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Jon Cogburn
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I've been on lots of hiring committees at this point and I'm sorry but if you decide ahead of time what area you are looking for, then you don't need to use filters like pedigree, because if the add is narrow enough you won't get too many applicants. Even when you advertise broadly so as to get hundreds of applicants, it's not that much work to read every applicant's cover letter and description of their dissertation and make a first cut based on that. This gives you lots of information about how the person might fit given your teaching, research, and service needs. The worst thing you can do is put too much emphasis on the letters, because then star worship is going to kick in (and given how weirdly inflated some, but not all letters are, they are actually pretty useless in any case). A very good policy is to only read the letters of people after you've read their complete writing sample. Of course you can't read two hundred writing samples. Waiting to read the letters until afterwards means you've made the first few cuts on a more fair basis. It also substantially mitigates the star worship factor because you if you've thought deeply about the writing sample, then you feel like you already know the candidates by the time you get around to the letters.
Ooh, that's helpful. The key claim seems to be the following: --------------------- In the journal American Ethologist in 1989, Brian Ferguson pointed out that Chagnon’s data are incomplete, because he did not present data on the reproduction of killers who had themselves been killed. -------------------- I'm not an expert about this stuff, but that seems pretty damning.
Oh man, that's a fantastic story. I'm hoping to teach a philosophy and literature class on Lovecraft next semester. In addition to Lovecraft, we'll read Noel Carroll's book on horror ( and Michel Houellebecq's ( and Graham Harman's ( books on Lovecraft. Some European narrative theorists are considering some of this stuff under the rubric of "unnatural narratology," and their work is pretty useful in this regard. There's a nice dictionary hosted by Aarhus on this at . There's no entry yet in the on-line living handbook of narratology, but some things that I've found philosophically useful in thinking about fiction and philosophy. It's at .
Two new books argue that pre-agricultural societies were far more Hobbesian than Rousseauean. Read the Spectator review of Ian Morris’ War: What is it Good For? The Role of Conflict in Civilisation, from Primates to Robots here, which includes this: If sometime around 7a.m. on 1 July 1916, as you... Continue reading
Just to be clear to anyone finding this out from anon's comment, this isn't a violation of anyone's privacy. Knobe mentions his marriage at the bottom of his homepage , which links to Alina Simone's page . Both pages are awesome. Spiel from Knobe: ----------- A lot of my recent research has been concerned with the impact of people's moral judgments on their intuitions about questions that might initially appear to be entirely independent of morality (questions about intention, causation, etc.). It has often been suggested that people's basic approach to thinking about such questions is best understood as being something like a scientific theory. My co-authors and I have offered a somewhat different view, according to which people's ordinary way of understanding the world is actually infused through and through with moral considerations. ------------ This is pretty fundamental stuff that ramifies out into nearly every area of philosophy. I'm going to be teaching his work on causation next Spring in my counterfactuals class. I think that some of the exciting new debates in narratology and history involving counterfactuals will have to change radically to deal with his work (at least if my intuition is correct about how it can be taken to reinforce some of the points made in semantics literature). Simone can write enviable prose as well. Check out this section of her site . Her new book, "Note to Self: A Novel" is coming out this June. The reviews are through the roof. I've pre-orderd mine from amazon. I wasn't being sarcastic in the OP when I said that people rocking out gives me hope for civilization, in spite of Adam Curtis's Spenglerian warnings. Maybe that's naive. I don't think so, but even if it is one who believes it will still in the end listen to a lot of good music and read a lot of good books.
Oh man, sorry. I've got it fixed now. Love your blog, and it's weird to think I've been misunderstanding your name for I don't know how long (with the elided d I somehow assumed that it was Hungarian, which makes no sense on its own, because the closest would be "Uighur" which is a Turkish ethnic group that lives in China). Generally, if spell check doesn't get it I'll probably mess it up. For anyone interested, there's a pretty cool account of the history of Mag Uidhir at "family tree DNA": According to it the first written spelling of the name is 956 in the Annals of Ulster. That's pretty old! It predates the first written record of "Cockburn" (now Cogburn/Coburn/Cobain etc.) by over two hundred years.
HERE. Lot's of great stuff. Epistemology and ethics form a strong plurality this month. There are two by newappsers and one by friend of the blog Joshua Knobe and one cool interview with friend of the blog Roy Cook. Very happy to see Aesthetics for Birds' Christy Mag Uidhir interviewing... Continue reading
While lecturing on Tristan Garcia's chapter on history today I couldn't help but remember this essay by Adam Curtis on music and youth rejection in the Soviet Union. Curtis explores the psychic fallout of the widespread failure of communism to deliver on the very promises that legitimated it (e.g. we... Continue reading
Yeah, that makes sense. I'm still thinking there's some semantic slippage, both because I agree with both of you and because I think a lot of people have the same slippage in their own use. When some random person or extended family member says I'm a philosopher it makes me wince a little bit. I teach philosophy. I write about philosophers, but it seems really vain to put myself in their august company. Maybe some day. Who knows? On the other hand, if a hater were to say "he's not really doing philosophy" (and there's almost no distance from "crap philosophy" to not being philosophy) with respect to my research this would justifiably make me angry. I just see you focusing on the first set of intuitions and Neil focusing on the second. I think they are both important and don't know if there is really a way to make the intuitions consistent.
