Posts Tagged ‘professor’
After 54 years of teaching at Berkeley, the man inside John Searle’s head has announced he will be entering a three-year phased retirement after the end of the current semester. The diminutive Zhu Tao made the announcement at a press conference Monday in a rare out-of-costume appearance.
At the conference Zhu said he is retiring from his current position in order to spend more time with Searle’s family. “I have become quite attached to these people,” Zhu said through a translator. “Although, admittedly, not being able to understand a word they say has limited the intimacy of our relationships.”
Though it never afforded genuine understanding, for the most part Zhu’s English-to-English instruction manual served him well during his time as Searle. One notable exception was the famous Searle-Derrida debate, in which Searle leveled charges of “deliberate obscurantism” against Derrida and other deconstructionists. ”Some people do not use words according to their prescribed manner,” said Zhu, reflecting on the exchange. “This results in great confusion.”
The APA referee lockout entered its sixth week today with no end in sight. Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley-Blackwell refuse to return to the bargaining table, claiming in a joint statement issued Saturday that the demands of the APA Referees Association are “simply not feasible.” The Referees Association responded by reiterating their demand for an improvement on their current contract, under which referees collectively work thousands of hours per year, enabling publishers’ profit margins of 30 percent or greater, in exchange for no pay or benefits. The association is asking for a 5% raise over three years.
Sheriff Tim Mueller
1115 SE Jackson St
Albany, OR 97322
Dear Sheriff Mueller,
I am writing to thank you for your recent letter to Vice President Biden, in which you pledge to prevent federal agents from enforcing any new gun regulation or executive order that you deem unconstitutional. Mastering the nuances of constitutional law and personally scrutinizing every federal, state, and local law that comes before you no doubt requires much time and effort. In fact, for lesser beings it is a full-time job. (Those people are called “justices.”) For this reason alone you have my thanks and admiration.
A previously unrecognized moral principle was discovered last week after ethicists at the University of Mesa realized that they would rather kill an old lady’s cat than a young girl’s puppy. The principle of moral naivete, as it is being called, justifies this preference by holding that the wrongness of inflicting a given harm can depend in part on the degree to which the victim has previously been exposed to such a harm.
The breakthrough came late Thursday as several members of the Moral Philosophy Research Group analyzed the results of a thought experiment they had run earlier in the night. ”We were messing around, getting pretty sloshed,” explains Anthony Vega, the group’s principal investigator. “Basically it was just another night at The Lab,” a local bar and the group’s favorite venue for conducting research. Vega and several graduate students were playing Would You Rather, a party game and the standard research tool in normative ethics. Before long the group hit upon the question that has since sparked a firestorm of scholarly interest: Would you rather kill an old lady’s cat or a young girl’s puppy?
The following is an editorial by guest author Gerald Mueller, the Strom Thurmond Chair of Conservative Thought at the University of Cascadia.
With the fiscal cliff fresh on our minds, it seems appropriate to ask ourselves what policy resolutions we might adopt for the new year. While the prospects for true reform are bleak, it’s obvious that one of the most pressing problems facing America today is demographic in nature. There is an identifiable group of people who are demonstrably a drain on our economy and our finances. They’re unskilled, uneducated, and survive largely on handouts. Here’s a hint: They don’t speak English. You guessed it – babies. While the Left loves to coddle them, it’s time we took a good, hard look at these little fiscal sinkholes.
Des Moines, Iowa – Karl Marx’s campaign for the presidency of the Beaverdale Neighborhood Association was engulfed by controversy this week after a video surfaced of Marx addressing supporters earlier this year at Hessen Haus, a local bar. In the video, Marx suggests that 0.47% of the population are takers who leech off the rest of society.
“There are 0.47% of the people who will vote for the [current neighborhood association] president no matter what,” Marx says in the video, referring to the 0.47% of Beaverdale residents who own a business with employees other than themselves. “All right, there are 0.47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government for the enforcement of their property rights, who believe that they are entitled to the surplus value produced by the proletariat. These people already own the means of production, so our message of workers’ control doesn’t connect.”
