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M Lister
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I'd be glad if we could discuss a few other topics than the ones that have so far dominated the conversation above. I'll note that I vote for "Declining state support for higher education" as 1, because it seemed to me that many of the other issues followed from this. In particular, I strongly suspect that the bad job market and the over-use of adjuncts are a result,at least to a significant degree, of the decline of state support of higher education. Many of the other problems would at least seem less pressing if this situation was better, I think, though of course it would not solve everything. If this is right, this ought to be the main focus of our energy - to try to increase state support for higher education, rather than have it increasingly privatized, as it has been, even at nominally state institutions. (Of course, this would take political change that is not extremely easy to see happening in the near future, in the US or elsewhere.) In other cases, I was unsure how to rank problems, because I was unsure how they related to each other. So, I ranked the Underrepresentation of ethnic and racial minorities in the profession fairly high (I don't remember the exact number), but might have ranked racism or implicit bias above it if I had any confidence that either one (or both) of those were the reasons for the situation. I'm not sure that they are not, but because I don't feel confident about the causes here, I ranked the problem ahead of potential causes. I'd be very interested to hear from people who have opinions as to the causes. I'd hope those would be helpful in figuring how solutions, though I guess that's not certain. I was surprised to see the "hyper specialization" option come out so high. Does philosophy really seem much more hyper specialized than, say, 20-30, or even 40-50 years ago? It's certainly not obvious to me. I think this is just a confusion or mistake. The one bit of "Prestige bias" I can see is when a job candidate's undergraduate institution is taken into consideration in hiring, as it sometimes (though of course not always, and maybe not even most of the time) is. People's eventual graduate institutions are, of course, influenced by one's undergrad institution too, but one's undergrad institution is so heavily sensitive to non-merit based factors (family wealth and education, location in the country, etc.) that it seems to me to be just nuts to take it into account when at the hiring stage. By that point, things should have washed out, making that an irrelevant factor to consider. I wish it were never considered, though I have some reason to think that it sometimes is. It ought not be.
This story also notes that the linked post is mostly propaganda, not something to be taken seriously: Again, I don't know if this particular law is a good one or not. But, the article linked in the post here won't tell you (it's either incompetent or dishonest) and really, you need a lot more than econ 101 to figure out any real public policy issue, of course. More advanced studies indicate quite clearly that these issues are often complicated and context dependent.
This may well be a bad idea, but any publication that calls Pioneer Square "gritty" obviously can't be trusted to get basic facts right, and so shouldn't be trusted. (It was a highly yuppiefied area many, many years ago. If it was every "gritty" it stopped being so ages in the past.)
I don't know - wouldn't you be worried that your dog might turn on you?
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2015 on I must have this at
This is all good advice, which I have followed with profit in the past. The only addition I'd make is that a nice Lambrusco can go well with lots of fast food, too, and is usually fairly inexpensive and refreshing on summer days, too.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2015 on Wine with fast food at
Over at the Co-Op blog, Corey Yung gives some reason to doubt that Suk is completely accurate or, maybe, representative here: I thought his post was quite good.
It _is_ an awfully silly, dumb, and disappointing thing to say. But do you think it's really rightly cast as a _lie_? I'm not sure if I think she's confused, merely posturing in some sort of puffery-type way, or something else, but I doubt that it has the right frame of mind to properly count as a lie. It's obviously bad enough without going that far. (When a football coach says some mix of nonsense and bull-shit to his team to rally them up, is he lying to them? I'd tend to say no. This seems in some ways similar, though of course worse because more important.)
I really don't know (I wish I did!) how to tell which administrators are useful and worth having and which are not. But, one thing that always surprises me, when "liberals" (a group to which I belong) discuss the issue and complain about it, is that they are completely unwilling to accept that programs they support - all sorts of student support, programs for the disabled, affirmative action programs of various sorts, and so on - _obviously_ contribute to this, as they are not cost-free and don't run themselves without a budget. Now, maybe they are worth keeping, but they are clearly part of the increased expense. It's a jaw dropping moment when people who are not typically stupid tell me that they think administrative bloat is a huge problem, but that none of the programs they support might be part of that expense. I'll admit that I'm usually trying to bring them to the conclusion that the solution will have to be sought somewhere other than where they think, and won't be easy, but I'm still surprised to see the lack of connections drawn.
