It appears the Philosophical Gourmet Report is returning. The last installment was in 2014-5. We are now in the midst of a 3-year gap in rankings, which is the longest gap, I think, since the thing got going in the 90s. We may not have such a long gap again. So I got to thinking this might be a time to reflect on people’s experiences of doing without such a ranking for a while. What were the costs, if any? What were the benefits, if any? Or perhaps this was too short of a gap to serve as a useful test of life without rankings?
There are now many more surrogates for ranking than ever before. In large part as a result of pressure from the Report, most departments now provide detailed placement information. In addition most faculty at graduate programs list their CV and research interests. That, combined with a sense of what the top journals in the field are, and the availability of citation information, grad attrition information, etc. mean that people without rankings would be much less in the dark about where to go to grad school than I was back when dinosaurs roamed the plains and we lacked a widely consulted ranking of grad programs in philosophy in the 80s. (more…)
Eric Schwitzgebel writes:
Here are four things I care intensely about: being a good father, being a good philosopher, being a good teacher, and being a morally good person. It would be lovely if there were never any tradeoffs among these four aims.
Explicitly acknowledging such tradeoffs is unpleasant — sufficiently unpleasant that it’s tempting to try to rationalize them away. It’s distinctly uncomfortable to me, for example, to acknowledge that I would probably be better as a father if I traveled less for work. (I am writing this post from a hotel room in England.) Similarly uncomfortable is the thought that the money I’ll be spending on a family trip to Iceland this summer could probably save a few people from death due to poverty-related causes, if given to the right charity.
Today I’ll share two of my favorite techniques for rationalizing the unpleasantness away. Maybe you’ll find these techniques useful too!
WORLD GOVERNMENT OR ELSE?
The world is encountering several global challenges: climate change, global injustice, and war
particularly stand out. Some think that there is only one adequate answer to these challenges:
to create a world state that governs the entire globe. Others think that creating a world state is
not a good idea for different reasons: it is unrealistic (given as the world it is now dominated
by territorial nation states); it is undesirable (it could lead to global tyranny and/or force upon
humanity a homogeneity that we don’t want); it is ineffective (there are other solutions to these
problems, such as stronger nation states, supra-national organizations, stronger regional
cooperation). This two-day workshop (June 13, 2017 – June 14, 2017) will examine the question
whether we need a world government (and in what form), both from theoretical and from
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The workshop will last for two days. The first day (June 13) will be
spent at the Collegium Helveticum, Zurich (Switzerland), the second day (June 14) in the
Zukunftskolleg, Konstanz (Germany). A shuttle bus service will be provided between Zurich
and Konstanz on the morning and evening of June 14.
Registration to attend is recommended. Please register with Attila Tanyi by emailing to
For further details, including a detailed programme when available, see
Valerie Tiberius’s Advice to her Friend, Philosophy. Plus Important Survey Data from over 2500 Philosophers.
A draft of Valerie Tiberius’s Presidential Address at the Central Division of the APA is linked to below. The text below is her teaser for the address. Her advice to Philosophy is informed by important data, revealed below, from a survey of over 2500 philosophers.
Of this piece Valerie writes “I am really hoping that the survey (and my discussion of the results) will be helpful to other philosophers. I’m very grateful to the editors of PEASoup for linking to it and hosting a discussion. I’d love to hear your comments and I would be glad to answer questions. (I might be a little slow to answer certain questions about data, or to respond to requests for data, since I’ll have to ask my collaborator about these).”
Here now is Valerie:
I have been writing about well-being and about how to think about well-being when we are trying to help our friends. In this context, I believe we should focus on the values of the person we are trying to help and on how those values could be improved in light of shared norms and the facts about personality and environment. Well-being, on this view, is success in terms of appropriate values over time, or “value fulfillment” as I call it.
Given my research, I started thinking… what if PHILOSOPHY were my friend? I might worry. Philosophy, what are you doing with your life? You’re in the news, and not in a good way. Thinking about philosophy as my friend led me to wonder what would happen if I took my own approach to helping and applied it here. And that led me to creating “The Value of Philosophy Survey”. My hope in creating the survey was to find out what philosophers value about philosophy. I anticipated finding some conflicts among these values and my goal was to use this information to recommend a “healthy” and sustainable path that we can follow, given our values, given what philosophy is like (our “personality”) and given the academic, economic and political environment in which we have to work. My presidential address is the results of these efforts. It reports findings from the survey and recommends a path forward that I call the “broaden and balance” path.
“The Social Philosophy and Business Ethics of the American Wedding.”
This conference is about weddings themselves – not about marriage, in general. It will take place at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia on the weekend of November 3-5
Select conference presentations will be given by invited speakers, including:
Additionally, the program is open to submissions of long abstracts for 5-7 open presentation slots on the program.
We are hoping to solicit abstracts for papers answering questions such as:
- Is it wrong to make promises that we know we are statistically unlikely to keep?
- What role does an audience play in promise-making? (And breaking)
- Commercially, do wedding markets involve wrongful exploitation? If so – whatand whom is being wrongfully exploited?
- Do wedding markets give rise to problems in business and consumer ethics? (e.g. false advertising; purchasing of products from immoral markets – e.g. diamonds)
- Are anti-discrimination laws that (arguably) curtail religious freedom appropriately applied in consumer markets related to weddings: e.g. wedding cakes?
- People spend a lot of money, time, and emotional energy on weddings. Is there any philosophical justification for it? What role do events like this play in the narrative of our lives? Our cultural heritage?
- Do we owe it to our parents to have weddings – given that there are few other moments of public recognition for the parents of adult children in American social life?
- Do idealizations about a bride’s body (idealizations about size, age, and virginity) prove to be oppressive (and is there anything interestingly new a philosopher might add to this discussion)?
- People make religious and cultural compromises when planning their weddings. (e.g. religious compromises to parents) Do these compromises threaten cultural heritage? Do they result in commitments of bad faith?
Deadline for Submission: May 31st, 2017.
Decisions Announced: June 15th, 2017.
Limited funding for travel is available from the conference budget, and will be distributed according to need.
Depending on the breadth and quality of submissions, the conference topic will be the focus of a special issue of Social Theory and Practice, edited by Hallie Liberto. Authors of accepted papers, as well as other highly ranked submissions, will be invited to submit full papers for consideration in the journal.
If you would like to submit a paper solely for consideration in the special issue of Social Theory and Practice, and not for consideration for the conference, please send in your paper by September 1st, 2017.