Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Lynch Wins 2019 NCTE George Orwell Award

Michael P. Lynch, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, is the winner of the 2019 George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  The award “recognizes writers who have made outstanding contributions to the critical analysis of public discourse.” The NCTE states: The Orwell Award emphasizes the importance of honesty and clarity in public language, and Michael Patrick Lynch’s book Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture reminds us that honesty and clarity is more than just listening to speakers behind a podium; honesty and clarity in public language also refers to how we interact every day with those around us. Lynch accessibly explores aspects around and within public language, including the ideas of how our convictions affect both our worldview and the resulting discourse, and how intellectual arrogance and intellectual humility shape our interactions with others. Relying of the frameworks of philosophers from Dewey to Montaigne to Socrates, Lynch offers us a path to consider for how we speak with and listen to others in our 21st century political landscape. The award was established in 1975. Previous winners include not just other academics, such as legal scholar and bioethicist Katie Watson (Northwestern) and David Greenberg (Rutgers), but also entertainers such as Jon Stewart, authors [More]

What Should Search Committees Initially Ask For?

A reader draws my attention to the advertisement for an assistant professorship in philosophy at Duke University as an example of the problem of schools asking for excessive information for the first round of applications. Applicants must send in: a cover letter a full CV a sample of written work (10,000 words max) a one page dissertation summary a research statement a teaching statement teaching evaluations (where available) a diversity statement, indicating how your skills and experience could contribute to campus equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts at least 3 letters of recommendation The reader writes: “This is definitely the most extreme example of a trend in philosophy job ads to keep on asking for more and more material. The thing is, you know they won’t look at most of it. It looks to me like they’re requesting on the order of 50 pages of material per candidate. So if they get 200 candidates, that means they’re asking for 10,000 pages of junk. That’s silly, and isn’t a good use of anyone’s time.” At least they don’t ask for a transcript. Or for applicants to create a special website just to apply to their job. It is not clear to me that there is much of a trend in asking for more material. Over the past 15 years the normal list of materials to send in has looked roughly similar to the one above. (The exception is the diversity statement, requests for which have gained in popularity only over the last few [More]

The moral mathematics of letting people die

Imagine that, while walking along a pier, you see two strangers drowning in the sea. Lo and behold, you can easily save them both by throwing them the two life preservers located immediately in front of you. Since you can’t swim and no one else is around, there is no other way these folks will […] The post The moral mathematics of letting people die appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesJohn Duns Scotus – The ‘Subtle Doctor’ – Philosopher of the MonthReading, writing and readability—appreciating Rudolph FleschWhat American literature can teach us about human [More]

Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy: An Essay in Political Aesthetics

2019.10.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Fred Evans, Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy: An Essay in Political Aesthetics, Columbia University Press, 2019, 342pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780231187589. Reviewed by Gary Shapiro, University of Richmond It should be surprising that so little philosophical attention is devoted to questions concerning public art. The mutual relations of the political and the aesthetic are often thematized in the Continental tradition (think Heidegger, Sartre, Benjamin, Lyotard for starters). Public art, if one stops to think about it, would seem to be the most obvious site of these relations. Yet it has largely escaped the view of philosophers. Now Fred Evans has written an impressively argued and researched study concerning the politico-aesthetic prospects for public art, exploring this theme in terms of the fault lines and promises of what might be called "actually existing democracy." Specifically, this "essay in political aesthetics" is an experiment in clarifying the meaning of art that aims at... Read [More]

Truth trees for propositional and predicate logic

With IFL2 (the book itself) temporarily put aside, I’m turning to the task of putting together its associated webpages. The initial effort will go into supplying  answers to the end-of-chapter exercises. This might take a little while! (Even when there is a … Continue reading → The post Truth trees for propositional and predicate logic appeared first on Logic [More]