This is a nicely done piece by a sociologist; here's her fine description of the view of the world of her subjects:
What the people I interviewed were drawn to was not necessarily the particulars of these theories. It was the deep story underlying them—an account of life as it feels to them. Some such account underlies all beliefs, right or left, I think. The deep story of the right goes like this:
You are patiently standing in the middle of a long line stretching toward the horizon, where the American Dream awaits. But as you wait, you see people cutting in line ahead of you. Many of these line-cutters are black—beneficiaries of affirmative action or welfare. Some are career-driven women pushing into jobs they never had before. Then you see immigrants, Mexicans, Somalis, the Syrian refugees yet to come. As you wait in this unmoving line, you're being asked to feel sorry for them all. You have a good heart. But who is deciding who you should feel compassion for? Then you see President Barack Hussein Obama waving the line-cutters forward. He's on their side. In fact, isn't he a line-cutter too? How did this fatherless black guy pay for Harvard? As you wait your turn, Obama is using the money in your pocket to help the line-cutters. He and his liberal backers have removed the shame from taking. The government has become an instrument for redistributing your money to the undeserving. It's not your government anymore; it's theirs.
I checked this distillation with those I interviewed to see if this version of the deep story rang true. Some altered it a bit ("the line-waiters form a new line") or emphasized a particular point (those in back are paying for the line-cutters). But all of them agreed it was their story. One man said, "I live your analogy." Another said, "You read my mind."
There can be little doubt that these people are suffering and struggling, but they are so mired in false views about cause and effect thanks to ideological indoctrination, that they have no conception of what a rational response to their situation would be.
It gives me particular pleasure to share this announcement:
New editorial leadership at the Journal of Nietzsche Studies—The JNS editorial board and Penn State University Press warmly welcome Jessica N. Berry, Associate Professor of Philosophy Georgia State University, as the new Executive Editor for the Journal of Nietzsche Studies. Professor Berry is an expert in the field and the author of Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition and numerous articles on Nietzsche and antiquity. For nearly four years, she has served as Associate Editor for the journal and brings considerable experience with content editing and development. Along with this transition, the Philosophy Department at Georgia State University will become the new editorial home for the journal.
The outgoing Executive Editor, Christa Acampora (Hunter College/CUNY), deserves credit for reviving the journal and making it, for the first time, an important forum for Nietzsche scholarship. I am confident that Professor Berry will build on Professor Acampora's work, and establish JNS as the premier forum for Nietzsche scholarship in the world.
'a handful of very vocal figures (many otherwise quite marginal to academic philosophy), whose mixture of foolishness, sanctimoniousness and/or vindictiveness we've commented on many times before--for example, here, here, here, here, here,here. "Pathologically self-righteous people" (to quote an earlier correspondent) can't be reasoned with, but perhaps they can be stopped. But this will require more courage and forthrightness from the majority in the profession, both faculty and students, who find this climate of fear, with its harm to honest intellectual discussion, unacceptable.'
There is a group at my university who call themselves [an acronym for a group of female students of philosophy at the university]. They actively recruit members and take it upon themselves to organise things like reading groups, "how to apply" workshops, etc. They don't stand out for their philosophical ability but they give themselves an active role and visible presence in the department. When I began at the university, I joined, but have been disappointed to discover the core group are a clique who approach politics with exactly the sort of self-righteous and authoritarian attitudes and behaviours you mention here. None of them are faculty: they are people who have at least finished undergraduate studies and are looking to complete either a Masters or a PhD at some point. As I said, they don't stand out for having particular philosophical ability. Faculty don't seem to be either opposed to or particularly supportive of them. However I have found their presence intimidating and frustrating, because I don't agree with all of their political opinions, or at least have the audacity to believe they are open to question. It's not just that they promulgate their own set of dogmas, but that you feel like you have to watch your back and be careful what you say, otherwise they might mobilise people against you. I find them anti-philosophical: they don't seem to value academic freedom or free inquiry, preferring instead to police language and thought for "problematic" expression and views.
Anyway, I hope they fall by the wayside over time, and don't represent the future of philosophy. I hope all we are seeing is some kind of political fad that will die out sooner rather than later. Thanks again for taking a public stand against this worrying phenomenon!
