He spent most of his career at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was emeritus. Best-known for his interpretations of Heidegger and Foucault, as well as his (Heidegger-informed) critiques of artificial intelligence, he trained many prominent scholars in the field during his roughly half-century of teaching at Berkeley. I will add links to memorial notices as they appear.
MOVING TO FRONT ONE MORE TIME--ALMOST 700 VOTES NOW, PLEASE VOTE IF YOU HAVEN'T--THESE POLL RESULTS TEND TO BE OF SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST FOR YEARS AFTER THE FACT
We haven't done one of these polls in nearly a decade, so here goes: 87 choices (you don't have to rank them all, and you can choose "no opinion" as well), we'll report on the top 30. Have fun! (Poll now fixed.)
This is curious, and clearly proof that these folks have money to burn! (The government should really confiscate more of it, and use it to meet human needs.) Embedded in the article is the bizarre claim that philosophy is the 89th most popular major, which presumably is based on counting majors at schools that don't even offer philosophy.
The moment seems right for me to make a little speech on behalf of 'peace, love, and understanding' -- so here goes.
Since Sunday morning, I have received (independently, and without solicitation) PMs from philosophers at a wide range of career stages, attesting the feelings of at least half a dozen members of the field; Jess[ica Wilson] has received still more. These are all people whom I hold at a very high level of esteem: excellent, crisp philosophers from whom I have learned a great deal. None of them are 'political' types: instead, they busy themselves in regard to philosophical matters doing fantastic work, to all of our collective benefit. Each communication offered warm appreciation for my and Jess's social media activities in recent days, for which we are humbly grateful.
But a darker current pervaded the various communications. In each case, the writer wished they could offer public support for our activities, but did not do so, out of *fear*.
Let that sink in, please: an atmosphere of *fear* pervades the internal political conversation in the field of philosophy.
The intensity of this fear is high enough that level-headed, responsible, first-rate performers at a wide range of career stages felt unable to perform such an anodyne gesture as 'Liking' some remark Jess or I makes on a comment thread. In consequence of this fear, each of my communicants expressed *guilt* at their sense of inability to publicly express support; and felt moved, for this reason, to apologize for not doing so.
Kipnis has now written a book, “Unwanted Advances,” about feminism, relationship statecraft and the shadow world of Title IX investigations. It is invigorating and irritating, astute and facile, rigorous and flippant, fair-minded and score-settling, practical and hyperbolic, and maybe a dozen other neurotically contradictory things. Above all else, though, “Unwanted Advances” is necessary. Argue with the author, by all means. But few people have taken on the excesses of university culture with the brio that Kipnis has.
What is significant about the book for the academic community in philosophy is that--its occasional glibness and fascination with its own meta-narrative about alleged "sexual paranoia" on campus aside--it sets out in compelling detail two recent injustices against now-former members of the community of employed philosophers, David Barnett and Peter Ludlow. It was always clear, at least to me, that Barnett had been wrongfully treated; the Ludlow case was less clear to me, at least until I read this book and had an opportunity to read the depositions in the lawsuit brought by the undergraduate.
Daniel Came (Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, philosophy of religion), currently at the University of Hull, will become the founding member of a new department of philosophy at the University of Lincoln in the U.K. In a time of cutbacks, it's nice to see a young university--and an ambitious one at that--making an investment in philosophy!
Professor Parsons taught for many years at Oxford University, leaving in fall 2016 to take up a senior policy position in government in his native New Zealand. He was well-known for his work in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic. You can learn more about his work here (and see also his charming grades of the world's flags!) I will add lnks to memorial notices when they appear.
(Thanks to Benj Hellie for the information.)
UPDATE: Philosopher Charles Pigden (Otago) writes: "Slight correction to your Josh post (for which many thanks). Josh had not been teaching at Oxford for ‘many’ years but only five (2011-2016) having spent the previous five years at Otago. If he had been at Oxford from 2006 to 2011 rather than Otago, I would be a lot less grief-stricken than sadly I actually am. On the other hand I would not have experienced the most valuable philosophical friendship of my life."
