I have been kindly invited to become a contributor to this blog upon my en passant remark to one of its current contributors that this could become a good venue for the discussion of some gender-related issues that are important from a philosophical point of view (and not only in terms of how the profession is organized). I am a big fan of the Feminist Philosophers’ blog, but I suspect that it is not as widely read as it should be. So at the very least, here I hope to be able to discuss some of the important points they make over there in my own terms. Today I would like to offer some comments on the recent Buckwalter & Stich paper on gender and philosophical intuitions that has been much discussed in several blogs in the last couple of days. (But let me notice that my interests go well beyond gender issues, in fact none of my own work as a professional philosopher is on feminist issues – not yet, in any case…)
Just a short post in reply to the discussion below between Mark and Eric about "cynicism." We've been using the category "Economics of Higher Education" for these discussions, but that hides the political dimension of public higher education, so I'm adding a category for that.
What do I mean by "politics of [public] higher education"? I mean that dimension of public higher education whereby the people of a community instruct their elected representatives to establish institutions of higher education for the purposes of forming the next generation of citizens. I take such citizenship training to be based in development of critical thinking in the following areas (non-exclusive list): 1) analysis of evidence and arguments; 2) understanding of rhetoric [the classical trio of logical, ethical, and pathetic appeals]; 3) a grounding in literary and visual culture to understand how those appeals can be embedded in many different forms of cultural production; 4) a grounding in principles of political economy, so that terms like "monetarism," and "stimulus" are understood, as well as figures such as Friedman, Hayek, and Keynes are recognizable.
What I would stress is that this political, citizenship dimension need not be in conflict with the economic dimension whereby students seek employable skills. And we shouldn't overlook the way in which those very skills are marketable in an age in which "information economy" and "immaterial labor" are key concepts.
But the problem I think comes with a neoliberal "universal acid" that sees all human relations as market transactions.
Several months ago, I wrote that I was struck by the fact that three different corruptions of the common offered by Commonwealth, family, corporation, and the state, are the three different institutions/concepts of civil society in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. The same figures are repeated, but the massive, some would say overpowering, dialectical structure is missing.
Thus I was struck again to find something of a similar return, only more explicit, in Etienne Balibar’s Violence et Civilité*. Balibar considers Hegel’s Philosophy of Right under the general rubric of civility, the third of his three concepts of politics, after emancipation and transformation, and the one most explicitly concerned with the problem of violence and anti-violence. (All translations here are mine)
Well, I see that John has been kind enough to set up a "Sports" category over there in the sidebar. And so I'll begin my first contribution to New APPS over there, though I'll point out in advance that it won't treat sport in isolation, but rather as a filtered list of annotated links that read sport in its multiple intersections with philosophy, art, politics and science.
So welcome to the first edition of the News APPS High Five, presented by sportsBabel, sports links so hot even philosopher-geeks need to wear sweatbands.
A very interesting article about the particular "innovation culture" that is football, and how creativity thrives -- particularly in the professional game -- despite the fact that any innovation can be copied almost instantly without any "legal" protection. One personal critique of the article is that the innovation culture of football is treated essentially as a dialectic in which offenses and defenses are continually engaged in a game of one-upmanship to find temporary competitive advantage on the field of play. But it fails to consider the regulatory environment of competition -- that is, the political (and increasingly economic) structures of the football league proper. Intellectual property laws are certainly part of said environment, but so is almost every rule change made by the league an opportunity for competitive advantage. And when we are describing the professional leagues of the NFL or NCAA we cannot discount the role of television in rule changes and thus the equation of innovation.
Noë uses the case of baseball to discuss writing, speech and the broader project of linguistics. For me, a strength of the article perhaps lies in where it doesn't quite reach: namely, that while speech is about 70,000 years older than writing, it is gesture that precedes them both. Sport is first and foremost a gestural practice! And when put together with his assertion that "the linguist works is in the domain of style" it suggests important questions about gesture and style (and sport for that matter), particularly as they concern aestheticization or politicization.
Last night I watched, via the magic of Netflix streaming video, John Ford's The Searchers (imdb listing here). A few scattered comments to follow, but first this caveat: I'm not that adept at visual analysis, but I hope those who are can help with the discussion.