That piece clearly touched a nerve with many readers. Another junior faculty member at another university wrote about his social media exposure to his colleagues at a temporary job he had elsewhere:
[T]he sorts of things I was seeing were just appalling. As one of your correspondents put it, the kind of pathological self-righteousness, the grotesque moral peacocking competition to see who could most aggressively signal their sensitivity to the marginalized and oppressed...it was just unbelievable to me that so many professional philosophers and graduate students could be so manifestly self-deluded as to what they were doing and why. I needn't provide examples to you, I'm sure.
In that time, you were one of the few people who helped me keep my sanity. I am normally a very outspoken person, and if not for being on the market, and having tenure to think about after that, I am very much the sort who would have relished the opportunity to weigh in on all this shameful nonsense. But at the time, I could barely keep my head above water, and am now proud I managed to resist writing some publicly available screed that might have kept me from getting a job. One of the most frustrating things about that time (and now) is that I feel less free to express my opinions than I ever did as a graduate student, where I felt very free. The climate is so censorious and grandstandingly punitive that I, like so many others, feel effectively silenced. And I still largely feel that way despite having a TT job now.
More folks, including the many senior folks I hear from, need to be more vocal in the lives of their departments and on social media about the unacceptability of this behavior.
A new paper forthcoming in Ethical Norms, Legal Norms: New Essays in Meteaethics and Jurisprudence (edited by Plunkett, Shapiro & Toh for OUP);the abstract:
In "Explaining Theoretical Disagreement" (2009), I defended an answer to Dworkin's argument that legal positivists can not adequately explain disagreements among judges about what the criteria of legal validity are. I here respond to a variety of critics of my answer, in particular, Kevin Toh. I argue that Toh misrepresents Hart's own views, and misunderstands the role of "presupposition" in both Hart and Kelsen. I argue that a correct reading of Hart is compatible with the error-theoretic interpretation of theoretical disagreement I defended in 2009.
“A great deal of philosophy doesn’t really deserve much of a place of the world,” he says. “Philosophy in some quarters has become self-indulgent, clever play in a vacuum that’s not dealing of problems of any intrinsic interest.”
Much if not all philosophical work in analytic metaphysics, for example, is “willfully cut off from any serious issues,” says Dennett. The problem, he explains, is that clever students looking to show off their skills “concoct cute counterarguments that require neither technical training nor empirical knowledge.” These then build off each other and invade the journals, and philosophical discourse.
This “cottage industry” certainly isn’t helped by the pressure on young philosophy students to publish papers.
“It can take years of hard work to develop the combination of scholarly mastery and technical acumen to work on big, important issues with a long history of philosophical attention,” says Dennett. “In the meantime, young philosophers are under great pressure to publish, so they find toy topics that they can knock off a clever comment/rebuttal/revival of.”
As a consequence, Dennett says much of philosophy is little more than a “luxury decoration on society,” and he complains many of the questions studied in both analytic and continental philosophy are “idle—just games.” For philosophers to be of real use, they should engage with the world, he says—as he does alongside those in interdisciplinary fields, such as philosophy of biology, philosophy of mathematics, or ethics.
He must not be reading much "ethics" if he thinks that's the paradigm of philosophical work engaged with the world!
Judas Priest isn't obscure in the world of rock 'n' roll, but their second album, from which these two songs come, is (relatively speaking). I'm not much for the later Judas Priest, but I always liked this pair of songs:
Although I've not talked to any of those involved, it's hard to escape the conclusion that this is all a coordinated effort: here now is the University President Robert Zimmer, and here is my colleage Geoffrey Stone (lead author of the University's free expression statement). Stone's piece has a useful chronicle of examples of attempts to suppress expression on various campuses.
It is amusing to see various folks in philosophy cyberspace who are precisely part of the problem ridiculing all this as a publicity stunt; but these are the same folks responsible for the "climate of fear" in academic philosophy about attaching one's name to the defense of reasonable views about gender, diversity, the appropriate punishment of sexual harassers, and the nature and content of the philosophy curriculum. It will soon be time to borrow one of their favorite tactics and "name and shame" the folks who have degraded the profession with their vindictive intolerance. There is a robust culture of free expression at this University, which other schools would do well to emulate. (I note as but one example that my libertarian and law & economics colleagues at the University of Chicago Law School knew full well the range of my political and moral opinions when they hired me!)
