Many readers of this blog will be aware of the remarkable institution known as the Collège International de Philosophie, based in Paris and supported by the French government since 1983. During its more than 30-year existence, the Collège has offered an extraordinary range of very high-quality free and public programs in France and around the world. It is, as such, one of the world's foremost institutions dedicated to public philosophy.
Sadly, the Collège now stands days away from being forced to close because the funds to support its operations have not been paid. As is detailed here, the Collège has been the subject of a number of discussions concerning its maintenance since 2012, which led to its association with the new Université Paris Lumières in 2013. This administrative association was supposed to provide a sustainable home for the Collège; but the 240,000 Euros that form the Collège's annual operating budget have been withheld by the ministry responsible for the UPL and its associated elements—leaving the institution days away from bankruptcy.
There is a petition circulating where people can offer support for the Collège—below the fold you can find, with his permission, Gabriel Rockhill's translation of the original French text (which also details the situation that the Collège is facing, and its accomplishments and history, a bit further than my remarks above).
Over the past three years I have collected and reported on placement data for positions in academic philosophy. (Interested readers can find past posts here at New APPS under the "placement data" category, two of which have been updated with the new data, severalpostsatProPhilosophy, or the very first post on placement at the Philosophy Smoker.) This year, placement data will be gathered, organized, and reported on by the following committee of volunteers (listed in alphabetical order):
Over the next academic year, we aim to create a website, which will be parked at placementdata.com. This website will include a form for gathering data, a searchable database, and reports on placement data. Until that time, I am suspending updates to the Excel spreadsheet, which contains much of the data used in the past few years, plus the updates I have received over the past few months. (Many thanks to Justin Lillge for incorporating the bulk of these updates into the spreadsheet!) When the website is ready, departments will be able to update their placement data through an embeddable form. Stay tuned for these links in the coming months!
Marcus Arvan, of The Philosophers' Cocoon, had the idea of running a graduate student survey. This was something that the five of us had already talked about (and Justin Lillge had some preliminary work on this), so we have invited Marcus to join us in this project. He has posted s0me initial ideas here. Please do contribute to the discussion if you have insight!
See here. The last MacArthur "genius" fellowship awarded to someone they classified as philosopher was in 1993.
On the whole, scholars outside of philosophy tend, I think, not to see much value in what most professional philosophers do. The MacArthur drought is one reflection and measure of that.
Not that prizes matter. Sheesh. We're too busy thinking about important stuff like whether the external world exists (82% of target faculty agree that it does). The MacArthur folks probably think that climate change is a more important topic. But if the external world doesn't exist then the climate can't change, can it now? So there!
Here are some reasons I have found philosophy blogs to be beneficial; here I include New APPS (so my bias is obvious), but my comments here are not limited to New APPS, by any means.
First, while I had heard stories here and there of sexism and exclusion of other underrepresented minorities, they seemed like isolated incidents. One could brush them off as the occasional jerk, and think that we didn't need to worry about them as a profession. Because of philosophy blogs, it has now become abundantly clear that we do need to worry about the treatment and the exclusion of women, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are LGBT, etc. And we have started to see changes in the profession to address these longstanding problems.
Second, philosophy blogs have provided a way to share and discuss issues in the profession that aren't directly related to exclusion, but are important to discuss anyway. My recent post on methods for anonymizing papers is a small, if unexciting example of that.
Third, philosophy blogs have provided a way to disseminate news and information (e.g., statistics).
Last but not least, philosophy blogs aren't just about the profession; they are also about philosophy. They have provided a format for wider dispersal and discussion of philosophical issues. This couldn't have come at a better time; philosophy had been becoming increasingly siloed. I think it's still pretty siloed, but blogging has made connections between philosophers that wouldn't have occurred otherwise and let philosophers know about work that they wouldn't have known about otherwise.
Of course, we can all think of postings on philosophy blogs that we found objectionable/harmful or comments that we found objectionable/harmful. On balance, I still think they have done more good than harm.
