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Eric Schliesser
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Another and more satisfying answer to the problem has been the assumption that the opposing schools of philosophy do not merely have a common share in error but that they rather share in a common truth. This assumption was held in antiquity by the so-called eclectics and by the Neo-Platonists;... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
From learning to pity the misfortunes of the heroes of our novels, we wind up feeling too much pity for our own.--Borges (The End, translated by A. Hurley) [HT Michael Deckard] If one grants that moral education is a possible consequence of engaged reading of novels, then an immoral education... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
While I was thus dividing my thoughts, now turning my attention to some terrestrial object that lay before me, now raising my soul, as I had done my body, to higher planes, it occurred to me to look into my copy of St. Augustine's Confessions, a gift that I owe... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
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[This is a guest post by Cailin O’Connor and Justin P. Bruner.--ES] In a new paper – Diversity in Epistemic Communities – we use evolutionary game theoretic models to argue that even in the absence of stereotype threat, explicit bias, or implicit bias, underrepresented groups in academia can end up... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Grad student to one of his supervisors: I liked your manuscript a lot and have only added some minor suggestions, but some of its major claims were anticipated by X. "I discovered these claims independently." Grad student: but why don't you cite X; he got there first [by a decade]?... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
We hold that there is a succession of causes, which weave our fate [Qualem dicimus seriem esse causarum ex quibus nectitur fatum]—Seneca, Letter 19. It’s easy to read Seneca’s letter as simply advocating the solid, enduring pleasures of a private life where one finds true friends. On this interpretation Seneca... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
I am puzzled that you see me as defending Rawls, Mark. I think not all rights can or ought always be equally exercised. (Nothing you say makes me doubt that yet.)
Mark, I do treat -- pace your 'surely' -- the sentence following it, as well as the very next senetence(!), as the start of an argument for the (partial?) right to exit. So, *for example,* I understand philosophy as a self-justifying end and while I recognize that some ends on which one is activist may trump philosophy sometimes, I would not grant that these always trumps it. This suggests to me that there are rights to exit.
Ruth, I am not claiming "that personal morality and individual conscience come apart from the demands of justice," nor am I treating the cases as instances of such a situation. So, I am unsure what we are disagreeing about.
Later, when one of the leading liberal moral philosophers of our time was asked by his students not to take his lunch, as usual, at the Harvard Faculty Club, since the Club was at the same time hosting the Minister of Education of the Greek military junta, which had ended... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
For now, I think the texts are just not explicit enough, Leigh. But hopefully this post will inspire further research.
Hi Leigh, thank you for your very interesting and helpful comments. In turn I have two observations: (i) it's unclear how Berkeley thinks about 'evolution' (I don't think he is a proto-Darwinian or neo-Epicurean, although Plato's Laws has a quasi-selectionist model), so I would be a bit cautious reading Galton-style program back into Berkeley. (ii) Berkeley is also very critical of some of the qualities of the (English) upper-classes, so he does not treat them as some kind of pure normative standard. But I will think more about the issue of purity because I certainly did not think through all the ways dilution might be understood here. (The 'chemistry' of Siris becomes relevant context.)
512. Whether our natural Irish are not partly Spaniards and partly Tartars; and whether they do not bear signatures of their descent from both these nations, which is also confirmed by all their histories? 513. Whether the Tartar progeny is not numerous in this land? And whether there is an... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
I am unsure what exactly precipitated writer's block last Summer. But I know what the circumstances were when it dawned upon me that the very idea of writing yet another journal article filled me with nausea; by which I mean that reflection on the pointlessness of the whole enterprise --... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
After a rough start to my career (recall here, here, here, here), since 2003 I have published more than 50 publications in refereed journals and edited volumes; edited half a dozen books with distinguished co-editors at excellent academic presses; I have raised over two million euros in grants (a good... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Justice failing, faith also failed.--Hobbes I sometimes toy with the idea that Spinoza's genealogy of error (that is, the embrace of final causes) is the first attempt at genealogy in the modern age (leaving aside its pre-history in antiquity; recall and recall). But yesterday while teaching, I noticed that before... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
I have little to add right now, Brian, except that I agree that "it can be alienating to be told (either by someone else or by ourselves) that an institution is only being tweaked" when you know otherwise. This is probably a non-trivial feature of the alienation with politics we encounter in democracies.
I am reading Averroës's Search together with a friend.
Marriage is not like voting or drinking. In some circles, it plays better to tell ourselves that we are doing nothing more than taking an existing institution and making it more fair. Deep down, though, we know that this is not accurate. The old institution of marriage does not treat... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
If instead we begin with the presupposition that Meno is irremediably stupid and wicked, and then go looking for support in the text, we will find it. There are always many things in a Platonic dialogue which depend on our stage directions. This method may involve some danger to our... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
"The acts of madmen...are beyond that which a sane man can envision." And concerning both universals and individuals it is true of [God] that He knows them and does not know them. This is the conclusion to which the principles of the ancient philosophers led.--Averroës The Incoherence of Incoherence, Ch.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Marc, I think your objection is met in this line: "Under a meritocracy, the observed placement rates would imply that faculty with doctorates from the top 10 units are inherently two to six times more productive than faculty with doctorates from the third 10 units. The magnitude of these differences makes a pure meritocracy seem implausible, suggesting the influence of nonmeritocratic factors like social status." I do think there is an interesting question about to what degree grad admissions is based on the right sort of criteria.But I am not familiar with good studies of this.
Across disciplines, we find steep prestige hierarchies, in which only 9 to 14% of faculty are placed at institutions more prestigious than their doctorate... Furthermore, the extracted hierarchies are 19 to 33% stronger than expected from the observed inequality in faculty production rates alone...indicating a specific and significant preference for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
And though by men's actions we do discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances by which the case may come to be altered, is to decipher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions