assistance of Julio Covarrubias (Washington), Tomis Kapitan (Northern Illinois), Michael McKinsey (Wayne State), Franceso Orilia (Macerata, Italy), and Adriano Palma (Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1966), " 'He': A Study in the Logic of Self-Consciousness”, Ratio 8 (1966): 130–157
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1967), "The Private Language Problem", in P. Edwards (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan and Free Press) 8: 240-247.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1972a), "Thinking and the Structure of the World", Philosophia 4 (1974) 3-40; reprinted in 1975 in Critica 6 (1972) 43-86.
Castanda, Hector-Neri (1972b), "Plato's Phaedo Theory of Relations", Journal of Philosophical Logic 1: 467-480.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1974), The Structure of Morality (Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1976), Thinking and Doing (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1977), "On the Philosophical Foundations of the Theory of Communication: Reference", Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2: 165-186.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1980), On Philosophical Method (Bloomington, IN: Nous Publications)
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1986), "Self-Profile", in Tomberlin 1986, pp. 3--137.
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1989), Thinking, Language, & Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).
Castaneda, Hector-Neri (1999), The Phenomeno-Logic of the I: Essays on Self-Consciousness (James G. Hart and Tomis Kapitan, eds.) (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).
Orilia, Francesco, & Rapaport, William J. (eds.) (1998), Thought, Language, and Ontology: Essays in Memory of Hector-Neri Castaneda} (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers).
Palma, Adriano (ed.) (2014), Castaneda and His Guises (Berlin: de Gruyter).
Rapaport, William J. (2005), "Castaneda, Hector Neri", in J.R. Shook (ed.), The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (Bristol, UK: Thoemmes Continuum): 452-457.
Tomberlin, James E. (ed.) (1983), Agent, Language, and the Structure of the World (Indianapolis: Hackett).
Tomberlin, James E. (ed.) (1986), Hector-Neri Castaneda (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel).
From 2009. (Although I had removed that post after Mr. Koepsell asked me too, he's been cyber-stalking me ever since.)
ANNALS OF JUVENILE STUPIDITY: Mr. Koepsell, not being grown up, actually e-mailed my Dean, asking him to "investigate" (!) my having allegedly defamed him! (My Dean gets lots of e-mails from crazies complaining about anyone on the faculty who may have said something offensive to some random crank--he doesn't respond, needless to say, though he usually forwards them so that faculty are aware of their cyber-stalkers.) If Mr. Koepsell doesn't want to be described as a cyber-stalker, then he should not have spent the last couple of years obessiviely tweeting and re-tweeting hundreds of insulting, abusive or defamatory comments about me, or showing up in comment thhreads where I have commented or been mentioned in order to insult or harass me.
This stuff is so pathetically disgusting, and so deeply entwined at points with other parts of his philosophical outlook, that I expect there is going to be a marked decline in interest in Heidegger in the coming decades.
A philosopher elsewhere forwards an e-mail sent recently to graduate students at a top department, which said:
Just a reminder that your funding is for your program of study. It does not pay for you to take classes of mild interest or for the purpose of personal enrichment.
My correspondent added:
The email advises students to check with the DGS for special cases, so it's nice to see that there's some way to get around this (it's hard to see how one would do a specialization in philosophy of science or ancient philosophy without that), but suggests that tuition for non-philosophy courses will not usually be covered. It strikes me as dismaying almost to the point of absurdity that something like "personal enrichment" would be explicitly discouraged for philosophy graduate students. It seems to me that graduate students of any discipline ought to be encouraged to explore and study as widely as possible, and that this is particularly true for philosophy grads. A policy like this breeds insularity, which something that professional philosophy struggles with in the best of cases.
I'm curious what others think. Are policies like this common? How is "personal enrichment" interpreted?
...has been dismissed. Unlike his defamation suit against the media outlets that falsely reported he had been accused of "rape"--which was wrongly dismissed by a state court judge--this decision seems well-reasoned and on some points clearly sound. (Note that this case, unlike the earlier one, was in federal court, where the quality of the judges is higher on average.) Note, however, that the judge leaves open that Ludlow may file an amended complaint on some of the counts; in a motion to dismiss, as the judge's opinion explains (see p. 6), the court accepts the plaintiff's statement of facts, and then determines whether they state legal claims. (In some instances, as the court does here, the court may also conclude that no reasonable jury could find in favor of the plaintiff on the facts as pleaded.) Some of Ludlow's claims may be salvaged with an amended complaint--most obviously, the defamation claim against the graduate student, which was dismissed because of failure to allege facts sufficient to find that the student's "qualified privilege" in reporting misconduct should be forfeited. (On the issue of privilege, see this earlier discussion; note that the defamation claim against Professor Lackey was, correctly as far as I can see, dismissed because of the statute of limitations.) (Remember, too, that Professor Lackey and the graduate student have been indemnified by the University for their legal expenses--the latter because of Professor Lackey's foresight in the matter.)
Not surprising, given Raymond Geuss's retirement and the nature of recent appointments. It would be a bit pathetic, though, for philosophy students at Cambridge to be unable to find faculty to work with on Marx or Nietzsche.
(Thanks to Phil Gasper for the pointer.)
UPDATE: Richard Holton, Chair of Philosophy at Cambridge, writes:
Marx will continue to be taught in the Cambridge philosophy faculty. The proposal is to contextualize Marxism, along with theories of equality in one course, and with feminism and anarchism in another. Faculty and students discussed the proposals together at a productive Staff-Student Committee meeting earlier this week. The petition had been circulated and signed before that meeting, and thus before students knew the full proposals; so we're puzzled that it was published on Change.orgafterwards, as though the meeting had never taken place. The Hegel and Nietzsche course remains.
Berkeley's Alison Gopnik, the well-known philosophically-minded psychologist, writes:
I’m attaching a link to my WSJ column taking off from the Leslie & Cimpian Science study on innate talent in philosophy. I had no room in the piece to say this but the more I’ve thought about it the odder it seems that philosophers, of all people, haven’t taken the time to see how incoherent the “innate talent” concept actually is. Maybe its because its so seductive as part of “folk psychology". In fact, when I first read the Science piece my first thought was “But that doesn’t apply to me because I’ve always known that I had a strong innate talent for philosophy, much more than for psychology, and I made my major affiliation to psychology for all sorts of other intellectual reasons”. But literally as I was thinking this I was also preparing the very first standard lecture in my intro developmental psychology course which is about why the nature/nurture distinction for psychological traits doesn’t make sense.
What would an innate talent for philosophy actually mean? That there is some set of genetic instructions that evolved in the pleistocene which just happens to consistently lead to an "appetite for Hume” phenotype? That some newborn infants are particularly good at asking piercing questions at seminars? That by the age of twenty the vagaries of genes, motivation, environment and culture have all interacted to produce a “sit around late at night asking about the meaning of life” phenotype that is immutable from then on? That heritability estimates for ethical reasoning will be constant across all the possible environments in the past and future?
Its weird, though certainly not unprecedented, that philosophers in their everyday life would endorse an idea that in their thoughtful professional life they would surely see is about as useful as the medieval theory of elements.
Perhaps too much weight is being put on the idea of "innateness" (which Prof. Gopnik aptly criticizes). What seems true in my own experience, both when I was in graduate school, then in 20 years of working with PhD students, is that some students arrive in graduate school with more "talent" for at least the styles of philosophy dominant in the Anglophone world than can be explained simply by prior education.
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)