1. It's visually spectacular. Ford shot dozens of movies in Monument Valley, and the contrast between the almost overwhelming saturated colors in this Technicolor film and the spooky black and white landscape of Ford's Stagecoach is really remarkable. (See, that's what I mean about my limits: "really remarkable" doesn't say what's remarkable about the contrast! So help! What's remarkable about it?)
2. I didn't read any criticism on the film prior to viewing it, but I'm glad to say that the compositions that most caught my eye in viewing it are widely held to be classics: a). the Comanche band along the top of the ridge paralleling the Texas Rangers; b). the captive Debbie running down the sand dune in the background while Ethan and Martin, engaged in argument, ignore her presence, even though she is the target of their quest; c). Ethan holding Debbie aloft like the little girl she once was; d). the final shot of Ethan in the doorway.
The recent discussion about what drives the expansion of non research/teaching related activities in American higher education (see below) has a great deal of unreality to it. So, here follows a refresher course on why folk choose to spend a lot of money to have their children join an elite liberal arts college education (I hope my debt to Veblen is clear):
1. It is a form of status seeking and conspicuous consumption.
2. It provides a) a valuable social network, not to mention b) opportunities for assorative mating.
3. It is a life-style choice (see 1). It may also be the case that the enormous social (residential) infrastructure is worth the money in keeping retention/graduation rates very high (see also 4b).
4. It a) teaches one a lot of important social skills in b) a protective environment.
5. And for a minority group of students it is an escape from one's class.
To all of these education is a noble ornament. To be valued for its utter uselessness.
6. It can provide useful knowledge for further (professional) education
7. It provides a signalling device to future employers (and friends, lovers, etc).
8. It broadens the human spirit, enlarges the mind in all kinds of beautiful ways...
It is an extraordinarily wasteful enterprise. But...it turns out that it also create a lot of riches for people devoted to the life of mind (i.e., contributors to the blog). It is that willingness to accept wastefullness that allows the Humanities flourish where PhD projects are risky adventures rather than safe bets (cf. the grant system in Europe), etc.
If anybody wants to know what an efficient university looks like they should come to my Spartan office in Ghent. (I had to steal my office furniture from colleagues' disposals.)
In a recent budget discussion at Georgetown I noticed the following statistic, which I'm told is pretty standard: roughly 13% of our main campus budget (roughly A&S and business) goes to faculty salaries.
Universities now provide housing, entertainment, health care, world class sports, electronic media and computing resources, counseling, thousands of funded clubs, gyms, parking, private roads, bike paths, gardens, parks, and often farms, private police protection, etc. In short, most of the resources of a city.
So I just had a thought: how much would it cost to have a university that only paid for research and teaching, or a college that only provided teaching. Find your own place to live, pay for your own entertainment, etc, just come here for classes. I suppose community colleges are closer to that model, though not that close, but why equate it to limited educational/research focus?
Does this strike anyone else as a useful thought experiment?
Following the theme, if not the content, of John McCumber's "outrageous proposal" post, I'd like to offer my own modest proposal: a constitutional amendment to revise the Bill of Rights. None of these proposals changes the law. All are, in light of various interpretational decisions over the last 10- 20 years already in place. But the decisions are scattered, hard to find, and it is high time for truth in advertising. Of course some will say that such an amendment is giving up, and indeed they are right. It is. I am hereby giving up on the idea that a class divided system of representative government can be limited by a constitution in such a way that the abuses of the powerful are systematically held in check. High time to lose the illusion and admit that we live in a police state. (Hyperbole? I think not. Here's a definition from wikipedia which I think is pretty standard. "The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.
The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state". If anyone would like to charge hyperbole, please tell me which element of this definition doesn't apply, or offer a better definition.
So, my "Just so we know where we stand" amended version of the Bill of Rights:
An important piece of the puzzle in the crisis of public higher education in the United States is detailed in this New York Times column by Peter Orszag: Federal government shifts in Medicaid costs onto states are correlated with states' cutting higher education budgets. Pull quote:
Our research suggests that states tend to rob education to pay for Medicaid during economic downturns. And when the economy recovers, the money for education usually doesn’t get restored.