In the discussion at the phil smoker on the philjobs appointments page a lot of interesting issues are raised, including: whether one should put one's adjuncting jobs on it, how post docs seemed to only be available to people from the most prestigious schools, the extent to which one can... Continue reading
I don't know so much about dialects today, but when I lived in Europe as a kid you did get a lot of these kind of weird asymmetries between American English and the English spoken by Germans, Dutch (my mother's family is Dutch), and the British. In the 1970s and early 80s if you tried to discuss the temperature of water with a German or comfort with respect to shoe size (Dr. Martins didn't come in half sizes) with British people you got situations exactly analogous to what I think is going on now. I remember that there was a fair bit of literature about British medicine and how pain was spoken of by Americans and British people at the time. The expected stoicism of the Brits effected the denotation of their predicates (or, on the other hand, the wimpiness of Americans affected ours). Maybe with the internet and whatnot these differences have collapsed at this point. I don't know. I don't live in Europe any more. But I have immense respect for you and Eric (as more than competent philosophers, however one wants to use the phrase, and also as general interlocutors), and it's hard for me to reconcile the above without it involving something like the Rortyan breakdown I've postulated. This is in addition to the normal thing that the internet does where we can't read intended tone and this escalates levels of irritation.
Oh thanks. I haven't read it. It looks great. Computer science and engineering people have told me that connectionism has completely petered out as an area where one can get sizable grants. There impression is that, like traditional rule based AI, it failed to live up to the hype. That doesn't mean it's always a bad metaphor for the mind though. For example, in his early work it allowed Andy Clark to pose some really fascinating hypotheses about how behavior that is amenable to traditional GOFAIR might be grounded in brains plus environments. It might still carry the critical weight that Turner posits. That is, just as Clark's externalist views would be no less plausible if connectionism fails "explanation by simulation" tests bad enough to not yield very much cool technology, it might still be the case that Turner's critique likewise would survive. In any case, I want to read it and try to figure it out by myself. Thanks for the link.
Could there be a linguistic confusion going on? I actually share Neil's worries. (1) In American English if we say that someone is not competent, this at the very least conversationally implicates that they are incompetent. (2) In the vast majority of contexts in American (and as far as I understand, Australian) English basic competence is usually not that high of a bar. So calling someone incompetent is a pretty bad insult. I know that the German word for "hot" is not coextensive with the English word, which has a wider application. I wonder if something like that might be going on here? Again, contrast with Germany where to become basically competent you have to go through all sorts of classes and tests. With getting a drivers license it's so egregious that thousands of German high school students find it much less of a headache to live with an American family for a year as part of a study abroad program, get their license over here, and then transfer the license back to Germany. Being an incompetent driver in Germany isn't that bad a thing. You just haven't completed your year long intensive class in drivers' education yet. Or you've failed the exam twice and are about to take it a third time, which happens to lots of people. The way that the United States and Australia approach egalitarianism comes out in the fact that basic competence is something to be proud of, even as it is something more easily achieved. Australia goes even farther with an attitude that is summed up with the phrase "no tall poppies." This is why their politicians have to really convincingly drink beers with working class people.* American politicians tend to have to visit bars, but can do it in a much more cursory manner, just stopping by raising the beer for the camera, and then leaving for the next fundraiser. This American faux populism explains why the egalitarianism no longer has any connection to economic concerns here. We'd be much better if the politicians actually actually had to hang out at the bar, down three or four pints with their constituents, all the while making entertaining conversation. Anyhow, I worry that you guys are talking past one another as a result of cultural norms that give rise to very different usage with respect to the word in question. Of course Richard Rorty said that a disagreement in meaning is simply an agreement not to continue the conversation. So I'm taking my own suggestion with a grain of salt. [*This was true fifteen years ago. I think it still is today, but maybe things have changed.]
