Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

How to Write a Referee Report (guest post by John Greco)

The following is a guest post* by John Greco, who is currently Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy at Saint Louis University, but will soon be taking up the McDevitt Chair in Philosophy at Georgetown University. It first appeared at The Philosopher’s Cocoon. How to Write a Referee Report  by John Greco I am sure that there will be varying opinions about how to write a referee report. In keeping with the spirit of this series, I here offer my own opinion, based on my own experience as someone who has written and read quite a few such reports. I have written them as a referee, of course. I have read some as an author, but many more as the editor of a major philosophy journal. It is this last perspective, I believe, that is most useful for present purposes. For referee reports, remember, are written primarily for journal editors.[1] That is, the defining purpose of a referee report—its raison d’etre—is to help a journal editor to make a decision about a submission. And that is what gives us insight into the criteria for a good referee report. Already I have said something (at least one thing) that is substantive and controversial. That is, I don’t think that everyone would agree that this is indeed the primary purpose of a referee report. Many writers of such reports seem to think (or at least this is what I gather from reading their reports) that referee reports are primarily directed at authors, and for the purpose of improving the paper [More]

The Political Views of Philosophy Majors

U.S. philosophy majors in the are more likely to have favorable attitudes towards socialism than undergraduates majoring in other subjects, according to a new poll by College Pulse. The poll surveyed 10,590 undergraduates. According to it, 39% of philosophy majors had a “very favorable” view of socialism, more than any other major and nearly double that of the next highest group—English majors—at 21%. Another 39% of philosophy majors have a “somewhat favorable” view of socialism, leading both College Pulse and Newsweek to report the results with this headline: “Almost 80% of Philosophy Majors Favor Socialism.” (Note to journalists: if you write about philosophers, you can expect them to point out things like the equivocation between the modest sense of “favorable” in the poll questions and the all-things-considered comparative implication of “favor” in the headline—that is, having even a very favorable view of socialism does not imply that one favors socialism over its alternatives.) Below is a graph showing the poll results for several majors. You can read more about the poll here and see some demographic details here. The post The Political Views of Philosophy Majors appeared first on Daily [More]

Gender, Topics, and Publication: Clues from Political Science?

A new study in political science provides evidence for an explanation of why “women are more likely to leave the profession than men” and why “those who stay are promoted at lower rates.” The study, “You Research Like a Girl: Gendered Research Agendas and Their Implications,” looks at the gender distribution of authors on various topics in political science and then checks to see how well those topics are discussed in top political science journals. The authors, Ellen M. Key (Appalachian State) and Jane Lawrence Sumner (Minnesota), used dissertation topics in political science to determine the gender distribution on specific topics and created the following chart depicting them: They then asked, “Are topics most favored by women less likely to appear in top journals?” adding: If this were true, it could provide an explanation for the leaky pipeline. That is, if women pursue topics that—for whatever reason—are less likely to be published in major journals than topics pursued by men, they may fare less well in tenure and promotion and therefore be less likely to be promoted or more likely to leave the discipline. If “appearing in the top three journals” is also a heuristic for being valued by the field as a whole, this could indicate that topics written about more often by women may be less valued by hiring committees, suggesting another pathway by which women may leave the discipline. They looked at three top [More]

Publishing Philosophy One Doesn’t Believe

“Is there anything wrong with publishing philosophical work which one does not believe?” That is the central question of “Publishing Without Belief,” a recent article in Analysis by Alexandra Plakias, assistant professor of philosophy at Hamilton College. Professor Plakias argues that publishing without belief is not wrong: “the practice isn’t intrinsically wrong, nor is there a compelling consequentialist argument against it.” Here are some of the reasons she offers for her answer: “requiring philosophers to publish only what is true, or what they know, advantages philosophers with more permissive standards for knowledge or truth, while disadvantaging those with higher standards.” “biographical information about the author—including his or her personal convictions—should be… irrelevant to assessments of the merits of their argument… we don’t necessarily base our acceptance of an argument on the speaker’s (or author’s) attitude towards it.” Publishing without belief doesn’t necessarily involve hypocrisy, lack of thoroughness, or insouciance (bullshitting). “The speaker (or writer) who doesn’t believe her argument isn’t telling her audience that she believes what she’s saying—she’s asking the audience to believe it.” We don’t have sufficient reasons to think that “a philosopher won’t whole-heartedly defend a view she’s put into print, even if she isn’t [More]

