Friday, April 29, 2011

Workshop on Agency and Responsibility


I'm pleased to announce the availability of the program for the first
New Orleans Workshop on Agency and Responsibility (NOWAR), to be held
this coming November 3-5 at the Intercontinental Hotel in New Orleans.
The program can be found here:  Other information
about the workshop, including the link to hotel reservations, may be
found here:
There are a limited number of rooms that have been set aside at the
Intercontinental Hotel at a discounted rate for conference attendees.
Please pass along this information to any colleagues or students you
think might be interested. 
Registration is free and simply requires an e-mail to David Shoemaker at  with a request to register. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Experimental Philosophy SURVEY: Ethics

Help this philosophy student out if you care to.

Free Philosophy Audio books

 All of the following are available for free from I always do my best to have a lecture or book on my mp3 player while at work. 90% of the tasks one does during the day are automated. Why not learn a little more philosophy?

Critique of Pure Reason, The by Immanuel KantTwilight of the Idols, The by Friedrich NietzscheDiscourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One�s Reason and of Seeking Truth by Rene DescartesStudies in Pessimism by Arthur SchopenhauerDialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David HumeIon by Plato

More titles:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Synthese Boycott - Evolution and it's Rivals

From Inside Higher Ed
When Synthese, an academic journal that focuses on the philosophy of science, set out to tackle the combustible topics of evolution, creation and intelligent design in a special issue, some controversy was perhaps inevitable. Sure enough, the resulting edition of the journal -- “Evolution and Its Rivals” -- caused an uproar, including calls from some academics to boycott Synthese entirely.

More links on this story:

In Favor of Prospective Exams

Someone posted this article on "In Socrates' Wake". It seems like it might work better as a secondary or preliminary final.

Last quarter I gave what I'll call a prospective final exam in my introductory ethics sections. The idea here is that though the exam was intended to test the skills, etc., that the students were expected to acquire in the course, they had to display these skills with totally unfamiliar material. (I've been kicking around this idea for a while — see this post from 2008 — though the format differs from what I described there.)
Here's how this worked:

Just a thought on the nature of in-class testing and ethics:

High school Philosophy: Epic Questions

Just a few terms that University of Virginia philosophy professor Mitchell Green hopes become part of the lexicon of American high school students.
To achieve this epic goal, Green recently received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a summer institute for high school teachers, which he developed and will sponsor in collaboration with U.Va.'s Center for Liberal Arts. "Epic Questions: Mind, Meaning and Morality," is part of a larger project that he has initiated, called The High-Phi Project.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Free Philosophical Review

         The Philosophical Review released a free edition (October, 2010) to the public. I highly suggest that any student interested in publishing read some of these articles in order to get a feeling for the quality of writing expected in a top journal.

5 Phases of a Philosophical Career

This was a post outlining a basic time-line of the career path of the academic philosopher. Some of the facts here are a bit off which I have tried to correct in my notes on this post. Over all it seems dead on.
 Split into 5 phases as follows:
Phase One: The Undergrad Days
Phase Two: Applying to Graduate School
Phase Three: The Graduate Student Years
Phase Four: The Job Hunt
Phase Five: Attaining Tenure
Phase Six: Tenure
Phase Seven: Death

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Philosophers Through the Lens

Steve Pyke, a contributing photographer at The New Yorker.  The second volume of “Philosophers,” with more than 100 portraits, will be published by Oxford University Press in May 2011.  Here is an article written by a photographer, part of whos profression is to document philosophers so that they will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CFP: Undergrad

Undergraduate Essay Competition
Alabama Philosophical Society
49th Annual Meeting
23-24 September 2011
Keynote Speaker:
Michael Watkins
Auburn University
Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front
12 Via Luna Drive
Pensacola, FL  32561
Undergraduate students are invited to submit a paper for the 2011 APS
Undergraduate Essay Competition.  The winning paper will be awarded a prize
of $75.  The winner should be prepared to present his or her paper at the
APS 2011 conference.
Papers in any area of philosophy are welcome, and should not exceed 3,000
words.  Submissions should include a 100 word abstract, be clearly marked
"Undergraduate Essay Competition," and include the author's name and contact
information on a separate title page.
All submissions must be e-mailed by 22 July.
E-mail submissions: DOC, RTF, or PDF format to
<> .
Please watch <>  for updates.
For inquiries, contact Allan Hillman at
<> or 251-460-6248.
Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front (866.916.2999 - Group Code ALP) will hold
rooms until 30 August.