They are: Samuel Freeman (University of Pennsylvania), Alison Jaggar (University of Colorado, Boulder), Jonathan Lear (University of Chicago), and Charles Mills (City University of New York Graduate Center). I'm pleased to note that Freeman and Lear wrote the volumes, respectively, on Rawls and Freud in my Routledge Philosophers series.
The committee responsible for new philosophy elections to the Academy this year consisted of Susan Wolf (as Chair), Elizabeth Anderson, Sally Haslanger, Philip Kitcher, Richard Kraut, and Helen Longino. Any current member can nominate candidates for election, and candidates are voted on by all current members, but the committee for each section has considerable authority over the final choices (though there is some negotiation about how many new Fellows each section gets each year--philosophy usually gets four or five).
Barnett had a graduate student we'll call Ben. Ben had been found guilty of "forcible nonconsensual sexual contact" stemming from a drunken, chaotic evening at an off-campus house involving several roommates and visitors...Ben himself had no memory the next day of the events; nor did the complainant, whom I'll call Ann. At least that's what Ann said the next morning to the female friend who'd brought her to Ben's place. Three months later, Ann miraculously recovered her memory and filed forcible sex charges against Ben.
Though they never actually had sex, somehow Ben and Ann were in a bedroom naked and yelling at one another when Ben's roommate, Cary, came in to see what was going on. Among the other highlights of the evening were Ann, blind drunk, falling down the stairs; Ann being picked up in a car by her boyfriend; Ann returning to the house later that night and climbing into bed with various of Ben's roommates, whom she tried fondling and propositioning (Cary included), but none was interested...
The university's Office of Discrimination and Harassment [ODH] investigated, and found Ben guilty of the forcible contact charge, though they never interviewed him....Ben was shocked when he received the final report, since it either misrepresented or omitted the statements of the five witnesses they had interviewed. Ben's association with the university was immediately severed...
His professor, David Barnett, tried to help Ben find a lawyer, but none would take the case on contingency, so any legal action would be expensive....[An] alternative was writing up an account of what had been omitted from the report and submitting an appeal directly to the university's president and chancellor...
Are you aware of any policy or practice regarding applicants who are holding an offer of admission and fellowship but who have not made contact with an institution for weeks, despite numerous emails, etc.? All we are asking for is an acknowledgement that our offer is still being considered and that they are still interested in it. Rudeness aside, isn't there some obligation on the applicant's part to respond to queries?
Have others had this problem?
I do not know if there are any rules governing situations like this promulgated by the APA or other bodies (please post links to any applicable rules in the comment section). I would think one way for programs to avoid this kind of problem is, in the offer letter, to specify that the offer of admission is conditional on certain contacts/updates being acknowledged, or something like that. And students really shouldn't behave the way this student is behaving: other hopefuls may be waiting on your decision, after all! Perhaps in this case there are extenuating circumstances, but if you really have no interest in an admission offer, turn it down!
The Guardian gives a fair summary of the book's treatment of the allegations by a graduate student against Peter Ludlow at Northwestern. (It is less good on the allegations of the undergraduate; the most serious of her allegations were thoroughly undermined during the depositions in connection with her lawsuit against Ludlow and the university--Kipnis's book gives a better account of this.) An excerpt ("Hartley" is the pseudonym for the graduate student complainant):
[Hartley] and Ludlow had seemingly been in a relationship: a consensual relationship documented in dozens of fond texts and emails that Kipnis has seen. She was a 25-year-old graduate student, and he was not her supervisor. It wasn’t, moreover, until two years after this relationship ended that she rang her thesis adviser and told her that Ludlow had once had sex with her without her consent (it was this adviser who contacted the university’s Title IX officer).