UPDATE: This interview with Geof Stone suggests that the Dean of the College's letter that got all the attention was not something approved by the University Administration: Stone basically disowns the way it was written.
Everyone in cyberspace is blathering about this, so I will add my own brief blather:
1. Academic freedom protects the right of faculty to utilize trigger warnings if in their professional judgment it is important for the pedagogical mission in a class. To the extent the letter implies they are forbidden, it is nonsense. ("Trigger warnings" are a popular blather topic in their own right, but there's not much more worth saying than this.)
2. Insofar as the letter is meant to send a message, the message is that all ideas can be discussed at the University of Chicago, subject to norms of civility essential for learning. So, for example, if some faculty or students here tried to suppress discussion of Germaine Greer's views about gender--as happened in philosophy cyberspace not long ago--they would be unsuccessful here. If anyone interfered with the expression of such ideas, they themselves would be subject to discipline for disrupting the mission of the university. By contrast, criticism of Greer's views on gender would enjoy the same protection at the University of Chicago.
3. #2 is obviously the only way for a serious university to run--even Herbert Marcuse argued that in the famous essay on "Repressive Tolerance." Here the Marxian left, the traditional liberal and the libertarian right should all be in agreement. Only that consumerist phenomenon of elite universities and their narcissistic students--roughly "identity politics"--is the outlier here.
About thirty years ago, I was a grad student TA at Michigan, which had a union for TAs. Our wages and benefits (esp. health) were way better than those held by the TAs at Yale at the time (they were not, needless to say, unionized).
That was then, of course. Market conditions changed, and wealthy private universities--and not-so-wealthy ones like NYU--had to respond to market pressures, pressures created often by the existence of unionized grad students elsewhere. NYU beat off a unionization challenge a decade or so ago by dramatically improving economic conditions for their PhD students, but NYU is especially vulnerable since the university's endowment does not allow it to compete in the "big leagues," so it is highly dependent on tuition and other short-term revenue and cheap labor, now mainly in the form of adjunct teaching.
Now the National Labor Relations Board has ruled, in a case brought by Columbia students, that grad students who work as TAs have the right to unionize, reversing a 2004 decision involving students at Brown. As usual, this brings forth the usual nonsense and tired canards about unions and the "special" character of graduate education. Thus the President of Yale:
As a Yale graduate student, professor, and administrator, I have experienced firsthand how the teacher-student relationship is central to the university’s academic enterprise. The mentorship and training that Yale professors provide to graduate students is essential to educating the next generation of leading scholars. I have long been concerned that this relationship would become less productive and rewarding under a formal collective bargaining regime, in which professors would be “supervisors” of their graduate student “employees.”
Today the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that graduate students at Columbia University, who assist with teaching and research as part of their education, are employees of that school. I disagree with this decision....
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences enrolls the world’s most promising students in its doctoral programs. These students choose Yale for the opportunity to study with our outstanding faculty, and to take advantage of the university’s wide array of academic resources, generous financial aid, and comprehensive benefits. Yale will continue to provide exceptional support to our graduate students as they focus on their scholarship, successfully complete their degree programs, and find rewarding careers.
...twenty influential philosophers, plus thirty chosen at random (the apt description of one reader who sent it along, though I see it is making the rounds on facebook as well). Any list that includes, e.g., John McDowell and a self-promoting charlatan like Graham Harman has to be a joke. (Maybe they got confused between Graham and Gilbert?) Daniel Dennett and William Lane Craig? Thomas Nagel and J.P. Moreland?
UPDATE: Turns out this is not just careless and ignorant, but it's got an ideological agenda at work, as reader Glenn Branch explains:
I don't pay a lot of attention to The Best Schools website, but it occasionally promotes "intelligent design" -- e.g. this long interview with Dembski http://www.thebestschools.org/features/william-dembski-interview/-- and often promotes various conservative Christian causes. So the inclusion of people like Craig and Moreland isn't due to ignorance but to ideology.
