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Eric Schliesser
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After more than 170 consecutive posts , I am taking a short break in order to enjoy a family holiday. Out of the twenty most widely read Digressions, nineteen pertain to 'professional' issues and norms in academic philosophy (and university life more generally)). I am grateful for your trust, interest,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
"You are doing sociology not philosophy." That was not intended as a compliment "I am from Brazil, and I never understand continental philosophy, but I found your paper clear." That was intended as a compliment. "What's your relationship to Feyerabend? You seem very influenced by him." That was also intended... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
"It is quite another thing to conclude that therefore ends of good policy are beyond the realm of scientific discussion. For surely the primary requisite of a working social system is a consensus on ends. The individual members of society must agree upon the major ends which that society is... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
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Having considered the proceedings of a painter that serves me, I had a mind to imitate his way. He chooses the fairest place and middle of any wall, or panel, wherein to draw a picture, which he finishes with his utmost care and art, and the vacuity about it he... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
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The Circumstance which gives Authors an Advantage above all these great Masters, is this, that they can multiply their Originals; or rather can make Copies of their Works, to what Number they please, which shall be as valuable as the Originals themselves. This gives a great Author something like a... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[This post is dedicated to Naif-Al-Mutawa.--ES] Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.--Quran 3.67 Bowersock's The Throne of Adulis, which I read during the last few days, gives a glimpse... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[A] Even arguments for a Being if not taken from Phænomena are slippery & serve only for ostentation. [B] An Atheist will allow that there is a Being absolutely perfect, necessarily existing & the author of mankind & call it Nature: & [B*] if you talk of infinite wisdom or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
A proxy is an indirect measure. Sometimes a measure can have two functions; for example, you can measure X in order to (or accidentally) indirectly track Y (where X is something interesting in its own right). Something is a decent proxy (X) if it will co-vary with Y. Unless one... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
What I (try to) do, however, is not philosophy of science. I suppose what I do amounts to old-fashioned Oxford-style conceptual analysis, though again with a new historical emphasis. I should note that I think the word ‘analysis’ in this context is often given much too restrictive a sense (to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
The argument for ostracism has a certain element of political justice.--Aristotle. The simple explanation is that most women aren’t very interested in philosophy, at least the variant that academics now pursue. It’s the most abstract and mathematics-like of the humanities disciplines, and abstract thinking is something at which men seem... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
It is also true, as the Austrian economist Menger has remarked, that sciences have been created and revolutionized by those who have not stopped to analyse their own method of enquiry.--J.N. Keynes (1891) The Scope and Method of Political Economy, p. 5. I was reminded of Keynes's treatment of Menger... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Four years after a pretty decent Brazilian side cratered under modest pressure of an overachieving Dutch team in the second half of their quarter-final match in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, an extremely solid German side exposed the very visible vulnerabilities and lack of organization of one of the weakest sides... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[THIS POST HAS BEEN REVISED TO CORRECT MY PRESENTATION OF THE EDITORIAL SITUATION AT NOUS & PHILOSOPHY AND PHENOMONOLOGICAL RESEARCH-ES.] If professional philosophers were serious about a code of conduct they would focus on tackling the conflicts of interests in the profession that are all too common standard operating procedure... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
The Philosophical Gourmet rankings (hereafter: "Gourmet" or "Rankings" or "Gourmet rankings") are said to be "primarily measures of faculty quality and reputation" of selected institutions. These Rankings aggregate expert judgments by way of a survey of selected, expert faculty. These Rankings serve multiple functions in the profession. In addition to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Everybody, who understands the reasonings of both [mathematicians and philosophers] knows that the mathematicians, who following the rules of her science, have found many truths and have suffered fewer disputes about this than any other philosophers, who have followed a different path. No atheist [not even a follower of Spinoza--ES]... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
‘we are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom…’--Otto Neurath [Aristotle’s ghost] freely acknowledged his own mistakes in natural philosophy, because he proceeded in many things upon conjecture, as all men must do; and he found... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
One predictable consequence of switching to a grant-driven academic environment is that academic positions are increasingly tied to courses that need to be taught or to grant-making capacity (recall this post). While there is nothing inevitable about this, in practice, the 'stars' are those that bring in grants (which gets... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Sunday’s matches weren’t supposed to happen. None of the four teams playing was given even a 50 percent chance of reaching the knockout stage by ESPN’s Soccer Power Index-backed model at the start of the tournament. Now two will reach the quarterfinal and one will play a semifinal. --Fivethirtyeight.com. It's... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
During the last month, three mid-level academic friends, all accomplished Humanities types, from Netherlands and Belgium told me their stories. They are all in permanent positions at three different universities not far from their home towns, and they all have very respectable, international CVs; each publishes in leading journals and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
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The first time I read Spinoza's Ethics, I was flying to Tampa for an on-campus job interview. At my arrival I was informed that I 'was the last-man standing;' they would either hire me or nobody that year. I was shown the beach, and loved it, including the palm trees... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[H]umans have a more complex motivational structure and more capability to solve social dilemmas than posited in earlier rational-choice theory. Designing institutions to force (or nudge) entirely self-interested individuals to achieve better outcomes has been the major goal posited by policy analysts for governments to accomplish for much of the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Yes. Well, Bernard was a very good friend of mine. He had an enormous influence on me of the kind that would be hard to describe because it was mostly just admiration for his sheer intellectual abilities. I think Bernard was as intelligent as any human being I’ve ever met.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[E]ven among the genuinely well-meaning, not that many seem to have internalised the fact that it is we ourselves and our friends who are (and have been for years) doing the things that make the environment in which we work unwelcoming, uninclusive, and unprofessional. We haven’t all been doing all... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
What the hell are we meant to advise students just now if they have a complaint? Be prepared to be sued, have your name be made public at one of the most vulnerable times of your life and have to pay for a lawyer at one of the poorest times?... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
I did go read the complaint in Prof. Peter Ludlow's suit against Northwestern University, some of its senior officials, his philosophy colleague, Prof. Jennifer Lackey, and an unnamed PhD Student. [HT Brian Leiter & DailyNous]. To avoid confusion: this is separate from his counter-suit against the undergraduate student that filed... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions