Yoga and bone density

The NY Times lists yoga poses that take 12 min altogether; if done regularly, they should increase the density in major parts of one’s skeleton.

There is also a site that describes three levels for doing the poses: with osteoporosis, with osteopenia, and ordinary, unassisted practice.

Yoga is also a great source of relief from stress, but 12 min is probably far from optimal.

A-Level Philosophy and Gender: some excellent news

There’s great news about the A-Level Philosophy syllabus, that deserves to be widely shared.  The BPA has worked hard to ensure an improved representation of women philosophers: there are now two women among the required authors for every one of the topics covered.  The BPA writes:


We raised concerns about the absence of women in the initial draft of the subject content and have worked closely with other stakeholders to ensure that the work of women is necessarily represented in any and every qualification for AS/A-level philosophy.  We were pleased that our concerns were accepted immediately and heartened by the willingness of all stakeholders to work closely with us to address them.

The subject content sets out the minimum requirements for any qualification and we welcome and are committed to supporting further work to ensure that the content of AS/A-levels in philosophy fully represents the diversity we see in our field.

The women philosophers in the DfE subject content demonstrate both that women have always been engaged in philosophy and provides schools and colleges with the opportunity to consider why they are less well-known than their male counterparts.  There are also up-to-date works by women who are high profile and active in their fields.

We are pleased that there are now eight women philosophers whose work must be studied by any student taking an A-level in philosophy, with the work of four women being studied by students taking AS.

Importantly, this is NOT the Philosophy and Ethics A-Level.  That is actually (as I understand it) the very misleading name for the Religious Studies A-Level.  It doesn’t contain any women at all, and there is quite rightly a petition about this.  (I was confused about this myself until this morning.)



Nominations for best book in social philosophy?

Each year, the North American Society for Social Philosophy honors the best book published in social philosophy during the previous year with the NASSP Book Award. The Book Award Committee invites you to nominate a book(s) to compete for this award for the year 2015.

The Award will be offered to the book published in 2015 that makes the most significant contribution to social philosophy.  The field is to be construed broadly, to include social and political philosophy, philosophy of law, philosophy of social science and social ethics.  Excluded are anthologies, historical studies, and work on ethics that lack a distinctly social component.  For the purpose of this award, a book will normally be considered to have been published in the year of its copyright, rather than the year of its release, unless there are exceptional circumstances that warrant otherwise.

The Award is presented each year at our annual conference, where the author receives a plaque and participates in a panel presentation concerning the book.  The comments and a response from this panel will be published in Social Philosophy Today.  The winning book and other nominated books are displayed at the conference and publicized on our website, and in our refereed journal, The Journal of SocialPhilosophy.

Please click on the link below to submit your nomination.

All nominations must be submitted December 31, 2015.

CFP: Barcelona Language and Politics

GRSelona3 — Third Barcelona Conference on Gender, Race, and Sexuality: Issues in Language and Politics – Call for Papers

Dates: 22-23 June 2016
Venue: Residencia d’Investigadors (C/ Hospital 64, 08001 Barcelona)

The conference will focus on issues in philosophy of gender, race, and sexuality, with special attention to issues in language and politics, including but not limited to: slurs and pejorative terms, generics, hate speech, pornography, the meaning of terms for race, gender and sex, and ameliorative projects in philosophy.

Invited Speakers:

•       Luvell Anderson (Memphis)
•       Anne Eaton (Illinois-Chicago)
•       Quayshawn Spencer (Pennsylvania)


Submissions of full papers (up to 4000 words, plus an abstract of up to 150 words) are invited. Please send them in suitable form for anonymous reviewing as PDF attachments to The closing date for submissions is 15 January 2016. We expect to confirm which papers have been accepted by the end of March. Budget permitting, accommodation expenses for contributed speakers will be covered.

Scientific Committee:

Marc Artiga (Barcelona)
Delia Belleri (Vienna)
Alex Davies (Tartu)
Dan López de Sa (ICREA/Barcelona)
David Ludwig (Amsterdam)
Teresa Marques (UPF)
José Martínez (Barcelona)
Mari Mikkola (Humboldt)
Jennifer Saul (Sheffield)
Pepa Toribio (ICREA/Barcelona)

Organized by:

Esa Diaz-Leon (Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science; University of Barcelona), sponsored by a Ramon y Cajal Research Grant (RYC-2012-10900), Spanish Government.
For further info, please check or contact

Invitation to Join an Amicus Brief

I’m sharing an invitation to join a friend of the court brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a case that’s heading to the Supreme Court challenging the Texas law, HB2 (which, you might remember by way of Wendy Davis’s filibuster), arguing that targeted regulation of abortion providers (or TRAP laws) are unjust irrespective of one’s views on abortion itself. The brief is being organized by an attorney at  Fish & Richardson P.C, on behalf of theologians, and academics who work in religious ethics and philosophy of religion. If you work in one of those areas, you can read more about the brief below, and contact them if you are interested in signing through a link at the end.


The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to consider the most important abortion case in nearly 25 years. This creates a rare opportunity for theologians and religious ethicists from across the country to come together and bring the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and other key theologians and religious philosophers to the Court’s attention, and urge the Court to rule against unjust laws that disproportionately hurt poorer women while undermining public faith in the rule of law.

The Case: Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, challenges onerous regulations in a Texas law known as HB2 that would force more than 75% of abortion clinics in the state to close, depriving women of access to safe, legal, high-quality reproductive health care in Texas. At issue are requirements that doctors who provide abortion services obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals and that women obtain abortions only at ambulatory surgery centers, which are mini-hospitals that are not intended for a simple office procedure. These are requirements that the American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other leading health care experts say serve no medical purpose and do nothing to promote women’s health; instead, the widespread clinic closures directly threaten the health, safety, and well-being of women, particularly low-income women who live in rural areas.