Suppose, as Wegner and Wheatley propose, that we observe ourselves (unconsciously) perform some action, like picking out a box of cereal in the grocery store, and then only afterwards come to infer that we did this intentionally. If this is the true sequence of events, how could we be deceived into believing that we had intentionally made our choice before the consequences of this action were observed? This explanation for how we think of our agency would seem to require supernatural backwards causation, with our experience of conscious will being both a product and an apparent cause of behavior.
In a study just published in Psychological Science, Paul Bloom and I explore a radical—but non-magical—solution to this puzzle. Perhaps in the very moments that we experience a choice, our minds are rewriting history, fooling us into thinking that this choice—that was actually completed after its consequences were subconsciously perceived—was a choice that we had made all along.
Though the precise way in which the mind could do this is still not fully understood, similar phenomena have been documented elsewhere. For example, we see the apparent motion of a dot before seeing that dot reach its destination, and we feel phantom touches moving up our arm before feeling an actual touch further up our arm. “Postdictive” illusions of this sort are typically explained by noting that there’s a delay in the time it takes information out in the world to reach conscious awareness: Because it lags slightly behind reality, consciousness can “anticipate” future events that haven’t yet entered awareness, but have been encoded subconsciously, allowing for an illusion in which the experienced future alters the experienced past.
Clayton Littlejohn (King's College, London) wins the prize for it. He posted the following earlier today:
After considerable deliberation and reflection I've decided that it's time to go to Oxford. It wasn't an easy decision. I love London and will miss all the wonderful people I've met here.
This post was liked by more than 250 people, and elicited hundreds of congratulations (even after my warning that it might be a joke). After many hours, we learned that Dr. Littlejohn had gone to Oxford for the day to sell some rare books:
UPDATE: lovely time at Blackwells. Sold 6 books! Now I'm heading back to London (and KCL where I plan to stay for a very long time-unless they murder me).
Still to be determined: how many folks will unfriend Clayton on FB!
I want to argue that this situation demonstrates an absolute fissure in contemporary progressive politics, that there is a direct and unambiguous conflict between our efforts to address mass incarceration and the insistence that people accused of crimes such as sexual assault should be presumed to be guilty and that those who are guilty are permanently and existentially unclean. I want to argue that there’s nothing particularly hidden about this conflict, that acknowledging it is as simple as noting the direct contradiction of two progressive attitudes: the belief that certain crimes, particularly sex crimes and domestic violence, should be treated not only with harsh criminal punishments but with permanent moral judgment for those guilty of them; and the idea that we need to dismantle our vast criminal justice industrial complex, to oppose the carceral state, and to replace them with a new system of restoration and forgiveness. I further want to argue that progressives are not doing any of the moral and legal reasoning necessary to resolve these tensions, and that if we don’t, eventually they’ll explode....
[I]f an acquittal is insufficient to prove Parker’s innocence, what would such proof look like? Is exoneration even possible? And what do we do with people who are accused of crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence when their cases never go to trial? The current progressive impulse seems to be to simply treat them as guilty regardless, and permanently. Yet this strikes me as unambiguously contrary to the spirit and philosophy that contribute to our drive for criminal justice reform. How can we make such reform possible if we condemn huge groups of people to the status of guilty despite never being found guilty of any crime? And if such crimes carry existential and disqualifying moral judgment for life even for those only accused, how can we bring those imprisoned and released back into normal adult life?
People swing wildly from talking about criminal justice reform to insisting that everyone accused of entire classes of crimes, let alone convicted, are necessarily condemned to a lifetime of guilt. These impulses are not compatible. I strongly believe that we can balance the need to give sexual assault victims far more support and understanding than we traditionally have, and to begin to fix our society’s ugly failure to protect women from sexual assault, while still fighting mass imprisonment and the carceral state. But it will take hard work to get there, and the issue does not seem to even been on the radar for most people.
Daniel Korman (metaphysics, philosophy of language), Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has accepted appointment as Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, effective fall 2017.
