The Philosophy Job Market

by Brian on May 17, 2004

Brian Leiter has a “nice response”:http://webapp.utexas.edu/blogs/archives/bleiter/001241.html#001241 to an article in the _Village Voice_ on “the job market in the humanities”:http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0417/kamenetz.php. I mostly agree with Brian’s points, though I have one or two nits to pick.

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Responsibility

by John Quiggin on May 17, 2004

It’s striking to observe that the Daily Mirror has more stringent standards of personal responsibility than the Blair government (or, for that matter, any government in the Coalition of the Willing).

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Hypothetical questions

by Chris Bertram on May 17, 2004

I’ve just notices Julian Baggini’s “piece about hypothetical questions over at Butterflies and Wheels”:http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/badmovesprint.php?num=40 . Baggini observes the politicians often bat away questions they don’t want to answer by observing that the point is hypothetical. This is a disgraceful move by politicians, but its televisual ubiquity means that many people now seem to believe that hypothetical questions are, by their very nature, illegitimate. And bad though this belief is among the general public, it now seems to be spreading among philosophy undergraduates who don’t seem to appreciate that their subject would be _impossible_ without such questions. I first noticed this phenomenon a few years ago, when sitting-in on a lecture my then-colleague Patrick Greenough. Patrick was running through some “Gettier problems”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettier_problem and had reached a familiar example involving a dog cunningly disguised as a sheep in a field (a real sheep being just out of sight behind a fold in the land). When Patrick asked whether the observer of the dog knows there is a sheep in the field, a hand went up in the audience: “Excuse me, isn’t that a hypothetical question?” Doh!

Best political philosophy/theory papers

by Chris Bertram on May 17, 2004

I know that a largish number of political theorists and philosophers read Crooked Timber, and some of them even write for it! I’m interested in opinions about the most significant journal papers in the field over the past 10 years (we can start with 1994 to keep things simple. I’m especially interested to hear about papers that others consider fine, but which have not received the attention they deserve. Here are five suggestions from me to start us off, some well known, others less so (post other ideas in comments):

Thomas Pogge, “An Egalitarian Law of Peoples”, _Philosophy and Public Affairs_ (1994).
G.A. Cohen, “Where the Action Is” , _Philosophy and Public Affairs_ (1997).
Michael Ridge, “Hobbesian Public Reason”, _Ethics_ (1998).
Elizabeth Anderson, “What is the point of equality?” _Ethics_ (1999).
David Schmidtz, “How to Deserve”, _Political Theory_ (2002).

UPDATE: With the permission of my co-bloggers, I’m moving this post up to the top again in the hope of getting a few more submissions. On a related note, I’m happy to see that two of my own selections (Anderson and Cohen) and a different paper from another one of my chosen authors (Pogge) are included in Matthew Clayton and Andrew Williams (eds) “Social Justice”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1405111461/junius-20 , my copy of which arrived in this morning’s post.

I recommend that you check out Wonkette’s dissection of the American Conservative Union’s 40th anniversary party. If I were the conservatives, I would have ‘accidentally’ neglected to send Ms. Cox an invitation, but we can all be glad that they were less prudent. Go on, it’ll give you that “thank god I’m on the left because conservatives are a bunch of big lamers” frisson that’s so cheering when all is bleak. (No, seriously. Who’s the coolest famous conservative in America? Jonah Goldberg. That’s just sad, people.) Highlight:

9:30PM No after party? Sure, there’s an after party. It’s in the bar, and the tab is being picked up by the ACU. A dozen twenty- to thirty-somethings, drinking beer. Luminaries (LaPierre, a Virginia congressman whose name I forget, Grover) come over to have hands kissed, say hi. As the night wears on, another difference between attendees at this event and the journo-types who dominated the others (WHCD, RTCA) emerges. . . how to put this delicately? Hmmm. OK: I have not had my rack checked out so brazenly and so often since I stopped going to Cozumel for Spring Break. What is it with the cultural conservatives? They’re all Ken-Starring me and shit.

In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz, “ha ha.”

UPDATE: Sophomoric and partisan, you say? A similar party by a Democratic group would be equi-lame, you say? It’s a fair cop. But you have to admit the Jonah Goldberg thing did sting a little.