The video was leaked to local news stations by an anonymous businessman who surreptitiously recorded Marx talking to a small group of supporters. After airing on Tuesday, the video immediately caused an uproar on aSmallWorld, Diamond Lounge, and other social networking sites for the wealthy.
“Barack Obama. Now there’s a river you wouldn’t want to step in twice.” In perhaps the most groan-worthy moment of the evening, Heraclitus riffs on his well-known river aphorism to caution against re-electing the current president. He’s speaking to perhaps a dozen supporters at a Dairy Queen outside Nashville, Tennessee, on the third stop of his tour of the American Southeast.
Though you wouldn’t be able to tell from his speech tonight, Heraclitus’s official platform has three planks: (1) Things are constantly changing (universal flux), (2) Opposites coincide (the unity of opposites), and (3) Fire is the basic material of the world. The platform is summarized by the slogan, “Change. Unity. Fire.”
“People like the ‘Change’ and ‘Unity’ parts,” explains campaign adviser Jill Harnish. “They don’t actually realize what he means, but it sounds good. When he gets to ‘Fire,’ however, people usually get a little creeped out.” As a result, Harnish has steered Heraclitus away from detailed discussion of his positions and towards the cliches and sloganeering familiar from more mainstream candidates.
The following is an editorial by guest author Gerald Mueller, the Strom Thurmond Chair of Conservative Thought at the University of Cascadia.
The election season provides a prime opportunity to reflect on the state of our democracy. And, upon reflection, it is hard to deny that we face significant and growing threats to the integrity of our electoral system. Here are four of the most important (and least discussed) steps we should take to strengthen our democracy.
1. Keep out-of-state interests out of local politics
People like David and Charles Koch are often criticized for using their wealth to influence state politics around the country, but there is another threat to the integrity of local politics that has gone ignored. We need to protect small towns from the out-of-state interests who live in those small towns: college students. As New Hampshire Speaker of the House William O’Brien explained last year, college students are “taking away [small] towns’ ability to govern themselves” by outnumbering and outvoting long-term residents, and “that’s not fair.” Fairness demands that we expand restrictions on voting by out-of-state students. If you will not be around for the long haul, why should you have a say in the laws you will live under for the next four years? (Which is why we should also prevent voting by those who plan to move within the next four years, but that is another issue.)
After conducting a Google search for ‘princeton philosophy’ today, this reporter was surprised to see the image above. Under the heading ‘Princeton University Department of Philosophy’ were four links: ‘Philosophy’, ‘Search Results’, ‘Viagra no prescription’, and ‘Viagra online’. A subsequent search for ‘princeton university viagra’ revealed two departmental pages with both ‘viagra’ (sic) and ‘Princeton University’ in their titles.
Without confirmation from the department it’s too early to say for sure, but FauxPhilNews is going to go ahead and call this one: the Princeton philosophy department is partnering with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to provide direct-to-consumer marketing and sale of Viagra. No longer will men have to turn to shady online retailers; now they can purchase their sex drugs straight from one of the most respected names in higher education.
In news that will surely comfort unemployed philosophers everywhere, the mounting stresses of the job market have led to a breakout first year at Psycho Analytics, LLC, a Los Angeles clinic catering to distressed philosophers. Since its founding in August 2011, the clinic has doubled in size to four practitioners and developed a reputation for a nuanced understanding of the world of professional philosophy.
“The clinic may be new,” explains co-founder Samantha Greer, “but I do what I’ve always done: help people deal with insecurity and peer rejection. Except now it’s more about job insecurity and peer-reviewer rejection.”
Not surprisingly, the stressful conditions of academic philosophy can lead to a range of mental and physical problems. Intriguingly, the problems are often unique to the modern academic. “Take premature e-publication,” Greer suggests. “I’d never even heard of it before a few years ago.” She’s talking about the posting of half-baked papers online, where they can damage the author’s reputation or job prospects. Premature e-publication is one of the most embarrassing problems an academic can face. The young, the inexperienced, and the easily excitable are especially prone to this type of premature release. ”There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing,” Greer says. “Everyone does it. But we try to help philosophers control the urge to do it at inappropriate times.”
