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The Academic Parent's Dilemma: Should I spend less time doing research?

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I recently became a parent for the second time. As a result, I now have two children under the age of 2 (well, technically, the first just turned 2 at the time of writing and will probably be 2 and a bit by the time you read this). As all parents know, being a parent is both rewarding and challenging. One of the obvious challenges, and one that I have been struggling with a lot, is that of figuring out the appropriate work-life balance. Given my academic predilections, it is no surprise that I tend to think of this issue in moral and philosophical terms. The question arises: What are my duties, as a parent, with respect to the amount of time I spend caring for my children and the amount of time I spend doing research-related work? Should I spend more time doing the former and less doing the latter? To sharpen the question: most of the time I spend on research is optional. There is no one cracking a whip and forcing me to read books and write articles. I do it largely because I enjoy doing it. It is true that research is, officially, part of my contract of employment; but it is also true to say that this part of my contract is weakly (if ever) enforced. This creates something of a moral dilemma every time I sit down to write an article or do some other research-related task. I have to ask myself: should I be doing this or should I be spending the time with my children? The following article is my attempt to answer that question. Not to bury the lede: my conclusion is that, in most cases where I have a choice, I should probably opt to spend more time with my kids. That said, there are some countervailing considerations and they are worth taking into account. 1. The Case for Sacrificing Research for Time With Kids Let me start by outlining an argument for thinking that one ought to spend more time with one’s children. This argument formalises the intuition motivating this article: that there is something ethically or morally questionable about dedicating time to. . .

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News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

Korean Confucianism

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[New Entry by Kevin N. Cawley on November 24, 2021.] Koreans have been key players in Asian intellectual history and have historically been great propagators of intercultural adaptation. The "Three Teachings" of China, in the form of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism (sometimes written "Taoism"), had all made their way into Korea by the fifth century CE, blending with the pre-existing institutions and culture there. Korean Confucians had used Confucian ideas, especially those advocating hierarchy and moral leadership, to bolster a powerful state bureaucracy in order to...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Molyneux’s Problem

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[Revised entry by Marjolein Degenaar and Gert-Jan Lokhorst on November 23, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] On 7 July 1688 the Irish scientist and politician William Molyneux (1656 - 1698) sent a letter to John Locke in which he put forward a problem which was to awaken great interest among philosophers and other scientists throughout the Enlightenment and up until the present day. In brief, the question Molyneux asked was whether a man who has been born blind and who has learnt to distinguish and name a globe and a cube by touch, would be able to distinguish and name these objects simply by sight, once he had been enabled to see....

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Philosophy of Contract Law

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[New Entry by Daniel Markovits and Emad Atiq on November 23, 2021.] The law of contracts, at least in its orthodox expression, concerns voluntary, or chosen, legal obligations. When Brody accepts Susan's offer to sell him a canoe for a set price, the parties' choices alter their legal rights and duties. Their success at changing the legal landscape depends on a background system of rules that specify when and how contractual acts have legal effects, rules that give the offer and acceptance of a bargain-exchange a central role in generating obligations. Contract...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

al-Farabi’s Metaphysics

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[New Entry by Stephen Menn on November 22, 2021.] "Al-Farabi's metaphysics", as understood here, means not just his views, and arguments for those views, on a series of metaphysical topics, but his project of reconstructing and reviving metaphysics as a science. This is part of his larger project of reconstructing and reviving "the sciences of the ancients": his scientific project in metaphysics is inseparable from his interpretation and assimilation of Aristotle's Metaphysics. We start with some motivation...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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