Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Consciousness and Meaning: Selected Essays

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2018.09.24 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Brian Loar, Consciousness and Meaning: Selected Essays, Katalin Balog and Stephanie Beardman (eds.), Oxford University Press, 2017, 330pp., $75.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199673353. Reviewed by Joseph Levine, University of Massachusetts Amherst Brian Loar died in 2014 after a long illness. His widow, Stephanie Beardman, one of the two editors of this collection, explains that before his illness incapacitated him, Loar had arranged to have a collection of his papers published. Though he didn't live to see the project come to fruition, we are all grateful to the editors for making these seminal papers available in one volume. The collection has two sections, Part I on "Philosophy of Language" and Part II on "Philosophy of Mind". Most of the papers in the Language section were published before those in the Mind section, perhaps reflecting a shift in emphasis in Loar's work over the years (though, as I... . . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Are spirits in space? Exploding spirits and absolute theories of space and time

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Humans exist in space. Our bodies are three dimensional: we have length, breadth, and depth. In the 17th century, philosophers worried about what else exists in space. Teapots. Trees. Planets. All these things seem to exist in space too. What about spirits?Spirits are souls, the source of a person’s consciousness and emotions. Descartes characterised spirits as ‘thinking things’. Spirits aren’t solid or blocky like material bodies. Spirits are immaterial. Most Judaeo-Christian systems believe our spirits will survive bodily death. In the afterlife, our spirits will join God, an eternal and infinite spirit.Spirits seem quite different from human bodies, teapots, or trees. This led philosophers to ask, “Are spirits in space?” Until the 17th century, thinkers generally held one of two theories.Nullibism claims spirits do not exist in space. Spirits are utterly unlike human bodies or trees, and they are non-spatial. An attraction of this view is its simplicity: spirits aren’t in space,. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

Jumping ship: how to move from a tenure-track or tenured position to another

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When I was an innocent postdoc I could never understand why people, after finally resting from their labours and anxieties of the job market, would actually want to move jobs. Sure, there are offers you can't refuse (but few of us get those!), but why would you try to find another job if you're already in a tenure track, or even tenured? Now I can see many reasons for why people would want to move, including, but not limited to the following:  Lack of job prospects for a spouse, especially a problem if the spouse is an academic. It being a buyer's market, few schools offer spousal accommodation.  A high teaching load, e.g., 4-4 or even higher. I recently heard of someone who had a 6-6 load! Low wages, or too high cost of living in relationship to the salary The department is at risk of cuts or being closed down altogether (tenure does not protect against this) The department is plagued by in-fighting, harassment or other things that disrupt departmental. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

Jean François Lyotard

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[New Entry by Peter Gratton on September 21, 2018.] Jean-Francois Lyotard (1924 - 1998) was a French philosopher whose best known work - often to his chagrin - was his 1979 The Postmodern Condition. Written at the request of the Council of Universities of the Provincial Government of Quebec on the state of knowledge in the contemporary world, this work brought the term "postmodernism", already in use in other fields, such as the arts and literature, to the forefront of debates in Western philosophy, especially when published in English in 1984. The...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Ten $190K Research Grants–Requesting Proposals


“The Self, Virtue, and Public Life”

Nancy E. Snow and Darcia F. Narvaez


The University of Oklahoma, with a generous grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the topics of “The Self, Virtue, and Public Life.” The full RFP is available at:

Approximately ten research proposals at approximately $190,000 each will be funded through this initiative. This international grant competition has three primary aims:

  1. To support innovative research on the self, virtue, and public life.
  2. To encourage methodological innovation in the study of the self, virtue, and public life.
  3. To encourage interdisciplinary teamwork, specifically between social sciences and humanities, though scientists from other areas, such as neuroscience and the health sciences, are also welcome to apply with collaborators from the humanities.

A subsidiary aim is to support scholars who are new to the investigation of these topics or have not received funding elsewhere. Research collaborations between younger and more established scholars are especially encouraged. The central research themes we seek to explore through this RFP can be framed at the level of the civic virtues of individuals, as well as at the level of institutions. For a list of possible research questions, please see the full RFP.


Research into character and virtue is often conducted by scholars within a single disciplinary perspective – philosophers research by themselves, psychologists team up with each other, historians and anthropologists proceed from their own disciplinary perspectives. This disciplinary isolationism is not maximally productive of new knowledge about virtue. To ensure that research funded by this proposal closes the disciplinary gap, funded research teams must meet the requirement of “deep integration,” as explained in the full RFP (


Awards are intended to support research from August 1, 2019, through May 31, 2021. Letters of intent are due no later than December 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM, and must be submitted via an online portal linked to the project website. Full proposals are by invitation only and are due no later than March 15, 2019, at 11:59 PM. Further information is available in the full RFP, on our project website, and by contacting us by e-mail.

Project Website:

Full Request for Proposals:

Contact Email:

Work-life balance during the PhD?

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In the comments section of our newest "how can we help you?" thread, a reader asked if we could have a thread on work-life balance during the PhD. I'm probably not the best person to give tips here. On the contrary, I'd probably benefit from such a discussion as much as anyone! While I do have a couple of strategies for preserving some work-life balance--I never work in the evenings, and rarely on weekends--for the most I've never been able to achieve what I take to be a good work-life balance. During my PhD, when I felt like my life was too dominated by work and tried to cultivate a life and hobbies outside of academia, I ended up spending too much time on those things, and not enough time on work. Conversely, ever since I've become a faculty member, I've been on the opposite extreme, spending the vast majority of time on work, and not enough time (by my own estimation) enjoying life. In truth, I've never been very good at half-measures.. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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