Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Is X-Phi P-Hacked? (guest post by Mike Stuart, Edouard Machery and David Colaço)

Has experimental philosophy (“X-Phi”) exhibited signs of “p-hacking”? In this guest post*, Mike Stuart (Geneva), Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh), and David Colaço (Mississippi) report their findings. Is X-Phi P-Hacked? by Mike Stuart, with Edouard Machery and David Colaço Journals in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine pretty much only accept papers with significant p-values, usually setting the significance level at 0.05. Given that scientists are under immense pressure to publish often, and their papers will only be accepted if they report a p-value of 0.05 or lower, they may be tempted to make choices that help them reach this level. Without cooking the data, a significant p-value can be obtained in a number of ways, collectively known as p-hacking: You can perform statistical testing midway through a study to decide whether to collect more data (“optional stopping”); you can simply collect masses of data and then perform statistical tests on your data until something shows up (“data dredging”); you can drop outliers or rearrange treatment groups post hoc, etc. P-hacking is one of the main culprits for the replication crisis in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. But what about experimental philosophy? Does it also suffer from p-hacking? In a paper just published in Analysis, David Colaço, Edouard Machery, and I examined a corpus of 365 experimental philosophy studies, which includes pretty much all the studies in x-phi from 1997 to 2016. We [More]

Recently Published Book Spotlight: Subjects That Matter

This edition of the Recently Published Book Spotlight is about Dr. Namita Goswami. She is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Indiana State University. Her work combines continental philosophy and postcolonial, critical race, and feminist theory. She is the author of Subjects That Matter: Philosophy, Feminism, and Postcolonial Theory (SUNY 2019). She is also co-editor [More]

“Frustration, Mediocrity, and Drama”

A year in the academic life of the typical Nigerian philosopher is a long one defined by frustration, mediocrity (either self-imposed or externally imposed) and drama. The drama aspect revolves around violent student activism leading to university closures, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) industrial actions, blood-letting on university campuses by students who are members of violent cults, the intrigue surrounding the selection of new vice chancellors, the latest corruption scandals, political interference in university administration, or accusations of sexual harassment directed at prominent professors… Those are the words of Ada Agaba (University of Calabar, Nigeria) in a post at The Philosophers’ Cocoon that highlights the challenges faced by philosophers in Nigeria. Poor research funding, outdated libraries, and corrupt administrators and colleagues are common problems, and give rise to frequent strikes by the university teacher’s union, which in turn means that the public universities have, in practice, “no fixed academic calendars.” Political and ethnic favoritism “is the norm” in hiring. The “collapsing academic system” in Nigeria hinders education and research there and the opportunities for interaction between Nigerian philosophers and those elsewhere, and so provides yet another example of the ways in which “what philosophy is” is affected by the contingencies of economics, politics, [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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