if one of the most powerful members of the profession This is a claim that I see a lot and do not understand. In what sense is Leiter "powerful"? He is a well-respected scholar in two areas that are far from central to mainstream philosophy. His opinion on work in those areas caries weight (as it should) but that's not unusual and again, they are far from central areas. He has a blog that's widely read, but then, so do many other people, including the people here. Many people regularly and publicly disagree with the blog. Insofar as it provides "power", it's because people agree with it, but then, that's not such a big deal. He started the PGR, and edits it, but it's a huge, multi-person operation (the 'one man show' remarks several people have made are strange and obviously wrong) and reflects the judgment of a wide range of the profession. People pay attention _to it_, because it reflects that wide range of judgment. To the extent they pay attention _to Leiter_ because of it, they are just making a mistake. There is a tendency to treat Leiter as if he were some sort of Svengali, manipulating the profession from behind the scenes. Grad students act like its his fault they have trouble getting jobs. Less good departments think they'd be better thought of if only he didn't exit. It's silly. He is person with strong opinions who expresses them. Sometimes people accept them, sometimes they don't. My impression is that when they are expressed overly strongly or aggressively, they are _less_ likely to be accepted. (One catches more flies with honey than vinegar after all.) The idea that he is especially "powerful" and so need to be taken down strikes me as obviously wrong.
This sounds very reasonable to me. I'll add that, when I teach admin law again, I hope to find a way to focus less on constitutional issues than most casebooks do, and more on the actual practice before various agencies. (People need to know about Mathews v. Eldridge, of course, but most of the time, if you're raising a constitutional due process challenge, you are going to lose, so I'd rather spend more time on more plausible cases, if I can.)
Nothing for us knuckle (and other joint) crackers? I'm hurt.
On the other hand, when I was in grade school (in Idaho, in the early 80's) and in Jr. high, the roofs of our school buildings leaked every time it rained or the snow melted. We had multiple trash cans set out in the hall-ways and in class rooms. Those buildings were all given new roofs in the late 90's, and I'm told by my relatives (whose have kids there now) that they don't leak, if there is a leak, it's rare. Power lines are generally much better now- many can take a tree falling on them and not break, because of better design. Huge storms will still cause outages, but they were in fact more common when I was a kid. We do have a serious problem of under-investment in the US, and should be doing more. (We should have been doing even more than that around 2008 when commodities and labor prices were very low!) But it's dangerous to extrapolate from unclear memories and bad local cases.
It's a small thing, and doesn't matter to the monsterousness of the idea behind it, but Rosembaum isn't properly a "professor of law at NYU". He's a "senior fellow", which can mean a lot of things, but here seems to me he hosts some sort of events that are "at" NYU (but perhaps not really sponsored by it- it was a bit murky.) NYU likes to do a lot of things like this, and its often a generous host, but I very much doubt that this is something anyone gets credits for, and if he teaches at all (I don't think he does at NYU, from what I could tell) it's essentially as an adjunct. My impression is that the relationship is a loose one, but he's not a regular member of the law faculty.
Dodd-Frank is severely taxing the regulatory agencies that are supposed to implement it. As of July 18, only 208 of the 398 regulations required by the act have been finalized, and more than 45% of congressional deadlines have been missed. How far can this be attributed to the rather gross under-staffing and other under-equipping of the federal government that has gone on at least since 2008, and to a large degree even before that? It's no surprise that it's hard to do more and new things with fewer real resources, so I expect this is a big part of the problem, though not all, I'd guess. (Of course, some of the same people who opposed the law are ones making it hard to implement by not providing the needed resources, making the simple interpretation doubly problematic.)
"A commitment to keeping up to date with developments in your field OF LAW (not your law and fill in the blank field)." Of course, those two need not be in tension, and are often enough complementary, as a fair evaluation will show.
Orts (my soon-to-be colleague at Wharton) is very good, and I don't doubt that the book is full of insight, but I really don't think this supports your claims about legal scholarship. Do a very large percentage of 'law and ___' scholars _deny_ that "law is needed to explain the social origins and foundations of firms"? Maybe some economists w/o legal training do, but pure economists are rare in law schools, even the very top ones. And, Orts of course has an MA in political science, an JSD (usually a research degree on its own), and worked as a lawyer only two years (and didn't do a clerkship), so doesn't have qualifications all that different from many JD/PhDs. I think you'll need to search harder, as this really isn't evidence in support of your crusade. If anything, it seems to me to go mildly against your position.
I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad that there are no lawyers in this group. (I'm serious about that!) Of course, you have to have a different degree to be a lawyer, so it's different than those above, and good to highlight people doing interesting work w/o a law degree. But, on the other hand, it's a fairly normal thing to do to get a JD, and many of the same skills are relevant (clear writing, analytic skills, ability to spend a lot of hours reading really dull texts without the eyes getting too glazed over, etc.) It's worth noting that just because someone leaves academia, it doesn't mean they still can't contribute to the field. I took a private sector job a couple of years ago, but I still referee papers for journals and conferences, I still read work that people send me, and I still attend talks in my local area. For what it's worth, the last year I've been in a non-academic position, and have reviewed a half dozen papers or more, and reviewed a book for the NDPR, among other things.
Peter Brown is very good in general, and his biography of Augustin is particularly good. (I also really liked his _The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity_ but I suspect it's a bit too "scholarly" and specific for what you're interested in.) If you like the "very short introductions" books, the volume on the Koran by Michael Cook was very interesting and readable.