The relation between state and federal spending is a refrain of Krugman's pieces in the NYT, such as this one, "1938 in 2010." (It's a testament to the right-ward shift of American politics that a straight-up Keynesian like Krugman is considered a "leftist" by many today. Using "straight-up" in the old-man-desperately-hoping-this-is-still-relevant-rap-vocabulary style that I tend to favor: here's a link to the justly celebrated Keynes vs Hayek rap video.)
Does America have an official philosophy? How absurd. When the Soviet Union had an official philosophy, Marxism, everybody was required to pretend they believed it. Nobody has to do that here. The Catholic Church has an official theologian, Thomas Aquinas, but Catholics are not required to be Thomists; Aquinas’ position is, at bottom, an honorific. Philosophers get no honors in the United States, so America doesn’t have that kind of official philosophy either.
Yet two fairly recent books have argued that there is, if not a publicly official philosophy in the United States, a state-supported one—and explain why this fact is so little recognized.
In recent posts on this blog, I have called attention to a recent, high profile case of plagiarism (here and here).
Now I think the case shows that not only the referee process is in dire shape, but that more broadly there is a problem in our scholarly culture. (It's not impossible that Stone case only reflects on a smaller field because folk in midieval, renaissance, and early modern do 'cover' a lot of territory. But I think the cultural problems that the Stone case illustrates are not confined to small area of philosophy.) Often the people that are in a good position to judge the quality of each other's work are not doing so. Moreover, and this may be hard to understand for those that work in US-style tenure, in many scholarly environments quality control (which will determine not merely publication, but also professional advancement, grants, etc) is now entirely farmed out to the often anonymous, time-pressed referees--moreover, the referee process is as good as its weakest link. (Recent research suggests that with even 10% bad referees the system cannot maintain quality control.)
As a not entirely amusing aside: it dawned upon me a while ago that if I ever wanted to be read by scholarly peers, I would have to start doing major "kissing down," that is, cultivate the attention of other people's PhD students! (I found that "kissing up" is a waste of time. Senior people are too narcisstic, overworked, and invested in their own projects to really be interested in one's competing programs--the few exceptions prove my point.)
So, in order to improve refereeing and our general academic culture, I offer two rather small changes to our current intellectual infrastructure. Both are offered in the spirit of properly alligning incentives (assuming that scholars are status-seekers) to prevent plagiarism and improve quality of 'output.'
I’m no expert in philosophical methodology, but I’d like to lay out some thoughts here about three methods: thought experiments, experimental philosophy, and case studies. So this is less a definitive statement to be defended than an invitation to discussion: less an article than a blog post, in other words.
X-phil has made a big splash with its critique of armchair philosophy and its use of thought experiments, the whole bestiary of brains-in-a-vat, zombies, Swampman, et al.. Why rest with philosopher’s “intuitions” about the matters of life, and especially, why rest with their intuitions about other people’s intuitions, the X-phils ask. As far as I can tell, the X-phil critique claims the armchair approach is wrapped up in very questionable assumptions about normalcy and normativity, i.e., that any one given philosopher’s intuitions map onto that of “the rational man,” that is, the way most people do think, or the way they should think. Why not, the X-phil proponents say, instead design experiments that test how people do in fact think, and thereby settle the empirical question, and then, once we settle the normative question, we can test the discrepancy and come up with suggestions to improve rational performance, a pedagogical enterprise that is itself subject to empirical testing. But then, comes the retort from critics of X-phil, you’ve got to be very careful in designing your experiments. For all the talk of “intuition pumps” in thought experiments, you’ve got to be careful of experimental artifacts in X-phil results, the critics say. We know, we know, the X-phils answer, that’s why we work with social science experts in designing our experiments.
The debate goes on, as we know, and doesn’t seem to show signs of settling down any time soon.
I want suggest a third method for philosophers, beyond thought experiments and experimental philosophy: the case study, or as Deleuze calls it, “the method of dramatization.”