What is it like to be a zombie in philosophy? That’s the question posed by a new blog chronicling the experiences of zombies in what is still a field dominated by the not-yet undead. The blog follows in the footsteps of a similar project about life as a woman in philosophy.
“I think the expansion from women to other marginalized groups is the natural next step,” says Noam Chompsky, the site’s unfortunately named creator. “Zombies typically rank somewhere between pedophiles and atheists in terms of the general level of distrust among the public, and I think some of that distrust finds its way into the discipline.”
UPDATE: Ok, I found out how to see the write-ins, but I don’t think you can access them. Here are my favorites:
I’m a bat. I can tell you about THAT.
the available brains are chewier, not as fresh as normal brains
“Zombie” is a pseudo-concept
Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains = minds!
I wish I had brains enough to answer this question.
It’s definitely not phenomenal.
As much as one must applaud the effort of the editors to offer selected articles on philosophy to be published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, I cannot help but wonder if these are properly refereed submissions and if there is not a certain danger in their being accepted without criticism or comment. As but one example, in the submission on perception by Tyler Burge he speaks of qualia and perceptual anti-individualism. Yet in a book by Metzinger, himself a noted philosopher, it is stated unequivocally that qualia do not exist, as well as insisting on a position quite distinct from Burge in terms of the latter issue. As a non-philosopher I am unable to make any sort of reasonable decision about this issue, and I wonder if more balanced presentations would not be preferable. I do not in any way mean this as a criticism of Tyler Burge, who is an outstanding scholar, but more as a matter of general editorial policy.
Metzinger T (2003). Being no one. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p. 66.
[Notes: The above letter to the editor was passed along to me some time ago by Alex Kerr. It can be found, with citation information, here. I was reminded of the letter after recently learning that "Burge's Defense of Perceptual Content," a paper authored by Todd Ganson, myself and Alex, has been accepted for publication in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. A newly revised version of the paper can be downloaded from this page.]
“Here is one hand,” says Moore, “and here is another.” While Moore’s Prosthetics isn’t actually one of the philosophy-themed small businesses popping up around the country, I couldn’t resist ducking in and asking Mr. Moore if there were any hands. I can’t stay long, however, as I’m on my way to the Edible Complex. I’m meeting with Neil Levy to discuss some of the businesses popping up as new PhDs look for alternatives to the anemic academic job market.
The Edible Complex is a hip new café, just down the street from the risqué leather shop Discipline and Punish. Like several nearby cafés, they have board games set out for customers. Unlike anywhere else, however, the games are all philosophy-themed. There’s a philosophy edition of Guess Who? (“Is this person a physicalist?”), as well as several selections from the Ludwig’s Language Games series (“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must make funny noises.”) Jesse Patton opened the Complex last year, leaving behind work as a per-term instructor in the California State system. Patton has several business ideas in the works, including a challenger to Ancestry.com, the Genealogy of Mortals (“God is dead. And he was once married to your mother’s second cousin.”)
“Thesis: toast. Antithesis: nothingness. Synthesis: bagel. This is what I call the ‘bread dialectic.’ Name of shop: Hegel’s Bagels.”
I’m sitting in Jorge Frazier’s Brooklyn apartment, listening to him pitch his new business idea. Frazier graduated last year from the University of Northern Marianas, specializing in 18th and 19th century German philosophy. On the wall behind him is a sign that reads, “Don’t be a Kant. Buss your own table.” He sees me looking. “Oh, that’s from my last place, an all-you-can-eat pizza joint called ‘Perpetual Pizza.’ For some reason it didn’t catch on.”
Frazier thinks his new business will be more successful than the last. He’s planning to set up shop right across the street from Berkeley’s Bakery, the newest philosophy-themed small business to hit New York. ”I expect to give them a run for their money,” Frazier says confidently. “Berkeley’s mincemeat pie is a thing of beauty, but their bagels are quite insubstantial.”
Jimmy Becker is a curious and determined eight-year-old. That determination, however, is getting him into trouble. ”What’s the point of life if everything I do is already fixed by the laws of nature and prior conditions?” His mother lets out a sigh.