The problem with the claim as you put it (several times!) was that it was _obviously_ false, and pretty insulting. Why you wanted to put it that way was...not obvious, at least if we're trying to attribute good motives to you. There's some reasonable critiques of pretty much every trend in legal scholarship, and system of credentialing for law professors, but putting things so categorically as to be both obviously false and insulting really isn't the best way to approach things.
Congratulations- to you and UCLA for its strong showing over all. (I am pretty sure that if there were a ranking for immigration law, Hiroshi Motomura would easily be on it as well.) Shiffrin is only likely to rise in the legal philosophy rankings, and though citations are much lower in general and hard to come buy in that field (philosophers cite less than do lawyers, and law reviews don't publish much legal philosophy) Mark Greenberg is a plausible candidate to join the list, as he's doing exciting, interesting, and important work that seems to me to be likely to get significant attention in the next several years.
Hi Jonathan, Yes- I agree. He does seem to be invoking a strong Pareto criteria for evaluating policy. My point was only to add one more reason to think he is being dishonest here by noting that that's not at all the normal criteria you'd expect someone like Mankiw to use. That he busts out a standard he wouldn't normally use when he doesn't like the subject of evaluation just helps show that he's not being honest.
There's a lot that's bad in that piece (not least the almost certain dishonesty in it) but it's also worth noting that very few economists (and I'm almost certain this would apply to Mankiw, too) are especially insistent on the Pareto standard, but rather use the less-demanding Kaldor-Hicks notion of efficiency, where what matters is that the "winners" _could_ pay off the "losers" and still come out ahead, _even though no actual changes are expected to be made_. That's the standard used in almost all cost-benefit analysis and is really the standard in mainstream economic analysis. It still suffers from the problems noted here, but I'd be shocked if this isn't the standard Mankiw actually uses, when he's not trying to make bad-faith arguments against improving the lot of the worst off.
(It's probably obvious, but "M Lister" and "Matt" are the same people here- I'd just forgotten that typepad software sometimes signs me in w/ my google name if I don't take an active step to stop it.)
Hi Leigh- I'm glad they are friendly questions! (I usually try to assume that, but the reassurance is welcome.) I'd say that philosophy of language, logic, and decisions theory might plausibly end up "out philosophy" because already a large part of the work done in those fields is done "outside" of philosophy, and that's _especially_ true of _formal_ logic. (Much less so of "philosophical logic" or "philosophy of logic", I gather.) If you look at recent issues of journals like the _Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic_ or _The Journal of Symbolic Logic_ (to take two still well-known in philosophy), you'll see that they are dominated by mathematicians. At many universities (I'd guess most, but that would be a guess) to take more than fairly elementary logic, you have to take classes in the math (or computer science) departments. (That was certainly true where I went to school.) My impression (and it's no more than that) is that mathematicians tend to think that most "serious" logic is done in math and computer science departments these days. I could easily see that trend continuing. Decision theory is also done just as much, probably more, by people working economics and psychology (and computer science). It would be easy for me to see those departments essentially dominating the field, if they don't already, so that new people wanting to do decision theory went to one of those departments rather than philosophy. (I think that's largely true for more advanced logic, though not universal.) Philosophy of language is less obvious, but if you look at the more formal aspects of it, it's nearly identical to work done by people working on formal semantics in linguistics (or computer science) departments. I've known a couple of linguists who would want to push that in the opposite direction- saying that the people doing formal semantics (or more abstract psycho-linguistics) are "really philosophers", and there have been some people whose training was in linguistics who ended up primarily working in philosophy departments, but I can easily imagine the shift. I don't think that people working in these fields are "automatically excused from the charge of 'policing the boundaries' of philosophy", but it seems less likely to me. They are doing work that is clearly being done in very similar ways at very high levels by people in other departments. If anything, these people seem likely to be expanding the boundaries of philosophy, for fear of being left out! But, that was meant to be an empirical speculation, not an a priori claim. I do think that if you go back and read the relevant posts by Weatherson, it's really not at all a plausible reading that _he_ was trying to police the boundaries of philosophy, rather than just being curious about how and why certain things (economics, psychology) had "left" philosophy in the past, and what might do so in the future.
I agree that it would be interesting to see good, regular rankings on this. (I think Leiter had sub-rankings on this at one point, but he hasn't really updated his law-school rankings for a while, so they are likely out of date now.) Whether _you_ would want to do it or not I don't know, but I'd guess you'd have the credibility to organize such a thing. Perhaps you could get UCLA to fund a research assistant to help set up the Bainbridge Rankings of Corporate Law, with sub-categories as well, making it a reputation survey, or also including job placement in different types of firms, etc. I'd think it could be quite exciting and a good expansion of the brand.