This is part 3 of a 3-part series of interviews with philosophers who left academia right after grad school or in some cases later. See part 1 to see what jobs they held, and part 2 on how they evaluate their jobs. This part will focus on the transferrable skills of academics.
The burning question of academics who want to leave academia is: What transferrable skills can they bring to the private sector? The responses of the seven people I interviewed clearly indicate that the skills that are transferrable are broad and fairly high-level.
This is part 2 of a 3-part series of interviews I conducted with seven philosophers who went on to a non-academic career after obtaining their PhDs. For more background on these philosophers, the work they currently do, and the reasons they left academia, see part 1: How and Why do they end up there? This part will focus on the realities of having a non-academic job.
One of the main attractions of an academic job, especially one of a tenured academic professor, is the autonomy (intellectual and in terms of time management) it provides. However, there are downsides as well: the increasing pressure to churn out publications (which some of the respondents already alluded to in part 1, lack of support, and isolation lead to mental health problems in some academics. So how do philosophers with experience in academia and outside evaluate the work atmosphere?
...an open-access, English-language electronic journal dedicated to the philosophy of science. αnalytica is edited by a younger generation of Greek philosophers of science, with the aid and support of an international advisory board. It provides a platform for peer-reviewed original contributions in philosophy of science, and is hosted by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Dare we hope that more open access philosophy journals are on the way?
Over at Feminist Philosophers, they've posted the CFP for a conference on Diversity in Philosophy that, I'm proud to say, is being hosted and co-sposored by my alma mater, Villanova University, along with Hypatia and the APA's Committee for the Status of Women.
The conference will be held at Villanova on May 28-30, 2015 and the deadline for submissions of 250-500 word proposals is January 1, 2015.
More info and the full CFP follows after the break.
I noted in another post the apparent difference in impact of the Philosophical Gourmet ranking of one's PhD granting institution on tenure-track placement according to gender, following up on posts elsewhere (here, here, and here). In this post I want to follow up on a speculation that I made in comments that the apparent difference in impact is due not to a difference in the way prestige impacts women and men on the job market, but due to a difference in the way that the Philosophical Gourmet tracks prestige for areas that have a higher proportion of men versus areas that have a higher proportion of women.
You may already be familiar with work by Kieren Healy that shows that the Philosophical Gourmet ranking especially favors particular specialties: "It's clear that not all specialty areas count equally for overall reputation... Amongst the top twenty departments in 2006, MIT and the ANU had the narrowest range, relatively speaking, but their strength was concentrated in areas that are very strongly associated with overall reputation---in particular, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Language, and Philosophy of Mind."
Marcus Arvan at the Philosophers' Cocoon posted sample data from the new appointments site at PhilJobs, which is discussed in a great post by Helen de Cruz here at New APPS. In comments at de Cruz's post and in a new post Arvan discusses the impact of Gourmet ranking on women and men seeking tenure-track jobs. I wanted to follow up on Arvan's post by looking at the full set of data currently available at PhilJobs. I did this in part because I knew that the sample Arvan collected was skewed on gender, due to an earlier analysis on gender I performed for a comment on a post at the Philosophy Smoker. With that convoluted introduction aside, here is a summary of the findings, in keeping with the findings by Arvan: the gourmet rank of one's PhD granting institution appears to have a greater impact on men seeking tenure-track jobs than on women seeking tenure-track jobs. Although I cannot yet speak to the source of this discrepancy, I (like Arvan) find the difference troubling. I welcome comments on the source of the difference below, although any comments will be subject to moderation. Let's look more closely at the data (Note: the linked spreadsheet was updated on May 14th):
The much anticipated appointments page at PhilJobs is now live (see this announcement from the APA). To encourage the use of this service, we will be suspending the hiring thread on NewAPPS. I want to commend this effort by the APA, David Bourget, and David Chalmers, which will certainly be a helpful addition to the profession.
