Monday, March 30, 2015

Public Service Announcement

Don't forget your passport.

BREAKING: The annual PA thing will be happening Saturday night at the usual time in the Dogwood Suite of the conference hotel.  I believe that's on the 23rd floor.  Evnt spomsored by Templeton.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Two Cheers for Public Philosophy

I was sitting in a bus station earlier this week, and the people sitting next to me were embroiled in a heated discussion.  Eventually, one of the discussants turned to me and asked me to weigh in on the topic in dispute.  As it turns out, not unlike that old story where William James settles a campground debate about a squirrel, the disputants were talking past each other and needed to draw a distinction, in this case, between de dicto and de re.  So I introduced the distinction and explained how it was at work in the apparent disagreement.  This seemed to satisfy the arguing parties, who quickly went on to discuss something else.

But a little later, one of the men turned to me again and told me that the distinction I drew was helpful, and asked what line of work I'm in.  I replied  that I'm a philosopher.  The guy reacted with surprise, and then asked, "So... can you read minds?"  I replied, "Not in the way you're thinking of."  The guy replied, "So you CAN read minds!"

Spiros, 0; Guy Waiting for a Bus, 1

Monday, March 9, 2015

Worst On-Campus Visits...

There's been some call for a reposting of an infamous tale of truly obscene behavior on the part of a member of a hosting department during a candidate's on-campus interview.  That story can be found in the comments here.

Everything I've heard is tame in comparison.  I did hear this year of an on-campus candidate who was told by a few of the department's grad students that a senior member of the department had been attempting to get the students to informally convey to the candidate that the department is really miserable and that s/he should take a job anywhere else.  (Apparently the senior faculty member much preferred a different candidate and was trying to diminish the competition.)

DOOM, #34576.001

I initially figured that was obviously a joke.  But apparently not.  So it's official:  Plato was right.

Officials responsible for making sure Florida is prepared to respond to the earth's changing climate are barred from using the terms "global warming" and "climate change" in official communications, emails and reports, according to new findings from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. 
 More here

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Was Spock a Utilitarian?

Some friends who know more about these things allege that the Mr. Spock character explicitly espouses utilitarianism on a few occasions in the original series and ensuing films.  Is this true?  What to conclude? 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy Posse

Leonard Nimoy has a posse.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

I almost forgot...

I almost forgot...

I heard tell last night of a few cases where hiring departments seem to be trying to capitalize on the newly disordered hiring timeline.  Now that the Eastern APA is (thankfully) almost fully out of the hiring process, there's no centralized temporal coordination of the hiring season.  And apparently some departments have been trying to use this as a way to get leverage on the best candidates: They've been basically completing their interviews well in advance of the Eastern, and making offers by January (in at least one case I hard of, the offer was made a week before Christmas).  They then tell candidates they have the usual two weeks to accept or decline, thereby forcing candidates to choose between a solid job offer and what might be more promising possibilities at departments that are roughly sticking to the old timeline.  One department I heard of had more than one candidate who had been shortlisted for an on-campus pull out of the running.  That department then placed a new person on the shortlist who had been given good reason to think she'd not made the cut.  And so on.

I suppose it's good for candidates to have job offers in hand sooner rather than later.  But there's also something disturbing about placing a candidate in the position of having to accept a job offer before she has a full sense of what her options are likely to be.

Maybe the APA should propose a recommendation about what the rough timeline for the December-February hiring season should be?

Meet Me in St. Louis

So far, pretty dismal.  The book display is about as big as (just part of) Danzig's book collection....  Hopefully there will be a session where a speaker accused of being a werewolf emerges shaking a baby in his mouth.

How long can this be sustained?

I'd announce a fictional party, but I think it unintentionally happened last night.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lesley Gore Posse

Lesley Gore has a posse. 


