Last year about this time, Kris McDaniel posted some important questions about the nature of the hiring process in philosophy, particular with respect to APA interviews. I’d like to resurrect one of Kris’s questions for a new round of discussion as well as add another.
I may be rehashing an old discussion–if so, please direct me to it–but I am trying to get a sense of what’s going on with the online journals in our field. I am asking with a number of different hats on all at the same time. I’ve got a crowded head these days! I’m involved in several publishing projects, I’m an academic administrator who gets called on for her views about publishing in my discipline, and I’m also trying to decide where to send my own work.
I had a conversation earlier this year with a faculty member who was recently appointed to emeritus status at a research university, a story that says a lot about the research climate in philosophy then and now.
As reported by Leiter HERE , our fellow Pea-Souper David Sobel has accepted an offer from University from Nebraska, Lincoln to become a ‘Chambers Professor of Philosophy’ there. This is great news and we should all congratulate him!
I am an advisor to a student organization at my campus, and in order to recharter the organization, I recently had to sign a document stating that I had read and would agree to follow the university’s anti-hazing policy. It reads (in part):
As many of you know, Michael Kelly, the executive director of the American Philosophical Association, recently resigned his position. This is just the latest evidence that the APA, the principal organization of American philosophers, is in crisis: The immediate precursor of Kelly’s resignation appears to be the APA’s handling (or perhaps, more succinctly, the Pacific Division leadership’s handling) of the controversy concerning whether to honor a local union’s call to boycott San Francisco’s Westin Hotel, the scheduled venue for the 2005 Pacific meeting.
But this is only another indication that a common impression within the field is correct: that the APA, at least at the national level, is adrift, and is failing to represent philosophy and the interests of philosophers well. (Indeed, by my count, Kelly’s resignation makes three executive directors in five years, not exactly what an academic organization needs in the way of stable leadership.) Indeed, my own informal survey of friends and colleagues within philosophy yielded few compliments of the APA and many concerns.
After reading this interview in which Rev. John Paris, a bioethicist at Boston College, discusses the Terry Schiavo case, I began to wonder about the absence of philosophers in public discussions of ethical issues. The Schiavo case raises all the issues that are the stock in trade of the contributors (and many of the commenters) at PEA Soup: the value and purpose of life, the moral obligations among family members, the significance of personal autonomy, moral disagreement in a pluralistic society. And that just scratches the surface. But it’s frustrating to see that of all the talking heads that emerge when an issue like this leaps to public attention, none are philosophers. (I’m not blaming us here at PEA Soup; CNN hasn’t called me to comment, and I’m assume that’s true of my fellow PEA Brains as well!)