Thursday, January 31, 2008

Club Notice - The University of Newcastle Philosophy Club 2008

The Executive, having had some preliminary discussions about the Club in 2008, is asking for comments and suggestions.

Having organised the Club since 2005, the aim for 2008 is to engage the large membership we attract. The Executive intends to maintain the anarchic organisational practice that it has long adopted. It is this will allow for members to organise a vibrant range of activities.

At present, the Executive intends to maintain the weekly discussion group and Dialectic.

The Executive is interested in suggestions for events and forums beyond the weekly meeting, and in hearing from members who would like to organise reading or specialised discussion groups.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Workshop for Beginning Researchers in Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney will be hosting ‘Philosophical Issues and Philosophical Methods’, a one day workshop in conjunction with the Australasian Postgraduate Philosophy Conference.

The workshop, on the 25th of March in the calm sandstone surrounds of the Quad, is intended for honours students and beginning postgraduate students in philosophy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Carnival Contempt Controversy

After the comments at the close of the Dead Philosophers' Carnival, some discussion has ensued regarding how appropriate the attitude was, and how appropriate it was (or not) to actually express it. Since I'm now acting unilaterally from my co-editor, I've posted this under my own login.

Two discussions of this (amongst other things) can be found at Jared's Sportive Thoughts and Annie's Anniemiz

I had no intention of portraying the editorial team as infallible, but philosophy is a cause that I willingly confess to being passionate about.

On Snark

I think Annie of Anniemiz presents a decent discussion of public 'snark' and I'd like to address a few of the points that she makes. She asks what it is that expressing such an opinion adds to the discussion or what it actually achieves and offers some ideas.

Yes, it does inform the authors that their work stinks. But, from what I read, the authors should already have known that (more on that later). Whether or not this is helpful in terms of their philosophy (of which, I maintain there was littler or none anyway), depends on what exactly was the problem. If someone has made a genuine effort, but simply wasn't very good, I probably would have included them - and I would not have spoken to them that way. If, as I found, you are dealing with people who think that any passing fancy or opinion counts as philosophy, then being humbled can be very helpful - I should know, I've been there.

It is somewhat satisfying to make such comments, but as Annie well knows, only for a short time. And I concede it probably has not improved me. But it certainly wasn't easier to say it rather than not.

I agree also that public 'snark' can detract from the evaluation of it's subject. But since I didn't include publicly name the targets, that clearly was not my intention.

I had two aims: I wanted to send a clear message to those people that not only what they submitted was unacceptable, it evidenced a level of laziness and arrogance that I took to be an expression of contempt for the Carnival and for the practice of Philosophy itself, and that I would not let it go unanswered. I like to think that if Socrates was alive and hosting he would be at least as rude.
Secondly, I wanted to provoke a discussion regarding the expression of such attitudes, as it is something of a point of contention.

I think maybe I could have used less snark, but I won't settle for no snark at all.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dead Philosophers' Carnival - The 60th Philosophers' Carnival.

Welcome to the Dead Philosophers’ Carnival - The 60th Philosophers' Carnival.

The death of Socrates marks one of the most significant moments in the development of philosophy. It is one of the landmarks in the development of Plato’s thought, and thus influential on all who have laboured under his tutelage. It is also one of the deaths that have a presence in the history of philosophy; a notable elder sibling to the deaths of Seneca, Boethius, Nietzsche, and Foucault.

The death of a philosopher marks the conclusion of their endeavours. In some cases it comes at the end of substantial contribution, in others it comes a little too early.

The intent of this Carnival – the first in what, it is hoped, will be an annual series – was to provide an opportunity for the students of philosophy to reflect on the contributions made by those who did not see the close of 2007. Admittedly not everyone stuck to the theme, but if philosophers always did what was asked of them, where would we be?

Duckrabbit starts the proceedings with a discussion of the work of Richard Rorty, one of the most high-profile philosophers to die in 2007 with: Is Rorty a "textualist"? And if so, is that bad?

Inconsistent thoughts provides a retrospective of Paul Cohen’s work on the Continuum Hypothesis: On Cohen and CH

VirtualPrimate gives an excellent summation of the Humanist philosophy of of Kurt Vonnegut jr: Goodbye Blue Monday : Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 1922-2007

Philosophy etc talks not about someone in particular who died, but about the end of one’s life itself with: Death's Deprivations

Enigmania nominated two other posts of note relating to the work of philosophers who passed in 2007:

Religious Pluralism and Consistency relates to Jewish religious philosopher Ernst Ludwig Ehrlic’s work


Monty Hall and Interpretations of Probability is in the area of the late Henry E Kyburg Jr, well known for his contributions to both Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence.

And now to the other articles of philosophy worthy of inclusion, but sadly off-theme.

Pete Mandik of Brain Hammer assures us that: Your Brain is Reading This. And who are we to argue?

Andrew Moon of Show-me the Argument asks us to consider how much similarity is there between The Train Case and the Hospital Case ?

Gualtiero Piccinini quizzes us on out semantic intuitions (I have none, Kripke has ruined them) - Will You Share Your Semantic Intuitions?

Nothing of Consequence revisits some earlier work on Sequent Calculus in: Operational meaning and global meaning in sequent calculus.

And finally, Thom Brooks at The Brooks Blog outlines some of the pitfalls awaiting us when we try to get a book deal with: Some of the worst advice on publishing (Graduate Students note: Thom's blog is packed with good advice in many relevant areas!)

To all the contributors who made the cut, especially those who stuck to the theme, well done and keep up the good work. The Editors appreciate the effort that you went to.

With only one exception (the article was good, but not actual philosophy), the rest of the submissions we received were essentially political, commercial or religious spam and/or total and utter drivel. Those people will get nothing from us except pure contempt. You know who you are.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Publication Notice – Colloquy

Issue 14 of Colloquy (December 2007), out of Monash University, has recently been published online. Issue 14 takes utopia as its theme.

Dead Philosopher’s Carnival – Closing Call!

A brief note to remind those inclined to submit to the First Dead Philosopher’s Carnival - to be hosted here next week - that it would be most appreciated if they did so by tomorrow.