Thanks to philosopher Alexander George (Amherst) for passing this on:
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Istvan S. N. Berkeley Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 3:20 AM To: email@example.com Subject: Louisiana Floods
Hi there, South Louisiana, where PHILOSOP is located, is in crisis. Last Friday and Saturday it REALLY rained. At my house (I have a personal weather station) we got 19.8 inches of rain (324.5 mm) in two days. We were lucky and did not flood, but many did. According to some, this is a once in 500 years event.
The media coverage has been reasonable, but not great. The places that flooded are not famous cities, but they are places where real people, including my students, live. So, this event has not been covered too well in the media. That being said, according to some people I have talked to, if Katrina was a 7 event on whatever scale they use for such things, this one counts as a 7.5. So, should you feel so inclined, a bit of help to this part of the world would be very much appreciated! Only 20-25% of people have flood insurance, so people will have lost houses, vehicles and everything. So, donations would be really helpful.
A few Dollars, Pounds, Euros, or whatever, would make a really big difference. It does not have to be much, but every bit helps. Should you feel inclined to help, here are some useful links to donate:
I know through e-mail that many people only have a vague idea about the situation in South Louisiana. Should you be interested in local media reports in the region where PHILOSOP is located, then I would suggest,
This is real. Help would really be appreciated! Perhaps it could also be integrated into an Ethics class as an example of how Utilitarianism can be applied in practice?
Thank you in advance and all the best,
Istvan, PHILOSOP Listowner -- Istvan S. N. Berkeley Ph.D Philosophy and Cognitive Science E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The University of Louisiana at Lafayette P.O. Box 42531 Tel: +1 337 482-6807 Lafayette, LA 70504-2531 Fax: +1 337 482-6809 USA http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~isb9112
This is the first new essay commissioned on the subject in more than fifty years (the last one was by Julius Stone, also a legal realist!). I had the privilege of co-authoring the new essay with a former student, the legal philosopher Michael Sevel (not a legal realist, but like Stone, at the University of Sydney!). Other areas of philosophy in EB appear to be more current (e.g., philosophy of mind by Georges Rey, philosophy of language by Simon Blackburn, philosophy of science by Philip Kitcher). Alas, you need to access it from an institution that subscribes to read this essay or any of the others in full.
UPDATE: An editor at EB writes: "in fact anyone can read the entire article for free if he/she comes to it through a Google search. I believe we are fourth or fifth in the hit list returned by searching on 'philosophy of law'. Clicking on the link should provide access to the full article. (Obviously, searching on "philosophy of law Britannica" would make it even easier.) Likewise any other article in Britannica." Useful information, I didn't realize that!
Women who are interested in serving as mentors should complete the website form before September 1, 2016. Mentors should currently hold a permanent academic post and have had job market experience at the junior level in the past seven years. Women who are interested in being mentored should complete the website form before September 1, 2016. Preference will be given to job candidates who have not participated in this mentoring program before.
A very funny remark by John Gardner (Oxford) about the cyber-treatment of Thomas Pogge:
I don’t know who ‘Jane’ might be, but she/he shows exemplary patience and wisdom for someone commenting below the line on a philosophy blog. The reply from ‘Grace’ who thinks that the hounding of a wrongdoer is a ‘natural consequence’ of his wrongdoing is chillingly reminiscent of Victorian attitudes to malefactors found in the pages of Dickens and Hardy. Thanks, Grace, for returning the philosophy blogosphere to its normal role as a home for absolutely dreadful and long-discredited ideas. (13.07.2016)
For those who don't want to wade through the comment thread (I haven't the strength or tolerance myself to read most comment threads on philosophy blogs), here is "Jane":
For weeks now, there’s been one article after another bringing up Pogge. There seems to be no merit in their publication, other than to continually drag his name through the mud.
The guy’s alleged transgressions are already well known. This seems to be an extended exercise in moral signalling, in stomping down on the back of someone’s head as he already lies in the mud, bringing up the topic again and again whenever people are bored of it so that nobody ever forgets how horrible Pogge is. We get it. And yet, it doesn’t stop.
Now we’ve read an article translated from German that discusses the old facts yet again. Is that enough, editors of Daily Nous? Can we move on?
