Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.
Massimo Pigliucci (philosophy of science), Professor of Philosophy at Lehman College, has accepted the K.D. Irani Professorship in Philosophy at City College. He will continue to be part of the faculty at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as well.
A student who has applied to PhD program this season writes:
I have a concern about how some departments are notifying PhD applicants of decisions. Most places send out acceptances, then waitlists, then (sometime after) rejections. And, the hope is, everyone gets the news at more or less the same time. But that does not always happen. Sometimes a number of students are left hanging, with no decision long after everyone else has heard. (In my case: I still have not been given a decision at a top twenty program--now months after acceptances, waitlists, and rejections have been sent out via the website. And this despite my contacting the department to ask what was happening.) I'm not sure exactly of the frequency with which programs leave students hanging, but it strikes me as unfair and unnecessary. Unfair because the applicants are not treated like everyone else, and in a way that's disadvantageous. Knowing what's going on is vital to the applicants when they are making important life decisions. And unnecessary because it seemingly could be avoided at zero-cost to the department. What's the harm in letting those in limbo know what's happening?
Would you consider posting this to your blog for comments? Perhaps there are good reasons why some programs leave people hanging. And, in that case, I think it would be helpful for applicants to know what they are. If not, however, it seems that this behavior should be stopped.
We recently had the latest Heidegger scandal, and now we have Louis Menand on the increasingly bizarre case of Paul DeMan, whom Menand plausibly describes as a "sociopath" rather than simply a Nazi collaborator and anti-semite, given his many years of fraud, misrepresentations, and lies. Of course, Menand has another aim, namely, to defend DeMan's work in literary theory, to defend (remarkably) its "rigor." At moments like this, one realizes that even words like "rigor" require indexicals attached, since "rigor a la Menand" has nothing to do with what you might have thought the word meant, as anyone who has read DeMan's "rigorous" misreadings of Nietzsche will know. In any case, a somewhat less forgiving account than Menand's of DeMan's bizarre life is here.
MOVING TO FRONT--ORIGINALLY POSTED FEBRUARY 20, 2014
It's that time of year again...I am opening comments on this thread for people to post news about junior, tenure-track hires in philosophy departments or of philosophy PhDs, i.e., hires made during this year of new assistant professors who will be starting in summer or fall 2014 (or thereafter). (For schools outside the US, please list new Lecturers who are on presumptively permanent appointments--not temporary lecturers.) As in prior years, you may also post information about post-doc appointments, since there are an increasing number of those in philosophy, many quite attractive. No anonymous posts will be allowed. (Please e-mail me about any errors.)
The format of the postings should be as follows: candidate's name (name of PhD-granting school) hired by [name of school]. AOS: ________; any prior positions (e.g., a postdoc, a lectureship, a visiting asst prof position). In the case of a post-doc, it should say not 'hired by' but 'post-doc at' [name of school].
Here's a fictional example:
Jane M. Jones (Rutgers) hired by University of California, Santa Barbara. AOS: Philosophy of Language. Previously a post-doc at Yale.
"Hired by" means a tenure-track or permanent position; a post-doc should be listed as "John Smith (Harvard) post-doc at University of Michigan."
Remember: tenure-track jobs and postdocs only. Please submit information only once; postings should appear within 24 hours.
THE ONLY PERSONS ELIGIBLE TO POST INFORMATION ARE: the candidates themselves; the chair of the hiring department; or the placement chair of the candidate's department. Four years ago, however, a placement chair jumped the gun in posting, so please, placement chairs, make sure it is OK with your students that the information appear!
Given the time of year, I think it is important to note that several Cornell faculty are being recruited by (or have offers from) top ten departments. Students considering Cornell should inquire with the Department.
Christopher Shields, Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University and a leading Aristotle scholar, has accepted the Shuster Professorship in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, where he will begin this fall. Notre Dame has long had a very strong profile in the history of philosophy (especially medieval, modern, and post-Kantian), and with the hire of Sean Kelsey from UCLA several years ago and now Shields, will now have a similar prominence in ancient philosophy.
They are: Eva Kittay (Stony Brook) and L.A. (Laurie) Paul (North Carolina).
UPDATE: I missed that John Palmer, a distinguished scholar of ancient philosophy at the University of Florida, Gainesville, also won a Guggenheim (he was listed under "Classics," though his appointment is in Philosophy). (Thanks to Dan Ferguson and Gene Witmer for flagging this omission.)
Mark LeBar (ethics, political philosophy, ancient philosophy), Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ohio University, has accepted a senior offer from the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University, where he will start in January 2015. That's a good development for prospective grad students interested in value theory considering FSU, which already has a strong cluster of faculty in the area (including David McNaughton, Simon May, and others).