This is just to note that the links for reporting tenure-track, postdoctoral, and VAP hires from 2013-2014 have been placed in the upper-right sidebar of this blog. This should facilitate the reporting and monitoring of this information. Further, both Daily Nous and ProPhilosophy have plans to integrate the information into their sites in an easier to view format. Thank you to all of the commenters at the original posting and to all those who have already stepped up to help with this effort.
If you would like to report hiring information from 2013-2014, please fill in the form at this link; the data entered there feeds into a spreadsheet available here. Quite a bit of hiring information is already available at Leiter Reports, here.
UPDATE 8 March 10:30 am CDT: This form and spreadsheet need not be limited to this NewAPPS post. If any other blog would like to link to it, they are welcome. In that case, I would be happy to make the relevant bloggers co-owners of the Google documents in question. Ideally, the information would be available in a neutral location, but having the links posted to several different blogs would come close to that.
Many of you are now waking up with the distressing news of another ‘harassment scandal’ in philosophy, this time at Oxford, involving Jeffrey Ketland (a lecturer at Pembroke College) and a student who committed suicide in June of last year. The reports available so far come from news outlets such as the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and The Times (especially the first two, not known for a high level of journalistic impartiality).
Full disclosure: Jeff is a friend of mine, we co-blog at M-Phi and have been friends for a few years. There is much information concerning these tragic events that I got from him, and which I am not at liberty to share at this point (obviously). What does seem to me to be worth pointing out now is that the articles on the story seem to suggest that the harassment accusations have been confirmed, which is not the case at this point. Jeff merely received a harassment warning, and for those of us not familiar with the British legal system, it may not be clear what this amounts to. Brian Leiter links to a useful Guardian article that clarifies the concept, and here are some relevant passages:
Harassment warnings can be issued by police officers with little or no prior investigation of the original allegation and there is a real concern that this is later incorrectly presented as, or perceived by some to be, little short of a conviction.
A harassment warning can be given by police following an allegation which, if true and if repeated, would amount to an offence under the PHA. Until or unless further similar allegations are made, there is not enough evidence to charge the person with harassment, hence the warning.
A harassment warning is not a criminal conviction – simply a notice that a complaint has been received. The behaviour complained of, by itself, does not amount to a crime.
To be clear, the harassment accusations have so far not been confirmed (or disconfirmed, for that matter) by any official investigation, so at this point in time there is no official conclusion as to what exactly happened. Thus, at the very least, at this point we should be careful when using factive terminology like ‘the student was harassed by the lecturer’, ‘the harasser’, ‘the victim’ and such like, as none of this has been corroborated by investigation. That the student took her own life is an extremely distressing turn of events, obviously, but to draw causal connections between this outcome and her complex interactions with Jeff Ketland (they had known each other since 2008), as these reports seem to suggest, is (at this point in time at least) entirely unwarranted. (Some of the articles do mention other distressing recent events in the student's life.)
(Some readers may also be wondering why this is coming up now, if the suicide took place in June last year. What happened is that the inquest, the juridical procedure to establish cause of death, took place yesterday, February 26th, and this is how the story 'leaked' to the press.)
According to Brian Leiter, Israel Scheffler died on February 16th at the age of ninety. A very sad event. Scheffler was not a philosopher who cared much about trends. When all around him were scratching their heads about Thomas Kuhn, he wrote a pretty trenchant rejection, Science and Subjectivity (which also took on people like Feyerabend and Hanson). And his fine (but perhaps slightly too didactic) book, The Anatomy of Inquiry ,was perhaps the last good book written on the epistemology of science from an analytic perspective. His passing reminds me that there are issues about which the philosophizing of the mid-twentieth century was simple and right, and far superior to what superseded it.
Dear readers: there have been lots of questions raised about our comments policy regarding the recent accusations of sexual misconduct in the profession. We think we have made some wrong calls along the way. In this brief post we want to explain how our thinking evolved over the last hectic 36 hours, and more importantly to put in place a new policy.