I’m all for open discussions of sexual harassment policies. I just don’t see the merit in running down particular individuals or exulting in their shame.
2. Oh, Good, Another Piece on Rawls. “Footnote 458 of A Theory of Justice has not been sufficiently explored. Buckle up for 300 pages of exploration!”
3. Splitting the Difference. “Famous philosopher A argues X. Famous philosopher B argues not-X. In this dissertation, I argue the truth is somewhere in-between.”
4. Incomprehensible Kantian Nonsense. “I’m going to argue that some policy P is justified on Kantian grounds. This argument will take 75 steps, and will read as if it’s been translated, or, rather, partially translated, from 19th century German. It will also be completely implausible, and so, to non-Kantians, will simply read like a reductio of Kant rather than a defense of P.”
From the band Taste in the late 1960s, through his solo performances into the 1990s, the great Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher was a "big name" throughout Europe, but never got the same level of recognition on this side of the Atlantic. A fabulous rock, blues and slide guitarist, as well as phenomenal stage performer, these two versions of one of his live staples, the "Bullfrog Blues," give a fine taste for those not familiar. The first, from 1976, is a live performance on an old BBC show, in which each member of the band gets his moment in the spotlight:
The second version was recorded live in Montreux, France in 1980, and is several minutes shorter, because it's all Rory (and the audience):
Clinton leading Trump by huge margins in North Carolina and in Colorado? The margins in Florida and Virginia are also dramatic. Trump is in freefall, and we can be sure, given his psychological disturbance and stupidity, that he is the gift that will keep on giving. That's important because, as Achen and Bartels discuss in Democracy for Realists, events in the three months before an election have a hugely disproportionate impact on voter behavior.
From the editors (I've added institutional affiliations--big year for Wisconsin and USC!):
We are pleased to announce this year's final selection:
The Philosopher’s Annual volume 35
from the literature of 2015
Andrew Bacon (Southern California), “Stalnaker’s Thesis in Context,” from the Review of Symbolic Logic
John Bengson (Wisconsin), "The Intellectual Given," from Mind
Chiara Cordelli (U Chicago, Poli Sci), “Justice as Fairness and Relational Resources,” from the Journal of Political Philosophy
Kenny Easwaran (Texas A&M), “Dr. Truthlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bayesian Probabilities,” from Noûs
Marko Malink (NYU), “The Beginnings of Formal Logic: Deduction in Aristotle’s Topics vs. Prior Analytics,” from Phronesis
Victoria McGeer (Princeton/ANU), “Mind-Making Practices: The Social Infrastructure of Self-Knowing Agency and Responsibility,” from Philosophical Explorations
James Messina (Wisconsin), “Conceptual Analysis and the Essence of Space: Kant’s Metaphysical Exposition Revisited,” from the Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Jeffrey Sanford Russell (Southern California), John Hawthorne (Southern California), & Lara Buchak (Berkeley), “Groupthink,” from Philosophical Studies
Charles Sebens (UC San Diego), “Quantum Mechanics as Classical Physics,” from Philosophy of Science
Titelbaum, Michael G. (Wisconsin), “Rationality’s Fixed Point (or: In Defense of Right Reason),” from Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne, eds., Oxford Studies in Epistemology, vol. 5
These will be posted shortly with links and a general introduction at www.philosophersannual.org. Our thanks to the Nominating Editors for a wonderful set of initial nominations and for extremely useful survey input and comments.
We hope that you will join us as a nominating editor again next year, and that you will be keeping your eye out for excellent work in the literature of 2016 in the meantime.