Leslie Green, who holds one of the two statutory (i.e., university-wide) Chairs in Philosophy of Law at Oxford, has now expanded on his thoughts about the Gorsuch plagiarism case and the claims of John Finnis (who held a personal chair in legal philosophy, but is now emeritus). (Earlier posts here and here.)
As we learned from the updates to the earlier posting, many disability advocates have been strong enablers of the facilitated communication sham and of Stubblefield herself. And it's worse than that, as David Auerbach writes:
Despite saying they were reviewing the matter, Disability Studies Quarterly never added any sort of disclaimer to the article purportedly authored by DJ but written "through" Stubblefield via Facilitated Communication ( http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1717/1765 )
DSQ have also not added any disclaimers to Stubblefield's own article in the same issue, "Sound and Fury: When Opposition to Facilitated Communication Functions as Hate Speech" (http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1729/1777), in which Stubblefield defends many FC advocates whom she personally knew, including FC creator Rosemary Crossley (whose testimony in favor of DJ's competence was rejected by the trial judge) and longtime FC proponent Sandra McClennen (Stubblefield's mother)."
UPDATE: Psychologist James Todd, whom we heard from previously regarding his role in the Stubblefield trial, writes with more interesting perspective:
You are right about “disabilities studies," at the least the kind we get from the Society for Disabilities Studies and its journal, Disabilities Studies Quarterly (DSQ).
The SDS conferences and its journal contain some real scholarship. But it is so infused with advocacy, fabrication, and fantasy that the legitimate items are tainted by association. DSQ also continues to accept FC as genuine communication without apparently even suggesting source validation. I suspect they know doing that would reveal the real source as the facilitator. That is, DSQ is a journal that publishes what any competent editor should assume are forgeries.
Leslie Green, Professor of the Philosophy of Law at Oxford University and Fellow of Balliol College, gave me permission to repost these comments he made on facebook:
Of Neil Gorsuch's apparent plagiarism in his 2006 book, my colleague John Finnis says, 'Gorsuch’s writing and citing was easily and well within the proper and accepted standards of scholarly research and writing in the field of study in which he and I work.'
This is false. Had any of my DPhil students engaged in this sort of plagiarism I would have refused to sign their examination forms and would have reported them to the University. No reputable press would publish a book if it knew that it contained this sort of thing. I do not think any of my (other) colleagues in the Oxford Law Faculty think differently.
But then maybe Finnis has in mind something different than I do when he speaks of 'the field of study in which [Gorsuch] and I work' ?
Politico broke the story today. What he did is obviously plagiarism, though not the worst kind: he used without attribution another author's description of medical conditions and procedures, he did not steal the other author's main arguments and analysis. None of this is disqualifying to his nomination, but it is careless and he should acknowledge it and correct it in future editions of his book. What is most remarkable here is the nonsense from Robert George, the Princeton politics professor and all-purpose apologist for Catholic dogma, who is editor of the book series in which Gorsuch's book, with the plagiarism, appeared:
"Judge Gorsuch did not attempt to steal other people’s intellectual property or pass off ideas or arguments taken from other writers as his own," said George. "In no case did he seek credit for insights or analysis that had been purloined. In short, not only is there no fire, there isn’t even any smoke.”
I imagine this absurd defense of the plagiarism at issue will be trotted out by students across the nation now: "I only stole the words of someone else, but all the other arguments, insight, and analysis are mine!" The Politico piece suggests that John Finnis, the Oxford natural law theorist who worked with both George and Gorsuch, also weighed in on this, but I haven't seen his comments; although Finnis was, at one time, a substantial natural law theorist, he is, like George, a shameless partisan when it comes to defending his religious and political allies.
UPDATE: More details on the instances of plagiarism here. This article also includes a quote from Finnis, which gives new meaning to "shameless partisan":
"[I]n my opinion, none of the allegations has any substance or justification. In all the instances mentioned, Neil Gorsuch’s writing and citing was easily and well within the proper and accepted standards of scholarly research and writing in the field of study in which he and I work.”
