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Chike Jeffers
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Welcome to what we expect will be a very interesting discussion of Joshua Gert's "A Fitting End to the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem." The paper is published in the most recent edition of Ethics and is available through open... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2016 at PEA Soup
We're excited to announce our next Ethics discussion, which will be about Joshua Gert's "A Fitting End to the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem." The paper is available through open access here. Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson have kindly agreed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2016 at PEA Soup
Useful topic, one that I think a lot about as a specialist in Africana philosophy. I think there's a balance to be struck between fetishizing the word "philosophy" (there can be interesting, thoughtful stuff we don't designate as philosophy) and opposing the treatment of philosophy as an activity that has somehow only been done by the privileged peoples of the West. However that balance is struck, though, I agree that it will always lead to a straightforward "yes" in answer to the question of whether many ancient Indian texts count as philosophy.
The first paper I ever submitted to a peer-reviewed journal was submitted to The Monist. It was rejected but there were no critical comments - the editor of that special issue explained the competition was simply tough. Then it got rejected by Philosophy & Social Criticism, again without critical comments but with reference to a backlog. Finally I got critical comments along with rejections from Social Theory & Practice and from The Philosophical Forum. The STP rejection came with a review that fixated on a single paragraph but I am glad, because I improved that paragraph before sending it out again. The PF rejection was, in my view, offensive (a misreading and belittling of my point in ways that suggested to me that the reviewer was a terrible fit for reading work about race and colonialism). Finally, at a point at which I had already gotten other papers accepted, this paper got into the Southern Journal of Philosophy. Then there's my paper on political philosophy in an ancient Egyptian text that I sent to Political Theory, got a rejection, and then sent to the Journal of Political Philosophy and got the quickest rejection I've gotten so far (something like half a day). I then decided to look into journals doing history of philosophy but I wanted to know if it was worth my while to submit. I wrote to the Journal of the History of Philosophy and to Philosophy East and West, knowing that one specializes in Western thought, one in Eastern thought, both do some Islamic... and the word from the editors in both cases was not to bother submitting. I still have no idea whether it was a good idea to have asked. In any case, I sent it to the British Journal for the History of Philosophy and they not only sent it out for review but got Egyptologists involved in the review process, which was helpful. After a couple of rounds of revision, it was accepted and has since then appeared on these two lists of open access articles: The last story I'll tell is of my most highly-ranked publication thus far. I sent it to Social Theory and Practice and it was rejected without even being sent out for review. I then sent it to Ethics, where it was accepted (and though there were lots of comments from reviewers and associate editors and I was encouraged to revise in response to those, this was not even a revise-and-resubmit!). So even though this last story is not about trying a number of places before finding a home, I think it's a good example of the wisdom of not being deterred from aiming high by previous rejection.
I agree with others in the comments that it should be considered unfortunate if you end up not having anything you feel you can present as a job talk that is different from your writing sample. The job talk, by the way, should of course be accessible and not ultra-specialized... as compared with the writing sample, which can be more specialized because it shows just how deep you are in your field.
I'd like to point out an irony in the fact that Case claims philosophy of race "exist{s} to promote left-wing ideology." David Boonin is a faculty member at UC Boulder and he recently published a book in philosophy of race, specifically the applied ethics side of the field. Part of what Boonin takes to be significant about his book is its eclecticism with respect to political positions. He takes what may be seen as left-wing positions on reparations and hate crime laws, right-wing positions on hate speech restrictions and racial profiling, and a position that is not standard on either the left or the right on affirmative action. How then does Case, a student in Boonin's department, reach his faulty conclusion that philosophy of race exists to promote left-wing ideology? Beyond this particular irony, Case's claim is very easily proven false by considering the range of positions in the field on, for example, the biological reality of race. No summary of the debate on that issue could leave one with the impression that there is a particular political position that the field requires you to take. This last point is also relevant to the mistaken impression expressed by Grad Student above that work in philosophy of race and feminist philosophy only contributes to ethics and political philosophy. That leaves out the centrality of metaphysical debates in philosophy of race and, of course, metaphysics and epistemology (not to mention philosophy of science, philosophy of language, etc.) are important topics in feminist philosophy as well.
I don't know that I would call John Locke one of my favourite philosophers - OK, actually, I know I wouldn't - but I'm in the middle of writing a paper that is significantly about him (it's actually a case of being now able to publish something I wrote back in grad school) and I've got to say... Jeremy Waldron's God, Locke, and Equality is such great reading.