In much of the philosophy of language and mind coming out of the late Wittgenstein and/or early Heidegger, a distinction is made between merely following a norm versus also being able to correctly assess whether others are following that norm. Note that the Brandom of "Dasein, the Being that Thematizes"... Continue reading
Thanks for the nice words. One of the hard things with students is that sometimes the medical folks just want to medicate them to the gills and leave it at that. The kid is often then saddled with sometimes really bad side effects in addition to not figuring out how to optimally deal with the problems that led them to get help in the first place. I don't know the extent to which licensed therapists over-medicate versus general practitioners, who probably shouldn't be writing the scripts. I'm pretty sure it's mostly the latter. The kids I know that actually get the talk therapy (whether they go on meds or not) tend to do much, much better than the kids who just get a prescription. This is just anecdotal though. I should look for some studies. . . We had a real crisis at LSU after Hurricane Katrina. In one of my classes half of the students had their childhood homes destroyed; it was more traumatizing for a lot of them than you might think. This necessitated a real struggle to get enough mental health resources available on campus. Weirdly though, I think as a result of going through all of that that LSU professors are on the whole extraordinarily sensitive to the mental health needs of our students. Everyone who was here during Katrina ended up helping out in some capacity. . . In happier news, I'm really, really, really hoping that you are the Joel Dittmer of, "Finally, Radiohead is overrated, and Def Leppard is underrated," fame (it's not a common name, so I think I'm on safe ground here). Awesome! I know Radiohead has all sorts of experimental stuff with great timbre and whatnot, but what could possibly beat the timbre of Rick Allen's cowbell at the one-minute forty one second mark of "Foolin"? I'm being sincere, and don't mean to be insulting Radiohead or their fans by pointing this out. Maybe some day we'll have a chance to jam together (you're drums, right?). I found that after getting tenure I was actually able to play quite a bit again. After kids, not so much. But I'll get my revenge when they get just a bit older. We'll form a family band when they are still young enough to have no idea that playing in a band with your mother and father is the nerdiest thing one could possibly do. When it finally dawns on them it will be too late. Of course then they'll rebel, refusing to play any more AC/DC or the White Stripes covers, obsessively listening to Radiohead, growing into the kind of people who noodle around with synthesizers and tape loops, nary a power chord to be seen. I'm trying to pre-emptively make peace with this, but it's hard.
No, I don't think off topic. This is helpful to me at least. Probably a good place to note again Women's Works, which is a very usable site for female authored papers for undergraduate teaching: and Women of Philosophy, which is in some ways more helpful (just because there are so many people in subject areas such as logic and because there are links to the philosophers phil papers sites) at It would be a good start to have something similar for alternative epistemologies.
Yeah, thanks. I fixed the title. I wonder how many other mistakes will crop up in the OP. I think I'm going for a record here.
Yeah, I've been saying "mess-ing" all this time.
Oops, fixed now. He's a great guy, embarrassing to have added an s. Now I'm worried I've been mispronouncing his name too. He'd be in good company. For years I've pronounced Jonathan Schaffer's name as if it was the last name of the guy who plays keyboard for David Letterman; I even did while chairing a panel about his work when he was in the room at the last Central APA. It wasn't until last weekend in Las Vegas that someone told me it's a short a. Kind of a Homer Simpson "Doh" moment.
Oh man, please don't become this person:,106/ . I'm that person sometimes. Seriously though, I'm not comfortable telling people they shouldn't read what they are reading. Here's probably where we disagree: (1) I don't think you have to displace canonical figures in order to increase gender and ethnic diversity, (2) I don't think issues of exclusion provide much support for the claim that there aren't other good reasons for canonical figures to be canonical. Certainly if the last two thousand some odd years hadn't been one of ethnic and gender hegemony, the canon would be vastly more diverse. But I can't see how that makes people currently in the canon not worthy of being there. I'm not being obstreperous. I just don't get it.
Oh wow. I've never read the lyrics before and wasn't actually aware of the last verse. It's great. This is generally a wimpy thing to say, but I think I like both versions equally well. Cash kind of peaks with his delivery of "You can hear the whistle" while Waits' steadily builds until he's really preaching at "so if you live in darkness." And then the final verse makes everything that came before non-preachy. I think it was in an interview with Terry Gross where Waits explained how chuffed he was that Cash performed a song of his. He also gave really good advice about doing a cover. He said you can't try to make it sound like the original. Rather you should put it on like someone elses clothes and then do alterations until it's really comfortable.
Announcement at the SPEP's blog here. I went to last year's symposium on Schelling and it was one of the most fun, productive conferences I've been to. They have a participant's conference for the first two days, so you get to see papers by all of the students and faculty... Continue reading
Ha! I take it that "Mutual pollination" here refers to: (1) bleary early afternoon discussions over coffee at APAs, (2) drawn-out, often heated, and usually inconclusive e-mail round robins about the optimal ways to balance the autonomy of individual bloggers with the heteronomy of being a member of a group blog, and (3) in light of (2) someone fine tuning the comments policy for the n + 1th time. The term's not in the OED so I don't know it's history of usage, but I think I remember that some 19th century German academics used some variant of "mutuall Bestäubung" explicitly with respect to (1), and (2). The problem is that the CSS was too primitive to allow "widgets," so you didn't have anything analogous to a "comments policy" then, though I would argue that Herder's discussion of "Kommentare Politik" is actually remarkably prescient in just this way.
I wanted to write a post in response to Moontime Warrior's blog post (here) which begins with the following: Last term, I confided in a professor that I was struggling with anxiety attacks and depression. She seemed understanding. A few weeks after the class ended, I learned that she had... Continue reading