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From the APA’s Committee on Public Philosophy.

CPP Book Signing and Panel Organized for the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

Book Signing:

At the December 2012 Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Atlanta, GA, the Committee on Public Philosophy will host a book signing event on December 29, 2012, from 2-4 PM in Imperial Ballroom B at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA.

Five philosophers are participating and have written books that show the impact of philosophy on public life. They include

John Lachs, Stoic Pragmatism
Jeremy Wisnewski (with R.D. Emerick), The Ethics of Torture
John Shook, The God Debates
Carlin Romano, America the Philosophical
Robert Talisse, Democracy and Moral Conflict.

Each author will say a few words about writing for the public about pressing philosophical matters and will then meet visitors and sign books available for purchase (cash or check). Come meet the authors and enjoy some philosophical discussions. You can also read our initial press release about this event here, which includes a brief summary of each book.


We are also sponsoring the following panel featuring Jim Sterba’s work:

“Can Moral and Political Philosophy Really Provide a Foundation for Public Policy or is it Question-Begging All Around? A Panel on Jim Sterba’s Work”

Sunday, December 30th, 9:00-11:00 a.m., Session VI-J, Room TBA @ the conference

David Cummiskey (Bates College)
John Lachs (Vanderbilt University)
James Sterba (University of Notre Dame)
Moderator: Eric Thomas Weber (University of Mississippi)

For information on the Gendered Conference Campaign, see our GCC page and our GCC FAQ page.

Are you irresistible? You can be fired for that.

I’m no legal scholar, but it strikes me as wrong (on so many levels) that you could be fired because some one else can’t keep their libido in check.

A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

Read the full story here.

Judith Jarvis Thomson honored by APA

JJTHere’s a good news story. Judith Jarvis Thomson has been awarded the American Philosophical Association’s Quinn Prize for her lifelong contributions to philosophy and philosophers. Read more about this well-deserved honor to a great woman in philosophy here.

Big congratulations to you, Judy Thomson, from the Feminist Philosophers!

NewAPPS post on anonymous review that isn’t

There is an important discussion going on at New APPS about anonymous reviewing, The journal reviewing process isn’t anonymous. Did you really think it was? Think again!

Writes Berit Brogaard: “Refereeing is far from always blind. It cannot be completely objective because of how the profession operates and because of technological developments. In most cases it’s too easy to find out who the author of a certain paper is. And people have an urge to find out before they referee your paper. And while your peers will claim to be neutral and unbiased, we know all too well that once people know that the author is an unknown junior at a crappy university, a woman or another minority, implicit biases may influence the verdict.”

Definitely worth reading the comments too.

Hiring practise to avoid

A new study shows employers often look for potential friends.

From What Actually Matters in Job Interviews (United Academics)

Lauren Rivera, assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, explored the hiring process by interviewing and observing employers of elite companies like law or consulting firms. It’s like picking out a partner or friend, she concludes.

Former studies on hiring focused mostly on easily observable data, like school, race and gender. But Rivera instead looked at a broader spectrum of possible influences. She saw that employers don’t always pick the most skilled candidate, but the one that ‘fits’ best on the workfloor.

Just like people pick friends or romantic partners, employers look for similarities in job candidates. Do they have the same hobbies, experiences and presentation style as the other colleagues? This often outweighs the actual expected productivity. So don’t try to convince them that this job will be your hobby.

Rivera, L. (2012). Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms American Sociological Review, 77 (6), 999-1022 DOI: 10.1177/0003122412463213

For philosophers I imagine this kind of matching of interests happens most at on-campus interviews, rather than APA interviews. But maybe I am wrong about this.

I was interviewed, many years ago when I was on the market for the first time, by a lone researcher in my sub-field who’d clearly been given the go ahead to hire a research buddy. I worried that my lack of interest in going out for a beer after the interview made me flunk the “buddy test.” And as a young woman. I did worry that the lone researcher’s wife wouldn’t approve of me in the role of philosopher drinking buddy.

But things are much better now, right?

Inclusive pedagogy in the job ad

Congratulations, department chair David Concepción, because your program at Ball State University has a job ad which is a model of awesomeness.  If only more ads were like this!