I asked someone I had met only once in person and who had never read anything of mine for a letter, but it made sense in my case. The person didn't *read* anything of mine but had *heard* me give a paper at a conference focused on his work. He sent me an email that said: "It was a great pleasure to meet you at {title of the conference} and to hear your paper. Your discussion of certain aspects of my thinking was superior to any I have heard." When someone says something like that, it pretty strongly suggests the letter will be good. I am also quite certain that his letter was helpful in my job search... one strong piece of evidence: I ended up getting a job offer from the department he had retired from!
Exciting indeed. I want to point out for people who missed it that this has been kicked off already in the April 2013 issue by the short discussion and reprinting of Du Bois's "The Development of a People," originally published in the journal's April 1904 issue. Robert Gooding-Williams and I were grateful for the opportunity to introduce this essay to new audiences, especially people interested in contemporary moral, social, and political philosophy who might be wondering how Du Bois' concerns then connect to the concerns of theorists working today.
Toggle Commented Aug 15, 2013 on Exciting Plans at Ethics. at PEA Soup
Odd that I still see it as going beyond the boundary. Specifically, this is what goes outside: ""I actually did the readings." Am I the only one?
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2013 on New Personal Website at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Nice site and I enjoyed reading your Research page. Hope the book makes a big splash in Kantian ethics and beyond. On the side of the Research page, we see this: "You can add HTML directly into this element to render on the page. Just edit this element to add your own HTML." Not sure if that's easily removed, but good to do so if you can. Also, the text goes past the boundary of the box on the Teaching page.
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2013 on New Personal Website at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Well, I can agree that self-congratulation is a vice. I think we should be careful about defining it, though. Now, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't be put off by someone posting the status you used as an example, but I could see why others would be because I could see how it could be perceived as self-congratulation. The key word here would be "Another." Self-congratulation, I take it, is not simply sharing your success but describing it in ways that indicate an over-inflated ego. If someone posts a new article and adds "They say it is hard to get into top journals but I do it so easily," I think that is a clear example of someone who is unethically self-congratulatory. (Funny enough, I think I might be swayed into perceiving your example as self-congratulation and thus being put off myself if the exclamation mark were to be replaced with a period, lol.) Now, let's say the person were to have simply said "Yay me!" I get the sense that you might have an issue with that (certainly we know the blog poster would) but I wouldn't, even though it wouldn't be entirely inappropriate to say the person "congratulated" him or herself. "Yay me!" (especially if said by someone early in their career, trying to work toward getting tenure) doesn't, without further context, indicate thinking too highly of yourself, in my view. But in case there's disagreement over that particular phrase, I think we can use thicker descriptions of the attitudes we're worried and not worried about in order to make the point. So if I feel like someone posting about a success has an attitude of the following sort, I'm not worried: "Life is going well, I am achieving goals I have worked toward, and this feels great - I want others who have positive feelings toward me to know about this so that they can share my joy the way I share theirs when I see things going well for them." On the other hand, if I think the attitude is as follows, I think it would be appropriate to consider what the person said as an unethical form of bragging: "Some of you may think you're hot stuff, but wait til you see what's going on in my life... I'll show you what it really looks like to be successful." And as for self-congratulation, if I get the sense that you're not jumping for joy because you're so delighted to see things going your way but rather sitting with a smug smile because you're pleased to be re-affirmed in your belief that life will always go your way given how great you are... that too will strike me as bad.
Wow. I found the linked blog post insufferable. I disagreed with almost everything said and found it insanely judgmental - and, indeed, overly self-involved - at almost every turn (one exception being the criticism of unnecessary vagueness). I think sharing of successes is an essentially important part of social media - I know I certainly appreciate when my Facebook friends do it, and no, not just those I am especially close to. As others here have said, bragging and sharing of success should not be conflated - Rachel gave a very nice example of bragging and the importance of the "suck on THAT!" part is that bragging, understood as a vice, involves esteeming yourself *at the expense of others*. I would go so far as to argue that bragging in the unethical sense and treating the sharing of personal success as shameful are problematic in similar ways. They both undermine a healthily communal sense of self.
