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The Link to Singer's editorial interview in Sydney Morning Herald

In case you haven't seen it yet:
Philosophy and carbon emissions: what should you think?

Australia doesn't have a right to continue to harm other nations,” Professor Singer said.

“[We], along with other industrialised nations, [have] taken a far bigger slice of the pie than [we have] any claim to. The pie in this case being the atmosphere's capacity to absorb greenhouse gases.

“By taking that big slice of pie we're … actually actively harming, by our continued emissions, other countries … who have much less capacity to cope with it than we do.”

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2 Phil undergrads wil Rhodes Scholarships

Andrew McCall, Truman State:
Parkway South graduate selected as Rhodes scholar - STLtoday.com

Andrew McCall Of TSU Named Rhodes Scholar : Sports : KTVO3

Geoffrey C. Shaw, Yale:
Yale Daily News - Two Elis garner Rhodes

A Branford College senior from Belvedere, Calif., Shaw will graduate this year with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and plans to pursue a bachelor of philosophy (a graduate degree) at Oxford, with a focus on legal philosophy, the Rhodes Trust said.


Yale student from Belvedere among Rhodes Scholars - ContraCostaTimes.com

Wesleyan grad, Yalie named Rhodes scholars

UPDATE 12-3:

Profile of Truman State's Andrew McCall.  read more »

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"But something far more troubling than Converse shoes is plaguing one of world’s oldest disciplines..." - Riva Gold, McGill

Riva Gold, phil major from McGill, has a highly entertaining commentary on the gender gap in Philosophy. While I don't want to minimize the concerns she is expressing, I just can't pass up some of these quotes, like the one in the title.

The Patriarchy of Philosophy: Women in philosophy departments find themselves pushed to the margins

Philosophy is one of those rare majors that, when declared, simultaneously elicits looks of reverence and contempt from others. Philosophy majors are often seen as meek hipster wannabes who emit foul odours and begin every sentence with “it is the case that.” And with good reason.

It took me nearly three months to learn what Hegel meant by “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” and I assure you, it was not fascinating.  read more »

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'Examined Life' hits the UK

I've been tracking reviews of this movie here, but since it has just opened in the UK, adn a whole new flock of reviews has arrived, I'll start a new post:

Examined Life Movie Review (2009) from Channel 4 Film

Examined Life, review - Telegraph - short blurb

Brain food: philosophy hits the big screen | Science | The Guardian

I thought I saw a bad review at one point, but I can't find it again. All of these are positive.


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Phil Prof wins Nevada 'Professor of the Year'

Congratulations to Tom Nickles, UNevada, Reno

Nevada News | University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno Philosophy Professor Tom Nickles has been named Nevada Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and its partner in the awards program, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education

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Sarkozy and Camus: The row

Ok, so I stumbled across this story in the Syndney Morning Herald, of all places. I didn't see it in le Monde, even though I have that on my iGoogle home page - selective attention, I guess. Anyway, it's an interesting little spat. Probrably nothing, but worth noting:

Nicolas Sarkozy Albert Camus grave

Jean Camus, one of the author's two surviving children, told Le Monde he suspected Mr Sarkozy wanted to ''hijack'' his father. Moving the remains from his grave near Avignon would be a contradiction of a man who wrote on the importance of humility and avoided state pomp, he said.

But Alain Finkielkraut, a media philosopher who has written on Camus, said Mr Sarkozy should not be vilified in this case.

''This row is unfounded,'' he told Le Journal du Dimanche. ''[Sarkozy] is honouring a great dead man and he is affirming Albert Camus as a component of the French identity.''

Here are the original articles:
Le fils d'Albert Camus refuse le transfert de son père au Panthéon - LeMonde.fr
and a commentary on the upcoming 50th anniversary of Camus' death:  read more »

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Phil Studet @ Truman State in MO wins a Rhodes

Congratulations to Andrew McCall, who won a Rhodes scholarship.  From the US News and World Report article:

Rhodes Scholars Announced for 2010 - US News and World Report

McCall is a senior at Truman State, where he majors in philosophy and religion. According to his Rhodes Trust biography, McCall is interested in the division between analytic and continental philosophy. He is a five-time Division II All-American in swimming, and he plays the violin for the Truman State symphony. McCall will pursue a bachelor's in philosophy at Oxford.

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'Marriage', Texas Law, Theories of Meaning - it's all one huge teachable moment.