Job Market: Evaluation of Search Committee Tactics

By Adam Kotsko

have been on the job market for three years and have also served on a search committee as a student representative, and I have come to believe that some typical practices are not optimal. The parts that seem to me to be optimal are basically the beginning and the end — a concise cover letter with C.V. is a great way to kick off an application, and the process of an on-campus interview seems well-suited to generate the kind of meaningful information that search committees need at that late phase. Where things seem to me to fall apart is in the middle stages, namely the application materials required and the various kinds of short interviews.

CFA: Experimental Philosophy Month

ophers to develop and submit original ideas for new experimental studies. Students and professors who wish to submit a proposal for experiment month  are invited to contact the experiment month staff for feedback and suggestions before submitting.

All experiment proposals WERE due September 1st, 2010.

You can participate by filling out surveys and the like.

CFP: Environmental Philosophy

Meeting of 
*The International Association for Environmental Philosophy * 
at the annual meeting of the 
American Philosophical Association---Eastern Division 
December 27-30, 2011 
Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC 
The International Association for Environmental Philosophy (IAEP)
invites paper proposals in the form of full (1-2 page) abstracts.
Proposals for either individual papers or sessions organized around a
specific topic (3-4 presenters) will be considered. 
*The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, May 2, 2011.
*Presenters are required to have current IAEP membership. Notice of
selection will arrive by early June. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

List of MA and PHD programs

    This list is a little out of date, but it still contains the majority of MA and PhD granting universities in philosophy. 'Read more' for list.


I highly suggest every post on this blog. The blog is on observations made by a philosophers spouse. Very funny, interesting, and insightful.

Monday, April 18, 2011

National Research Council's "Substantive' Errors in Grad Rankings


WASHINGTON -- Doctoral departments that have finally figured out just what the National Research Council's controversial evaluation of their programs means, and how to read the numbers, will need to check the data again. On Thursday, the council is issuing revised rankings, based on four "substantive" errors in some of the categories used to evaluate programs.
The council issued a statement on Friday saying that overall rankings won't change significantly for most programs. But the rankings for some programs in some of the categories used for the overall rankings could see real shifts. And that's important because the NRC has said from the start that it is the data sets themselves -- not just the overall rankings -- that should be used to examine programs.

For more info on NRC's Philosophy rankings:

Career Advise: Resetting Priorities

This is an interesting set of questions one academic with a freshly minted Phd ended up asking himself about her goals within academia. Monica F. Jacobe now teaches writing at Princeton. They seem like good questions to keep in mind while continuing your academic studies.

CFP: Acknowledging Powerlessness: Philosophical Perspectives on Twelve-Step Spirituality

This may be a good opportunity for a first time publishing philosopher. It wont we worth much on your CV but could be good experience. I am half tempted to rip into the topic based only on my aversion to such systems and the inherent recidivism they contain. An easy topic to write on and competition should be somewhat limited. 
Abstracts should be received by June 1, 2011.

Citing Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

While articles on SEP are good introductions and published by philosophers in the field, it is generally looked down upon to cite SEP. It shows a lack of dedication to go deeper into your sources. Many of the articles are only condensed versions of  the author' book or published work, in which case, find the original text and what you want to cite in that.  In undergraduate papers many young professors who are internet savvy will let you cite it. If you choose to do this SEP suggests the following:

Lecture Breaks and Students Learning

One study suggests that students learn more if given some time to process concepts in the middle of lecture. I know when I was doing undergrad, many classes would have a 5-10 min break in the middle. This allowed the students to talk and develop questions informally before asking the teacher.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free Book: 42 Fallicies

As a free gift to the readers of the Talking Philosophy blog, I offer my 42 Fallacies. It is a PDF book containing definitions and examples of 42 common fallacies. I assure you that it is worth every penny.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

MA to PHD: Don't Write a Thesis

If one want to go on to a PhD from an MA, a thesis may be inadvisable. Ones thesis (70-200 pages) is compeated during an MA in the last year of graduate study. If one want so go straight from an MA to a Phd one must apply early into one's second year. What this means is the writing sample you will send them will only be a chapter of your thesis and most likely it will be unpolished and underdeveloped. It may be advisable to do a reading intensive program in which one writes a really stellar pollished paper (20 pages) as well as trying to publish/present other papers while in the first year.

Undergraduate: Graduate School in Philosophy?

This is a very useful page for those who have started thinking about attending graduate school in philosophy from Seattle Pacific University's Department of philosophy.

SFSU's MA (ranked top 13): Overextended?

  I was  accepted to SFSU's MA program, and recently visited the campus to talk with graduates and faculty about the state of the department. SFSU is ranked as one of the top 13 departments for MAs on the Gourmet Report. I found that SFSU may have overstretched its student to professor ratio with regards to it's MA program.