The legal philosophers and law faculty at Oxford really should issue a public statement rebutting the implication that plagiarism is normal practice there.
ANOTHER: The Oxford Professor of the Philosophy of Law has responded to Professor Finnis's claim.
The lengthy complaint is here. Part of plaintiff's theory, if I understand it correctly, is that Yale was effectively deputized by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Education to enforce the criminal law, and thus acquired constitutional obligations, despite being a private entity. I am skeptical this argument will fly, but that's a separate matter.
The two bits that may be of interest to philosophy readers are paragraphs #91 to 102 regarding how his work in a philosophy class (involving Plato!) got implicated in his Title IX troubles. And paragraph #43 in the complaint also makes a useful point: the difficulty with university Title IX proceedings is not really the use of a preponderance standard, it is the use of a lower standard of proof in conjunction with the absence of other procedural protections for both parties. When I served as a support person for a complainant in a Title IX matter, for example, I was astonished to discover that I was supposed to keep largely quiet during the interviews with the complainant. This means a complainant has to be her own advocate--and as the familiar legal saying goes, a lawyer who represents herself in a litigation has a fool for a client. Yet typical Title IX protocols preclude complainants and respondents from having advocates, whether actual lawyers or not. That really is a recipe for disaster.
This essay in CHE is basically the final chapter of her new book, mentioned last week. An excerpt ("Hartley" is a pseudonym for the graduate student complainant against Ludlow):
[W]hen push came to shove, both investigators had backpedaled on the most serious allegations: Neither found Ludlow culpable of sexual assault. When I eventually read the two reports, I found them shocking. At every turn, speculation and guesswork became the basis for establishing "a preponderance of evidence," the standard demanded by the Office for Civil Rights in Title IX cases. The reasoning was frequently ludicrous. Potentially exculpatory evidence from Ludlow was ignored. And the gender bias was incredible — exhausted clichés about predatory males and eternally innocent females were apparently sufficient grounds to convene this massive show trial....
At one point during these protracted hearings, something unexpected happened that reminded me of what can be so great about the academy, and what we stand to lose in the wave of sexual paranoia sweeping American campuses....
But there are still a few holdouts, and one of them, a feminist philosopher at the University of Toronto named Jessica Wilson, had volunteered to testify as a character witness for Peter Ludlow. (Ludlow wasn’t in the room for this session.)
Wilson had known Ludlow for 15 years, she said, first as his student and then in two departments as a colleague, and spoke movingly about him as a mentor and a person. Being around him had been a sort of "effervescent philosophical situation" for Wilson and her then-boyfriend, also a philosopher, when they were all in the same department. When she and her boyfriend decided to get married, they chose Ludlow as the officiant "because he was the most erudite, witty, wonderful person that I knew." Hearing about Ludlow presiding over a marriage ceremony came as a small shock, I think, to a roomful of people who’d been told he was virtually a predator. Here was a smart, attractive, successful woman from one of the top philosophy departments in North America who revered Peter Ludlow.
MOVING TO FRONT: SEE THE UPDATES, INCLUDING FROM AN ACTUAL EXPERT WITNESS AT THE STUBBLEFIELD TRIAL
Jeff McMahan (Oxford) called to my attention this piece he and Peter Singer (Princeton) wrote about the "injustice" involved in the conviction of Anna Stubblefield for rape of a severely disabled man whom she believed had consented to sex via "facilitated communication." (For background, see here and here.) I agree with McMahan and Singer that Stubblefield is not some horrible "sexual predator" and that the 12-year prison sentence is too harsh, but harsh prison sentences are a general problem in the American criminal justice system. Beyond that, however, their essay is quite misleading and not very compelling. They give the false impression that Stubblefield was prevented from testifying that she believed the victim had consented to sex, when in fact she was allowed to testify about her use of facilitated communication with the victim. (They write that the trial judge "decided to exclude all testimony related to facilitated communication," but that is wrong: the trial judge excluded all evidence that facilitated communication is scientifically valid evidence of a disabled person's state of mind.) In a rape prosecution, the state of mind of the accused is important, and so the court properly admitted her testimony about her state of mind. But what the trial court did not permit was any "expert" evidence that facilitated communication is a reliable way of communicating with the severely disabled.
