Friday, 2 October 2015

Pilos: The Philosophy Profession Blog for Undergraduates and Tenure Track Philosophers

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Kant and the Analytic/Continental Divide: A Synthetic Distinction

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It is time to rteflect on how we promote the profession and how we see ourselves. When we become professors, adjuncts or grad students, we take on a responsibility to conduct our research adn teaching at the highest level. I for one take this very seriosly and will be signing an open letter to this effect. I also invite Brian Leiter, David Chalmers and Saul Kripke to follow suit.

Dear Readers,

I have decided to open this forum up for questioning. Plase post your questions in the comments thread and I will do my very best to andwer them to the very best of my ability. At my institution, I have a high teaching load but I still manage to supervise all my students carefully, and complete teacher student evaluations on a monthly basis. My publication record is stellar, and I know that if I work harder I will soon have a joh professional philosophy.

An Ode to Philosophy of Metaphysics


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Against the "Sufficiency Principle" of Agential Promotion

Eden Lin recently got me thinking about (agential) promotion. By way of background: many views hold that we have reason to act a certain way iff so acting serves topromote a certain kind of outcome (e.g. valuable state of affairs, or the satisfaction of the agent's desires, or whatever).  Prom

Forthcoming in Logos & Episteme

My paper 'Two New Counterexamples to the Truth-Tracking Theory of Knowledge' is forthcoming in Logos & Episteme. It derives from this blog post. The final draft is available at PhilPapers.

An interesting point about its origin: I was originally playing with what I thought might be a type of counterexample to the truth-tracking account involving weird self-referential propositions. After investigating for a stretch I concluded that the approach was no good, at which point the counterexamples in the present paper (which have nothing to do with self-reference) came into my head. Something about the disappointment at the weird self-referential approach failing, together with the fact that I had during the investigation started to get used to the idea that I was able to refute the truth-tracking theory, caused me to think of the actual counterexamples.

For another recent counterexample to the truth-tracking theory (which also works against some other theories) see Neil Sinhababu and John Williams's paper 'The Backward Clock, Truth-Tracking and Safety' and Sinhababu's blog post about it.
If meanings properly get carved up at different granularities, as I maintain, what are the implications for the 'the principle of compositionality'? I believe that granularity otion of this kind might be thought to consist in probability-raising, for example, but there are disputes about the details, such as what the relevant "baseline" probability is for comparison purposes.  Eden's paper, 'Simple Probabilistic Promotion', (mentioned here with pe

Also of note:

Table of Contents

Volume 124, Number 1, January 2015



Monday, 31 August 2015

The Pilos

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THe phgilos has now been runnign for six months ansd is going ve3yr ve3yr stroeng!

SONG ADDED 17 Septemper 2015

Volume 15 (2015)

Constraint and Freedom in the Common Law

John Horty

SEPTEMBER 2015, VOL. 15, NO. 25, PP. 1-27
This paper contributes to our formal understanding of the common law — especially the nature of the reasoning involved, but also its point, or justification, in terms of social coordination. I present two apparently distinct models of constraint by precedent in the common law, establish their equivalence, and argue for a perspective according to which courts are best thought of, not as creating and modifying rules, but as generating a social priority ordering on reasons through a procedure that is piecemeal, distributed, and responsive to particular circumstances.

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  1. Can I be honest? I love the philosophy profession. I want to succeed in it. I think it's the best.

    So I think we need to work together more to get this underway. It's one thing to talk about ranking systems, the Leiter top 50, and Daily Nous and all that political stuff, but at the end of the day it always comes back to: hey, this is a pretty interesting issue, I want to learn more about this and maybe make my own contribution. And that's great.

    WHen I told my brother this we both cried and I knew then I would apply to become a philosopher.

  2. Thankgs guys for all the comments so far. Just in the interest of opening up a more inclusive discussion here are a few points:

    - No hatred or violence will ever be tolerated here
    - Please be respectful to all persons, places and things
    - Do not be egotistical: no one really cares about you
    - Online behaviour is a proxy indicator of offline behaviour, and accordingly, you should all consider yourselves as being watched and on very thin ice indeed
    - The climate will not improve until these points are all met and appreciated by all

    Thank you
    A Distinguished Philosopher

  3. An interesting question: in recent cases of academic misconduct, who have been the perpetrators? What sort of people are they? What do they look like? I think if we think of them as just a number, just an abstract entity, then that won't mean a lot to us, but by putting a face to it and really embodying that in our cognition we can get to a better place of how to control it.

    I think it's also interesting how if you're trying to get the philosophy right, then sometimes you have to do the opposite of what you would be doing if you had to do the best stuff. I think when I became a philosopher, on some level I thought 'Wow, this is wrong, but it's also right'. Analyzing texts all night!

  4. VBeen getting lots of comments and then using that data and analyzing that data and pretty soon wer're doibng to have polls up and running! THen you can tell us what you ;like, what;'s not so hot, and fuinal,ly, wehere should we be goingh asd a group of friendds family anfd professional colleagues! Philsoohpy is the best advice when you're down,. phjilosophrt ius tha best things int h3e worlxs.,

    1. Just chiming in here too. Lots of cool stuff happening both here and at Daily Nous. I don't know about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that by the end of 2015, Brian Leiter will no longer be the top philosopher in the profession. Move over Brian!

  5. I have to admit that recent events in the profession have me thinking 'Wow, this is a difficult situation, and I can only hope we find a way out before too long'. But then that thought dissipates under the strain and gives way to a bleak feeling. It was only last night that I had this. But then something always comes along - some rewarding student, a paper published in Nous, a good blog post, or even something personal like a lover or a friend, and then we are coaxed right back into life and go on living as academic professional philosophers. I for one would like to find a way to preserve my wonder and enchantment, but also my skepticism. So I think this profession has a lot to learn about that. This is only made clearer by what it going on in Mind, at Daily Nous, in Kant's Critique and at NewAPPS, Feminist Philosophers and Digressions & Impressions - great blogs.

