Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Inefficiencies of Traditional Academic Writing

Most of the words in an average, considered-well-written paper are in some sense superfluous: for the right audience, you can usually boil it down to a few statements. That’s David Bourget, associate professor in philosophy, director of the Centre for Digital Philosophy at Western University, and one of the founders of PhilPapers and its related enterprises. Professor Bourget was recently interviewed by Eric Piper at Wiley Humanities about his career combining philosophy and computing. In a discussion of the potential of the PhilPapers Philosophical Survey (“PhilSurvey”) and similar projects, he notes philosophers’ ignorance about the prevalence of various philosophical views: [T]he mere publication of the data collected by PhilSurvey (without any fancy analysis) will by itself help move debates forward and improve the quality of communications. Right now philosophers are largely in the dark regarding where others stand on philosophical questions. This is something that Dave [Chalemers] and I showed with a pilot survey and an accompanying “meta-survey”, in which we asked respondents to guess the results of the main survey. We found that on average professional philosophers are off by 15% on philosophical claims. For a view that boils down to an answer to a yes/no question this could mean, for example, that the community on average believes the distribution of views is 50/50 when in fact it’s 35/65.  For many issues the discrepancy between the [More]

Triumphantly Breaking Free from Academic Philosophy, But Still…

In 2015 I received the National Humanities Medal at a ceremony at the White House. President Obama himself put the medal around my neck, and the rumor was that he made the final choice. In the speech he gave before awarding all the medals, in addition to citing my work on Gödel and Spinoza and Plato, he spoke of me as the philosopher who sometimes chooses to write novels. Again, the suggestion that I wasn’t any less of a philosopher for writing novels is what made me the happiest. That’s Rebecca Goldstein, in an interview with Clifford Sosis at What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? The interview is fascinating throughout. One of its themes is the intensity of the pull of academic philosophy for those within its gravity. Goldstein was a philosophy professor at Barnard when her first novel, The Mind-Body Problem, was published, to critical acclaim. She says: I did something completely insane for someone who had her heart set on an academic career in philosophy, especially as a woman, meaning someone who really had to do everything right to have any chance of being taken seriously. I published a novel, called The Mind-Body Problem… Shelly [Goldstein’s husband then] was horrified, warning me that I’d ruin my nascent career in philosophy, and obviously he was right, but I didn’t have the ears to hear what he was saying… The book received attention out in the world. It was a bestseller. And if being a novelist had been something I’d set my heart on then [More]

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Dr. Robert McKim
  • on Religious Diversity
  • Professor of Religion and Professor of Philosophy
  • Focuses on Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

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Dr. Alvin Plantinga
  • on Where the Conflict Really Lies
  • Emeritus Professor of Philosophy (UND)
  • Focuses on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

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Dr. Peter Boghossian
  • on faith as a cognitive sickness
  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
  • Focuses on atheism and critical thinking
  • Has a passion for teaching in prisons
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