Cry if you want to.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

7 Years

Holy crap.  I almost let this blog's birthday again go unmentioned.  I was for the past two days at a conference-like event that was billed as "interdisciplinary."  Good lord... All of the talk among philosophers about how to save the profession from irrelevance and obscurity is simply misdirected bullshit.  Philosophy is alive and well in one sense: The rest of the Humanities disciplines love to pretend they're doing philosophy, and are confident that they know all about what's happening in philosophy

The trouble of course is that the other disciplines in fact got their conception of what's happening in philosophy from a really bad textbook caricature that has been obsolete since 1985, and their idea of what it means to be doing philosophy is similarly defunct.

If philosophy needs to be saved, it needs to be saved first from the idiots who run the rest of the Humanities.

And this blog turned 7 years old on February 11. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

NDPR: Really????

I'm all for hard-hitting book reviews, but this review of a book about Plato and Nietzsche is simply confusing.  This is really no way to write a book review and the editor surely should have asked for considerable revision before publishing it.

The review begins with the following devastating set of remarks:
My initial impression of this book was that it is strikingly bad. It seems noncommittal about most of its own interpretive claims, it regularly lapses into broad summaries, it opposes the views of anonymous “scholars” (13, 109, 137, 197) rather than engaging substantially with existing scholarship, and it fails to provide a compelling justification for its subject matter. Indeed, it hardly discusses what sort of a shared “philosophical art” Plato and Nietzsche might have had.
 Then the author closes the fist paragraph with this sentence:
All this complicates the typical procedure of a review, so in what follows I will try to explain the basis of my initial impression and then offer a reason why this impression should be amended.
At the review's end,  there is this summation:
So my overall impression of the book is of a thoroughly considered, extensively researched, interesting enterprise that never manages to communicate the great esteem it has for Plato and Nietzsche.
So, on one reading of the review, the reviewer not only "amends" his "initial impression," he actually retracts it.  On this reading, the reviewer concludes that the book is not "strikingly bad," but instead "thoroughly considered, extensively researched" and "interesting."  The criticism of the book then seems to be that it is unsuccessful, incomplete, and improperly executed.  First impressions can deceive.  I get it.  But that first paragraph -- especially the opening sentence -- is pragmatically irretrievable. There's no indication that the reviewer intends to  contrast his "initial" impression with his "overall" impression until the very end of the review, "amend" is too weak a description of the contrast.  At the very least the reviewer should have been required to signal more directly in the first sentence that fact that he intends to retract the "strikingly bad" assessment.  This would have been easy.  For example, he could have written instead that "My mistaken initial impression of this book was..." There are obviously other ways to have accomplished this.

But now one is left to wonder: Is that the right way to read the review? Perhaps the infelicity lies in final paragraph?  Perhaps the reviewer actually thinks that book is "strikingly bad,"but saw fit (or was told) to end on a positive note?  Maybe the expression of the "overall" impression is an insincere dial-back, and we are actually to retain the "strikingly bad" assessment?  Who knows?  That's why the review is a failure.  NDPR should have required substantial revisions before posting it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Joe Franklin Posse

Joe Franklin has a posse.


And for posse convergence purposes, look at this.

Wait.....  King Diamond?????

Thursday, January 22, 2015

DOOM #70,000

70,000 Tons of Metal equals a vast quantity of DOOM.

"The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise"?  Are there other, smaller such cruises (and, no, KISS is not heavy metal)?  Anyway, this is DOOM, but not the kind of doom that's properly metal.

We're now living in a world where Cannibal Corpse has sold out.

Reflect on that. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

DOOM #666

The Satanic School Bus

No, sadly, that's not a bus that takes kids to a Satanic school-- that would be a mark of civilization rather than DOOM.  It's a public school bus that some jackass mother claims covertly displays Satanic symbols in its taillights.  She claims that since one cannot display a Christian cross on the public school bus, one cannot allow the internal bulbs of a lighting fixture to vaguely resemble a pentagram.

I hope that some brilliant Satanic organization will immediately adopt the image of a public school bus as its central Satanic symbol. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Post-Eastern Market

It seems as if the more general changes in the Philosophy job market (the irrelevance of the Eastern, the move to Skype, et al) removes the pressure on departments to conduct their initial searches in the fall.  This should result in a more robust post-Eastern job market (i.e., more good TT jobs that get posted in January).  Any signs of this?