  6. Here;s what I think about philosophers: they are sometimes nice people although they like to be very clever and this inhibits their ability to dance, and to love, and to take delight in all that life has to offer. For years this bothered me and I wondered whether or not I should become a philosopher. I only learned to think differently in recent years when I realized that my very life is a pendullum, swinging between two modes of life - one cold, analytical, unruffled but quietly desperate, and a hot, intuitive mode which agitating as it was afforded high pleasures, and the feeling that one was really living. Now I have only to learn to moderate the swings, but to go with them when they come, while yet maintaining some presence in the other mode, so that I may keep my life and my concerns going with some stability, and not have to change everything every time the pendullum changes direction. God help me in this endeavour.

  7. Four thinges:

    (1) Peer review has a long way to go. Why do we have print journals anymore? We should just download them from the internet. This way we could also have more philosophy.

    (2) Hiring practices must improve. I know six men and three women and all of them want jobs. At least two of them are eminently qualified. I was going to say 'You do the math', but really, we can't all just defer to the Groumet Report all of the time. We need to get our own andwers based on our owen experiences and opinions and then use that to determine who should and who should not get that great job we're all talking about.

    (3) We shouldn't have politics in academia just for the sake of it, and logic and philosophy people should be free to pursue their own interest undisturbed and unruffles. Also with social concerns, they should not have to justify themselves to the masses by saying "hey, this could really help your kids have a good time when they're much older'. It's enough that it's good work. End of story.

    (4) Philosophers as a whole all have to get together mor3e and discuss the connections both internal to the discipline, like different parts of it like ethics and the mind-body problem, but also to other fields like economics and computers. This way we could get some real work done!

    Hope that meets with some general approval here, or hell, at least some vigorous and candid discussion. Nothing like a good debate on academic professional matters.

    Thanks guys, looking forward to your response
    "The Prof"

    1. Just chiming in. I like your points Prof. I agree that we have a lot left to do before philosophy is complete and a lot of problems with the profession. Got a lot of books given to me to read this month - four of them mentioned Wittgenstein, but none of those were helpful, and yet Wittgenstein's the best. So count me as puzzled and frankly incensed about that. Now you may call this a glitch in the matrix, but it's also something which points to something deeper perhaps.

      When I first started reading about philosophy, I got a lot of ideas which interested me very much to think about. I spent days at this cafe having milks and coffees and just thinking about these great ideas and talking with friends about them. We had a lot of good discussions. Then I began to write and record philosophy essays, and making "mixtapes" of my early philosophical ideas and essays: kinda weird, but fun. Then when I got more serious, it got really fun. I was thinking this is amazing, how could I ever get tired of this? But then later on as all this stuff got in the way and it all was not much fun anymore, and didn't even feel like philosophy anymore. Now I want to quit philosophy so I can do philosophy again, and I'm terrified about it!

      Love you guys, loving the blog. Peace out and see ya on the breadline fellas

  8. Really tired of all this philosophy talk. If I were less of a permeable membrane I would probably have had enough long ago. Now I have four papers out at journals and a book at a press and it makes me feel really good, but then I look in the mirror and see how tall I am and then I feel even better and think that philosophy should maybe take a back seat sometimes. Big life lesson.

  9. Looking around the blogosphere and found this Thank you.

    1. Thanks! When I created this blog I wanted to createw a space for the careful (and sometimes not so careful!) discussion of academic philosophy, the academy, and the ups and downs of all that and what we think about this way of living. I think a lot of interesting people have chimed in and given their thoughts, and we've had some debates too. It hasn't always been easy or pretty but I think we're getting into a space now where new things are happening. I will tell Daily Nous and see if they want to cover it. Also Brian Leiter may be able to help. But look, we all have to get our journal articles published and, hey, maybe you can put some links to the metablog in there and tell other philosophers who might not be so web savvy about what's going on here. People in ethics, metaphysics and epistemology. I can't wait to see what happens next!

  10. Philosophy and culture. The highest level of achievement in analytic philosophy goes to all those who recognize each other and their place, their embodiment and their humility. Thank you so much for this forum.

    1. Thanks. I for one am immensely enjoying the way this blog and trhe profession more broadly are shaping up. In a few years from now we might be able to start our own journal, in which a new kind of philosophical thinking is put on display, boasting hitherto undreamt-of methods and results. If I turn out to be part of that, great. If not, that's fine also. Others will take the torch from me and carry it forward. This cooperative aspect is one of the great things about intellectual work. Ever since childhood I have had a desire to do something of this kind, and I hope now that when it seems to be within my grasp, that it actually is and is not just a fantasy spun out by my psychology. In terms of how it feels, the two cases are indistinguishable, but externally they are very different: on one side lies pure folly, on the other? The possibility of greatness. We shall see!

    2. A lot of love in the room. When I do philosophy I feel like my head is about to explode, and then sometimes it kind of does and I have great new ideas. Then it becomes a matter of seeing if I can find a way to write and publish them for a great audience. But then the deadlines set in, and the headaches, and the whole reality of the situation is that I've got to keep getting up in the morning and being productive and meeting those deadlines, so then it becomes really hard to keep the dream alive I guess. But now I'm learning some new methods which I think might really be able to help me with this sort of stuff. It's by a guy I went to high school with and even though he never became an academic it's really good. In six weeks I can write a paper, publish it, and start getting on to the next one. Any time anyone asks me how I achieve what I've achieved in philosophy I tell them they have to get onto this stuff.

      When I'm older I know I'm going to say thanks to myself!