Thanks, Mark! That is extremely helpful. I am certainly among the many who have long found Murdoch intriguing but have not yet gotten the chance to know and understand her work... indeed, up til now, I feel I have most gotten to know her through Judi Dench's powerful performance in the movie Iris!
So Wood, Hill, and Baron on Kant. Thanks for those recommendations. Baron's book cover is fun.
Marcus, I know you've done some work on Kant - got a favourite secondary text on him?
Thanks for that, Patrick. I look forward to hearing from others about similarly excellent work.
Btw, Patrick, I just looked around on the net a bit and saw you're far from alone in taking Freeman's book to be a simply stellar commentary on Rawls. What makes it so great, in your view?
Yes - thanks very much, Patrick, for the recommendation. But though this was indeed talking past each other, I'm glad Justin was introduced to Oxford Bibliographies Online.
Kevin, who are you talking about?
Say I dig one of your favourite philosophers and have read a significant amount of his/her work. I'm now interested in seeing what's really good in the secondary lit. What are some of the books/articles/chapters in edited volumes toward which you might point me? Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2013 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I sometimes feel unsure what the difference is, when I read comments like B's. If the "papers" dissertation is not a series of self-standing papers, how are these papers so different from chapters in a standard dissertation? Is it that they touch on common or similar themes but there is no single argument or purpose that the papers collectively serve? I wonder then what exactly is being synthesized in the introduction and conclusion. And I certainly don't understand the complaint that traditional dissertations present idiosyncratic histories of a problem or issue (neither why that could be a general description of what traditional dissertations do nor why that would be a bad thing, per se).
Hi Prof. Anderson. Lovely to be able to interact with you here. Your new projects sound fabulous - I find your approach to history exciting and presume it will stand as a model to others much as your approach to contemporary social science in The Imperative of Integration has. Given your interest in abolitionism, let me begin by mentioning an important text that you may already know of but which is worth mentioning in case you don't: Quobna Ottobah Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787). For those of us who study Africana philosophy, this is a landmark text, perhaps the earliest extant work of political philosophy in the Africana tradition in the modern era. In an unpublished essay of mine, I have compared Cugoano and Locke, arguing that they share a commitment to justifying our natural freedom and equality through complementary religious and rational argumentation. But Cugoano holds a radical anti-slavery position that contrasts sharply with Locke, both the historical Locke who invested in the slave trade and endorsed it through writing the Carolina Constitution as well as Locke the theorist's position on slavery. As you look at the gradual turn toward abolitionism, Cugoano's early vigorous attack on slavery may be of considerable interest to you for a number of reasons (a few that come to mind: his reflections on the failure of the American Revolution to live up to its "vaunted claims of freedom"; his reply to the argument that West Indian slaves have it better than the poor in the British Isles; his comparison of slavery in Africa with slavery in the West Indies; his comparison of contemporary slavery with servitude under the law of Moses; his reflections on the justifiability of bondage for criminals; his reflections on the wrongs of European colonization of the Americas; his suggested plan of abolition and reparation; etc.). But to turn to a question, let me ask something about Douglass. In his famous 4th of July speech, there's a remarkable section where he claims that "where all is plain there is nothing to be argued." He goes on to argue for this lack of need for argument, building a case that all the claims abolitionists might be called upon to defend are implicitly or explicitly conceded by slaveholders and others who defend or are neutral concerning slavery. This leads him to conclude that "scorching irony, not convincing argument" is what's needed during his time (and the paragraph where he makes this point is among the most rhetorically powerful in a speech well-recognized as one of the greatest in American history). I wonder what you make of this move by Douglass. Have you found other instances in the history of egalitarian thought where it is philosophically argued that to engage in philosophy about the matter at hand is useless, not merely because beyond talk there must be action but rather because it is simply ridiculous to imagine that there could actually be a contentious debate on the subject to be had in good faith? There are a number of points that Douglass suggests we should see as uncontroversial and it is interesting to wonder: which of these ought to be seen, by him or by us, as having been previously controversial but as having been adequately settled beforehand? Which are meant to be seen as completely intuitive, whether because of a previously achieved intellectual consensus or because of the common sense arising not from argument but from the development of a way of life or indeed because they are intuitive for all humans at all times and places? I don't expect you to explore all that I have raised here but I was curious how this portion of the speech struck you and what it suggested to you about the nature of egalitarian thought.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2013 on Featured Philosopher: Elizabeth Anderson at PEA Soup