Summary of the Brief

A number of theologians and religious ethicists from various faiths are planning to file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Texas’s Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (“TRAP”) law, which imposes two sets of restrictions on abortion providers that medical experts, including the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have recognized are unnecessary to protect the health of the woman yet have caused many clinics throughout the state to close, imposing a substantial obstacle on a woman’s ability to obtain an early, safe abortion, especially for poorer women.

These theologians plan to argue that TRAP laws are morally unjust, regardless of an individual’s stance on abortion. From the perspectives of the Catholic faith and other Christian denominations, including the writings of Catholic theologian and philosopher Saint Thomas Aquinas, TRAP laws are not a legitimate exercise of state power because they are irrational, pretextual in nature, and cause more harm than good. Under the guise of improving women’s health, TRAP laws seek instead to subvert settled law through dishonest means. But instead of furthering the state’s interests in improving women’s health, TRAP laws disproportionately attack the dignity of low-income and geographically isolated women, make the process of seeking an abortion more difficult and dangerous for these women by creating unjustifiable barriers to their healthcare. Texas’s regulations may even drive poor women to seek later, illegal procedures or try aborting at home, risking their health and lives. And because laws such as HB2 simply disguise the illegalization of abortion through unwarranted burdens on women’s exercise
of their constitutionally protected rights, they also risk fomenting widespread civil disobedience and undermining public faith in the rule of law.

Moreover, TRAP laws seek to surreptitiously undermine the current legal status of abortion, effectively imposing a specific moral viewpoint on the general population and overriding the interests of women who may subscribe to any of the broad plurality of views within the world’s religions on the morality of abortion—including within Christianity itself. Those who seek to ban abortion at all stages should argue openly and forthrightly about the morality of their position, and not use TRAP laws as an underhanded tactic.

For these reasons, even from the perspective of one who believes that abortion is gravely immoral, TRAP laws like HB2 are not ad bonum commune (that is, they do not promote the common good) and should not stand. This amicus brief will draw heavily from Saint Thomas’s Summa Theologiae and writings from other religions to explain to the Court how the intent and anticipated effect of HB2 are contrary to Christian and other religions’ teachings on building a just society.

Please contact me about signing the amicus brief of Theologians by clicking here.

If you have expressed your interest through the above link, we will send the brief via email for your review by December 23, 2015. To add your signature to the brief, you will need to respond to the instructions in the transmittal email by December 28, 2015.

Dialogues on Disability -Damion Kareem Scott

The latest instalment in Shelley’s excellent series of interviews is now out. This time, she talks to Damion Kareem Scott about a range of issues, including African-American aesthetics, research into schizophrenia, the experience of violence and racial oppression, and more…

My guest today is Damion Kareem Scott. Damion is an adjunct professor in Philosophy and Africana Studies at the City University of New York, a M.A. student in African American Studies at Columbia University, and a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at Stony Brook University. Damion is passionate about music and dance, though he doesn’t dance as much as he once did. Damion enjoys traveling and looks for ways to do so on the cheap. He also enjoys interacting with non-human animals, listening to music, and watching films and loves table tennis.

You can read the full interview here. Thanks to Shelley and Damion for a thought-provoking piece.

Women’s underrepresentation in philosophy journals

Eric Schwitzgebel writes:


Post-hoc analysis is always a little tricky, but the data suggest almost no increase in the percentage of women publishing in these journals since the mid-1970s, with merged percentages of 11% (1974-1975), 13% (1994-1995), and 13% (2014-2015). Sally Haslanger’s data from 2002-2007 provide further corroboration of this flat trendline, with 12% female authors in a selection of elite philosophy journals, and 11% in the five journals I’ve analyzed.

For more, go here.

UN finds “shocking” levels of discrimination against women in the US

The mission examined the conditions for women in areas like economic and social life, access to health care, reproductive health and rights, as well as women’s safety.

“While all women are the victims of these missing rights, women who are poor, belong to Native American, Afro-American and Hispanic ethnic minorities, migrant women, LBTQ women, women with disabilities and older women are disparately vulnerable,” the experts stressed….


Furthermore, “we are shocked by the lack of mandatory standards for workplace accommodation for pregnant women, post-natal mothers and persons with care responsibilities, which are required in international human rights law.”…

In addition, the US is one of only two countries in the world (the other being Papua New Guinea) without mandatory paid maternity leave for all women workers. “This is unthinkable in most other societies,” said Frances Raday, one of the UN monitors.

Paid maternity leave is only provided in three states (California, New Jersey, Rhode Island) and in federal government employment, but it is just for six weeks, which is beneath the international minimum of 14 weeks….

Perhaps the most stunning revelation, is the sharp increase in maternal mortality rates in the US, according to the human rights experts. The ratio went up by 136 percent between 1990 and 2013.  “These numbers also hide distressing ethnic and socio-economic disparities. Afro-American women are nearly four times more at risk to die in childbirth,” the report says….


For more, go here.

Query from a reader:feminist philosophy in UK

UPDATE: Feel free to submit information on your own department, listing who you have working on/interested in feminism and trans issues.


A reader is looking for a UK PhD program in feminist philosophy, especially one where they can pursue trans issues.

I hereby invite readers to offer their suggestions!  Please don’t say anything negative– only suggest places that you have reason to believe are good, ideally mentioning the people in the department who would be helpful.  (Though of course you should mention if any of the information is objectively inaccurate– e.g. “No, X isn’t there any more.”)

A note in advance: this methodology will only yield a list of places to check out.  Anyone wanting to pursue graduate study should use this list merely as a starting place, and do investigations of their own, including preferably a visit and some chats with current students.