When we became aware of the accusations concerning Peter Ludlow, the bloggers at NewAPPS had a long internet conversation on whether to open comments or merely include a link to the news reports. In light of earlier discussions of similar topics, we suspected that an unmoderated blog debate on this case could become offensive and even cross the boundary of legality. So we did not open comments. This decision met with quite a bit of public criticism, some even hinting that we were protecting Prof. Ludlow. As a result, we decided to open comments, but to monitor them very closely. For nearly 24 hours, John Protevi - with some hours of others of us taking over - did this. Arguably some of the comments that stayed up should have been unpublished. But trust, us, the ones we did unpublish were worse. Comments were closed in light of a comment most of you haven't seen that we thought would push discussion in an unproductive direction.
Since this followed a comment that raised a different case - the claim that another department has had and hidden allegations - some have speculated that we don't want such allegations made public. This was, of course, not so. But a blog discussion like this was not the place to responsibly consider other allegations. We are not here to encourage a free-flowing discussion that will inevitably include anonymous speculation.
In the future, our general policy on issues like this will be to close comments, merely posting links to information, until such time as there are professional or philosophical issues that we think it will be useful for the community to discuss. We run this blog for a number of reasons. One of them, which we take very seriously, is to offer a discussion space for professional issues. However, our blog is not a soapbox, so although it is offered as a professional service, we can and will exercise our judgment as to what we want to appear here.
Over the weekend, I learned that journals published by the University of Chicago Press – this includes, e.g., Philosophy of Science – have a policy of "green access" for published articles. (I believe this was a change made in the last few years, but I am not positive). Details are here, but here is what I was surprised and pleased to learn.
First, authors may "post their article in its published form on their personal or departmental web pages or personal social media pages, use their article in teaching or research presentations, provide single copies in print or electronic form to their colleagues, or republish their article in a subsequent work" (emphasis added). It was the italicized part that was new to me; the rest I knew. It's a big deal that they are allowing the published articles (with proper pagination, etc.) to be added to one's website or one's department website immediately after publication. That is, it's not full open access (which would be better), but it still provides for good dissemenation given tools like Google Scholar.
Second, "Authors may deposit either the published PDF of their article or the final accepted version of the manuscript after peer review (but not proofs of the article) in a non-commercial repository where it can be made freely available no sooner than twelve (12) months after publication of the article in the journal" (emphasis added). Here, I knew that the final accepted version could be deposited on non-commercial sites like PhilSci Archive or PhilPapers after 12 months, but I didn't know that the published PDF could be. Again, this is a big deal.
So, I guess the moral is, check the publication policies for articles that you have published, even if you think you know what they are, and perhaps consider such policies when deciding where to send articles. And if you know of other philosophy journals with similar policies, please mention them in the comments.
It's always nice when you hear about people doing positive things to improve the climate in philosophy for women and other underrepresented minorities. Feminist Philosophers has details about a new blog that aims to do just that. You can ask questions and get advice, or see what issues are arising in for others and how they might be dealt with.
Zachary Ernst, we're sorry to see you go. But you've left us with some important issues to mull over, here.
These even includes some issues that are under faculty control, like the following:
Furthermore, my department also considers single-authored work to be more significant than co-authored work. Frankly, I find this policy totally absurd, but it's not that uncommon. Because a lot of interdisciplinary work will appear in unfamiliar (to one's colleagues) venues, and be co-authored, that work is downgraded, not once but twice. The effect is that when it comes time to decide on salary raises, a faculty member with broad, interdisciplinary research interests is at a severe disadvantage. To put the point bluntly, interdisciplinary researchers get paid less.
Is philosophy really so insular that we can't respect interdisciplinary work? That we can't recognize the extra effort (not less effort) that it takes to collaborate? I am afraid that I know the answers.