This summer's program focuses on "Freedom and Free Will in Classical German Philosophy." The main teaching is done by Professors Michael Forster and Markus Gabriel; I will be giving one of the keynotes, on Nietzsche, and there will be several other keynote lectures. Note that they provide financial support to admitted students and that the school is taught in English.
A major North American PhD program is pressuring a student to accept by this Friday (today)--in violation of (sensible) APA rules--in order to get a particularly good scholarship. I know this because another major North American PhD program is interested in the same student, and alerted me to the misconduct I will not name names just yet, but the guilty parties know who they are. Abide by the rules, children! Or face exposure!
UPDATE: It turns out there is a university rule with respect to some forms of financial aid that this department must abide by. Once I get permission, I'll post more.
ANOTHER: The Chair of the Department in question kindly gave permission to post the following explanation:
Allow me to make two clarifications: (1) Our program abides by the APA rules. All admitted graduate students have until April 15 to decide on whether or not they accept our offer of admission. We do not pressure students to accept earlier. (2) Our university has two university-wide graduate student entrance fellowships reserved for international students, for which more than 70 different graduate programs compete. There are only two dozens of these fellowships in total, so the competition is fierce. Now it is these - extremely selective - fellowships that come with a shorter deadline. We are constantly lobbying our university for future changes and we ask as forcefully as we can for deadline extensions. But given that our university is not bound by the CGS deadline, there isn’t much else our department can do. (We are a Canadian university and the April 15 pledge is a resolution of the US Council of Graduate Schools; only US schools are signatories to the pledge.) However, we’d like to emphasize that we take our department to be bound by the April 15 pledge just as much as if our university had signed the CGS agreement. But with respect to these rare university-wide fellowships, our only other option is not to apply for them, and this would just deprive some international students from the opportunity to have a more attractive financial package. This is why we choose to continue nominating students for these fellowships with the understanding that they would still receive one of the standard financial packages if they cannot give us an answer by the fellowship deadline.
1. W.V.O. Quine (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Saul Kripke loses to W.V.O. Quine by 166–163
3. David K. Lewis loses to W.V.O. Quine by 170–139, loses to Saul Kripke by 181–130
4. John Rawls loses to W.V.O. Quine by 181–125, loses to David K. Lewis by 165–151
5. Hilary Putnam loses to W.V.O. Quine by 196–112, loses to John Rawls by 163–146
6. Derek Parfit loses to W.V.O. Quine by 204–103, loses to Hilary Putnam by 190–111
7. Bernard Williams loses to W.V.O. Quine by 208–104, loses to Derek Parfit by 143–134
8. Donald Davidson loses to W.V.O. Quine by 221–63, loses to Bernard Williams by 139–133
9. Thomas Nagel loses to W.V.O. Quine by 218–88, loses to Donald Davidson by 128–123
10. P.F. Strawson loses to W.V.O. Quine by 240–53, loses to Thomas Nagel by 138–117
David Lewis fans were caught rallying votes late in the process, thus displacing Rawls at #3! G.E.M. Anscombe trailed P.F. Strawson by just five votes. Filling out the top 20 were the following philosophers:
This is funny and all too apt--it's not just a phenomenon of academic philosophy, of course, but it's pathetic that despite the pretense of so many members of this profession, the exact same thing happens here. "Human, all-too-human" as a certain German philosopher observed.