“He’s been talking like this ever since he read that book,” says Ms. Becker. ”That book” is Billiards, Bugs and Brains, part of the Philosophy for Kids series from Random House. With brightly colored pictures and monosyllabic words, Billiards explores the deterministic behavior of the natural world, including the world of human thought and action.
A decade after banning military recruiters from campus, the University of Northern Maine has begun issuing visitation permits allowing recruiters to speak with college seniors about post-graduation plans. The ban was initially enacted in opposition to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but was reconsidered after DADT officially ended last September.
In what’s come as a surprise to many, the UNM philosophy department officially supports the move, citing the desire to help its majors find employment after graduation. While traditionally the department limited its efforts to helping majors gain admission to graduate programs, in recent years the department has encouraged its majors to consider other career paths.
“We knew there was a problem when papers started showing up talking about ‘the applications paradox’ instead of ‘the lottery paradox,’” explains Alan Pittman. He’s referring to the question of why someone applying to a graduate philosophy program can know they’ve been rejected after receiving a rejection letter but not before, given that the probability a rejection letter was sent by mistake is greater than the probability, before receiving such a letter, that an applicant will be accepted by a given program.
The nature of conscious experience has been one of philosophy’s most hotly debated questions in recent decades. While discussions of intentionality, phenomenology, and first-person access have produced a voluminous literature, there’s been frustratingly little consensus. Jamie Roth hopes to change that.
“I want to start a conversation about conscious experience that doesn’t just turn into another opportunity for Ned Block to talk about how impressive his orgasms are.” She wants, that is, to break away from relying on diverging intuitions about cases. ”Representationalists and qualia freaks, physicalists and property dualists — each camp trots out its favored examples and no one ever changes their mind.”
In an effort to break the impasse, Roth is partnering with Francis Goldman, a microscopist at Michigan State University. The two claim to have developed a technique for extracting and imaging subjects’ conscious experiences. ”Getting the experiences was easy,” says Roth. ”By the end of freshman year the average student is brimming with experiences they wish they didn’t have and is more than willing to donate a few.”
A series of television ads funded by Shell Oil Company hit the airwaves this week, responding to last month’s statement by Métaphysiciens Sans Frontières calling for immediate action to reduce global climate change. The ads, produced by the public relations firm Anti-Realists for Responsible Science, take aim at mainstream climate science in general and the MSF statement in particular.
The first commercial aired Monday, focusing on the claim by MSF spokesman Frank Jackson that, if historical patterns continue, the carbon dioxide concentration of the earth’s atmosphere will reach a dangerous tipping point of 450 parts per million by mid-century. In the ad, ARRS founder Jack Haley dismisses Jackson’s warning as “naive enumerative inductivism.” Haley notes that for every year on record carbon dioxide levels have been below 450 parts per million. ”If that pattern continues, we’ll never reach 450 parts per million,” says Haley. ”So by Jackson’s own logic we both will and won’t reach the alleged tipping point. Which is it, Mr. Jackson? Will we or won’t we? The American people await your answer.”
The average American knows less about philosophy now than ever before. So say Samantha and Robert Lawson in a paper forthcoming in Teaching Philosophy. The Lawsons reached their depressing conclusion after examining nearly 60 years of data, including information on Americans’ reading habits, formal philosophy education, and the citation of philosophers by writers outside the discipline.
“Many in academia bemoan the gap between public opinion and scientific consensus,” says Sarah Lawson. ”But the disconnect between lay and expert opinion in philosophy is just as bad.” Lawson points to Gallop polls that indicate 40% of Americans believe God created humans in their present form and 46% believe the global warming of the past century has been due to natural causes. By comparison, a shocking 97% of respondents in one recent poll said that objects are colored. Most of the remaining 3% endorsed “a facile and vague ‘colors are just in your head’ theory,” says Lawson. ”Very disappointing.” Similarly, in one of the Lawsons’ own surveys, 99% of subjects said they knew they had hands, with the remaining 1% split between “Not sure,” “Other,” and “Shut up and take me to the hospital.”