All nine of the Schock winners thus far were or are eminent philosophers, and most of us can only aspire to emulate the quality of their work as best we can. Even if one allows that "The Schock" only seems to go to male, analytical philosophers, each winner is an important and interesting philosopher, deserving of significant honor. Having said that, The Schock Prize judges had four or five chances to honor David Lewis, and failed to do so. (Lewis died in the Fall of 2001.) Lewis is arguably the most significant and influential (analytical) philosopher of the last quarter of the 20th century. (Perhaps, Deleuze is the only contemporary that will match his enduring significance, but he and Foucault died before the Schock got up and running.) So, while one can excuse the members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) to play it safe and not award the prize to, say, Derrida (and, thus, avoid the predictable outcry), not giving it to Lewis means they failed to grasp the nature of analytical philosophy in their own time. That in addition, they passed on Gadamer, Ricœur, Goodman, and, thus far, Habermas suggests that the Schock has a long way to go before it can establish itself as the ultimate arbiter of general philosophical excellence.
Michael Kremer has expressed justified concern that prospective graduate students might use the data compiled by Andy Carson to guide their choice in graduate programs. Even if the data were perfect, one should be cautious in using them; the data are backward-looking and reflect circumstances that might well have changed significantly by the time one shows up at the school of one's choice. Even when Andy Carson removes all the current (serious) problems with his data, placement data absent attrition rates are of limited use. Moreover, given the incentives involved we should not expect to get fully reliable data easily. Ideally, once Carson has worked out the obvious snafus with his data people can use his data and measures and compare them with old and more recent Gourmet reports and figure out ways to use them in light of each other given their individual needs.
But for now, nobody should let these data play a decisive role in their decision-making.
Yesterday, I linked to a blog post that claims to offer detailed data and analysis on "approximately 3,200 placement records since the year 2000." While (as subsequent commentary on my post revealed) there are obvious problems with the material outside North America and more subtle ones with the ones inside, the proposed approach can give an important perspective on recent hiring. The author is calling for the right sort of assistance: "if you believe my data is mistaken, please send me the appropriate and complete data for your school, so that I can update the data." Once the data have been improved one might be able to do some interesting comparison with past Philosophical Gourmet reports.
Because I was utterly unfamiliar with the author, Andrew Carson, I also expressed concern about his/her identity in my post. A friendly reader pointed to a linkedin page, and I contacted the person via email. Carson agreed to do a brief interview, which I have reprinted (and slightly edited) below. Obviously, this does not settle any concerns about the author and his methods, I now believe we are dealing with a good faith effort to help improve the profession. Obviously, how Carson deals with the new data that people sent him will be most illuminating. Here's the interview:
I am a real person. I received my MA in philosophy from Northern
Illinois University in 2012. I have since left academia and am working
in Data Science (hence my interest in the intersection of philosophy and
did the post because I like philosophy and I like data, and I figured I
could bring the two together. I know lots of friends recently in grad
school and they are all concerned about getting a job after they
graduate. I’ve also had friends get stuck in adjunct positions. I
wanted to let others thinking about graduate school know what they were
up against and to go into it with eyes wide open, especially since I
anything like this before. I hope to just get this info out there and
get people less focused on the Leiter rankings (I know people were
obsessed with those in applications).
[UPDATE: I have been unable to find any information on Andrew Carson, so I wonder if this is a real person or a pseudonym. I also hope that at one point the data will be released to interested parties, so we can check for accuracy; for all I know this is a hoax.--ES]
The numbers say....go to Yale, UMass, Amherst, or Northwestern! Andrew Carson (the person who crunched the numbers), explans the method here.
I haven't had a chance to look at his approach, so I will just report his bottom line:
If you are applying to graduate schools
in philosophy and are trying to decide which schools you want to apply
to or attend, and if you are concerned about your placement prospects
after graduation, you need to consider (1) how a school ranks in your
chosen specialty and (2) how well that school places students overall. You
cannot just rely on overall faculty rankings, for these bear no
relationship to how well a school places, although many will find these
rankings important for other reasons. What does appear to matter as far as placement is concerned is the school's ranking in your area of specialty. If it ranks well, then you have a much higher chance of getting a tenure track or permanent position in academic philosophy. And some schools just appear to have better placement rankings than others.
