Kolja Keller, a PhD student at the University of Rochester, calls my attention to this site which solicits students to rate their programs by e-mail with an offer of a $5 Starbucks e-card. The site itself does not reveal how many responses each program received, or how many students from different programs participated in this exercise.
(About a decade ago, we tried to collect student feedback on programs for the PGR, and it was a disaster for two reasons: first, some programs lobbied their students to send glowing reports, while for other programs we heard only from one or two people, invariably people who were unhappy, and we had no way of determining whether or not they were representative.)
Here. The groups here are defined mainly in terms of demographic categories (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, but also disability status), rather than ideological or philosophical orientation. Readers may submit additional names, except in the sexual orientation and disability categories. One category not included at present is socioeconomic background.
(Thanks to several different readers who sent this along.)
I regret taking so long to write you an email expressing my regrets and frustration about how you have been treated by many of your colleagues lately. I have been trying my best to ignore it since I am on the market this year with very much to do and can't afford to let myself be so upset by the disturbing eagerness with which so many people (which included some of my friends, who are good people) seem so eager to jump on the leiter-bashing bandwagon. It is hard not to view it as largely the kind of group-think, social-signaling moralistic aggression that I still am apparently naive enough to be shocked and angered by when professional philosophers engage in it en masse. It saddens me to think of a large section of my colleagues as the "public" in Rushdie's famous quote from “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers”:
"We, the public, are easily, lethally offended. We have come to think of taking offence as a fundamental right. We value very little more highly than our rage, which gives us, in our opinion, the moral high ground. From this high ground we can shoot down at our enemies and inflict heavy fatalities. We take pride in our short fuses. Our anger elevates, transcends."
This isn't to say that none of your critics have any valid points, or that I agree with everything you say... What galls me is the eagerness with which so many people want to signal their superior moral status by means of shooting down at you from their ostensibly greater moral heights, when in reality, few if any of your loudest critics have done as much for academic philosophy, or issues relating to the academy more broadly (freedom of speech especially) as you have. Or so it seems to me. I am surely biased since I read your blog more than others.
Again, I'm sorry it took me so long to write you, but I clearly should have earlier, not only for whatever sense of support you might get from it, but because I feel a lot better now too having finally expressed some of these thoughts. In the current climate, I do not feel at liberty to express my opinions on this subject in public. I would feel much safer publicly posting criticisms of U.S. or Israeli state terrorism than I would expressing support for you--or much worse, criticism of some of your critics. That in itself is a very sad state of affairs for the discipline, especially since the people I would be most wary of are many of those who make the loudest demands for (their approved forms of) inclusivity.
An interesting perspective, though I think the salience of social media amplifies what is actually a minority kind of censoriousness and priggishness masquerading as the moral high ground. Just as we can be confident that I won't stop enforcing my legal rights or calling out charlatans and hacks, we can be confident that it is quite a bit more risky to be a vocal critic of Israel than it is to to be a vocal supporter of me against a minority of web-savvy wrongdoers.
Due to miscommunication, two different deadlines for applications for admission to the PhD program at The CUNY Graduate Center have appeared online: December 15 (posted by the administration) and January 15 (posted by the department). This week I have received quite a few emails from justifiably nervous applicants worried they may have missed the deadline. They have not. We are accepting applications until January 15, and we are in touch with the admissions office (conveniently located just 50 feet from the Philosophy Department).
The REF ranking your UK colleague sent you is misleading because it simply ranks according to the overall amount of funding a Department will receive, based on the current funding formula. But this sum depends to a large extent on the overall number of people who were submitted to the REF, which, in turn, depends to a large extent on how large the Department is.
A less misleading ranking, which doesn't give large Departments such a gratuitous advantage simply for being large, is one that just takes the percentage of a Department's overall quality profile ranked 4*, multiplies that by 3, and adds that to the percentage of that Department's overall quality profile ranked 3*. This reflects the government's current formula of funding just 3* and 4* research, with 4* research funded at 3 times 3* research. But it treats all quality profiles of Departments as equal, however many people were submitted.
Here's the ranking which this generates:
1. University of Oxford
2. University of Birmingham
3. King's College London
4. University College London
5. University of Cambridge HPS
6. University of St Andrews
7. London School of Economics and Political Science
8. University of Edinburgh
=8. University of Warwick
10. University of Essex
11. University of Sheffield
12. University of Leeds
13. University of Bristol
14. University of Cambridge Phil
15. Birkbeck College
One thing neither your colleague's ranking nor my ranking does is adjust for the ratio of those who were submitted to those who could have been submitted. We don't yet have data for the total number in a Department who could have been submitted, however.
I should note my colleague in the UK also sent me a version of this, too, I was not clear on which results were most relevant.
UPDATE: The full REF results by subject are downloadable here. (Thanks to several readers for the pointer.)
ANOTHER: Filippo Contesi writes:
Please note that, as well as measuring "impact" (for 20% of the overall score), the REF also measures the "environment" of an institution (worth 15% of the overall score), which, alongside things such as number of doctoral degrees awarded, also measures (rather puzzingly, at least prima facie) the institution's research income: http://www.ref.ac.uk/about/guidance/ref4environmentdata/ .