Philosopher Named to New State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo earlier this week announced the creation of a new “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” comprised of scholars and activists interested in various dimensions of human rights, law, and religion, to provide him with “advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Among the dozen individuals named as members of the committee is University of South Carolina Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Department of Philosophy Chair Christopher Tollefsen. The commission will be led by Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard Law) and also includes Russell Berman (Stanford, Hoover Institution), Peter Berkowitz (Hoover Institution), Paolo Carozza (Notre Dame Law and Political Science), Hamza Yusuf Hanson (Zaytuna College), Jacqueline Rivers (Seymour Institute), Meir Soloveichik (Rabbi, Congregation Shearith Israel), Kiron Skinner (State Dept.), Katrina Lantos Swett (Lantos Foundation), David Tse-Chien Pan (UC Irvine), and Cartright Weiland (State Dept.). Pompeo said: I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to say or claim that something is, in fact, a human right? How do we know or how do we determine whether that claim that this or that is a human right, is it true, and therefore, ought it to be honored? How can there be human rights, rights we possess not as privileges we are granted or even earn, but [More]

Should We Get Rid of Peer Review?

“Where philosophers of science have claimed the social structure of science works well, their arguments tend to rely on things other than peer review, and that where specific benefits have been claimed for peer review, empirical research has so far failed to bear these out. Comparing this to the downsides of peer review, most prominently the massive amount of time and resources tied up in it, we conclude that we might be better off abolishing peer review” That’s from the introduction of a new paper by Remco Heesen (Western Australia) and Liam Kofi Bright (LSE), “Is Peer Review a Good Idea?“, in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. According to Heesen and Bright, the empirical evidence for the effectiveness of peer review in assessing the quality of research is “mixed at best.” Peer review’s limited effectiveness would perhaps not be a problem if it required little time and effort from scientists [which the authors use broadly to include researchers working in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities]. But in fact the opposite is true. Going from a manuscript to a published article involves many hours of reviewing work by the assigned peer reviewers and a significant time investment from the editor handling the submission. The editor and reviewers are all scientists themselves, so the epistemic opportunity cost of their reviewing work is significant: instead of reviewing, they could be doing more science. Their [More]

G.E. Moore – his life and work – Philosopher of the Month

G.E. Moore (1873-1958) was a British philosopher, who alongside Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein at Trinity College Cambridge, was a key protagonist in the formation of the analytic tradition and central figure during the “golden age” of philosophy. The post G.E. Moore – his life and work – Philosopher of the Month appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesHow feminism becomes a tool of neo-imperialismIt’s not you, it’s me: the problem of incivilityLGBT Pride month timeline: The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall [More]

Lyons from Arkansas to Glasgow

Jack C. Lyons, currently professor of philosophy at the University of Arkansas, will be moving to the University of Glasgow. Professor Lyons, who works mainly in epistemology, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind, will be taking up the Chair of Logic and Rhetoric at Glasgow (a position once held by Adam Smith, among others). He will have an appointment at the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience and be a member of the steering group for Cogito, the Glasgow epistemology research group. Professor Lyons begins at Glasgow in January, 2020.   The post Lyons from Arkansas to Glasgow appeared first on Daily [More]

Philosophy on Twitter & YouTube – Quarterly Update

Here’s the “Philosophy on Twitter & YouTube” Quarterly Update from Kelly Truelove of TrueSciPhi. Philosophy on Twitter & YouTube – Quarterly Update (Q2 2019) by Kelly Truelove TrueSciPhi.org features a variety of lists and statistics regarding philosophy communities on social media including Twitter, podcasts, and YouTube. For project background, please see the previous quarterly update. This update focuses on philosophers & philosophy organizations on Twitter. Twitter Follower Growth The TrueSciPhi site tracks over 500 philosophers on Twitter who each have over 1,000 followers. Lists of those who have gained the most followers (on a percentage basis) in the past week, month, quarter, and year can be found here. The top gainers in Q2: 1K-10K followers 10K+ followers @apsullivan 143% @jasonintrator 44% @DSilvermint 129% @christapeterso 29% @emilytwrites 46% @MarinaGarces 28% @AmneMachin 44% @phl43 26% @RebeccaBuxton 43% @Docstockk 25% @jennfrey 43% @scottjshapiro 21% @rinireg 41% @Roger_Scruton 19% @lsanger 41% @kate_manne 18% @morallawwithin 39% @ShaikhaBinjasim 17% @philosophiclee 37% @BenceNanay 16% None of the accounts in the 1K-10K tier were on the equivalent list for Q1. In contrast, six of the accounts in the 10K+ tier are making repeat appearances (@jasonintrator, @Docstockk, @Roger_Scruton, @kate_manne, @ ShaikhaBinjasim, and @BenceNanay), and a seventh (@christapeterso) previously was on the 1K-10K tier list. Tiering accounts in this [More]

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