Michigan: Workshop for students considering grad school

COMPASS Workshop Call for Applications

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Michigan is thrilled to announce “COMPASS at Michigan: a workshop for students considering graduate school in Philosophy.” This workshop will bring together students from a diversity of backgrounds for a weekend of philosophical discussion, networking and mentoring. Advanced undergraduates and M.A. students (first and second year) are eligible to apply.

Applicants should meet one or more of the following criteria:

– Be part of a group/demographic underrepresented in academic Philosophy

– Have demonstrated a sustained commitment to diversity in Philosophy

The Workshop will take place on September 29 and 30, 2017. Workshop participants are expected to have read in advance 4-6 papers from a range of subfields (depending in part on the interests of accepted participants). In addition to sessions discussing the papers, there will be two sessions devoted to mentoring and advice from faculty members and graduate students on graduate school applications and graduate student life.

All transportation, accommodation (Sept. 28 through Oct. 1, 2017), and food costs will be covered for the students selected. The deadline for applications is April 15, 2017, and the students selected to participate will be notified by the end of May, 2017.

To apply, please send the following documents to compassatmichigan@umich.edu

Academic statement: What is your level of studies? What areas of Philosophy interest you the most and why? What are your future plans in studying Philosophy? If you are writing a senior or MA thesis please include a brief description of it. (maximum length: 2 page double spaced)

Personal statement: Describe your experience in Philosophy as member of an underrepresented group and/or describe your sustained commitment to diversity in Philosophy. (maximum length: 2 page double spaced)

We look forward to receiving your applications.

Sexism as a political force

Sady Doyle has written a fantastic article, arguing that:

Political commentators parse elections in terms of the gender of candidates or voters, divide issues into “economic” and “social,” divide causes or actors into “right” and “left,” rather than considering that repressing women’s participation in public life may be its own coherent political ideology, shared by men and some (admittedly self-destructive) women across the political spectrum.

The article discusses sexism as the unifying commitment behind the arguably strange alliance of Assange, Putin and Trump.  And it gives a great example of far-reaching consequences of testimonial injustice:

Of course, there was the minor detail that Assange had been arrested for the rape of two Swedish women…Which leads one to the unpleasant hypothesis that if more people had actually listened to women at the time, Assange might never have built up the credibility necessary to sway the election in the first place. And if these women had been taken seriously, the unlikely alliance of Assange, Putin, and Trump might not seem that surprising after all.

Did this really happen to me? And what was it anyway?

Telling myself, while I was still very angry, that it would all seem funny one day, I pulled together some of the facts of the case.  First of all, some background:  the rental market in Oxford, England, is stressful, to say the least.  It is entirely possible to pay $1000 a week for a studio or one bedroom apartment.  Such prices tend to be for short term rentals, and I decided to try for a more reasonable long term rental.  Buying one of the one million-plus tiny Victorian houses in the area near my college didn’t seem a good idea.

So I found online a Great flat in exactly the right area and with a bonus view over the Oxford canal.  And I used the online site to write to the letting agency, a distinguished and established one.  In effect, I sent them an inquiry connected to a female name from a person in Houston, TX.

The next thing I know, I received a fairly long list of questions, including ones about visas, pets and children.  I do wish I had stopped there.  I should have just said, let’s decide on the details of the lease and I can answer these later before everything is finalized.

Foolishly, I answered them.  Clearly not a careful reader, the realtor misunderstood my response and concluded that I wasn’t really interested in renting.  And a week after my inquiry he tells me that someone else has made an offer that they are accepting.

So what happened?  Despite my experience as a feminist in philosophy, I was at first inclined to think he just was a  not very bright young man.  But suddenly I remembered what can be the point of introducing a list of distractors.  At the very least, it delays things so that the candidate doesn’t get full treatment and some ‘more acceptable’ alternative can be found.  It also takes the proceedings more or less out of the control of the candidate.

Who knows what was really going on?  At least, it could have been much, much worse.  As the Guardian has pointed out, some London landlords are demanding sex for a lease.

The CHE on Implicit Bias

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has an article on implicit bias which raises questions a number of philosophers have pursued.  The general question is about the relation between implicit bias and biased behavior, with specific reference to the IAT (Implicit Association Test).  The conclusion that is emerging is that getting rid of implicit biases will not get rid of the biased behavior.  The point is made that from the fact that bias causes biased behavior, it does not follow that getting rid of bias gets rid of the behavior.

While that sounds true, we should know more.  One reason could have to do with what ‘implicit bias in a person’ really is.  Edward Machery has a lot of work on this question.  But in general we have known for sometime that that beliefs tend to occur in networks, and changing the belief in one  network may leave it more or less intact in another part.  Another could be that the biased actions or their results are held in place by structural factors in the society.  I am not sure who all have pursued this line of investigation, but Sally Haslanger has a lot of excellent work in this area.  In my contribution to the 2-volume OUP work on implicit bias edited  by Brownstein and Saul, I raised a question about this, and look at some recent psychological literature.  Once one starts to look at the structural factors underpinning racist actions, for example, one can see that the needed change has got at least to include a change in social structures.  (You can find a good article by Machery in the same 2-vol edition.  Google will reveal lots of work by Haslanger.)

It would be great to get more reading suggestions on the structural side in the comments.

