Jeff McMahan (Oxford) calls my attention to his latest post at the Practical Ethics blog. Alas, the bulk of the comments following the post are disgracefully idiotic; hopefully, they will be removed, and an adult discussion might ensue.
...and he's also mystified why a serious journal is devoting an issue to it. If other parts of philosophy had as clear Wissenschaftlich standards as philosophy of language/linguistics does, there' be more protests of this kind.
Interesting how much stronger the effect on religiosity of communist rule in China was than in the former Soviet Union. (Amusingly, the Washington Post informs us that China also instilled materialism in its people as well. I thought that had only happened in Australia.)
Johnny Brennan from the ACLS kindly writes with news about philosopher winners in the last ACLS competitions:
Jacob Beck, Assistant Professor at York University, “Beyond Language” How the Mind Represents the World”
Tim Maudlin, Professor at New York University, “Space-Time and the Theory of Linear Structures”
Christia Mercer, Professor at Columbia University, “Feeling the Way to Truth: Women, Reason, and the Development of Modern Philosophy”
Collaborative Research Fellowship
Derrick Darby, Professor at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (in collaboration with John L. Rury, Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Kansas), “The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice”
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Arash Abazari, PhD Candidate at Johns Hopkins University, “Hegel’s Logic of Essence as the Ontology of Power in Capitalism”
Robert Steel, PhD Candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, “Planning for Failure”
Denise Vigani, PhD Candidate at CUNY Graduate Center, “Construing Character: Virtue as a Cognitive-Affective Processing System”
Our Public Fellows program is currently still in review. This program seeks to match recent PhDs in two-year staff positions with partnering organizations in government and the non-profit sector. It is a great way for fresh humanities PhDs who are considering careers outside of academia to make the transition. It is growing rapidly in popularity among graduate students as well as organizations who are quickly realizing the benefits of staffing humanities PhDs. We hope to announce the fellows in late May. If there are any philosophers in the cohort I’ll be sure to let you know.
Forthcoming inThe Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy, co-authored with Daniel Telech, a PhD student here who is very knowledgeable not only about Nietzsche, but about empirical and philosophical moral psychology (Dan is the lead author on this piece).
A well-known political philosopher, he was emeritus at the University of Vermont. Larry Solum (Georgetown) has a bit more.
UPDATE: Philosopher Don Loeb at Vermont gave me permission to share the message he sent to his colleagues about Prof. Wertheimer's passing:
I am sorry to have such sad news to relay. Our beloved friend and colleague, and one of the most honest and fearless philosophers I have ever known, Alan Wertheimer, died this afternoon at 4 PM. He was surrounded by his family and not in pain.
ANOTHER: Philosopher Jerry Dworkin sends along this interview with Wertheimer.
(I doubt Project Vox will [as Prof. Janiak is quoted as suggesting] affect the gender diversity of the discipline--enforcement of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules will have a bigger effect--but it's still a nice project that should help recover some interesting but forgotten philosophical work.)
...in order to cut costs, dodge the faculty union, etc. The University of Warwick has one of the best philosophy departments in the UK. A move like this will so damage the university's reputation it seems it could only have been cooked up by clueless bureaucrats. (Thanks to the several readers who forwarded this in the last 24 hours.)
Do any readers know more about this? Is there any explanation for why the University would do this that does not reflect poorly on its motives? Comments are open.
Periodically, readers call my attention to the bizarre Wikipedia page on Critchley, which if he didn't write it himself, must have been written by his research assistants or students. (He links to it from his homepage, a giveaway.) There are serious philosophers profiled on Wikipedia (see, e.g., Quine or Adorno), and their entries do not contain summaries of all their books, as Critchley's does, as though they were significant works of philosophy. Nothing is included that would indicate his actual reputation as a lightweight hack, even among scholars of the Continental traditions. Wikipedia is often a disaster when it comes to profiles of living people, but this is really an embarrassment. (I should note that his Wikipedia entry was first called to my attention long before his drinking buddy at the New York Times brought him on as "moderator" of The Stone blog. It has been this ridiculous for awhile.)
...as pointed out by a commentator on the open thread. I'm reading the two articles on Continental figures (one on Nietzsche, one on Heidegger), and will have more to say in due course. Other comments about the first issue may be posted at the open thread.
Philosopher Allen Hazen (formerly Melbourne, now teaching at Alberta) writes:
It is perhaps worth noting that Leigh Cauman (under her maiden name, Steinhardt) was Quine's first Ph.D. supervisee (at "Radcliffe College," Harvard University in those days not giving degrees under its own name to women), in 1940. Her dissertation was about "the variable" and semantics-- I think that Quine's well-known emphasis on the analogy between variables and pronouns was something she also stressed. I am sure that student learned from teacher and also teacher from student: I have no idea to what, if any, degree Quine's ideas should be attributed to "Miss Steinhardt," who is credited in footnotes with a few minor improvements to his "Mathematical Logic."
Mrs. Cauman believed that a male philosopher writing a thesis under Quine would have had more opportunities for a (non-adjunct, non-editorial) academic career than she had: doubtless wanting to live in the same city as her husband (who was, I think, an art historian, though I am not sure of that) limited her ability to seek teaching appointments.
I was never officially affiliated with the Columbia philosophy department, but often called on it when visiting family in the neighborhood. My sense is that Leigh's general friendliness and generosity contributed a great deal to the sense of a philosophy "community" there.
----at PhilJobs. (And special congratulations to Nir Ben-Moshe, the first of the PhD students I've had the privilege of working with here to go on the job market; he will start in a tenure-track position at Illinois/Urbana-Champaign!)
ADDENDUM: A reader sends along this sophomoric prattle; The Monist must have fallen on hard times to be publishing material like this. The abstract alone will probably be enough for most readers, but do press on, it gives one real insight into the nether regions of the 'profession' where no actual intellectual standards prevail. Imagine, an entire paper organized around an alleged "conflation" that any smart undergraduate would avoid!
Rightly so, do read the whole thing. From the conclusion:
In my view, in this book Fuller lends support to some dicey propositions, including creationism and intelligent design, the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin, neurotheology, and transhumanism, not to mention an epistemology of divine psychology. By itself that would not trouble me. What troubles me -- I should say, annoys me -- is that he just avers these things. There is very little argument in this book. In place of it are obsessive self-citations to the author's other publications. That annoyed me because I had time and occasion to read his new book, only to find out that I cannot understand it without reading twenty others by the same author, including maybe even his dissertation. Without studying the earlier books, I can't understand the point of this one, yet nothing in this one makes me want to read those others.
One does begin to wonder whether Fuller is really bonkers, or whether this is all simply to be chalked up to narcissistic stupidity.
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)