Jeff Maynes, a colleague here at McDaniel, brought this language log discussion regarding the Texan Constitutional amendment that was 'intended' to ban gay marriage:
Language Log » Does marriage exist in Texas?
There's a long history of discussion included on that post, including a link to a 10/29/2005 post covering Scalia's theory of meaning. It doesn't matter if you're teaching ethics, PhilLaw or PhilLanguage, all of this is good fodder for a discussion / illustrative example.

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Singer engages with suburban Chicago highschoolers

The Daily Herald has a short piece covering a videoconference Singer did with some students at Dundee-Crown High School outside of Chicago.  Good for him. We need more of this:
Daily Herald | Carpentersville teens chat with world-renowned philosopher

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Does a healthy Democracy require assholes? From Canada! (with a shout-out to JFriedman)

The Edmonton Journal has an article-not really a review, not really a commentary--on Adam Morton's new book 'On Evil.' A long time ago, someone told me that if you want to know what main-stream philosophy will be doing in 5 years, check on what Adam Morton is doing now.  In 2004, when I was at WashU, Adam Morton said, in an off-hand comment during a talk, something like "I have a sneaking suspicion that Epistemology is just a branch of Bayesian Decision theory." 

And yes, I know that that's a fallacy to extrapolate from that anecdote. Here's the link:
Ill-mannered columnists may actually make world a better place

But if Morton is correct, even a healthy democracy like ours needs the bad, the boorish and the Neighbours From Hell. Their role is to push back against authority; to challenge rules by flouting them.

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Budget problems at UIC

The Chicago Flame has a profile on the Philosophy Department, noting some of the ways the department is dealing with budget cuts, such as:
Deep thoughts, deep problems? - News

...not all faculty have phones in their offices anymore. This was entirely voluntary: anybody who wanted to keep their phone kept it. Since some have cellphones [office phones weren't] necessary." [on page 2]

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And I thought that Norman Swartz' "Philosophy as Blood Sport" was bad:

2 Hurt in Philosopher Fight | News | The Moscow Times

A debate between philosophers at an international forum ended in a fistfight Monday that left two people slightly injured

Just in case you want to read Swartz' great article:

"Philosophy as a Blood Sport", by Norman Swartz, Dept. of Philosophy, Simon Fraser University


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Hobbes in Hebrew in the NY TImes

The Times Opinion page has a number of short articles speculating on the significance of the recent translation of Hobbes' Leviathan into Hebrew - and why it hasn't been done before:
Hobbes in Hebrew: The Religion Question - Room for Debate Blog - NYTimes.com

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60 years later, and students are still gullible as hell - the texts.

Vaughan Bell over at Mind Hacks posted a link earlier today to a classic 1949 paper by Bertram Forer titled "The Fallacy of Personal Validation a Classroom Demonstration of Gullibility. I love this paper.

I've used a variation of Forer's 'personality profile' in my Critical Thinking course for years. It's a fantastic example of vague language, appeals to flattery and other abuses of language.  I got my example via James Randi, who demonstrated the effect in a great episode of Nova a few years back.

While my analysis tends to be in fallacies of language, Forer himself says "Personality evaluations can be, and often are, couched in such general terms that they are meaningless in terms of denotability of behavior. Or they may have 'universal validity' and apply to everyone."  Forer gave his students a brief 'personality vignette' and asked to rate the degree to which the vignette "reveals basic characteristics of your personality" on a scale of 0-5. All vignettes were the same. The 13 items Forer included in each vignette were:  read more »

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World Philosophy day Nov. 16th

Did you know about this? It's all new to me.  UNESCO added 'World Philosophy Day' to their calendar in 2005. It is being celebrated in Paris, Moscow and St. Petersburg, but I don't yet know anywhere here. Here's a PR release from unesco.org:

World Philosophy Day 2009 - | unesco.org

UPDATE 11-15:Russia - MFA - UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day to Be Held in Russia

UPDATE 11-18:

Philippines - World Philosophy Day


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Hey! Gualtiero got a grant!

Congratulations G. Piccinini, UMSL, for winning a major grant from the NSF!
UMSL gets $120K to research human brain - St. Louis Business Journal:

The description says: "to help create a theoretical framework for combining psychological and
neuroscientific theories into a unified account of cognition." That's what happens when the PR person's brain breaks. I'm sure that he'll have something worth reading over at Brains shortly.

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Heidegger: Philosopher or Fascist? - the reviews are coming in!

Patricia Cohen of the NYTimes has a fascinating review in the Books section of Emmanuel Faye's soon-to-be-translated book "Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy":

Emmanuel Faye’s Book Questions Status of Heidegger - NYTimes.com  read more »

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