Over at the Leiter Reports, there’s beena lively discussion about irresponsible (or even abusive) advising and teaching in philosophy graduate programs. But the larger question is what is to be done?
Over the past few years, I’ve become aware of some interesting ethical dilemmas for editors and referees. I present five such dilemmas below: D1-D5. Some of these are ethical dilemmas that I’ve had to deal with as a moral agent. Others are ethical dilemmas that I, being the relevant moral patient, wish others had been more conscious of. And one of these is just a hypothetical case, at least, as far as I know. I’ve changed the names to protect both the innocent and the guilty.
I would be interested in hearing what others think would be the appropriate action to take in these cases. Also, if others have encountered other related dilemmas not mentioned here, please feel free to share them in the comments.
I’m curious what people think about the specialty ethics journals – which ones do you read? Which ones do you think are good? Which ones do you think other people read and think are good?
Here’s an ethical issue (actually, a pair of them) which I’m sure all of us have faced, or will. Sometimes students come to instructors seeking letters of recommendation – for graduate school, for jobs, for postdocs, or what have you. And sometimes these students are such that we could not, without dishonesty, write a fully positive and utterly enthusiastic letter. But there seems to be an expectation on the part of a lot of people – not only students who request these letters, but also those decision-makers who will read them – that every such letter should be completely positive, so that a letter that contains any negative comment at all will simply doom the person whom it ‘recommends.’
In light of this, there are three obvious strategies. (I’m sure there are more, but these seem to be the most obvious, and probably the most common.)
A quick alert to those who haven’t already seen it over at Fake Barn Country (or elsewhere): there’s a new ethics journal, the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. The first issue contains articles by Joseph Raz, Gideon Jaffe, and John Brunero.
Here’s the first paragraph of their editorial policy:
The Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy is a peer-reviewed online journal in moral, political and legal philosophy. The journal welcomes submissions of articles in any of these and related fields of research. Articles submitted to the Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy will be reviewed by the editors and external referees according to the highest academic standards. The journal is committed to speedy and efficient review, normally not exceeding 6 to 8 weeks from submission.
It’s nice to see growth in online journals in philosophy. Another noteworthy item about JESP is that they accept simultaneous submissions. (Of course, to take advantage of that, the other journal(s) to which one is submitting must accept simultaneous submissions, too.) It will be interesting to see if this catches on.
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!)