  In talking to the graduate coordinator, Professor Alice Sowaal, I was shocked to hear that they have 130 graduate students in the philosophy department.  There are only 12 full time professor and an additional 13 part time lecturers. While many of the graduate students are either not enrolled full time, or taking some time off, it was suggested that the active number of students was still around 100. 

[The following are my conclusions based on contact with faculty and graduate students at both SFSU and SJSU. See "6. Disclaimer" for some possible problems with this interpretation]

The Struggle for Recognition

April 13, 2011

In a memorable passage from The Philosophy of History, Hegel quotes a common saying of his day that runs, “No man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre.” This corresponds, in contemporary terms, to the familiar sentiment that even the most distinguished individual “puts his pants on one leg at a time like everybody else.” It is somewhere between wisdom and truism. But Hegel seems to take it badly. After quoting the proverb, he adds his own twist: “not because the former is no hero, but because the latter is a valet.”
[Deals with the worth of recognitions where recognition is so commonplace. Perhaps too in philosophy?] 

Goodin and the Big Society

From PEA Soup

Posted by Jussi Suikkane

As anyone who reads Leiter Reports or follows the Philos-L mailing-list knows, there has been a big uproar recently in the UK about the AHRC’s (a government body which funds Arts and Humanities research) ‘connected communities’ funding scheme. One problem is that, in advertising the scheme, the AHRC has adopted the current government’s notion of the ‘Big Society’. This raises a variety of important ethical questions about on what grounds public research funding should be distributed. However, in this post, I want to focus on the question of whether the Big Society is a good idea in the first place. It seems to me that, contrary to what some people at the AHRC and the government seem to think, there’s already plenty of good philosophical research done to show that it is not (which has unfortunately been ignored in the public discourse). So, to do my part of the unoriginal academic research on the Big Society, I want to lay out Robert Goodin’s argument against the Big Society from his wonderful 1988 book Reasons for Welfare – the Political Theory of the Welfare State.....

Published Writing Samples

Big D asks, 

Okay, job-related question. If I'm submitting a writing sample for an application, and it has been published, should I submit a copy of the final, published form, or a simple copy from my word processing program?

I don't think it really matters. I've had success--that is, I've gotten interviews--both ways. What say you, Smokers?

--Mr. Zero

[Essential answer is if your going to submit THAT essay submit it in published form. If one is thinking about submitting another essay it complicates the issue.]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Weigh Overall and Specialty Rankings in the PGR in Choosing a Program

A prospective PhD student writes:
As April 15th approaches, I think it would be very helpful for many of us making final decisions on offers to have a thread on your blog that discusses whether it is a wise decision for applicants to turn down offers from programs that are much higher ranked overall in favor of a program that ranks much higher in their planned area of specialization (so, for example, turning down an offer from a top twenty program that emphasizes M&E for a top 40 program that ranks better in the history of German philosophy, for example)....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Free lectures from Notre Dame W/ course materials

An “opencourseware” is a free and open digital publication of course materials. By offering free, high-quality course materials to the world, OCW strives to overcome the barriers geography, economics, age and language present to the spread of knowledge. OCW is neither a distance-education or degree-granting initiative but rather an open dissemination of educational materials, philosophy, and modes of thought.

Blogs as a Teaching Tool in Philosophy

A interesting essay on how to effectively use blogs as a teaching tool for undergraduate students. The author suggests that implementation of blogs encourages students to use "I" in their philosophical writing as well as creating discussion.

Professional Philosophy Abbreviations and Acronyms

The following is a list of Abbreviations and Acronyms used on this blog and in posts on philosophy elsewhere. I will be updating this list as I find/ remember other terms. Please feel free to suggest ones not mentioned.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Rutgers University will sponsor the 2011 SUMMER INSTITUTE FOR DIVERSITY IN PHILOSOPHY. This seven day program is designed to introduce undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to the various areas of specialization within the discipline of philosophy, give students a better idea of what graduate studies in philosophy is about, and explore various views about what it means to be a professional philosopher.   Up to fifteen students will be given the opportunity to interact in formal and informal settings with a group of talented graduate students and distinguished faculty members from a number of universities.

July 24th-July 31st, 2011

More info:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

APA Web only Jobs are Up

185 posts, but due to the usual numbering wackiness, not 185 distinct positions. Lots of fellowships (go get 'em!) and VAPs and a few TTs in the mix. The total number is pretty similar to last year's offerings in April, for what it's worth (but I haven't done a comparison by type of job).

