techniques are things people say to get someone to drop out of a discussion,
either by leaving or becoming and remaining silent. There are a variety of forms that this can take. This post has an illuminating
taxonomy with a plethora of useful examples, all of which can be changed
mutatis mutandis to philosophy contexts. Inspired by the post I offer some
saying that because you're a woman [or black/trans*/queer/whatever].
exactly what I'd expect from a feminist." [Focal stress usually on the identity term.] You're just part of
the feminist take-over of this department.
make their teaching and research openly – even massively – accessible? Last
year, we discussed the ramifications of free access rather intensely in the
Amherst College faculty. The content of our discussions can provide food for
thought for faculty members at places facing similar decisions.
decisions: 1) we approved a web-available College repository for College
faculty members' article publications; and 2) we approved making Amherst
College Press an open-access press; but 3) we refused to accept MOOC proposals
from the Big Three: Udacity, Coursera, and edX.
Brian Leiter comments
in typical acerbic style on an excerpt in the Guardian from Daniel Dennett’s latest book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for
Thinking, titled “Daniel Dennett’s Seven Tools for Thinking:” “A curious list; not clear Dennett has always
honored all of them!”
What Leiter doesn’t notice, though, is that Dennett violates one of his
principles in explaining another! Dennett's last tool is “beware of deepities.” He
explains a deepity as
“a proposition that seems both
important and true – and profound – but that achieves this effect by being
ambiguous. On one reading, it is manifestly false, but it would be
earth-shaking if it were true; on the other reading, it is true but trivial.
The unwary listener picks up the glimmer of truth from the second reading, and
the devastating importance from the first reading, and thinks, Wow! That’s a
Dennett then offers two
examples. The first is the claim that “love is just a word.” The second, he
says, is not “quite so easily analyzed:” “Richard Dawkins recently alerted me
to a fine deepity by Rowan Williams, the then archbishop of Canterbury, who
described his faith as ‘a silent waiting on the truth, pure sitting and
breathing in the presence of the question mark’.” Dennett concludes “I leave
the analysis of this as an exercise for you.”
Scaliger’s helpful post
about making APA presentations visually accessible and appealing reminds me
there are also things philosophers can do to make their presentations more
accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audience members. Odds are good that at
least a few audience members will have hearing loss -- according to the U.S. National Institute
on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, fifteen percent of adults
between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss, and this percentage increases
with age. Most of these people rely on residual
hearing (amplified or unamplified) and visual cues. This post is focused on
making talks more accessible to that population – I’m planning another post on
accessibility for those working with sign language interpreters and CART
A few days ago Eric linked
to a report
by Lori Gruen (Ethics and Animals blog here; Wesleyan University
website here) on the renewal
of cruel maternal deprivation research on primates. The comments on Eric's post
were such that we asked Lori to write a guest post for us. She graciously
agreed; the post follows: [UPDATED 1:40 pm 16 Oct. See below for contact info for Madison's Provost.]
steps in scientific progress are sometimes followed closely by outbursts of foolishness.
New discoveries have a way of exciting the imagination of the well-meaning and
misguided, who see theoretical potentialities in new knowledge that may prove
impossible to attain.” – Dr.
Sherwin Nuland, Yale School of Medicine
Does the system we have in place to curtail scientific
“outbursts of foolishness” and protect research subjects from “misguided”
scientific curiosity work?
There was no oversight system in place back in the
days when Harry Harlow’s experiments psychologically tormenting baby monkeys
were making news. Surely that sort of
horrible work in which infant primates are taken from their mothers to make
them crazy wouldn’t be approved of today. On my recent visit to the University
of Wisconsin I was shocked to learn otherwise.
The oversight committee chairs told me they have never rejected a
proposal. Not one.
And one of the protocols they did not reject is a renewal
of maternal deprivation research. Disturbingly, ithas been approved by not
one, but two oversight committees. A
psychiatry professor who has a distinguished record of research on anxiety
disorders plans to separate more monkey babies from their mothers, leave them
with wire “surrogates” covered in cloth (a practice developed by Harlow) to
emulate “adverse early rearing conditions,” then pair them with another
maternally deprived infant after 3-6 weeks of being alone. The infants will then be exposed to fearful
conditions. The monkeys in this group
and another group of young monkeys who will be reared with their mothers, will
then be killed and their brains examined. (The experimental protocol is here.)