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By In Academia, Uncategorized Comments (15)

The Unfortunate End-Game of Some Fraught Debates

It is a fraught topic of broad and not merely academic interest. Strong and hurt feelings abound. You have a view you work to hone and carefully articulate. Good and earnest people resist your view and argue against it. They may even suggest that it is a view unworthy of you. You remain unconvinced and argue back but manage to persuade few who did not start out on your side. You feel the polite condemnation of good and thoughtful people, yet you continue to think you are right. Perhaps you are even surprised people disagree with you on this topic. You try to be mindful of whose interests are primarily at stake and whose first-personal experience lends their views more authority in such contexts. You try to avoid defensively feeling like just because you have taken a public stand you cannot change your mind. You remind yourself you are not making a one-sided lawyerly case for a position but trying to reach a balanced overall assessment. You try to not let the mere professional status of those who argue with or against you unduly influence your thinking.  Others are joining your side but, or so it seems to you, less cautiously. The rhetoric and tone escalate around you. It seems the distinctions you were at pains to clarify are sometimes lost in some of the complaints about your view. You become agitated and start thinking “I can’t let this take over my day and this is getting unpleasant.”

Where do you go from there?

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By In Academia, Uncategorized Comments (9)

What to do Now about US College Sports?

Collegiate athletics is likely going to change significantly in the near future and we should think together about how we want to direct that change. Collegiate athletics is likely to become significantly more expensive soon as student-athletes will soon be paid or paid more. And there is a possibility that those expenses will further eat away at the academic “side” of higher education,

At most colleges and universities, athletics 1) already uses up too much money and is 2) given too much weight in admissions. Concerning 1, most athletic departments, especially outside the elite athletic conferences, are a net financial drain on universities. Revenue-generating sports currently help pay for non-revenue generating sports. It is often claimed, usually without much evidence, that this cost is compensated for by alumni giving which is motivated partly by alum bonding with the university through its high-profile sports teams and continuing to relate to it after they graduate via following its nationally prominent sports teams.  Further, concerning 2, prowess in athletics, like playing the tuba well, is an achievement that could reasonably give one an advantage in admissions. But prowess in sports currently is given a much larger role in admissions than similar prowess outside of sports. (more…)

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By In Academia, Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments (4)

CFP: Policing and Prisons (November 1st Deadline)

Policing and Prisons: Ethical and Political Questions about Law Enforcement and Incarceration 

The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy will take place in Bowling Green, Ohio, March 11th-12th, 2015. Our keynote speaker is Douglas Husak (Rutgers). Those interested in presenting a paper are invited to submit a 2-3 page abstract (double-spaced) by November 1st2015

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By In Academia Comments (1)

Religious Exemptions Conference at BGSU, April 17th-18th

Hi folks. I thought I'd post a reminder for anyone interested that Bowling Green State University is hosting a conference, "The Scope of Religious Exemptions," on April 17th and 18th. Our keynote speakers are Robert Audi (Notre Dame) and Andy Koppelman (Northwestern). Michael Perry (Emory) and Perry Dane (Rutgers) are presenting their work as well, along with Jocelyn Macclure, Lucas Swaine, Chad Flanders, Lori Watson, Christie Hartley, Simon May, Kyle Swan, Mark Navin, Naama Ofrath. Here's a link to our conference webpage. If you're available, you can register for the conference there. We'd love to have you!

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By In Academia, The Profession Comments (5)

Do cover letters for journal submissions make any difference?

I'm curious to know whether cover letters that accompany journal submissions make any difference — whether editors read them, whether the letters influence publication decisions, etc. I've always treated this as pro forma: "Dear Editors, Please consider this manuscript for a future issue ofthe journal," etc. But I've had scientists tell me that significant effort goes into crafting their cover letters because the significance of the work may not be obvious. Is that so in philosophy — that explaining the significance of a submission will help its publication chances?

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By In Academia, Normative Ethics, The Profession Comments (8)

What’s My Method?

I'm applying for an intramural grant to work on a perfectly ordinary, non X-phi, piece of philosophy. (I want to think about the claim that someone like a florist might make that being required to provide services to a same-sex wedding violates her freedom of association in light of On Liberty.) I'm required to spell out my "Study Design/Methodology." More specifically: "Provide a detailed account of precisely what will be done to answer the question(s) or test the hypothesi(/e)s. Include plans for the protection of human or animal subjects and the environment." I think that I can provide convicing assurances that my project poses little risk to the environment. But how have other philosophers finessed these questions about methodology that are obviously formulated with empirical work in mind?

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By In Academia Comments (1)

Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) needs our help

If, like me, you've been frustrated with all that's going on in Philosophy (or not going on as the case may be) and want to do something positive to help our profession, here's an opportunity. Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) is a weeklong summer school that brings undergraduates from underrepresented groups into graduate school for philosophy. It has been operating for nine years, in part with funding from the American Philosophical Association. That funding is no longer assured, and so PIKSI needs our help. Its organizers are running a crowd-funding campaign here. They are more than halfway to their modest goal. As noted over at Daily Nous, If everyone who reads this contributes just five dollars they would meet that goal in a day, easy. Go to the site, read about it (some interesting facts there), watch the video, and make a contribution. (Thanks to Serene Khader, the institute’s incoming director for bringing this to my attention.)

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