Friday, April 8, 2011

The International Association of Women Philosophers

Firstly I think it is a good thing that a society has been created to support women in philosophy. Several of my most appreciated authors are women, particularly Butler's work or the instability of categorization. There also is that deep hope in every male philosopher that someday when you say  "epistemology", "phenomenology", "Eudaimonia", or "analyticity" you will get something other than a confused stare from a pretty face. I admit that  was a little less than PC, but it just reflects my own belief that women could have a lot to contribute to philosophy. I believe that the system of academic philosophy has been run by men for so long that it has institutionalized its masculinity.  Perhaps this is being even more sexists but it seems that many of philosophy's core concepts (like aggressive argumentation and refutation) are less appealing perhaps to women. 

Any thoughts?

The International Association of Women Philosophers

Free Online Philosophy books

A collection of free online Philosophy text:

Just for Fun: Caricature Contest

Thursday, April 7, 2011

External Funding for Graduate Philosophy Students

Found on a great resources, includes links  for graduate student funding at It does not seem to keep updated, but still has some great resources.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

About Philosophical Counseling

A quite entertaining summery of philosophical counselling from a fellow blogger over at Rationally Speaking.
The idea seems pretty straightforward and uncontroversial to me, but it has – perhaps predictably – run into strong opposition from a variety of parties, including philosophers themselves! Some psychiatrists accuse philosophers of practicing medicine without a license, as if wanting to talk to someone about your thoughts is an as yet undiagnosed but dangerous medical condition that ought to be treated with the latest drug from Pfeizer. Some psychologists are afraid that they'll lose clientèle if people decide that a bit of rational thinking might actually do as much good as getting in touch with one's own emotions. And some academic philosophers think that dispensing philosophy for money is an undignified way of going through life (apparently unaware that they are paid, often with public money, to deliver their lectures and to write their papers about Wittgenstein).

Certification: Philosophical Counseling

About the Client Counseling Program
3-Day Certification Training for Philosophical Counselors by American Philosophical Practitioners Association.Next Program: July 29-31, 2011
Location: SGI Culture Center, 7 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003
Available to MA or PHD holders.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Visiting Professorships

What does it mean to be a "visiting" assistant professor? Who invented this rather cruel form of professional limbo? Why are more and more junior scholars beginning — and ending — their academic careers as visiting faculty members?

Community College Alums Have An Edge in Hireing

Questioner asks:  "is being an alumni from a [community college] will give me somewhat of an edge in getting a good tenure track position in a few years [at a community college]"
Ansswer: Yes

Monday, April 4, 2011

Getting a Job in Philosophy: A Guide for Graduate Students

By Brian Keeley:  The following is a very drafty document, i.e., it has plenty of holes. Feedback is extremely welcome... from:

What is a tenure narrative?

"A tenure narrative (also known as your personal statement) is a statement that describes your career: what you have done in the areas of teaching, research, and service. The statement should be a strong and persuasive case for excellence in teaching and research and make clear your valuable service contributions. It includes an executive summary and/or introduction, and sections on teaching, research, and service, and may include appendices of supporting documents."

Experimental Philosophy of Free Will Boot Camp


Just a quick note to let people know about the upcoming Experimental Philosophy of Free Will Boot Camp. The boot camp is designed to help philosophers get the skills they need to do cutting-edge work in experimental philosophy. So social psychologist David Pizarro will be providing hands-on training in experimental design and statistics, and attendees will have an opportunity (purely optional) to present their own ideas for possible projects and get feedback from the group as a whole.
Applications are due May 4.
[A big thank you to Al Mele whose Big Questions in Free Will project made this whole event possible!]

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book: Publish or Perish

I was sent the following email about the software "Publish or Perish" by the developer after my original posting about the software. Apparently the program has an accompanying book which guides you through the process of using citations as a way to get tenure, promotions, or job offers. I have not read this yet and so far do not endorse it but I thought it might be useful to some readers.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Free audio books: Books Should be Free

Downloadable audiobooks for free. Some authors include: Nietzsche, Russell, Plato, Descartes, Kant, and many more....
See link:

The Evolution Of "Publish Or Perish": What Counts As "Other"

I am unsure if this can be applied to philosophy but it is still interesting.
Article by B.C. DeSpain, a superintendent for 15 years, chairs the Department of Educational Administration and Counseling at Southeast Missouri State University.

Software: Publish or Perish Citations - Empowering Academics?

Publish or Perish is designed to empower individual academics to present their case for research impact to its best advantage. We would be concerned if it would be used for academic staff evaluation purposes in a mechanistic way.

Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following statistics: