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Elisa Freschi
I work on Sanskrit (and) Philosophy, with the hope of integrating Indian philosophy in "Philosophy" tout court
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Personally, I did answer to all the reviews I received, but for one (because it was published on a private google group and the author refused to republish it on a forum where I could have engaged with it). I think I, their authors, and the readers can learn a lot through a sincere effort to engage in a discussion and I am willing to try even when the reviewers are not particularly charitable. On the blog I moderate (Indian Philosophy Blog) we also publish reviews and invite authors to respond to them. This (unusual) experiment has yield so far very interesting results (less nasty reviews and more insightful discussions), see for instance here.
Dear Kenneth, many thanks for that. I did not know the article and found it extremely interesting (also because of its nice introduction on the sociological vs. doctrinary distinction). I hope to be able to find the time to discuss it in a separate post in a close future. As for your last question, Christianity surely mixes the two aspects you mention (with usually more emphasis on the former among the theologians, and more emphasis on the latter among the mystics). Nonetheless, I wonder whether the Aquinas' proposal as reproduced by Stump could not rather be described as putting together a brahman-like conception of God (the impersonal esse, or love as an abstract universal) with an Īśvara-like one (God as having a specific will to act in the world)?
As part of my attempts to go beyond my confort zone, Wednesday and Thursday last week I enjoyed two days of full immersion in the Analytical Philosophy of Religion. In fact, the conference I was attending was about the ontological status of relations from the perspective of Analytical Philosophy of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thanks, Rob, also because you are the first among the ones who replied me who actually engages with my question. I see your point and this is more or less what I have been doing until now. In fact, this is also what scholars like Peter Adamson, J. Ganeri, B.K. Matilal, E. Thompson, C. Coseru, M. Siderits, J.N. Mohanty, and so on… have been doing. All of them (of us, si parva licet componere magnis) have been showing (in a compelling way, I would say) that philosophers such as Kumārila produced sound arguments and interesting conclusions (e.g., on the topic of the epistemology of linguistic communication). This makes me think that the lack of consideration is more an a priori than something due to the actual fact that scholars have failed to show that all that you say applies. Then there is the second problem: Suppose I manage to convince logicians that they really cannot think about logic without taking into account Dharmakīrti's theory of syllogism. If they would accept him and then shut the door to any other, not so much would have been gained for the discipline, who would continue to neglect important contributions. This being said, I am not a political activist and I personally believe in the power of incremental change. I will thus continue to try hard (but will not forget that resistances might be more psychological/sociological/political than intellectually motivated).
As a scholar of Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā I am well aware of how the normative is often disguised as descriptive. "It is seven o' clock" says the mother, but what she means is rather "Get up! You have to go to school". Similarly, complex discourses about the nature of philosophy, how... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
The authors of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta school (a philosophical school flourishing in South India from the 10th c. onwards) claim that the whole world is made of God/brahman and that everything else is nothing but a qualification of Him/it. This philosophical concept, it will be immediately evident, crashes against the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I have a post-doc position in Europe (like Helen's ones, namely one for which I applied and won a grant). Whenever I discuss with colleagues from the US, I notice the same pattern of misunderstandings, based on a few points: 1. in the US one assumes that a person in my age should have a TT or permanent position (alternatively, she or he is just not good enough), due to the fact that there are *way* more teaching positions and it is in this sense easier to land in one (I know, US colleagues and friends will say it is not that easy, but it is still comparatively easier, due to the vast number of liberal art colleges and the like). 2. My US colleagues underestimate the amount of energy and work I and my European colleagues invest in grant-applications (and how prestigious they are). They look in my curriculum for different things, such as teaching awards, fail to find them and tend therefore to underestimate my teaching skills. 3. US letters are far more emphatic than any European one, so that the letters I can offer always look too shy in comparison, although they are realistic and trustworthy in their assessment. LONG STORY SHORT: I wonder whether a European scholar applying for a US job should not point such differences out in her cover letter, so as to make search committee aware of these differences. (European scholars, by contrast, take it for granted, that one will be paid during the Summer, that teaching loads will not be too bad and so on… but this will be discussed in a separate post about the European market for US applicants:)
Sorry for intruding so late. I appreciate X's concerns, since, as a reviewer who tries *not* to find out who the author is, I am often very annoyed by how authors leave obvious traces, such as using titles like "Studies in X, part 2", so that having read part 1 is enough to know who the author is. However, the solution is easy and advisable for all cases (since reviewers may have been at the same conference or at least read the program): Use different titles for conference papers and published versions thereof. Why don't we all agree about it?
Marcus, I appreciate your commitment to fairness, but I am not sure I have completely understood your proposal. You suggest to eliminate subjective factors and let numbers speak, right? But what numbers are we left with? 1. age/numbers of years from Phd/numbers of years needed for PhD? (you probably do not want to focus on them, do you? They are too much dependent on external elements, such as one's health, family, wealth, etc.). 2. number of pubblications (I agree that this is a very important predictor, but we have all sorts of evidences about the fact that papers get accepted because of one's pedigree, etc., so do we really want to focus on it? ---note that I speak as one who has many publications and knows that there are colleagues with less publications who are probably deeper thinkers than myself). 3. students' evaluations (but this is entirely subjective! Here things like one's outlook become too important. I am sure you do not want to include them ---again, I have positive students' evaluations, so I am not complaining because of my own case). Which numbers am I forgetting?
1 and 3: good practices and what to expect: Do a *honest* review, one through which the reader will understand a. what the book is about, b. whether the book makes an important contribution and is worth reading. 2: bad practices: My impression is that most US reviews are too positive, so that all books sound as if "the field will never be the same after them" (thus failing to convey b). By contrast, many European and Japanese reviews are too critical as if spotting mistakes were the only way to show that one has really read the book. I am very much in favour of finding real flaws, but cannot see any advantage in lists of typos and the like. 4: Does not seem to be so difficult to check. Whenever I write to prospective reviewers, I send in advance a short text explaining them what is expected from them.
Many thanks for these regular updates, Marcus! As for me, I have been less consistent than you in updating you (and Philpapers), thus: 1. E. Freschi (ed.) The reuse of texts in Indian Philosophy. Part 2. Special Issue of the Journal of Indian Philosophy 42.4--5 (2015). ( 2. Agata Ciabattoni, Elisa Freschi, Francesco A. Genco, and Björn Lellmann. Mīmāṃsā deontic logic: proof theory and applications. In: Hans DeNivelle (ed.) Automated Reasoning with Analytic Tableaux and Related Methods. Springer 2015. (pdf available here:īmāṃsā_deontic_logic_proof_theory_and_applications) 3. E. Freschi. Systematising an absent category: discourses on "nature" in Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā. Supplemento della Rivista di Studi Orientali LXXXVIII.2 (2015), pp. 45--54.
The last post of Marcus made me think about the fact that some readers might have little or no experience with different teaching environments and might be eager to learn about them (by the way, I am also eager to learn about different schemes, so please tell me about them... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thanks, Roger, nice idea.
Peter Adamson discusses similarities and differences between al-Ghazālī's and Descartes' arguments here:
How do you make your papers anonymous? I usually just delete my name, all I-references in connection with quotes from my previous articles and the name of the funding agency who finances my research. However, recently I have been asked by two different journal editors to be much more radical... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thank you, Helen, very nice idea! And thanks to Mark Silcox for taking the time to tell us about his story not taking himself too seriously.
Neil, thanks for the question. I should have avoided the adverb "necessarily" in the sentence you refer to, as it misleadingly suggests a technical usage of the same term. Personally, I would say that the problem of metalanguage cannot be completely solved, but that this can become a virtuous circle, in which we go deeper and deeper in questioning the soundness of our logical frame. But I will ask my colleagues of the logic department and add also their answer.
Marcus, I agree with all suggestions regarding the peer review system, and wholeheartedly support 2. However, I am not convinced by 7 ("PhD programs should accept less students"). I am convinced that students should be explicitly warned about the fact that they the odds of finding an academic job are low or minimal. But I would not want to reject applications from people whose purpose is just different, e.g., older people who want to study philosophy just because they are passionate about it. Currently, I have three such students (one is a retired chemist, I still do not know about the other two), and they are a pleasure to teach, exactly because they can focus on learning instead of grades)!
"Is the debate on global justice a global one?"---asks Anke Graness at the beginning of an article (available OA here) in which she analyses the more common positions on global justice held in Western academia and confronts them with the perspective on justice of two contemporary African philosophers (the Kenyan... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thanks, Mohammad. If I understand you correctly, however, you are denying that there can be any fixed ontology to refer to and which could solve the issue in a way which is independent from the knowing subject, right?
A further reference to this post appears here:
Thank you for this substantial contribution, Marcus. As you know, I agree wholeheartedly with much of what you say. I would just stress slightly less the point about attracting more people to philosophy class. It is true that some people may avoid taking philosophy classes because they are only about "white dead men", but I have seen the reactions this kind of argument produces: "We are doing real philosophy, we are not selling ourselves!" I know that you (and the other philosophers who have raised this point) do not mean to say that we shouldbe talking about the "philosophy" of Ariana Grande's songs in order to attract teen-agers, but the reactions sound as if this were the point. Thus, I would rather focus on the main point: Philosophy is enriched by taking into account objections which come from different standpoints, beca, e.g.,use it is only once looked "from outside" that one realises how much of one's intuitions are just due to prejudices or socially established norms. A further interesting argument about inclusiveness (namely, that the opposite is just UNFAIR!) can be read here:
I am a passionate fan of co-working, since I believe that working with other people (especially if one works with always new people and not always with the same group) helps one becoming aware of one's implicit presuppositions working with other people allows me to achieve more ambitious goals (in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2015 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thank you, Helen, this last post makes all the previous ones even more interesting. By the way, the Sanskrit texts about expert perception we discussed in connection with those posts also end up discussing intellectual intuition of religious truths. For instance, the Buddhists may argue that like a trained jeweler sees more than a normal person in a gem, so a practitioner will be able to directly perceive the Four Noble Truths. The Mīmāṃsakas answer with some variations of "no matter how long you practice, you will never be able to jump until the moon, nor to enlarge the precinct of application of the sense-faculties beyond what is sense-perceivable". To which the Buddhists react that the moon example is not suitable, since in the case of the moon one does not accummulate progress (at each jump, one starts again from the ground), which is not the case with Buddhist practice (see Sarah McClintock's Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason). Coming back to your initial query, a possible charitative answer (which you probably also hint at) is that the content of the religious experience is right (e.g., "experience of something other than myself who gets in touch with me"), but that the intellectual interpretation of it as "The Virgin Mary appeared to me" is wrong and is a conceptual overimposition in which one fails to distinguish between perceptual (the experience of otherness) and remembered (the image of the Virgin Mary with a blue mantle one has so often seen).
Marcus, I really enjoy blogging and learnt a lot through it, thus my overall experience remains positive. But experiences such as the above one make me less enthusiastic in recommending it to people who might not enjoy as much as I do interacting with other people.