With all the best,
Nominating Editors: Alia Al-Saji, Rachel Barney, JC Beall, Ned Block, Ben Bradley, Tyler Burge, Victor Caston, David Chalmers, Andrew Chignell, David Christensen, Gregory Currie, Ann Cudd, David Danks, Keith DeRose, Cian Dorr, Lisa Downing, Julia Driver, Adam Elga, Branden Fitelson, Owen Flanagan, Alan Hajek, Ned Hall, Elizabeth Harman, Verity Harte, Gary Hatfield, Benj Hellie, Christopher Hitchcock, Des Hogan, Brad Inwood, Simon Keller, Tom Kelly, Joshua Knobe, Niko Kolodny, Jennifer Lackey, Marc Lange, Brian Leiter, Neil Levy, Martin Lin, Peter Ludlow, Jeff McMahan, Shaun Nichols, Paul Noordhof, Derk Pereboom, Jim Pryor, Greg Restall, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Richard Scheines, Mark Schroeder, Laura Schroeter, Ted Sider, Michael Slote, Scott Soames, Roy Sorensen, Peter Spirtes, Johan van Benthem, Mark van Roojen, Peter B. M. Vranas, Ted Warfield, Eric Watkins, Sam Wheeler, Jim Woodward, Gideon Yaffe
This new review essay may interest some readers; a version will appear in NDPR soon (those interested can cite and quote from either the SSRN version or the NDPR version when it appears):
This review essay discusses Paul Katsafanas’s The Nietzschean Self (Oxford, 2016), which purports to offer an interpretation of Nietzsche’s moral psychology, including questions such as “reflection’s role in action, the genuine action/mere behavior distinction, the nature of evaluative judgment, the structure of human motivation, the possibility of freedom, and the nature of responsibility.” Katsafanas also claims that Nietzsche “wants to understand how ethical claims are justified” (hereafter, the problem of “normative authority”), although no textual evidence is ever adduced anywhere in the book showing Nietzsche to be concerned with this question.
I argue that (1) Katsafanas’s claim that Nietzsche thinks that only conscious mental states are conceptually articulated is not supported by the texts and trades on Katsafanas’s own confusion between linguistic and conceptual articulation, one that vitiates many of the arguments in the book; (2) Katsafanas has a more successful account of the role of drives in Nietzsche’s philosophical psychology and their influence on conscious reflection; (3) Katsafanas’s attempt to resist the import of the latter account for Nietzsche’s ideas about free will and the role of conscious deliberation depends on misrepresentations of the texts and philosophical confusions about the thesis that consciousness is epiphenomenal; (4) Katsafanas misrepresents Schiller’s views about the “unity” of a self, and thus fails to refute the popular view in the literature that unity, for Nietzsche, is a matter of unity among a person’s drives; and (5) many of Katsafanas’s mistakes, and especially his frequent carelessness with Nietzsche’s texts, are best-explained by his desire to construe Nietzsche’s moral psychology as responding to the problem of normative authority.
In the end, the “Nietzschean moral psychology” of this book is largely Katsafansas’s invention, occasionally inspired by snippets from Nietzsche.
His 2013 book on Nietzschean Constitutivism--putting aside the interpretive issues, which took a backseat there--is more interesting and successful in my view. It also involves far fewer philosophical mistakes than the new book.
UPDATE: I uploaded a very slightly revised version today, August 12. The main difference comes in the treatment of nonconceptual content and psychological explanation at 3-4.
Professor Feferman, an eminent figure in mathematical logic and the foundations and philosophy of mathematics, was emeritus in both the Math and Philosophy Departments at Stanford University, where he had taught since 1956. I will add links to memorial notices when they appear.
I, of course, post a certain number of these, based on my judgment of what is interesting and noteworthy, but I thought I'd try opening up a thread periodically to invite readers to do the same. You can just copy and paste the full URL in the comment setion, it will convert automatically to a clickable link. Please explain what the link is to and why it is noteworthy in your view. Submit your comment once, it may take awhile to appear. Thanks.
September and December each have one top spot left, all top spots are taken for October and November. There is at least one 2nd and 3rd spot available each fall month as well (October has only one of each, however).
8/11 UPDATE: No top spots left in December now, but there are lower spots.
Mikkel Gerken (epistemology, philosophy of mind/cognitive psychology), Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, has accepted a tenured offer from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Southern Denmark, where he will begin this fall.
People are playing with fire here, and there is no bigger flamethrower than Donald Trump. Forget politics; he is a disgusting human being. His children should be ashamed of him. I only pray that he is not simply defeated, but that he loses all 50 states so that the message goes out across the land — unambiguously, loud and clear: The likes of you should never come this way again.
And what about the children, who are unabashed supporters and enablers? Why would anyone do business with them after this nightmare Presidential campaign?
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)