A colleague in the UK sent me the key results for philosophy (reflecting the relationship between the quality of the submissions and the size of the faculty, which is what affects the financial contribution from the government to the university):
1. Oxford University
2. Cambridge University (History & Philosophy of Science)
3. King's College, London
4. University College London
5. University of Edinburgh
6. University of Leeds
7. University of St Andrews
8. University of Warwick
9. Universitoy of Sheffield
10. London School of Economics
11. University of Birmingham
12. Cambridge University (Philosophy)
13. University of Bristol
14. University of Durham
15. Birkbeck College, University of London
One thing I don't know is to what extent the submissions reflected recent changes in faculty rosters: for example, Cambridge (Philosophy) recently added Holton & Langton from MIT; Sheffield is losing Hookway to retirement; Leeds lost Barnes & Camerson to UVA. Bear in mind that the UK evaluation exercise is no longe r a purely "scholarly" evaluation, as it also measures "impact," meaning nonsense like how often faculty research is mentioned in the media.
UPDATE: Michael Otsuka (LSE) writes:
Everyone who was in post on the 31 October 2013 'census date' counts for this REF. So Langton and Holton count, since they were in post by September 2013.
MOVING TO FRONT FROM THE OTHER DAY--MORE SUBMISSIONS WELCOME!
It's the time of year when the media start running "the best books" of the year lists, mostly a mix of best-selling garbage, with an occasional book of merit thrown in. What books or articles did readers here most enjoy/admire this year? Please don't just name them, but say something about them, to assist others in assessing whether they'd want to read them too. (These need not be only philosophy books and articles.)
Several readers have sent this paper, some of which raises a genuine question about the status of psychological findings about implicit bias and stereotype threat to which I'd be interested in hearing from experts. (The authors clearly have an agenda of their own, and some of their points are rather tendentious, which is why it would be good to hear from other experts about whether their representation of the literature is fair.) In particular, I'm curious whether any of the claims below the fold are correct:
In many state colleges and universities philosophy programs are housed in one department with religious studies. In some of these cases, philosophy faculty would prefer to be in self-standing philosophy departments. To make this change, philosophy faculty must persuade administrators that philosophy programs should be housed in autonomous philosophy departments.
These philosophers need arguments and data. Here are the questions. What are the particular ways in which the "Philosophy and Religious Studies" combination is problematic? What are the most effective arguments against that combination? (The arguments must appeal to Deans and Provosts.)
Regarding data, it would help philosophers in this position to know which other philosophy departments around the country were once in combined departments, and it would help to know when the split occurred. Finally, it would also be helpful to know the ways in which those philosophy programs have improved after the separation (perhaps in major recruitment, faculty recruitment and retention, research output, and so on).
Hume by Don Garrett, andDewey by Steven Fesmire--each will, I expect, be landmark works in their respective areas, as well as terrific for students. Just in time for the holidays, for your favorite pragmatists, naturalists, and empiricists!
This looks like it could be useful, as long as it gets enough contributors and folks check it for accuracy (right now it seems a bit mixed). Necessarily, it omits all-important qualitative information, but for that the PGR is the natural starting point. (Be advised that the boundaries of "philosophical logic" tend to be more contested than is the norm, so the Wiki can also be useful in linking directly to the precise kinds of work faculty are doing.)
This is a very good read, a well-informed (as one would expect) and appropriately opionated account of developments, especially in the post-WWII period, covering, inter alia, the decline of Wittgenstein's influence, the return of metaphysics, the shift from philosophy of language to philosophy of mind in the 1980s, the rise and fall of Davidson and Dummett, the contributions of Lewis, Kripke, Grice and many others. As one would expect, the story ends with a vindication of the centrality of logic, metaphysics, and a kind of philosophy of language to philosophical inquiry.
A poster, courtesy of Catherine Nolan, a PhD student at Buffalo. She writes:
Some people commonly found in lists of philosophy majors (e.g. Woody Allen, David Duchovny) aren't on this poster because I couldn't find evidence to back up such claims. If anyone finds that there are other errors in this poster, please have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll make sure to update it.
This poster can be printed as a 20"x32" poster; another practical size is 11"x17.6", but it can be scaled to other sizes as well.
UPDATE: Apparently the dropbox site was overwhelmed by the volume of traffic; Ms. Nolan has relocated the poster here.
Professor Griffiths, who wrote very widely in almost all parts of philosophy, taught at Aberystwyth and Birkbeck, before becoming a Founding Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick in 1965, where he later served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He also served as Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy from 1979 to 1994. I will post links to memorial notices as they appear.
As I progress through my PhD program, it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that a lifelong career in academia is probably not for me (for a multitude of reasons that aren't germane). Having said that, I am getting a lot out of my program and enjoy it plenty, and so don't exactly have a desire to drop out--it's just that I want to take a different career path afterward than we are typically groomed for. Given that my PhD would be from a widely respected, extremely well known university, do you think my professional (i.e., non-academic) prospects are good? Or would I be better off to drop out with my MA and seek other professional qualifications/training?
I would appreciate your input on this question, and the input of your readers if you see fit to share the question with them.
An important contributor to the philosophy of science and decision theory, he spent his entire academic career (from 1950 onwards) at Stanford University, where he was emeritus. He was one of a small handful of philosophers (along with, e.g., Allan Gibbard and Brian Skyrms) elected both to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. I will add links to memorial notices as they appear.
UPDATE: Michael Weisberg (Penn), who took his PhD at Stanford, writes:
There are some amazing photos of Pat on the corpus website. I especially like the ones showing his pioneering work in computer-aided instruction (in the 1960s!!). These two are my favorite:
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)