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Ken Taylor (1954-2019) (updated)

Kenneth Taylor, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, has died. Professor Taylor was known for his work in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, as well as serving as one of the co-hosts of the long-running radio show and podcast, Philosophy Talk. Professor Taylor taught at Stanford since 1995. Prior to that, he worked at Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, Wesleyan University, the University of North Carolina, and Middlebury College. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and his bachelor’s at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Taylor’s death, announced earlier today, was unexpected. Just yesterday he shared with friends on social media that he had nearly completed his next book, Referring to the World. You can read a detailed interview with Professor Taylor here. UPDATE (12/3/19): Krista Lawlor, chair of the Department of Philosophy at Stanford, shares the following: We are profoundly sad to announce that our colleague Ken Taylor died suddenly at his home yesterday evening. Ken was a beloved and important presence in the Stanford Philosophy Department for many years. Plans for a memorial will be announced on the department website. The post Ken Taylor (1954-2019) (updated) appeared first on Daily [More]

Ken Taylor (1954-2019)

Kenneth Taylor, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, has died. Professor Taylor was known for his work in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, as well as serving as one of the co-hosts of the long-running radio show and podcast, Philosophy Talk. Professor Taylor taught at Stanford since 1995. Prior to that, he worked at Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, Wesleyan University, the University of North Carolina, and Middlebury College. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and his bachelor’s at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Taylor’s death, announced earlier today, was unexpected. Just yesterday he shared with friends on social media that he had nearly completed his next book, Referring to the World. You can read a detailed interview with Professor Taylor here. The post Ken Taylor (1954-2019) appeared first on Daily [More]

Philosophers’ Scary Nicknames: A Halloween Game

Happy Halloween, philosofriends! To celebrate, I thought we could come up with scary nicknames for well-known philosophers. But there are some rules on how to do it… Using only the letters of a philosopher’s name, create a scary or evil-sounding nickname for that philosopher from some of them. You needn’t use all of the letters, and you can use the same letter as many times as you need to. You may add “the” if the nickname calls for it. Bonus points if the nickname is relevant to their ideas. (And don’t be mean.) Here are some examples: “Wicked” Henry Sidgwick Simone “Die More” de Beauvoir John “No Laws” Rawls Arthur “The Heart Eater” Schopenhauer David “Mad Mecha” Chalmers Susan “The” Wolf Your turn! Previous Halloween Posts: “Halloween Costumes of Famous Philosophers,” “Philosophy Horror Films“, “What Philosophical Idea Or Position Do You Find The Scariest?“, “Which Philosophy Ideas Make for Good Costumes?“, “Causes of Deaths of Philosophers”   The post Philosophers’ Scary Nicknames: A Halloween Game appeared first on Daily [More]

Learning, Without Illusions, From A Nazi Philosopher

I do take seriously Heidegger’s claim that some of his key philosophical ideas provided the basis for his political commitments. I have tried to understand how he might have conceived of those connections and to trace some of his efforts to develop those lines of thought. I don’t think that this renders his philosophy irredeemable but neither do I think that one can afford to ignore just how dangerous his enmity to Modernity is. That’s Mahon O’Brien, senior lecturer in philosophy at University of Sussex, in an interview with Richard Marshall at 3:16. Dr. O’Brien objects to those who use Heidegger’s Nazism as a reason to not take his ideas seriously, but just as objectionable are those Heideggerians who deny or downplay the Nazism, both in his personality and in his philosophy: A further challenge for someone like me, who wants to try and face up to Heidegger’s Nazism and deal openly with the fact that he himself insisted that the motivation for his political commitments and activities lay in key elements of his philosophy, is that one has to contend as well with a number of Heideggerians who refuse to acknowledge that there is a genuine problem here. Again, we can divide these types of Heideggerians up into different categories. There are the ‘flat Earthist’ types (they are not as common anymore, but they do exist); they insist that Heidegger was neither a Nazi nor an antisemite and are quick to try and suppress any discussion of this issue. Then [More]

Input Sought on New Questions for Upcoming PhilPapers Survey of Philosophers

A draft of the follow-up to the 2009 Philpapers survey of philosophical positions held by academic philosophers on various topics includes about 70 new questions. The survey’s creators, David Bourget (Western University) and David Chalmers (NYU), are seeking input from members of the profession about the new questions. (Previously.) The new survey will include the original 30 questions, plus 10 new ones that will be asked of all respondents, and 60 new ones that will each be asked of 25% of the respondents. So each respondent will be asked to answer around 55 questions. They will also be given the option to answer more, up to the total of around 100 questions. Here are the original 30 questions: A priori knowledge: yes or no? Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? God: theism or atheism? Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Logic: classical or non-classical? Mental content: internalism or externalism? Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Moral motivation: internalism [More]

