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Moti Mizrahi
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By Moti Mizrahi The other day I read yet another paper that does not cite my work. This time, the author (a well-known philosopher from a ranked PhD program) used an example I use in one of my papers to make an argument for an opposing conclusion. When I pointed... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Congratulations, Marcus!
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2015 on New beginnings at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Great post, Mark! (and welcome to the Cocoon) Here's a presentation on arguments from John Symons via Twitter:
Hi James, No need to apologize. I look forward to reading your paper.
As I reported on the Cocoon before, Gabriele Contessa has been trying to raise awareness about the underrepresentation of non-native English speakers in Philosophy (or ESL philosophers). In an attempt to raise awareness about this issue, Contessa proposed what he calls the “Languaged Conference Campaign,” which is modeled on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Hi Elisa, Thanks very much for your comment. I think you are right that there is more than one sense of “intuition.” My point is that all of them date back much earlier than the 1950s or 1960s.
Over at New APPS, Catarina Dutilh Novaes has an interesting post about a project she is working on with her graduate students. The project is about the origins of analytic philosophy in general and the history of the use of intuitions as evidence in philosophy in particular. One question Catarina... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Hi Elisa, Thanks so much for discussing my paper. I have to say that I’ve had no success at all in trying to get major philosophy of religion journals to consider this paper for publication. It was desk rejected without review several times. So I am very glad to see it getting some attention. I hope that the major philosophy of religion journals will pay more attention to work in philosophy of religion that engages with religious traditions other than Christianity. Now, to address your concerns, which I take to be the following: (1) The assumptions I make in testing the divine protection explanation are incorrect. (2) The Argument from the Survival of the Jews is not an IBE. (Perhaps not even an argument at all.) As for (1), as I understand your concern here, you don’t think that the divine protection explanation cannot be tested, even *in principle*, but rather that the assumptions I make to test it are incorrect. For example, you question the assumption that God always knew who the chosen people are (after all, God is supposed to be omniscient). In that case, I don’t think I have a problem with (1). For, given other assumptions, the divine protection explanation could still be tested *in principle*. The point in that section of the paper is that the divine protection explanation is testable, so that is not the reason why it is unsatisfactory as an explanation for the survival of the Jewish people. As for (2), there is a quote from Malcolm in footnote 1 of this paper on teaching arguments for the existence of God that you might like: You may be right that the argument from the survival of the Jews is not an argument at all. There is a tradition in Judaism according to which God is not an object of knowledge, or even belief, and thus one accepts the burden of mitzvot for its own sake (lishma). Yeshayahu Leibowitz was a recent proponent of this view, if you’re interested. Like Clayton, I think that given the fact that there are compelling arguments against the existence of God (e.g., the problem of evil), those who are concerned with religious belief (as opposed to just religious practice) should worry about argument for/against the existence of God.
There is no such thing. I have a paper on the expertise defense forthcoming in Metaphilosophy that may be of interest to readers of the blog. Three Arguments against the Expertise Defense Experimental philosophers have challenged friends of the expertise defense to show that (a) the intuitive judgments of professional... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Experimental Philosophy
NoNES Philosophy student, Thanks for drawing attention to Theoria's policy on ESL authors. I agree that more journals should adopt a similar policy.
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2014 on More on ESL philosophers at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Since the issue of ESL philosophers has been "in the news" recently, thanks to Gabriele Contessa, I would like to draw your attention, dear Cocooners and readers, to a comment made by Vincenzo Politi, which I think is worth reading. Some of the comments above seem to suggest the following... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
The Long Island Philosophical Society is seeking submissions for its spring 2015 conference which will be held on Saturday April 18th 2015 on the main campus of St. John’s University, located in Jamaica, Queens in New York City. The Long Island Philosophical Society has been a dynamic forum for the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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: 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?