For example, both Northwestern University and University of
Massachusetts, Amherst are not ranked above a 3 in any category (except
Continental philosophy and Social and Political Philosophy,
respectively), but they have some of the best placement records.
Why is that? I wish I knew. That is a question worthy of further exploration...[Emphasis in original--ES.]
TO: David Gray, Senior Vice President
for Finance and Busines
Susan Basso, Vice President for
Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Dear Mr. Gray and Ms. Basso:
According to an article in the 10
September Centre Daily Times and the
15 September New York Times, a health
risk assessment questionnaire that is part of Penn State’s new employee
wellness program asks women employees whether they plan to get pregnant in the
next year. If the employee refuses to disclose this she is penalized $100 for
every month she fails to yield up the information.
By requiring women employees to disclose information about their sex
lives, Penn State violates their privacy rights and likely violates their
rights under federal law (Title VII and The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title
IX, privacy law, and equal protection). Highmark, Penn State’s health care
provider, targets women employees by imposing on them a special burden of
disclosure about their sexual intent. Are male employees required to disclose
their intended sexual activity over the year? To avoid paying a fine, is a
woman employee forced to lie? And if she has no plans but becomes pregnant
accidentally, does that increase her insurance premiums?
Last week I received a widely distributed announcement on a conference celebrating "The 'Stanford School' of Philosophy of Science." The 'core' members of this school are taken to be: Nancy Cartwright (Durham), John Dupré (Exeter), Peter Galison (Harvard), Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY), Patrick Suppes (Stanford). The parenthesis are the current affiliation of the 'core' members; this immediately suggests that if there is a 'school' at all we are either dealing with a historical phenomenon or very distributed one. Scanning the list of the 'next generation' confirms that Stanford is not the current base of the purported school.
First, I adore much of the work done by many in the 'core,' but the idea that this group is a 'school' is deeply flawed. For, Suppes is far better understood (as he does himself) as belonging to the first generation (including Kyburg, Pap, Isaac Levi) intellectual off-spring of Ernest Nagel, who successfully created American analytical philosophy by combining the Scientific wing of Pragmatism with the new approaches emanating from Vienna, especially, and Cambridge (recall and here). In his autobiography, Suppes describes how assimilated from Nagel the significance of history of science.
So what we are going to do is this. You can purchase the
uncompressed .wav files by taking the following steps. First, make a donation
to the charity of your choice in the amount that you think is appropriate. There is no minimum donation, but we of
course recommend that you be generous!
send an email to the following email address:
In this email, simply
tell us that you have made a charitable donation; you don’t need to tell us
where if you don’t want to. We’d
appreciate if you’d tell us the amount donated since we would like to know how
much money has been raised in this fashion. However, we won’t require that you
do this. There is no minimum amount you
must donate (and obviously no maximum amount either). We are simply going to take your word that
you have made a donation.
After you have sent the email, you will receive an email in
response that will contain a link directing you where to download a .zip file that
contains all the songs. Also included in this package will be liner
notes, a .pdf with a printable cd-booklet, and bonus remixes of four of the
No money needs to go into our pockets even temporarily and
there are no overhead costs. Every cent
of every dollar you donate will go straight to the charity of your choice, and
in return you get the full album immediately in a higher-resolution
format. We aren't trying to make money with this
endeavor -- we are trying to do a little good for others.
Different institutions are participating in this project, they already are part of the project: Various professors and students from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Eindhoven University of Technology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Utrecht University, University of Bern, Georg Simmel Centre for Metropolitan Studies, University of Luxembourg... and many more. [Emphasis in original--ES.]
Almost no names are mentioned except a certain "Sandra A.V. Vos", who seems hard to track down to a particular philosophy program; it seems a bit...opportunistic.