Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Editorial and Advisory Board of Journal Resign En Masse

“We recount our small act of resistance here because we think there may be lessons for the wider academic community.” That sentence is from a blog post by the former editors-in-chief of the European Law Journal (ELJ), Joana Mendes (Luxembourg) and Harm Schepel (Kent), announcing their resignation, along with the resignation of all eight members of the journal’s board of editors and all ten of the journal’s advisory board members. They are resigning over conflicts with the journal’s publisher, Wiley, regarding how the editors of the journal should be chosen: In 2018, Wiley sought to appoint Editors-in-Chief without as much as consulting the Board of Editors and the Advisory Board, in a process both unfair to the prospective, excellent, new editors and in complete disregard of the integrity and autonomy of the academic community gathered in the Boards. The new editors withdrew, and the Boards resigned in protest. Wiley finally relented and agreed on an open competitive process administered by a committee of Board representatives leading to an appointment by mutual consent of the publisher and the committee. In the end, our recent negotiations with Wiley broke down on our one necessary if insufficient condition for agreeing to new terms: to simply have this process formalized in our new contract. It is a modest point, but one of vital importance: it clears the way to a model where Editors respond to the Board, not to the publisher, and where [More]

Increase in Hiring of Liberal Arts Majors Predicted for 2020

“The biggest workplace gaps throughout technology evolution will rely on the soft skills that are cultivated by a liberal arts education instead of technical expertise.” That’s the assessment of Dan Schwabel, business consultant, author, and entrepreneur, in this year’s edition of his “Top 10 Workplace Trends” column, published at LinkedIn. His selection of the top trends is based on “hundreds of conversations with executives and workers, a series of national and global online surveys, and secondary research from more than 450 different research sources, including colleges, consulting firms, non-profits, the government and trade associations.” Number 6 on his list of trends for 2020 is “the return of the liberal arts major.” Here’s Schwabel’s elaboration on this particular trend: AI will automate technical skills and drive the demand for soft skills like creativity, communicate and empathy. While there’s been such a focus on recruiting STEM over the past several years, those majors will continue to lose relevance, while liberal arts majors will become more valuable to companies moving forward. Since 2009, it was believed that STEM degree recipients would have job stability, and command high salaries, while liberal arts majors would be unemployable. The fact is that while liberal arts majors have lower starting salaries, their salaries rise much quicker over the course of their lives than STEM [More]

Advocating for Tech Firms to Hire Philosophers

I have spent the better half of the last two years trying to convince companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, DeepMind, and OpenAI that they need to hire philosophers. That’s Tobias Rees, Reid Hoffman Professor of Humanities at The New School and director of “The Transformations of the Human” program at The Berggruen Institute. In an essay at Quartz, Rees writes that tech companies “have helped create realities that we can no longer navigate with the old understanding of what it means to be human”: We need new ones—for ourselves, so that we are able to navigate and regulate the new worlds we live in, but also for the engineers who create tech products, tools, and platforms, so that they can live up to the philosophical stakes of their work. To make that possible, we need philosophers and artists working alongside computer and software engineers. Rees has in mind developments in artificial intelligence and related areas. He says: The vast majority of cutting-edge AI research is carried out in companies. The problem is that most of the people who lead these companies don’t know that they are radically reinventing our definition of what it means to be human. They think of themselves as just people who work at tech companies. One of the major ambitions of my work is to change this. I want these labs and companies to understand their enormous philosophical responsibility: the self-aware design of new possibilities of being human and of [More]

Philosophy Changes the Business World: Huffington Post

Another article on how philosophy can be practical and useful in the business world. “…philosophy has proved itself to be not only relevant but often the cornerstone of great innovation. Philosophy and entrepreneurship are a surprisingly good fit. Some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs and innovators come from a philosophy background and put the critical thinking skills they developed to good use launching new digital services to fill needs in various domains of society. Atlantic contributor Edward Tenner even went so far as to call philosophy the ‘most practical major.’” [More]

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