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Moti Mizrahi
http://thinkjustdoit.blogspot.com
http://thinkjustdoit.blogspot.com
Recent Activity
Congrats, Marcus!
Speaking of papers worth reading, I’d like to recommend to you, fellow Cocooners, Marcus’ paper “A New Theory of Free Will.” It is quite long. (You obviously didn’t like my “Keep It Short” rule, Marcus!) But it is well worth reading. There is so much in it: from physics to... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Hi David, I like your suggestions, especially having a policy of citing papers by PhilPapers URLs or DOIs (a la arXiv for physics) and the "Related Papers" feature. As for the issue of a central authority, perhaps the APA could step in here and do something about citation practices in the profession.
Hi jmugg, Thanks for your comment. I admit that I have stretched the analogies quite a bit. Without getting too much into the free will debate, which is not the issue here, I will just say that I agree the question “Is there free will?” is not an empirical question per se. However, answers to this question can—and should—be informed by empirical research. This is because human behavior is influenced by factors that can be studied empirically, such as genetic and environmental factors. As for (4), here is how I am thinking about the analogy. As you say, “top journals” favor a certain style of doing philosophy. Philosophers who read only the so-called “top journals” are exposed only to that philosophical style. In a way, they are going to sources where they will find the kind of philosophy they are familiar with and used to, which is (somewhat) akin to liberals watching only The Daily Show and conservatives watching only The O’Reilly Factor.
Hi Guglielmo, I think that issues of priority, scooping, and citation are interconnected. Even if one has published a paper that makes an original contribution to the literature, one can still "get scooped" and "lose priority" insofar as one's paper isn't cited (and then forgotten) while a paper that make a similar argument is. In that case, it won't matter anymore that one's paper was published first.
Hi David, Thanks for your comment. I agree that "People are perfectly capable of being irrational about non-traditional commitments." I also agree that (2) can apply to arguments and evidence in general, not just empirical evidence in particular. I guess I was mostly thinking about the (puzzling) resistance to making philosophy more empirically informed, a topic we have discussed on the Cocoon before.
In this TED talk, Michael Huemer proposes the following signs that one might be irrational about politics. Signs that you might be irrational about politics: Do you become angry during political discussions? Do you have strong opinions about a political subject before acquiring relevant empirical evidence about it? Do you... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Hi Paul, I think that many who are concerned with priority are concerned with plagiarism as well (at least I am). Let me give you one recent example. In 2012, I published a paper in which I give a counterexample to “Ought Implies Can” (OIC). Mizrahi, M. (2012). Does 'Ought' Imply 'Can' from an Epistemic Point of View? Philosophia 40 (4):829-840. In 2013, a paper published in Ratio made an argument against OIC that is *very* similar to mine. King, A. (2013). Actions That We Ought, But Can't. Ratio. DOI: 10.1111/rati.12043. Since the arguments in these papers are *very* similar, suspicions of plagiarism may arise. Fortunately, a little bit of digging will reveal that my paper was received by Philosophia on July 26, 2012, whereas the Ratio paper was first published online on December 18, 2013. In addition to priority and plagiarism concerns, there is another thing I am concerned about, as I have seen this happen in philosophy. Since King (2013) does not cite my (2012), and since Ratio is perceived by some as a more “prestigious” journal than Philosophia, King (2013) might still get the credit (e.g., in future citations) for undermining OIC.
Hi Mark, Great post! I’d like to ask you about something that Zachary Ernst says, namely, that his “department considers single-authored work to be more significant than co-authored work.” In your experience, how common do you think this is? Do you have any ideas about why philosophy departments endorse such a policy of giving more weight to single-authored work than co-authored work?
Toggle Commented May 4, 2014 on Co-writing philosophy at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thanks again for the comments. Joe: I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was horrible. But it was very difficult and stressful precisely for the reason you mention. I share your worry that the “Happy Hour Test” may be a terrible way of gauging what a person is really like. Given that the circumstances are unusual, it stands to reason that the candidate in those circumstances is not his/her usual self. C.: When you say that the job is not simply teaching and scholarship, I suppose you are referring to service, i.e., serving on committees, going to meetings, etc. But I am still not sure that the “Happy Hour Test” is a good way of telling whether or not a person will be able to perform such tasks. Consider psychopaths, for instance. If anyone is anti-social, a psychopath is. The prevalence of psychopaths among CEOs, (roughly 10% among CEOs compared to 1% in the general population), however, suggests that they can meet, plan, and get stuff done. What more do we want from faculty?
