Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Theoretical Virtues in Science: Uncovering Reality through Theory

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2018.09.21 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Samuel Schindler, Theoretical Virtues in Science: Uncovering Reality through Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 249pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781108422260. Reviewed by Greg Frost-Arnold, Hobart and William Smith Colleges Samuel Schindler's book is an impressive achievement: it presents four interlocking arguments for scientific realism -- one central, the other three supporting -- that taken together are novel, interesting, and worth serious study. So if you are interested in new ideas in the scientific realism debates, I recommend reading it. Additionally, it will be useful to those who want an overview of the current state of the realism debates, because Schindler's explanations of the state of the art are clear and accurate. As his title signals, his arguments for realism all involve the theoretical virtues, such as empirical accuracy, simplicity, and fertility. Thus anyone working on, or even just. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Blasey & Kavanaugh I: Assessing the Claim

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While the Democrats did their feeble best to slow down the process, it looked like Brett Kavanaugh would sail through quickly and smoothly. Then an accusation by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came to light. Blasey claimed that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied the accusation. While the incident is alleged to have taken place over thirty years ago, his recent denial makes the event immediately relevant. After all, if it did occur, then Kavanaugh’s denial would be a lie (assuming he remembered the incident; if he did not, then his denial would merely be untrue). As such, the fundamental question is whether the claim is true. While it is common for such accusations to be met with attacks on the accuser, the Republicans have decided to focus on attacking the Democrats rather than Blasey. This is, of course, after some efforts to attack the alleged victim.  From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a smart approach. After all, the #MeToo movement. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

Teaching videos for the job-market?

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In the comments section of our newest "how can we help you?" thread, Jeremy writes: Something I've been wondering about: Do you think there is any benefit to taking videos of, e.g., lectures, talks/presentations, etc. and sharing them in one's portfolio in the relevant place? The advantage, I would think, is that it serves as further evidence of the kinds of claims one is making about teaching/research skills. My guess is that 99% of committees will ignore them, but that it couldn't hurt to put them out there. I'm reasonably confident about the former, but less so about the latter. In response, another reader wrote: [T]he catch is you have no right to video record your students. You would need them to sign release forms, and to be given the option to leave the lecture that day. Certainly this is the case in America. Fair enough - but suppose you were to get permission. Is there any chance of it benefiting a candidate by having a link to a teaching video in. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

The Government of Desire: A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject

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2018.09.19 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Miguel de Beistegui, The Government of Desire: A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject, University of Chicago Press, 2018, 295pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780226547374. Reviewed by John Protevi, Louisiana State University Miguel de Beistegui attempts here what Foucault called a "critical ontology of ourselves." His point of departure is examining the way we lead our lives as desiring subjects in the economic, sexual, and "symbolic" realms (the last being the necessarily intersubjective "desire for recognition"). Rather than being a commentary on what Foucault says, this book takes its lead from what he says but pushes it further, finding unexpected connections and new avenues of thought and practice. True to Foucault's methods, Beistegui looks to archival sources such as court transcripts and government documents, as well as to philosophers. He aims to denaturalize desire, to trace the ways we have been led to lead. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Postcard from Ravello

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Down to Ravello for a few days to do nothing-very-much, after a busy stay in Naples (not a city we knew at all). For holiday entertainment — having speedily devoured Kate Atkinson’s immensely readable new Transcription, picked up at the airport — I’ve been reading Norman Lewis’s classic Naples ’44. No, entertainment is the wrong word. The wartime diary is wonderfully well written, and often wryly amusing. But too many scenes are cruel reminders of how fragile our social order can be. Which makes this reader all the more angry at the mad Brexiteers’ casual destructiveness. And there I was, promising myself a temporary holiday from fretting about all that … The post Postcard from Ravello appeared first on Logic Matters.

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News source: Logic Matters

Phasing out letters from dissertation committees?

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In the comments section of our newest "how can we help you?" thread, Number Three asks: At what point should I stop asking dissertation committee members for letters of recommendation? Two years post-PhD? Four? More? I will be curious to hear what other people think. However, my own thoughts (based on my seven-year experience on the market and time on three search committees) are these: It is not at all clear to me that you should ever stop using letters from your committee. But it is a good idea get additional outside letters to supplement them. My only evidence for these two claims is admittedly anecdotal, but here it is... First, at one point while I was on the market (my third or fourth year), I tried cutting out a couple of letters from my dissertation committee--because I had several outside letters and wasn't confident that one committee member had written the strongest letter anyway. That was my single worst year on the market (I recall getting no. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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