For people who have been following this literature at all closely, one of the biggest surprises is that one of the originators of the supposedly fundamental IAT  seems to have changed sides!  That’s Brian Nozick of the University of VA.



Reader query: discussion styles

Query from a reader (lightly edited):

I am interested in the fact that in patriarchal societies certain ways of communicating/arguing are deemed inferior. Obvious displays of emotion, hedging and asking questions as an oblique way of making a point are all thought to be undesirable and unhelpful, for example.
I know there is a lot of discussion among activist communities of ‘tone policing’, but I wondered if there are any explicitly philosophical texts identifying or analysing this problem. I am already very familiar with Miranda Fricker’s work, but wondered if there are any other resources you could point me to? (They definitely do not have to be related to gendered communicative styles specifically.)

Do leave suggestions in comments!

CFP: Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference

The 7th Annual Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference
at The Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology
The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, USA
May 18-21, 2017

Including sessions presented jointly with the
Comics and Popular Arts Conference

## Keynote Speakers
* Alice Dreger, PhD, historian and author of Galileo¹s Middle Finger
* Ari Larissa Heinrich, PhD, UC San Diego – Department of Literature

## Conference Description
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the interplay between
human, ethical, cultural, and political values, on the one hand, and
science, technology, engineering, and medical research and practice, on
the other hand. We invite presentations that seek not only to understand
how values and science can and do influence one another, but also how they
should interact (as well as interactions and influences that should be
avoided). Finally, we are ultimately interested in promoting ethically
responsible and socially beneficial scientific research and technological
innovation, the social conditions for the pursuit and appreciation of
science and technology, and critical reflection about the influence of
science, technology, and medicine on our values, culture, practices, and

Target themes include:

* Science, Technology, and Social Justice
* Socially-Driven and Public-Interest Science
* Values in Climate Science and Policy
* Authority of Science in Democratic Societies
* Science and Moral Imagination
* Values in Interdisciplinary Research
* Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Values in Science
* Connecting Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Technology
* Connecting Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine / Philosophy of Biology
* “Values in Science” in History & Sociology of Science
* Representations of Science in Pop Culture
* Imagining the Future of Science and Society through Science Fiction
* Politics and Ethics of Media Representations of Science

More information about the conference and how to submit at the website:

CFA: Michigan State University Philosophy Graduate Conference

Call for abstracts and creative works for the 18th Annual Michigan State University Philosophy Graduate Conference: The conference will take place March 17th-19th, 2017. The deadline for abstract submissions is January 22nd.
The conference theme is “How is this Conference Philosophy: Women of Color and Philosophy”. Building on Dr. Kristie Dotson’s paper “How is this Paper Philosophy?”, we hope to host a conference that celebrates and complicates the relationships between women of color and philosophy. We are interested in work of women of color in and out of professional philosophy and on the status of women of color in philosophy. Additionally, we are honored to have Dr. Mariana Ortega of John Carroll University as the conference keynote speaker. For more information on the conference and details on how to submit a paper or creative work, please review the attached Call for Papers and Creative Works. We ask that you save the conference dates and share this Call for Papers and Creative Works with your networks.
(notice from Shelbi Meissner and Ayanna Spencer)
More information:

In addition to paper presentations, we invite women of color philosophers to bring art, poetry, spoken word, dance, and/or song to share during presentation, to display at gatherings, or to perform during our Conference Open Mic. 2

Submission Guidelines: Submissions should be sent to philconf@msu.edu. Please submit the following: 1. Cover Letter (1 page): In this letter, we ask that you address: i. A short biography ii. How your paper or planned paper coheres with the themes of the conference? iii. If applicable, please describe the creative work you are interested in sharing at the Open Mic and what, if any, relationship it has to your research interests. 2. Paper Abstract: The paper abstract may be up to 500 words. Note that the final conference paper should not exceed 4,000 words. 3. Working-bibliography: Please provide a working-bibliography of the sources you intend to use in your project. Submission Deadline: Please submit the cover letter, abstract, and working bibliography by Sunday, January 22nd, 2017. You will receive a notification of acceptance on Friday, January 27th, 2017.
If you have questions, please email philconf@msu.edu.

CFP: Law, Philosophy, Feminism – Jan 15th

Final Call for Papers:

Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Philosophy’s Practical Turn

The Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities (YJLH) is seeking full submissions for a symposium section of the Spring 2017 issue. The journal seeks submissions that employ methods of philosophy (broadly construed) to investigate practical legal issues. We hope to publish articles representative of an array of philosophical traditions and contemporary issues. The special section aims to exemplify how philosophical approaches and insights provide distinctive and significant contributions to practical legal debates.

Example topics include:

Bioethics, biolaw, and technology

Feminist philosophy of law

Law and philosophy of race, gender, sexuality

Mass incarceration and prisons

Neuroscience, law, and philosophy

Philosophical analyses of legal evidence or standards of proof

Philosophy of disability and the law

Practical just war theory and philosophy of war

Topics in practical ethics (e.g. abortion, capital punishment) with a legal-philosophical angle

Please submit papers prepared for anonymous review to yjlh@yale.edu by January 15, 2017. We also aim to accept and publish standard submissions for Volume 29(2) (in addition to articles chosen for the special section of the issue). Please send regular submissions to yjlh@yale.edu.