Philosopher Justin Tiehen (Puget Sound) writes to share this curious story:
You might be aware that the Ultimate Warrior, an extremely famous professional wrestler, died yesterday. (It's been in the news, and the guy was famous enough that people who don't follow wrestling at all are still sometimes vaguely aware of him.) Anyway, after retiring from wrestling he became a motivational speaker and life coach. For reasons that are somewhat opaque, this involved him creating a website where he posted a glossary of "the world's philosophies," with entries on behaviorism, consequentialism, deontology, existentailism, general semantics, and on and on. Just to give you a sense, here is the entry on Kantianism.
"This is the exact opposite of Objectivism. It's epistemology is faith-eaten and mystic- appeasing. It's metaphysics is subjective, it's ethics are altruistic and it's politics are collectivistic. Kant created the exact opposite of what constitutes a philosophy based on reason. His "argument" consists of equivocations, elaborate straw-men (the entire Critique of Pure Reason for example), etc. He was quite an evil person."
As you can gather, the Ultimate Warrior was apparently a Randian. Many of his other entries also come from a Randian perspective.
A leading contributor to epistemology over the past thirty years, Professor Brueckner taught initially at Yale and then, for most of his career, at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I will post links to memorial notices as they appear. Those on Facebook have no doubt already seen the outpouring of affection and respect for a wonderful person and philosopher.
UPDATE: John Martin Fischer (UC Riverside), who taught with Brueckner at Yale in the 1980s, and collaborated with him on many papers over the years, writes:
I'm sending two videos taken by Rich Ivry (Berkeley Psychology) of Tony Brueckner talking to a co-author (we think it is me). It is informal, but those who deeply love Tony know that it captures the essence of Tony. Both Rich and I hope you will consider posting them.
ANOTHER: The UCSB Department has posted a memorial notice, which I reprint in full below:
On April 7, 2014, the Philosophy Department lost a very dear friend, teacher, and colleague, Professor Anthony Brueckner. Tony spent the bulk of his illustrious career here at UCSB, where he taught since 1988. An extremely careful and tenacious thinker, Tony was also humble, gentle, and kind. Generous with his time, he trained a large number of students over the years. He inspired his students, his colleagues, and his peers in philosophy. Tony was, and is, greatly admired by all who had the distinct privilege of working with him. He taught us and he made us smile. We will miss him.
I crunched the numbers in the AAUP report, looking at the total "real" change in salary over the period reported -- namely, 1971 to the present.
I calculate both the figures for "all faculty" and "continuing faculty", in each case broken out by rank and in the aggregate.
The figures for "all faculty" answer the following (interesting) question. Suppose that in 2014 Ellen is of Rank R in the Department of Z at a school of type Y; suppose that in 1972 Larry was of Rank R (at an equivalent career-point) in the Department of Z at a school of type Y. How much more (or less!) does Ellen make in real terms than Larry?
Although the declining welfare of Instructors drags down the All Ranks figure, eyeballing the other three Rank classes suggests that in general the "professoriate" is doing slightly better now than in 1972. (Though the combination of decline at Associate with boost at Professor suggests that this may well involve significant redistribution toward "star" faculty lured away by outside offers.)
The figures for "continuing faculty" answer the following (somewhat absurd) question. Suppose that Larry stayed on at Rank R from 1972 to 2014. How much more does he make now in real terms than then?
The question is of little interest in itself. But the results do lend credibility to the parenthetical speculation above: Professor seems to be in general a salary plateau for those who don't move around, in contrast with non-moving Associates with salaries more rapidly advancing toward that eventual plateau. If Professors are despite this doing better than Associates, that suggests significant redistribution toward the top end for Professors who move.
Other comments welcome from those who have taken the time to analyze the data.
Martin Peterson (normative ethics, decision theory), currently at Eindhoven Institute of Technology, has accepted a senior offer from the Department of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, where he will start this fall.
Here. Mostly positive news. Note that the "top ten" lists for faculty salaries exclude medical school faculty, but include business school and law school faculty--very significant for a place like Chicago (and Rutgers-Newark and Maryland-Baltimore!), and makes the strong showing of Princeton, with neither, quite notable.
This is from the title essay of one of his new collections, Analytic Philosophy in America and Other Historical and Contemporary Essays (Princeton, 2014), p. 7:
[A]nalytic philosophy is not a fixed body of substantive doctrine, a precise methodology, or a radical break with most traditional philosophy of the past--save for varieties of romanticism, theism, and absolute idealism. Instead, it is a discrete historical tradition steeming from Frege, Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein and the logical positivists, characterized by respect for science and common sense, belief in the relevance of logic and language for philosophy, emphasis on precision and clarity in argumentation, suspicion of apriori metaphysics, and elevation of the goals of truth and knowledge over inspiration, moral uplift, and spiritual comfort--plus a dose of professional specialization.