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2014 on The Romantic Date Test at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Jonathan, I am not sure why you were insulted. I said nothing about *you*. I was talking about the profession. In any case, if you were offended, then I sincerely apologize. I was thinking about something like this: http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/xphi/2014/04/cogsci-2014-referee-report.html In this case, the referee seems to think that experimental philosophy is not a good method to apply to certain questions. As a result, s/he rejects the paper. The same probably holds for published papers. Someone who is not sympathetic to experimental philosophy won’t cite such work in his/her own papers because s/he thinks that experimental philosophy is a bad way of doing philosophy. That’s messed up! By the way, I asked *how* you can tell the difference between good and bad philosophy, and your response was “I just can.”
I meant Jonathan J.I. Sorry for the typo.
Oh boy, our profession is more messed up than I had thought. Not only do we not know if our methods are any good, we don't even know what citations are for. Speaking of methods, Jonathan J.K., a question for you: How can one judge what counts as a good paper worthy of citation/engagement if one does not know what counts as good philosophy (given that philosophical methodology is very much a matter of dispute)? Is it simply a matter of belonging to a certain club that does things a certain way?
Thanks for the comments. Name: I share your worry. David: Good points. Someone once told me that departments simply replicate themselves. I think I am starting to understand what that person meant.
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2014 on The Romantic Date Test at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Reading this column over at Inside Higher Ed—The Happy Hour Test—reminded me of a campus visit I have had recently. I recall feeling like I was out on a date with the chair of the philosophy department. We went for coffee together, lunch, dinner, tour of the area, and even... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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Readers of Experimental Philosophy might be interested in this episode of Philosophy TV in which Jennifer Nagel and Joshua Alexander discuss the evidential role of intuitions in philosophy (particularly, epistemology). I discuss one argument that Nagel makes during this conversation, which I think is unsound, over at The Philosophers’ Cocoon.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2014 at Experimental Philosophy
In this Philosophy TV episode, Jennifer Nagel defends the use of intuitions as evidence in philosophy, particularly in epistemology. At one point in the conversation with Joshua Alexander, she makes an argument that goes roughly like this (starting at 27:20): The “We Don’t Have to Sterilize the Tools before We... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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In this poorly argued op-ed over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Elizabeth Segran claims that "No one but you is forcing you to accept low-paid adjunct work." Segran thinks that "It is disingenuous to appropriate the language of labor abuse for a class of people who have the privilege... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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Mark your calendar! The 50th Anniversary conference of the Long Island Philosophical Society (LIPS) will be held at Molloy College on April 26, 2014. Please check out the program: LIPS 2014 Conference Program! You will find that the program is very diverse in terms of speakers (from independent scholars to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
It might seem as if New York City is a great place for early-career philosophers—the New Athens. After all, in Manhattan alone there are several PhD programs, such as NYU, Columbia, CUNY Graduate Center, and the New School. Unfortunately, appearances are deceiving in this case. As a matter of fact,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I agree with Marcus when he says that, for the most part, philosophical theories are tested against intuitions, which are "subjective," whereas scientific theories are tested against something far more "objective," namely, the empirical world. In this post, I would like to take that as a starting point and make... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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As reported in the New York Times today: "The Just-In-Time Professor," released last month by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, describes a growing population of more than one million adjunct and other nontenure-track instructors. "In 1970, adjuncts made up 20 percent of all... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
It is my impression that many referees think of peer review as essentially trying to come up with objections against the main thesis of any paper they are reviewing. That is, it appears that many referees subscribe to the following principle of peer review: (PR) If there is a serious... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
In his follow-up post to his follow-up post to my post, Joshua Knobe makes the following point: A couple of years ago, it would have been very reasonable to make claims about philosophical expertise just by drawing on anecdotal experience or general theories from cognitive science, but now that we... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2013 at Experimental Philosophy
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Readers who are interested in metaphilosophy, especially the epistemology of intuition, may be interested in the following paper of mine, which is forthcoming in Review of Philosophy and Psychology: Does the Method of Cases Rest on a Mistake? Abstract: In this paper, I argue that the method of cases (namely,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2013 at Experimental Philosophy