Philosophers’ Pick-Up Lines

“I didn’t know that angels could fly so low. Or that angels even existed anymore now that God is dead… amiright???” That’s Nietzsche’s pick-up line, as imagined by Dan Caprera in a recent post at McSweeney’s. His other “famous philosopher’s pick-up lines” include: René Descartes: “I would rearrange the stars for you, babe… And, technically-speaking, it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE for me to rearrange the stars, because everything that is external to me is subject to skepticism and, as such, the only thing I can truly be certain of is my own, rational existence.” Jeremy Bentham: “Wanna maximize each other’s overall happiness, babe?” And of course: Immanuel Kant: “If loving you is wrong, babe… then I have a moral duty not to love you because loving you is an ethical decision that cannot be universalized.” …among others. One gets the sense that lines like these may have been what Manet had in mind when he painted this poor bartender: Nonetheless, I suspect some readers might be particularly good at coming up with additions to this list. Of course we needn’t be limited to the great historical philosophers everyone has heard of, so we have more to work with (just don’t be mean to the living, please). Here are a few from me: T.M. Scanlon: “No one could reasonably reject you.” G.E.M. Anscombe: “Them? They’re all idiots. I’m the only one who knows how you think. Let’s get out of here.” Edmund [More]

“Academic Philosophy Is Ruining Our Marriage”, Non-Hegel Versions

By now many readers will have seen the Reddit post written by a physicist seeking advice about what to do about her Hegel-obsessed philosopher-of-science husband. It was posted in the Heap of Links the other day, and all over social media—to the extent that “Hegel” was trending on Twitter. The post begins: My husband and I are both academics. We’ve been married for 3 years, and been together for 6. He is an academic philosopher and I am a physicist. He has recently expressed displeasure that I’ve never seriously engaged with his work. Now, I’ve read a bit… Unfortunately, everything he’s shown me has just seems completely insane. Here’s the problem: his work apparently involves claims about physics that are just wrong, and wrong in a very embarrassing way! She details some of those claims, points out various problems, and claims his pre-occupation with Hegel “has reached the point of creepiness,” noting that “he keeps a framed picture of Hegel on the nightstand in our bedroom.” The problem grows and culminates in a fight: Recently we got in a huge fight because he was trying to demonstrate an example of the Hegelian concept of the “unity of opposites” (whatever that means) by claiming that right and left hands are opposite but also identical. I told him this is just wrong and that right and left hands are not “identical” in any meaningful sense (chirality is a basic concept [More]

Two Philosophers Make British Academy Book Award Shortlist

The British Academy, the UK’s national organization for the humanities and social sciences has released the shortlist of candidates for its 2019 Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding. The £25,000 ($30,900) annual prize, established seven years ago, “rewards and celebrates the best works of non-fiction that have contributed to global cultural understanding and illuminate the interconnections and divisions that shape cultural identity worldwide,” according to an announcement from the British Academy. Six books made the shortlist, including two by philosophers: The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity (Profile Books) by Kwame Anthony Appiah  How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy (Granta Books) by Julian Baggini The other books on the list are: A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Allen Lane) by Toby Green Maoism: A Global History (Bodley Head) by Julia Lovell Remnants of Partition: 21 Objects from a Continent Divided (Hurst) by Aanchal Malhotra Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture (Verso) by Ed Morales There were originally 80 books under consideration for the prize. The president of the British Academy, Sir David Cannadine, says of the shortlisted books: Such rigorous, timely and original non-fiction writing provides the rich context the global community needs to discuss and debate present-day challenges. Each of the writers nominated for this year’s [More]

Sexual Harassment in Philosophy, Part 2 (guest post by Janice Dowell and David Sobel)

The following is a guest post* by Janice Dowell and David Sobel, professors of philosophy at Syracuse University, with help from several other philosophers. It is the second in a two-part series on sexual harassment in philosophy. Part 1 is here. Like the first installment, this one was also published at PEA Soup. Professors Dowell and Sobel have included some prefatory remarks for this post: Below is the second installment in our two-part series on sexual harassment in academia. In this installment, we discuss proposals for what individual philosophers and departments can do to prevent harassment and support victims. Some of these proposals will likely be controversial. The ongoing discussion of this topic is important; we hope people will carefully consider our proposals and the rationale offered for them. And while proposals for change frequently come with the risk of creating new problems, we hope people keep in mind that the status quo has very serious costs. Before those who disagree publicly express their dissent, I very much hope they will keep two considerations in mind:  (i) Whether the proposals advocated by the signatories to the statement below are warranted depends very much on what’s known about the rates of harassment and retaliation in academia and their impact on victims. Anyone who is unfamiliar with these facts will find it difficult to reasonably assess these proposals. So, we hope that anyone not yet familiar with the empirical data will first [More]

Philosophers Win ERC Starting Grants

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the winners of its latest round of “starting grants,” and among them are several philosophers. They are: Rafał Banka, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, for Mereological Reconstruction of the Metaphysical System in the Daodejing (€229,500 / $252,600) Jonathan Birch, London School of Economics and Political Science, for Foundations of Animal Sentience (€1,500,000 / $1,652,000) Jason Konek, University of Bristol, for Epistemic Utility for Imprecise Probability (€1,490,433 / $1,641,000) David Ludwig, Wageningen University, for Local Ecologies of Knowledge: Towards a Philosophy of Ethnobiology (€1,500,000 / $1,652,000) Rik Peels, Free University of Amsterdam and Medical Centre, for The Epistemology and Ethics of Fundamentalism (details forthcoming) Hanno Sauer, Utrecht University, for The Enemy of the Good: Towards a Theory of Moral Progress (€1,500,000 / $1,652,000) The starting grants program aims to “help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research across all disciplines.” There’s more information, including links to lists of all of the grant winners, here. The post Philosophers Win ERC Starting Grants appeared first on Daily [More]

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