BALL STATE UNIVERSITY, Muncie, IN. Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies, invites applications for a tenure-track position, effective August, 2013. 3-3 teaching load. AOS: Metaphysics broadly construed. AOC: Area of study concerning underrepresented populations including but not limited to African American Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Philosophy of Indigenous Peoples, Women and Gender studies and animal studies. Required qualifications: (a) PhD prior to application and (b) evidence of teaching effectiveness. Preferred qualification: Experience in mentoring non-majority students, inclusive pedagogy, and diversity issues.

The department highly values the teacher/scholar model, so candidates should have a passion for, and innovation regarding, teaching and learning. Candidates demonstrating the ability to offer a wide range of timely courses that should appeal to many student populations while still being properly thought of as metaphysics will receive serious consideration.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Submit complete dossier, including a curriculum vitae, graduate school transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a writing sample, a brief statement of teaching philosophy, and a brief statement of research interests to: Ann Marie Adams, Dept. Administrator, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA, 47306-0500: philrelst@bsu.edu. Electronic submission is strongly preferred. For more information, see: http://www.bsu.edu/philosophy.

The department of Philosophy and Religious Studies seeks to attract an active, culturally and academically diverse faculty of the highest caliber. Ball State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community.  Therefore, we especially encourage applications from candidates that would contribute to this commitment.

Women and Tenure at DePaul

The article in Inside Higher Ed includes coverage of the ongoing lawsuit of philosopher Namita Goswami, as well as the suits DePaul settled with three other women denied tenure. A main contention of Goswami’s suit is that she was penalized for doing that which she was hired to do — teach and research “nontraditional philosophy, including critical race and feminist theory.”

[AAUP] also noted that there were a number of other reported problems with tenure decisions at DePaul, which have disproportionately and adversely affected minority and female candidates (according to the lawsuit, 20 years of tenure decision data show that minority applicants were approximately twice as likely to be denied tenure as their white colleagues; Father Holtschneider also has never reversed a university tenure board decision regarding a woman, while he has for at least one man).

Goswami’s lawsuit also alleges systematic race discrimination during the 2009-10 tenure process in particular, when DePaul “rejected a disproportionate number of minority applicants in favor of white tenure applicants with similar or inferior qualifications.” According to university data, every applicant denied tenure that year was a minority, while minorities represented only 35 percent of the applicant pool. None of the 22 white applicants were denied tenure.

A Snark-Filled Checklist for Sexuality Research

Does anyone else get sort of bored reading articles on scientific research into sexuality?  It seems like the scientists and journalists involved are…unimaginative (/unobservant).  It’s like they all stick to the same weird checklist.  Below, I try to recreate what I think that checklist is.  Please feel free to add, comment, or correct (since I might slip into my own unwarranted assumptions on this.)

This project came into being after reading this article:  “What We Know and Don’t Know About the Biology of Homosexuality.”  It’s actually pretty decent as far as reporting on scientific research in general goes, but again I was just struck by all the suppositions and the weirdly narrow framework that seem to go into this sort of research and reporting.

A Checklist for Doing Scientific Research on Sexuality:

–Assuming that homosexuality is a variation of a heterosexual default: check
–Assuming that homosexuality is essentially just one sex taking on the other sex’s normal behavior/traits: check
(i.e. male homosexuality is when men are biologically feminized)
–Being completely ignorant of / uninterested in transsexuality and the sexuality of people who are transgender: check
–Pathologizing homosexuality even while acknowledging the arbritrariness of the concept “normal” in this context: check
–Linking genitals to sexual orientation as if there’s clearly a strong, un-contentious connection between the two: check
–Erasing the possibility of a coherent sexuality for people who are intersexed: check
–Erasing bisexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality as categories: check
–Talking about the evolutionary advantages or disadvantages of different sexualities as if that is automatically relevant to what our current social attitudes towards them should be: check
–Thinking about sexuality research by asking questions like, “What factors contribute to heterosexuality in humans?” or “Is there a straight gene?” or “Does our biology even support the notion of having a sexual orientation?”: uncheck

Has everyone run across research or reporting on sexuality that doesn’t make this laundry list of assumptions?