Bulletin De Philosophie Medievale (2009; 350-391) has published "40 cases of plagiarism" by M.V. Dougherty, P. Harsting and R.L. Friedman. This documents Stone's history of plagiarism. (Friedman was a colleague of Stone at Leuven.) The paper circulates in pdf, but I don't believe I am at liberty to post it here. One can, however, acess Kent Emery's introduction to the volume here: http://brepols.metapress.com/content/g828763pn9g77m37/fulltext.pdf [The introduction also has a useful potted history about analytic history of midieval philosophy from its Cornell origins.]
How was it possible, for example, for the scrivener to plagiarize an article by another in a British encyclopedia and then publish his workmanship in a British Companion, both edited by the same person (see Case 11, pp. 364-65)? ...Or how was it possible that the scrivener hugely plagiarized the essay of an eminent Thomist published in a volume bringing together “Thomistic doctrines and modern perspectives,” and then published his workmanship in a volume bringing together “Thomistic and Analytical Traditions,” edited by another eminent Thomist and crammed full of essays by yet other eminent Thomists (see Case 14, pp. 367-68)? One thing is clear: Eminent Thomists do not necessarily read the essays of other eminent Thomists, which, if they had, they might have been able to detect that someone was ripping-off another person’s essay. Do contributors to encyclopedias, Companions and volumes of collected essays treating their own specialized subjects read anything in the volumes besides the page-proofs of their own entries and ‘chapters’?
The world of Renaissance and Early Modern philosophy and scholarship has been shaken by the "Martin Stone" case. (Ever since Leiter reported about it on his blog, the case is familiar to most in philosophy, so I won't review the details here.) Before his fall from grace, Martin Stone was a widely admired and highly respected professor at Leuven University. Some of the details of the case are still clouded in mystery and secrecy (because as far I know Leuven's internal report has never been released), but for a good overview start, see here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=410670 Leuven "considers all publications of Martin Stone with a K.U. Leuven affiliation as problematic", Professor Marynen said (Marynen is vice-president for research at Leuven). Note the scope of the quantifyer here. (For those that wish to learn more details, this is a useful blog: http://www.phil-hum-ren.uni-muenchen.de/W4RF/YaBB.pl?num=1268295805/8)
Now, maybe it's because I collaborated on some projects with Martin (i..e, hosting workshops), have sent students to Martin, and at one point wished to be colleagues with him at Leuven, but here I do not want to analyze the motives and aims of Martin. Nor, do I wish to explore today if a disgraced scholar should ever be rehabilitated. Rather, I want to call attention to the rather lukewarm, if not indifferent, reaction of the editors and journals/presses that have published his work. A quick search on Amazon shows that a lot of books that contain chapters with Martin's work are still available. (I know of one Cambridge Companion that will expunge his chapter in a forthcoming second edition.) Moreover, while some journals have started withdrawing Martin's work (see the second link above), others appear to hope the whole issue will blow over, or are rather slow-moving.
Alva Noë is a leading figure in the philosophical side of the embodied / enactive mind approach in cognitive science. AKA, the 4EA (embodied, enactive, embedded, extended, affective) approach. I've been reading his work for a number of years now, because I think the 4EA approach offers a great opportunity for continental and analytic philosophers to find common ground. That's because phenomenology is a central resource for 4EA thought and is of course a major focus of continental training.
Noë is participating in a new group blog sponsored by NPR, and has a number of posts there already. I thought this would be a good opportunity to repost something I did at my old blog, about his latest book, Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessors from the Biology of Consciousness. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009.
This post will be less formal than a book review, but I would like to set out some reactions, about the political context in which consciousness does, and does not, matter, namely "end of life" issues, and "body politic" issues such as anorexia. In these remarks, I won't write so much about all things I agree with, or that I like in the book, which are many. But I hope it's clear that I wouldn't write at all if I didn't think the issues were very important and that Noë's contributions need to be taken seriously. To be more precise, it's not that I *disagree* with Noë on many of these points, it's just that I would like to extend the argument a few more steps.
Jacob Levy is a source of fresh though at the Libertarian Right. (I am intrigued by his pairing of Smith and Foucault; it is an interesting fact that Foucault wrote so perceptively about Smith throughout his life--a subject that deserves more research.)
