Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Many Times?

I've been working on something recently that has me following up on the conference literature-- I've been tracking down conference papers on a particular topic to see what the latest word is. Anyway, one thing I've found is that a seemingly highly active new Ph.D. has given roughly the same paper under different titles at (by my count) eight different conferences.

Now, I confess to having given pretty much the same conference paper on two or three occasions, but this was always with the intention of revising and reworking in light of comments and questions. But I somehow arrived at the view that three is the limit for a conference paper. (Colloquium presentations are a different story-- they evolve over time, and sometimes one gets multiple invites to talk on the same topic, etc.) Is the three-conferences rule unreasonable? Is three too many? Am I right to think that eight is too high?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rainbow in the Dark

Ordinarily, I would have not bothered to share this with the blog, but the comments regarding my previous post about public philosophy have me positively giddy. It's amazing how much people can claim to confidently discern about my character from a 75 word blog post! Anyway:

I was in Whole Foods last night, looking for a flithy hippy to date, and, when I walked in, the in-store radio was playing "Rainbow in the Dark" by Dio. As a lover of all things metal (except the music), I found this completely horrifying: the music with none of the awesomely diluting accoutrements. The Dio song was followed up by a Nick Drake song (fittingly hippy), and then-- get this-- "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. It was like an entire weekend of VH-1, all wrapped up into a convenient 10 minute bite. Who says Whole Foods isn't a manipulative, demographics-driven, corporate Behemoth?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Public Philosophy, Failed Again

I was just at lunch, and was lucky enough to have a chatty waiter. Out of the blue, the waiter asked me whether I knew of a good way to get out of jury duty. I responded that I did not. He then went on at some length about all the ways in which he has, over the years, tried to avoid serving as a juror. Some of these measures seemed to me quite extreme. So I asked him the following question:

"I'm curious: Let's say you're unlucky enough to be accused of a serious crime that you did not commit and are brought to stand trial. Would you want to be tried before a jury of your peers or not?"

He replied quickly and confidently: "Of course."

So I responded: "Is it possible that the fact that you feel entitled to a trial by jury entails that you have a responsibility to serve as a juror if called?"

His reply: "Don't judge me. I'll get your check."

The End.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

PGR on Political Philosophy

Professor Leiter has generously provided a partial preview of the PGR rankings in Political Philosophy. Check it:

Group 1: Harvard, NYU, Arizona.

Group 2: Brown, Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, UCL, Yale.

Seems about right to me, though I'd advise a student to go to Arizona over either of the other Group 1 places. In fact, it seems to me that a lot turns on what a student's particular interest within political philosophy happens to be. For students who want to work in democratic theory, I'd say Brown, Stanford, and Arizona are tops. Stanford would also be tops for political philosophers interested in feminism. For those interested in history of political theory, liberalism, and freedom, Princeton is certainly the place to be. For those interested in justice and global issues, I'd advise Yale. So a lot depends on what one's interests within the area are.

Of course, this is precisely the kind of conversation that the PGR is aimed at helping students to be able to initiate and participate in. Three cheers for the PGR!

Monday, January 19, 2009

How to Make More Money in Philosophy

A few weeks ago, an old student called me to ask how she might go about getting a sizable raise from her university. "That's easy," I said, "Go get an offer from another department." She said she felt squeamish about it, like it was dishonest or involved "using" another department. Again, my reply was the industry standard: "It's not dishonest. It's how the profession works. And everyone knows this is how the profession works. Don't be foolish. There's really no other way to convince a university to raise your pay considerably."

A few days ago, I got a phone call from a colleague in the Philosophy department of another university inviting me to apply for a position there. The invitation was proposed in such a way as to indicate that, were I to apply, the short list would be pretty much a list of one. But I have almost no interest in moving to that university right now. So I got to thinking... Maybe the student was correct? After all, isn't it a crappy thing to do? By applying to a job I'm not really interest in, I could surely get a hefty raise from my current university, but I'd also be deceiving the people at the other university, right?

Of course, it is the case that our profession is such that getting other offers really is the only way to get considerable raises in pay: the university believes that you're worth only what another university is willing to pay you. So the only way to prove your worth to your current university is to prove your disloyalty to it! Isn't that fucked up?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

APA: Last Fucking Straw!!!

So the APA sucks on many, many dimensions. But this is the last straw:

Leonard Cohen is playing on Feb 19 at the Beacon Theater in NYC. I'd be there were it not for the fucking Central APA. Those bastards! They should have had the good sense to not schedule such a conflict. Revolt now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Smiles, everyone... Smiles..."

Ricardo Montalban has a posse.


Here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

APA Online Paper Submissions: Fuckedupness

More evidence of the stupidity of the APA: Go to the online submissions page and submit a paper to the Eastern Division APA meeting. Here are the instructions (emphasis in original):

***************
1. Please verify your membership information above.
2. Complete the Paper details below.
3. Click the "Submit" button.
ONCE YOU CLICK THE SUBMIT BUTTON THIS WILL BE THE FINAL STEP IN THE PAPER SUBMISSION PROCESS! THIS MEANS YOUR PAPER MUST BE UPLOADED WITH YOUR SUBMISSION. SO BE SURE YOU ARE READY TO UPLOAD YOUR PAPER. IF YOUR PAPER IS NOT UPLOADED AT THE TIME YOU SUBMIT, YOU WILL NOT ABLE TO UPLOAD YOUR PAPER AT A LATER TIME NOR WILL IT BE UPLOADED BY THE APA OFFICE. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE!
4. You will then be prompted to upload your submission documents.
5. Locate your document files and click "Upload".
***************

Is it me, or do these instructions-- especially the selection in bold-- serve only to confuse and complicate? One is told that clicking the "submit" button is the final (and irrevocable) step in the paper submission process. But wait! One is then told that after clicking "submit," one will be prompted to undertake the additional task of uploading "submission documents." Are the "submission documents" to be uploaded your paper and abstract? Click and see! But if you're wrong, you'll have to start over again. The APA Office will be of no help. "No exceptions will be made!"

A national organization representing a profession that prizes clarity and precision, and crucial elements of the page look like they were written by a sixth grader.

Keep paying those dues, folks....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rankings are Coming, plus other items

Leiter has some delicious early results of the 2009 PGR over here.

And here's a ranking of philosophy programs according to faculty productivity. Does anyone know anything about this ranking? Is it credible? Some of the results are surprising, and, if true, kind of interesting.

For those hungry for some DOOM: I just saw on a network TV commercial a conflation of "your" and "you're." But never fear. This fool has taken it upon herself to treat us all as her pupil. The fact that her own site is riddled with grammatical and conceptual errors provides yet another justification for the destruction of the world.

Monday Cranky Rant: Is it only in my city that the employees of large chain music stores take themselves to be deeply and importantly talented rock stars in virtue of the fact that they're employed by a large chain music store? Dude, I know you've spent years mastering the lead to "Crazy Train," but just turn it down, ok? And while you're at it, you can lose the attitude. You're a fucking sales clerk.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Looming Doom

Classes soon begin.

My birthday this week makes me officially an old cranky jerk.

And then there this indignity. Could someone please tell me why Bryan Adams still has (ever had) a career? And who called for him to do a "solo acoustic" tour? I know, I know... those two chords and those stupid lyrics in "Summer of 69" take on a new depth when slowed down and folked up. More proof that, with the exception of Neil Young, Canadians write crap music.