A theory of wellbeing contributes to explaining whether this or that state of affairs is a benefit or harm to a particular subject. A natural starting point from which to build such a theory is the subject’s valenced attitudes: I benefit from occurrences I like, desire, value, take a subjective interest in, etc. and am harmed by occurrences I dislike, desire not to happen, disvalue, take a subjective interest against, etc. Call this theory “Unrestricted Wellbeing Subjectivism.” The theory is unrestricted, since no state-of-affair types are excluded; that is, any occurring state of affairs that the subject takes a valenced attitude towards will benefit or harm that subject. There are several reasons philosophers have adduced in favor of restricting wellbeing subjectivism – i.e. in favor of stipulating that some specified types of events are ineligible to affect a subject’s wellbeing. One such source of reasons, against which I will defend unrestricted wellbeing subjectivism, is the problem of self-sacrifice.
Think about Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She is a smart, ambitious, independent young woman who trades her freedom for her father’s and over time comes to love the inconsiderate, dominating Beast who keeps her captive.
On one plausible reading, Belle’s case is a classic case of adaptive preference. By adaptive preference, I mean a preference that a person forms for an option in a limited set, that she would not have formed if other more expansive options had been available. And such preferences tend to raise problems for social and political philosophers and well-being theorists because they pull us simultaneously in two different directions: because they are the person’s own preferences, it seems that they are relevant to – perhaps even decisive in – determining what is good for her or how she should be treated; but because they involve settling for what she can get rather than a desire for what she would want if only it were available, they do not seem to capture what is genuinely good for her.
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…)
Upcoming Ethics Discussion, Feb. 8-10: Nandi Theunissen’s “Must We Be Just Plain Good? On Regress Arguments for the Value of Humanity,” with a critical précis by Richard Kraut
We’re excited to announce our next Ethics discussion, which will be about Nandi Theunissen‘s “Must We Be Just Plain Good? On Regress Arguments for the Value of Humanity.” The paper is available through open access here. Richard Kraut has kindly agreed to contribute a critical précis. Join us Feb. 8-10!
The UPDirectory publicizes information about philosophers who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups in philosophy. The purpose of the directory is to provide an easy-to-use resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the work of philosophers who belong to underrepresented groups within the discipline.
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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…)