I argue that the core of genuinely academic freedom ought to be freedom in research and teaching, subject to disciplinary standards of expertise. I discuss the law in the United States, Germany, and England, and express doubts about the American view that distinctively academic freedom ought to encompass "extramural" speech on matters of public importance (speakers should be protected from employment repercussions for such speech, but not because of their freedom qua academics).
I treat freedom of academic expression as a subset of general freedom of expression, focusing on the Millian argument that freedom of expression maximizes discovery of the truth, one regularly invoked by defenders of academic freedom. Marcuse argued against Mill (in 1965) that "indiscriminate" toleration of expression would not maximize discovery of the truth. I show that Marcuse agreed with Mill that free expression is only truth- and utility-maximizing if certain background conditions obtain: thus Mill argues that the British colony in India would be better off with "benevolent despotism" than Millian liberty of expression, given that its inhabitants purportedly lacked the maturity and education requisite for expression to be utility-maximizing. Marcuse agrees with Mill that the background conditions are essential, but has an empirical disagreement with him about what those are and when they obtain: Mill finds them wanting in colonial India, Marcuse finds them wanting in capitalist America.
Perhaps surprisingly, Marcuse believes that "indiscriminate" toleration of expression should be the norm governing academic discussions, despite his doubts about the utility-maximizing value of free expression in capitalist America. Why think that? Here is a reason: where disciplinary standards of expertise govern debate, the discovery of truth really is more likely, but only under conditions of "indiscriminate" freedom of argument, i.e., academic freedom. This freedom is not truly "indiscriminate": its boundaries are set by disciplinary competence, which raises an additional question I try to address.
In sum, the libertarians (Mill and Popper) and the Marxists (Marcuse) can agree that academic freedom is justified, at least when universities are genuine sites of scientific expertise and open debate
Well-known for his work in philosophy of logic and mathematics, in both the analytic and phenomenological traditions, he was at the time of his death Professor of Philosophy at San Jose State University in California. I will add links to memorial notices as they appear.
(Thanks to Charles Carlini for the information.)
UPDATE: Philosopher Charles Parsons (Harvard) kindly writes with more information about his former student, Prof Tieszen:
Tieszen was born in 1951 and received a B. A. from Colorado State University, I believe in 1975, and an M. A. from the New School for Social Research in 1978, where he studied with J. N. Mohanty. Thus he had a background in Husserl and phenomenology when he entered the graduate program at Columbia University, where he received the Ph. D.in 1987. I was the main director of his dissertation. This led to a book, Mathematical Intuition: Phenomenology and Mathematical Knowledge (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1989). He was a productive writer in the philosophy of logic and mathematics; he published a collection of his essays, Phenomenology, Logic, and the Philosophy of Mathematics (Cambridge University Press, 2005). In late years he turned to writing on Gödel and published After Gödel: Platonism and Naturalism in Mathematics and Logic (Oxford University Press, 2011). Before his death he completed a book on Gödel for a general audience, Simply Gödel [which will be published Mr. Carlini's publishing house in New York, Simply Charly].
After a couple of temporary jobs, Tieszen joined the faculty of San Jose State and remained there until his death. He and I kept in touch throughout his career.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy, sisters Patricia Anderson, Pamela Hobbs, Sandra Tait and parents Beverly and James Tieszen.
UPDATE: Steve Nadler writes with a useful bit of context:
Thanks for the notice about the Times OpEd piece. However, just to clarify, lest I come across as a poseur: I did not present myself as a “foreign policy analyst”, nor did I expect him to identify me as such (and I don’t even play one on TV). Rather, Edsall, who is an OpEd writer for the Times, wrote me an email after I had published an opinion piece on Spinoza and the Dutch elections that was syndicated:
Edsall asked me a bunch of policy questions. I told him I was not an expert on such things, but did draw some comparisons between the ignorance of Trump and the ignorance of Euthyphro. I had no idea what he was going to do with all this.
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)