I would add to Levy's argument that Smith was an enemy of political arithmetick (deeply informed by social statistics), perhaps because he also saw it was an instrument of state power.
I would also claim, in contrast, perhaps, to Levy's analysis that Smith hoped that his reform proposals would graduallly undermine the existing great orders. Smith hated revolution, but on grounds of "equity" he certainly hoped for effacement of great deal of inequality.
"It is therefore disappointing when blatant errors about what I have done occur and persist. I mean literal errors—not disagreements about interpretation. In the case of the paper on identity, for example, a major result and its import were missed by the reviewer. I expected the error would be noticed and corrected, but after eleven years of expectation, during which the error had been carried along by others in the literature, I wrote to the reviewer, who then informed Church: “A grave and puzzling error in my review XII 95(4) of Miss Barcan has just come to my attention. It is ancient history, but still I’d feel relieved if you could see your way to publishing a signed correction.” A correction was published in JSL XXIII. Misreadings and neglect of some later work continued, but not uniformly. Some misreadings and omissions were corrected, some escalated into controversies, and some results were ignored. My keen disappointment was that my romantic notions about the self correcting feature of research within a scholarly community were not a given. There remain lengthy bibliographies and historical accounts of intensional and modal logic as well as interpretations of modalities where reference to my work is absent, but that is gradually being corrected." http://leiterreports.typepad.com/files/final_rbm-dewey-lecture.doc
A recent review of Jean Bricmont and Julie Franck (eds.), Chomsky Notebook, Columbia UP, 2010, calls attention to the strained relationship between Chomsky and the French intelligentsia and "French intellectual culture" more generally: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=21428
I would think that contributors to this blog can shed light on the causes and sources of the strained relationship. One paragraph in the review caught my particular attention:
Chomsky holds that "many European intellectuals are even willing to grant the state the authority to be the official custodian of History, to determine 'Historical Truth' and punish deviation from it." Thus, Chomsky does not "agree with the belief of many European intellectuals that there is a 'huge variety of political and philosophical views' in Europe." He does not believe that these "self-serving and comforting views can withstand analysis" (p. 93).
Reluctantly (because I do not share much of Chomsky's politics), I have come to the same conclusion. In Europe the state is the main instrument, directly or indirectly, to institutional advancement and also the source of nearly all research funding. As they say in Dutch, "wie betaalt, die bepaald" (i.e., the paymaster decides). This means there is very little, genuinely independent expertise on any subject nor few attempts at systemic criticism (and intellectual self-criticism) in Europe.
My favorite, recently example of this is how the Dutch public intellectual, Paul Scheffer, 'daringly' broke widespread political correctness about the failure of Dutch multicultural policy, but has remained entirely silent about the culture that makes it possible to search for scapegoats. (As I reported last week, for this 'courage' he was rewarded for his courage, of course, by being made a professor.)
First, Hi everyone. This seems like a very cool project, and I'm glad to be a part of it. I've never done blogging before - this danged new-fangled interweb - but I will try to get the hang of it. Thanks to Jon for the nice comments about Yo&LO. Lots of work went into that, and for those interested, it was a rare example in philosophy of genuinely and fully collaborative work.
I want to put up a couple thoughts that seem to me to be completely obvious. They are, however, strangely - or not so strangely - absent from highly visible public debates. These will set up a discussion of what I'm really thinking about these days, namely what role we academics can and should be playing in the political world.
So, immigration. I read the Post everyday, and good bits of several other papers online - usually hunks of the Times, Ha'aretz, Huffington, etc. And just now I googled "immigration reform" and glanced at the first 25 news articles, and the first 25 non-news sites that came up. And I saw essentially nothing on economics. Over the last year or so I recall a couple mentions of it in passing, but not one mainstream press article that made it the central point, and damned few in the left press either.
Which is pretty damned notable. Indeed, it is just obvious that economics are at the center of this issue. We are pushed by mainstream political debates between two positions: that these undeserving illegals are stealing our jobs and that we should punish, or at least keep them out; and that they are not undeserving, are not that big a problem - or maybe are a benefit - and so we should show compassion and give a route toward eventual citizenship.
