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Tamler Sommers
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Hi all, A quick reminder that the deadline for TA fellowship in the University of Houston MA program is March 15. If you're thinking about grad school in philosophy, our program has had a lot of success placing students into top PhD programs. This year, we had three students apply... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2016 at Flickers of Freedom
I don't want to distract from Gregg's excellent posts this month but I have one of those 'state of the field' questions. During my comments on Michael Mckenna's new paper last week, I divided the literature into two categories: fox papers and hedgehog papers. I stole the metaphor from Isaiah... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at Flickers of Freedom
Hi all, just wanted to let you know that we've extended our deadline for MA applications to March 16. We have a lot of strengths in the department in free will (now that Justin is on board), phil mind and cognitive science, early modern, logic, metaethics, and aesthetics. You can... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Flickers of Freedom
Really interesting article--"Lucky and Good: How Tom Brady Became the Greatest" over at Grantland on the role of luck in making Tom Brady the greatest QB of all time (unless you prefer guys who put up huge stats in September and October and then fold when the temperature dips below... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Flickers of Freedom
That's fine Frederick, I believe you and I'm not defending the discussion or the commentator. But what you quote as the full comment is very different from "One person, in a public forum, openly wished that he had never been born." For readers who aren't familiar with Benatar's views, your version sounds much worse than it actually was. (Also, it's clearly a joke and I gave at the office.)
Frederick, I haven't seen the comments you're talking about but I'm pretty sure the person was making a joke, referring to Benatar's view that it's better for human beings not to have been born. In that context, the comment doesn't seem that vitriolic (since not being born is exactly what Benatar wants).
Caruso, Pereboom, Galen Strawson, and Waller have won. I shouldn't have left the team. (h/t @delskorcho on twitter) Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Flickers of Freedom
We just had Sam Harris on for a very long podcast on the costs and benefits of religion, free will, the self, moral responsibility, blame, vengeance, guilt, and all that other good stuff. Much of the second half features the new me arguing vehemently with the old me, although Sam... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Hi all, Just letting you know that latest episode of VBW breaks down that Ent and Baumeister study widely reported as "Your Belief in Free Will Depends On Whether You Need to Pee." We also talk more generally about the Free Will and Determinism scale that's used to measure beliefs... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Cameron Buckner (Indiana) hired by University of Houston. AOS: Philosophy of psychology and cognitive science, philosophy of mind. Previously a postdoc at University of Houston and Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at Ruhr-University, Bochum
Hi all, I wanted to alert the Flickers community about a position for next year (and potential for subsequent year renewals) in the Honors College at the University of Houston. I have joint appointment with Honors--it's a nice, small, very diverse college within the larger University system. The course load... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Check out our own Josh Knobe and Eddy Nahmias talking about X-Phi and free will on Philosophy TV. Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Check out our own Josh Knobe and Eddy Nahmias on Philosophy TV talk about X-Phi and Free Will. Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
ABD writes: "If Midgley has no problem with men being "fiercely combative," then why does she purport to have rejected a "brash, unreal style of philosophising" that involves "clever young men" competing in "winning arguments." (A) Being brash and competing to win an argument doesn't mean you're fiercely combative in any pejorative sense. (B) The "unreal" part is crucial here. My guess is that Midgley has no problem with people brashly trying to win arguments about real problems. (Or what she believes are real problems.) Her personality and writings are fairly combative, as people have pointed out. It's harder to straight-up "win" when you're arguing about the real world though. "But even if her objection is as Gardner suggests, why does Midgley get to determine which puzzles are worth arguing about and which are not?" She doesn't get to 'determine' this. But she gets to express an educated opinion about it in a letter to the editor, right? BL COMMENT: And this is the FINAL round on this particular sub-debate. Back to the main topic!
I want to second Molly Gardner's point, I think people are misunderstanding Midgley's position. She has no issue with men being "fiercely combative" in philosophy. This isn't about civility or guys not being able to shut the fuck up. This issue is that there's a real world out there to discover, but philosophers (especially men) would rather direct their energies to outcompeting their peers in the phil. equivalent of sudoku puzzles. I think there's a good deal of truth to that. But maybe if 'va' makes a couple more Joan Rivers references I'll change my mind...
(This is my last post: Big thanks to Thomas and all the Flickerers who joined into these discussions. It's been an interesting and challenging month. Don't forget to listen to the Very Bad Wizards Podcast! On to the post...) Defenders of the standard retributive model often talk as if the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
In the first two posts of this series I sketched out Moore's methodology and why he thinks the retributive emotions are virtuous. (See the end of this post for a quick summary.) I haven't given my own position on all this yet--that's what this post is for. I like Moore's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
(This is part two of a three or four part series.) In the comments for the previous post, a couple of you questioned whether the retributive emotions are virtuous. Moore considers this question at some length in his book. He takes Nietzsche to be the best critic of the retributive... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
The challenge for retributivists is to explain why offenders deserve to suffer when the punishment has no benefit to overall well-being. Rationalist justifications for retributive punishment haven't met with much success. What Michael Moore says about utilitarian justifications—“bad reasons for what we believe on instinct anyway” is even more true... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Courtesy of The Onion (Thanks to Ryan Lake for the pointer). Kidnapped Teen Freed, Though Freedom Is Its Own Kind Of Prison, Is It Not? News • teens • News • ISSUE 49•45 • Nov 5, 2013 15-year-old Jessica Paulsen has been freed, but to what degree is this perceived... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Justin Coates sent me this great quote from Williams' "Morality, The Peculiar Institution" that expresses my worry from this post. ""There are, equally, various negative reactions to [vicious persons], from hatred and horror in the most extreme cases, to anger, regret, correction, blame. When we are not within the formal... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Busybody [biz-ee-bod-ee] noun: a person who pries into or meddles in the affairs of others. In the last two posts I described some cases that are hard for most existing theories of moral responsibility to handle. What I want to suggest in this post is that any attempt to develop... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Quick follow-up post because Neal and Dan's comments reminded me of an issue that I've been wanting to discuss on this blog for a while. Way back in Very Bad Wizards episode 13 (we just recorded #35!), Fiery Cushman joined us and raised a fascinating possibility. The case is exactly... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
I chaired a committee that ran a successful search last year using skype interviews. It was the first time we'd done it, but I doubt our department will ever go back to the APA interview format. You can pretty easily position the camera to see anyone. And I brought in a good microphone that I use for my podcast. I think a good mic is important so that the interviewee can hear the questions clearly. I wouldn't use the built in mic on whatever computer you're using--some of those are awful. Pros: We were able to schedule interviews for 13 candidates without feeling completely burned out by the time we got to the last interview of the day. Obviously it's much much cheaper for candidates and the department. And we can spend the holidays with our families--imagine that. (None of our interviews were during the APA.) Cons: This is getting better but skype connections can be a little dicey sometimes so make sure you have a very good internet connection. Always use ethernet cables when possible. For what it's worth, I don't think it would be appropriate (or necessary) to ask all the interviewees to use a common background. Job candidates have enough to worry about already.
The Greek myths and dramas are a tremendous source for puzzles about responsibility, agency, and fate. One of my favorites is the story of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and there three children. Agamemnon is a king with a family history that is far more twisted and violent than anything Tarantino could dream... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom