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Magical Gourmet Report: House Prefects

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From the quill of Eli Shupe (Intern at the Ministry of Magic)

If your Philosophy Department were a Hogwarts House, which one would it be? The results of the survey are in! Here are the House Prefects, i.e. the schools most strongly affiliated with the four Hogwarts Houses. Like all the most important announcements, this one comes in the form of commemorative desktop wallpaper.

HOUSE CUP (2)

Congratulations to…

MIT (classified by 45% of respondents as Ravenclaw)

Brown University (48% Hufflepuff)

University of North Carolina (31% Gryffindor)

New York University (62% Slytherin)

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January 25, 2016 at 8:03 pm

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Towards a Theory of Food Categorization

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By Sumil Thakrar

Forthcoming in the Proceedings of the Society of Drinking a lot of Cough Syrup


 

“Everybody knows that something is wrong. But it is uniquely the achievement of contemporary philosophy – indeed, it is uniquely the achievement of contemporary analytical philosophy – to have figured out just what it is. What is wrong is that not enough distinctions are being made.”—Jerry Fodor[1]

There has been a much-needed resurgence in published papers and PhD dissertations on the philosophy of food categorisation. Yet, outside of the philosophy department, we are steadfastly entrenched in a naïve tradition that does little but separate food from drink. The recent attempts at popularizing food categorisation are inadequate at capturing the natural distinctions, and have barely engaged with the emerging philosophical literature. For example, the philosopher Lawson, in her seminal thesis “Nigella Bites”[2], invoked the categories “slow cook weekend”, “comfort food”, and “rainy days”, which critics claim offer an embarrassment of riches that fail to ‘carve nature at its joints’. This paper will clarify the emerging philosophical consensus, and suggest possible avenues for further research.

 

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January 8, 2016 at 7:14 am

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The Magical Gourmet Report

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From the quill of Eli Shupe (Intern at the Ministry of Magic), with assistance from Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini and Cherie Braden (House Elves).

If your Philosophy Department were a Hogwarts House, which one would it be? While armchair speculation on this important issue has yielded little real progress, cutting-edge approaches developed by experimental philosophers promise to settle matters once and for all!

Witches and wizards may take the survey here. (Remember, the Houses exemplify different virtues. Slytherin has been unfairly maligned over the years, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with cunning and ambition.)

An overall results page that magically updates as opinions trickle in may be found here. Close statistical analysis of the relation between self- versus other-perceived House affiliations to follow. The school most strongly associated with each House at the end of data collection will be officially named the Prefect of that House.

sortinghatsong-4

Disclaimer: Apart from your own department, you will only be able to evaluate the top twenty-ish departments of a certain well-known muggle system of rankings. Apologies to those who are left out of the hijinks — you are more than welcome to create and disseminate a more inclusive version (which we will be happy to link to).

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September 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm

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Woman discovers husband is cleverly disguised mule

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Robert Mills in an undated photograph

Robert Mills in an undated photograph

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Till the Skeptical Hypothesis Do Us Part: Philosophical Advice for a Veridical Marriage, by Martha Slattery.

In 2012 Mary Mills learned that Robert, her husband of six years, was a cleverly disguised mule. The surprising discovery was made when Mary and Robert visited a doctor for infertility testing. The doctor checked to see if there was a genetic cause of infertility and sure enough there was. Mary had 46 chromosomes, Robert had 63. They soon divorced.

This tragic outcome could have been prevented. Remember, the key to a successful marriage is being the same natural kind as your partner. Don’t rush things — have that special someone checked out by a good veterinarian before you tie the knot.

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January 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Monism special issue

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MonismSome questions just don’t seem to go away. Why is there something rather than nothing? Do we have free will? How many things are there?  In this issue of the Proceedings of the Society of Drinking a Lot of Cough Syrup, we take up this last question and explore an underdeveloped answer. Monism: because counting is hard.

A Simple Argument for Existence Monism

Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini and David Black

Some say that there is more than one object. It might seem, for example, that my table is one and my chair is one, so together they are more than one — they are two ones. But suppose for reductio that there is more than one one. Then the ones are not one. But one cannot be not one. So there is only one one.

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December 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

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Advice

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Philosophers are badasses. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It’s grad-application season again, so this seems like an appropriate time to share a few words of advice with the next crop of philosophers. And now that I’m a second-year graduate student myself, I think I’m ready to start making sweeping generalizations about the field.

First, philosophy has a bad rap these days. Some say it’s just intellectual masturbation — that you’ll spend your life engaging in an activity that you find stimulating but that will never produce anything of value.

I don’t think that’s right. Typically masturbation stays between you and the occasional family member who’s unfortunate enough to open the door without knocking. Philosophy, by contrast, is meant to be shared.

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November 2, 2014 at 7:45 am

Show me your papers, eh?

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The following is an editorial by guest author Gerald Mueller, the Strom Thurmond Chair of Conservative Thought at the University of Cascadia.

Rule breaking!!

Last time I wrote about babies. They’re milking this country for all it’s worth and we all know it. But you probably haven’t heard about the second major threat facing our economy: Immigrants. Yes, immigrants. And I’m not talking about the kind that God sends to subdue a wild and fertile continent — those days are over. I’m talking about the kind of immigrant that sneaks across your border and steals your job without so much as asking.

Pretty much everything I said about babies goes for immigrants as well. They steal our jobs, feed at the public trough, and don’t pay taxes. And the worst of them even come over here and make more babies. So I’ll get right to the nub of the issue: What are we going to do about it?

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October 31, 2014 at 2:46 am

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