Neither of these positions pays any attention to the fact that these people are horribly exploited and as a vulnerable and non-status labor force, are very useful in keeping other wages low and in fighting unionization.
When Jonathan Swift had a rather outrageous proposal to make about the Irish and their children, he entitled his essay “A Modest Proposal.” I, too, have a proposal. Being not as swift as Jonathan, I am going to pilfer from his irony and call my rather modest proposal “outrageous.”
Just as the time to do something outrageous to your house, like putting up pink awnings or adding a turret, is when you first move in, so I believe even modest proposals should be made right away. Doing so clears the ground for later treatments of really important questions such as “Where did all the sense data go?” (long time passing) and “true or false: supervenience is as supervenience does.” Since this blog is just starting, "right away" is now, and I will make my current proposal without further ado.
Here it is: We should close down all philosophy departments as quickly as possible, and disperse their members through the rest of the institution.
The main reason for this, and I feel myself getting serious here, is that philosophy departments, by and large, are lousy places to do philosophy. I should know; I have taught in five of them. I have also taught in two German departments, a classics department, and a political science department. I haven’t formally ranked them all, but with the exception of the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, where Reiner Schürmann and I were joined by Véronique Fóti to make a grand total of three, the philosophy departments cluster at the bottom.
Since there are both Spinozists and people interested in economics in the 'matrix' or 'dna' of this blog, i thought i'd let people know of a new book by Frédéric Lordon, whose work as far as I know is untranslated so far (even essay/article pieces), which is a shame as it's a step up from the anglophone 'New Spinoza' discourse. Lordon defines himself as a Spinozist economist, and co-edited a nice-looking collection a year or two back on Spinoza and the social sciences.
There are a number of consequentialist arguments against interrogational torture. Here is a link to a good article on them (subscription required). The most prominent is that it is a waste of time and resources, as no actionable information is gained. Another one is the institutionalization argument: setting up a torture program requires professionalization, which means recruitment, training, and evaluation. Historical investigation of torture programs (South America in the 1970s and 80s, the French in Algeria, and so on), show that such a torture infrastructure cannot be contained to a small portion of the security apparatus, but spreads throughout the military and into civilian law enforcement. The harm caused by such a torture infrastructure spreads due to the alcoholism, depression, and domestic violence spread by the torturers when they go off-duty. And the suicide of those close to the torture structure, as in the article linked in this post.
Given that deontological arguments against US torture practices don't reach a sizable percentage of the American population (see this exchange of letters for an example), I'd say this creates a demand on those deontologically committed to an anti-torture campaign to engage consequentialist arguments, like the above, since they may be effective on people for whom the deontological arguments are ineffective.
In other words, for a deontological argument to work, the party to whom it's addressed has to share the commitment to respect for the humanity of those subjected to torture. When that respect is lacking, the arguments fall on deaf ears. So if it's your duty to fight torture, then that duty compels you to use arguments that work. And for a portion of the American population, consequentialist arguments based on the harm torture does to Americans hurt by those corrupted by the practice of torture and the spread of that harm attendant to its necessary institutionalization, are more effective than deontological arguments.
With each revelation, or court decision, on US torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo—or the airing this month ofThe Tillman Story and Lawrence Wright's My Trip to Al-Qaeda—I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who died seven years ago this week. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what most would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, on September 15, 2003. Of course, we now know from the torture memos and the US Senate committee probe and various press reports, that the "Gitmo-izing" of Iraq was happening just at the time Alyssa got swept up in it.
BP is doing its best to get the Gulf Oil Disaster out of public view. Figuratively, by their media manipulations, and literally, by their use of dispersants, as this link-rich post from the wide-ranging Washington's blog details.
In this translated essay (thank you Brian Gross!) I explain the rise of Geert Wilders (and Dutch populism, more generally) to Dutch readers. I argue his popularity is a consequence of the decline of the rule of law in the Netherlands. Given Wilders' increasing fame abroad, I hope it is of interest to international readers. Some (but not all) of the issues mentioned below generalize to other places.
