Leiter says that “what will actually be crucial to the success of JAPA is that it publish high quality work, not that it represents every “constituency”.” …There is now a huge scientific literature on expert over-confidence, tacit bias, and the role of non-truth-tracking heuristics in our intellectual judgments. So, I would think the real worry goes in the other direction: a journal that publishes more of the (let’s stipulate Leiter approved) high quality same, me-too-research, while welcome in many ways and not to be judged an outright failure, certainly ought not count as a “success” from the point of view of the APA’s membership (and counterfactual would-be memberships). This result would also not count as a ‘success’ from the point of view of the long-term interests of professional philosophy.
Eric Schliesser on the APA journal August 21, 2014
Louise Antony (Guest Post) on Hilde Lindemann’s comments August 20, 2014
Louise Antony writes:
In light of the discussion on Brian Leiter’s blog, I want to say something in support of Hilde Lindemann’s comments in the recent Chronicle of Higher Education article on the East Carolina U/Colin McGinn incident. Many commenters are incensed that Prof. Lindemann seemed to endorse the use of “unofficial information” (as Daily Nous put it) in decisions such as the ECU Phil. Department’s vote to offer a distinguished visiting position to Colin McGinn. I’m baffled by this. Is there anyone out there in Bloggo-land who wants to say that scholarly achievement is the only consideration that should count in deciding whether or not to offer someone a position? (Anyone who says that it is the only thing that counts is simply wrong.) Every department I’ve ever been affiliated with has always – and quite rightly — taken into account both the candidate’s likely collegiality and his or her potential as a teacher and mentor. So now the question is: what kind of evidence can one use in assessing a candidate’s collegiality and potential as a teacher and mentor? Postings on a public blog can provide evidence. Disciplinary actions taken by a candidate’s previous employer can also provide evidence. What about the appropriate standard? Bearing in mind that a hiring meeting is not a criminal trial, that there is no “presumption of innocence” to be overcome, and that an individual’s being brought up for consideration does not engender any presumptive right to the position, it’s clear that the appropriate standard is the one typically used in normal hiring deliberations: what, given the evidence, is it reasonable to believe about how this colleague will behave toward his or her colleagues and students? An official finding that a person has engaged in sexual harassment is certainly very strong evidence that that person is untrustworthy – but it’s not the only evidence that can support that conclusion.
I understand that there’s tremendous concern about false accusation and innuendo – at least when the case at hand involves men and sex. So yes, the evidence needs to be looked at carefully in any particular instance. But are hiring committees supposed to ignore the evidence that exists? Are they supposed to disregard the fact of disciplinary actions taken by a previous employer? Are they supposed to ignore what the candidate has to say about the matter on a public blog? A decision not to offer a position to someone because there’s good reason to think the person is a danger to students is not a violation of anyone’s rights. A decision to go ahead and appoint such a person despite the evidence is reprehensible.
At NewApps, Helen de Cruz has interviewed seven parents (six mothers and one fathers) who have tenured or permanent jobs in philosophy on various aspects of how parenting has and continues to affect their careers. Many of these stories are familiar – but it’s good to know that one is not alone!
CFP: Journal of the APA August 19, 2014
Sally Haslanger writes:
The Journal of the APA will be launching this coming spring. It is crucial to the success of the journal that it represent research done by the many different intellectual constituencies of the APA. The editorial board is highly sensitive to this fact. Those working in philosophy of race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, class, those doing Continental philosophy, history of philosophy, those doing innovative philosophy outside the mainstream, PLEASE submit your work, and sooner rather than later. The APA is changing and it will change for the better only if we all make an effort to move it in the right direction. This is a chance to do so.
She put this in comments, but I’m closing comments because I don’t have the time or energy to moderate and I think it’s about to get ugly.
People frequently suggest, at least in conversation, that there are more women in ethics than in other fields; and even that the relatively dearth of women in other fields may be explained by their large numbers in ethics. We still don’t know whether either of these things are true. But thanks to Kate Norlock’s excellent work with splendid Trent University student Cole Murdoch, we do know a bit more about how well represented women are in two leading ethics journals.
Philosop-her on the Philosophers’ Annual August 18, 2014
Despite the fact that the Philosophers Annual (PA) is doing better on the political philosophy front, I have a few worries that were prompted by discussions on Facebook (thanks to J.D. and E.B. and others for bringing my attention to these issues). It seems that the PA has recognized papers in philosophy of race only twice since the year 2000: from the literature of 2001, Robert Bernasconi, “Who Invented the Concept of Race?”; and from the literature of 2000, Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?” Something similar seems to be true of feminist philosophy as well. There have been three papers recognized in the area of feminist philosophy since 2000: from the literature of 2007, Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?”; from the literature of 2001, Karen Jones, “The Politics of Credibility”; from the literature of 2000, Sally Haslanger, “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?” Admittedly, I did a quick and incomplete survey (considering only up to the year 2000). If anyone has determined the exact numbers of entries in these two areas since the beginning of the PA, I would be grateful if you could share that information with me.
It cannot possibly be true that of the very best articles in philosophy since 2000 that only 5 of the best articles are in the area of race and gender. That we are led to this conclusion by the PA may suggest that there is something wrong with the methodology behind the PA.
We can and should have a conversation about the specifics of the PA methodology. But personally, I’m of the opinion that any attempt to rank and codify what is ‘best’ in our discipline is going to be subject to – and more worryingly, is going to reinforce – the sorts of oversights and biases our discipline is plagued by.
Daily Nous has opened a thread inviting suggestions of great philosophy of race and philosophy of gender/feminist philosophy that have been written during the relevant time period (i.e., 2000-2013).
You can read the article here.
“Not only are men more likely than women to earn tenure, but in computer science and sociology, they are significantly more likely to earn tenure than are women who have the same research productivity.”
““It’s not that we need to make women more productive. It’s that we need to change the processes,” said Kate Weisshaar, a graduate student at Stanford University who did the study.”
Administrators at East Carolina University have turned down the philosophy department’s request to award a one-year endowed professorship to Colin McGinn—a prominent philosopher who resigned from the University of Miami in December following allegations of sexual harassment by a female graduate student.
For the Chronicle story, go here.
For words of wisdom from Eric Schliesser, go here.
For a discussion about use of unofficial information in hiring go to the Daily Nous.
The Diverse Lineages of Existentialism meeting was a far cry from a typical philosophy conference. In a discipline dominated by white men, this conference hosted as many women as men and a large number of people of color along with white participants. In a discipline often characterized by its esoteric isolation from public and politics, instead there was outpouring of conversations about social justice and lived human experience. Given the recent public and professional conversations about the lack of diversity in philosophy, the Diverse Lineages of Existentialism (DLE) conference is a hopeful glance into the future of the discipline – one that is long overdue and necessary if philosophy is to continue as a viable and relevant living and growing field, both in the academy and in the public imagination.
Lego Academics August 17, 2014
A Glasgow academic has become an online sensation after setting up a social media account using Lego’s new ‘Research Institute’ set.
Lego unveiled its first ever range of female scientists last week, with the popular sets selling out in just three days.
But when Glasgow scientist Donna Yates took receipt of her own box of mini boffins in the post, she managed to create an overnight Lego phenomenon.
“It was delivered in the middle of a terrible rainy day on Friday,” said the University of Glasgow archaeologist.
“My colleague and I were filling out our performance evaluations which we’d had to re-do and it was all so slow and frustrating,” Donna continues.
“We opened it up and started putting the pieces together.”