...a tenured philosopher (whom I may have met once in my life, not sure) bravely issued a call a few weeks ago for other philosophers on Facebook to "ostracize" me, and since then one tenured philosopher, whom I've never met, "unfriended" me on Facebook! (I used to 'friend' folks on FB I had never met.)
Fortunately, no one has yet called for other philosophers to give me a wedgie.
Philosophy cyberspace is like high school all over again, except with tenure!
Professor Loar, a leading contributor to philosophy of mind and language over the past forty years, has passed away. He taught at the Universities of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Southern California, and then for many years at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I will link to memorial notices as they appear.
(I am uncertain at this stage about his year of birth, but a colleague believes it was 1940. Please e-mail me if you know. According to Balliol College records, he was born 1939.)
UPDATE: Rutgers has posted a brief memorial notice here, which I will paste below in full:
We are sad to report that our colleague Brian Loar passed away on March 31 after a long illness. Brian taught at the University of Michigan and USC before coming to Rutgers in 1994. He retired in 2009. Brian was a subtle and elegant philosophical thinker who influenced generations of students and colleagues and a great friend to many in the profession. He made major contributions to the philosophy of mind and metaphysics and is especially known for developing a novel account of phenomenal states and phenomenal concepts. There will be a memorial that will be announced in this space.
Both top spots are now booked from May through November 2014. (There is at least one top spot available from December 2014 onwards at this point.) There is also at least one 2nd-from-the-top spot available from June onwards. There are also, of course, 3rd from the top spots available most months as well. Rates are here. E-mail me at bleiter-at-uchicago-dot-edu with questions or to book ads. Thanks.
Dr. Richmond, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Edinburgh whom I've never met, sent me a long, somewhat rambling e-mail last week, to which I replied. The reply did not satisfy him (though I'm still not sure why), and he sent me an increasingly bizarre set of gratuitously insulting e-mails. I now am informed that he has taken to e-mailing lots of philosophers, including people he doesn't even know, to complain about me [!] (including circulating a screen shot of my Facebook page [we are not FB friends, and my page is not public] where I had complained about him because of the gratuitously abusive e-mails he had sent me), but without anywhere revealing the obnoxious and insulting e-mails he had sent to me that had provoked the comments to my FB friends. If you are a recipient of his misrepresentations, and would like more information, feel free to contact me.
This is quite bizarre. As Tad Brennan (Cornell) wrote to me, "Does anyone have any idea what he is talking about? What bit of Schopenhauer could he possibly have in mind? And did Schopenhauer actually advocate it, as well as describing it?" My guess is that since his piece is full of Rand-speak, Ayn Rand probably makes this charge against Schopenhauer, but that's just a guess. Readers, any ideas? (Schopenhauer certainly was good at polemics, though many of them were directed at Hegel, a "collectivist" on Planet Koch.)
Later this month, I will post the first draft of the faculty lists to be used for the fall 2014 surveys (looking ahead to 2015-16), and solicit feedback and corrections. This process will continue into roughly June, though any changes to faculty rosters by mid-September should be able to be incorporated into the survey.
This is very funny, from Cockburn's Washington Babylon
Leon Wieseltier: ‘You let me flap this bug with gilded wings/This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings . . .’ The Tartuffe of Babylon, stabled at The New Republic where he has led the life of a second-tier literary dilettante . . . paltering with the interns, whose duties included walking his dog. Fainéant, full of pathetic self-conceit, Wieseltier evokes London’s Grub Street of the 1890s, whose Bohemian poseurs were so well recorded by Max Beerbohm (though Wieseltier would not have the courage to make a pact with the Devil, as did Enoch Soames). Cover story for a life of marked, though no doubt merciful, lack of productivity, is that he is at work on a ‘book about sighing’.
Che-Ing Su, a Taiwanese PhD student in philosophy at the University of Melbourne, writes:
The democracy of my country, Taiwan is in a serious crisis. Since your website 'Leiter Report' is constantly visited by many many philosophers, may I beg you a big favor?
The ruling party of my country is pushing for a trade pact with China. In my opinion, this trade pact will seriously damage our democracy. It is because the trade pact allows China to substantially control the banking system, communication industry and publishing industry of Taiwan.
To protest against the ruling party, hundreds of university students has been occupying our parliament for around two weeks. And, there was a 500-thousand people protest on last Sunday to support the students.
I think, it might be useful to the situation, if we can get more international attention. (Though, what I can do is little.) Therefore, may I beg you a big favor: do you mind posting the following CNN news on your Facebook or Twitter or website 'Leiter Report'?
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)