If the Netherlands had a strong judicial branch, such as the proponents of a right-wing coalition for our country often claim, ordinary citizens wouldn’t have to worry about the role of Wilders in the government, whether that be as an actual minister or more of a behind-the-scenes role. In that case, changing the name of the Ministry of Justice to “Ministry of Security” would just be part of a somewhat scary PR campaign. But, more and more in the Netherlands, it’s precisely when the political and commercial interests of the government are threatened that the judicial branch is becoming an extension of the government instead of a unbiased guarantor of our constitutional rights.
A recent review ends with "the book provides compelling evidence for the truth of Zurn's claim that "the best work in the philosophy of recognition occurs precisely where the two perspectives [historical and contemporary] meet and fruitfully interact" (11)." (It's a review of Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch and Christopher F. Zurn (eds.), The Philosophy of Recognition: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Lexington Books, 2010).
As somebody who works in HPS (History/Philosophy of science), I am sympathetic to the comment, I doubt the underlying sympathy is not true anymore (if it ever was). While some neo-Kantians, neo-Hegelians, virtue-ethicists, and Deleuzians still constructively engage in historical work in order to further their ethical inquiry, I suspect that by and large the best in ethics (both meta-ethically and in normative work) is now done 'straight up.'
I have seen many disgustingly hypocritical organizations in my life, but the NCAA ranks at the top. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the NCAA is a cartel, which licenses universities to establish franchises that participate in its branded market niche, university atheletics. It's a scam unique to the United States, other countries having had the good fortune of avoiding this particular institutional setup.
This is just a post to say howdy. I included a cool picture of Robert Brandom in honor of his noted student Mark Lance (footnoted in Making it Explicit) being on board (and, obviously, with all right thinking people I'm in worshipful awe of the beard). More seriously, Lance and Kukla's Yo and Lo: The Pragmatic Typogrophy of the Space of Reasons is sitting on my bookshelf staring at me now and also at the top of my reading list. [intoxicating bit from blurb: "Looking at philosophical problems starting with the pragmatics of language, they develop a typology of pragmatic categories of speech within which declaratives have no uniquely privileged position. They demonstrate that non-declarative speech acts—including vocative hails (“Yo!”) and calls to shared attention (“Lo!”)—are as fundamental to the possibility and structure of meaningful language as are declaratives."]
More specifically about this blog- I love how the authors' page to right shows everybody's webpages and own blogs. It will be fun getting to know everybody.
One organizational question- Are there any good protocols for crosslisting here and at our own blogs? Does one put the post up on one blog and just link to it on the other?
It's funny, my first response to the emergence of this blog was that I didn't have immediate input into the future of the profession; and I hadn't even looked at Eric's post when I said that. Either my intuition is on the money, or it is blindingly true that what most of us would be most likely to talk about, is that. I feel like pasting/posting Lafargue's Eloge de la paresse or Hakim Bey's TAZ ... instead I will continue with brains, vitalism, embodiment and constitutive ontology. This coming week giving talks on La Mettrie and monsters; and attempting to force into existence a recalcitrant collective in Paris (international but based there) called ... Conatus. Things I'd like to hear informed opinions on: enactivism (Evan Thompson's recent book: I find it terribly subjectivist); experimental philosophy (I like it yet I sense there is something fishy in the argument); and other things surely not starting with 'e'.
Not so long ago I noticed the following job advertisement:
"A temporary Part-Time teaching opportunity in philosophy at Oxford Brookes University has come available for Semester 1 of the upcoming academic year (September-October 2010). The teaching involves the following:
Delivering a second year double module in Ancient Greek philosophy (10-12 one-hour lectures each followed by a one-hour seminar, and two one-hour inquiry sessions per week).
Delivering a second year module in philosophy of language (10-12 one-hour lectures each followed by a one-hour seminar).
Delivering a masters level module in philosophy of biology (10-12 one hour lectures each followed by a one-hour seminar).
The total payment would be approximately £4,000."
A little over £1300/course seems not very generous. Remarkably, an undergraduate module at Oxford Brookes cost £540. So each course can be self-supporting at, say, four students (I am assuming overhead-costs and the usual subsidy to central administration bureaucrats, too, just to be safe). I decided not to bother to reverse-enginer the cost of a MA level module.