CFP: phil art grad conference

Every year, the grad students here at UAlbany host a conference. The first one, a decade ago, was on epistemology. This year: philosophy of art!

The conference is always a lively event with great discussion. If you are a graduate student working in philosophy of art or doing work which has applications in philosophy of art, I encourage you to submit a paper and attend. If you know someone who fits that description, I encourage you to encourage them to submit.

Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics

10th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

University at Albany, State University of New York

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Keynote speaker: Dr. Christy Mag Uidhir, University of Houston

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

We invite graduate students to submit papers in any area of Philosophy of Art and/or Aesthetics.

Papers should be suitable for a 25 to 30 minute presentation (approximately 3,000-4,000 words). All submissions should be prepared for blind review and should include a separate document containing the following information: your name, paper title, an abstract of approximately 100 to 250 words, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, phone number, and where you saw this call for papers. Please submit papers via e-mail with ‘2017 Conference Submission’ in the subject line.

Acceptable formats are MS Word documents, RTF files, or PDF files. Please send submissions to uapa.submission<at>gmail.com

Please note: Housing can be provided for graduate student speakers. In addition, conference registration and all meals on the day of the conference are free for all conference attendees.

Submission deadline: Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

For more information about the conference or about the submission requirements, please contact Sydney Faught at sfaught<at>albany.edu.

link: philevents listing for the conference

News, macabre and otherwise

I have formed the kernel of a post about the election several times, but not typed anything. It’s complicated.

What’s less complicated is publication news. 😀

I was on Marius’ thesis committee, although I got involved after he already had a good sense of the project. He began with an interest in horror fiction, planted a beachhead on the small philosophical literature about it, and used that to foray into ethics and moral psychology. More briefly and less metaphorically: His work is nifty and original.

Weekend getaway

Guro Dan Inosanto in Syracuse 23oct2016
Guro Dan Inosanto; a poor snapshot, because I didn’t take very many pictures

Cristyn and I got back last night from a weekend road trip to Syracuse, where we attended a martial arts seminar with Dan Inosanto. It was the first vacation we’ve taken in a while.

My vacation schema for as long as I can remember is to take along a laptop and some books and to fill in-between time with philosophy. I’m not sure I can remember a vacation as an adult that didn’t have at least some of that. But not this time.

Instead, my head was filled with punches, kicks, sumbrada, trapping, and hubad lubud. There was definitely more going on than I could follow, but I had things to do and learn. Cristyn has done a lot of JKD, and so grokked more of the barehand material than I did. Also, in addition to Guro Inosanto, there were a lot of high level practitioners in the room who were happy to help out.

There was also fascinating history and storytelling, literal sitting at the feet of the master stuff. This included the quotable aphorism: “If I teach you, you will forget. If you discover it, you will not forget.”

The event was organized by Kevin Seaman and Tai Kai Jui Jitsu. Thanks to them and the other attendees for making it a great weekend.

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did Doing hubad with Dan Inosanto would be on it. And it would be checked off.

Synchronicity in blue

Tracy McMullen, a musician and scholar who plays saxophone and thinks about American vernacular music, was in Albany last weekend to collaborate with Cristyn on a musical project.

Making conversation at dinner on the last night of her stay, I asked if she’d heard of and had opinions about Mostly Other People Do The Killing’s Blue (an album that’s a note-for-note remake of the 1959 classic Kind of Blue). It turns out that she has a paper about it forthcoming in The Journal of Jazz Studies. Since I’ve also written about it, there was lots to say. A long discussion about covers, authenticity, and versioning practices ensued.

Since the number of people who have written scholarly articles about Blue is small, possibly just the two of us, it’s an odd coincidence. In some ways, though, it was like old times. I originally started thinking about the philosophy of music because of social connections through Cristyn, at grad school parties where I ended up in conversations with musicians. Although I met Tracy once or twice back then, I hadn’t really gotten a chance to know her until this weekend.

Tracy’s visit also made me nostalgic for my year at Bowdoin, since she’s now a prof there. I’m not struck by it often, but it doesn’t take much for me to be struck by that nostalgia.

Why values and science?

There are a number of different connections between values to science. These sometimes get lumped together in the values and science literature. Even when they are distinguished, it isn’t always noted that each connection (1) applies to somewhat different values and (2) applies to somewhat different aspects or parts of science.

I distinguish five different ways in which values and science are connected in a preliminary attempt to sort some of this out.

Continue reading “Why values and science?”

Consciousness nihilism

Jenny Saul at Feminist Philosophers links to a pretty funny list by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa of ideas which philosophers refuse to take seriously. It’s a sarcastic broadside at recent discussions about how contemporary philosophy won’t take X, Y, or Z seriously, where the dummy letters are racist and chauvinist crap.

I think #5 is my favourite:

5. Norse mythology (Marvel Comics version (Ultimate continuity))

you’ll find plenty of philosophers of religion offering arguments for Christianity or even atheism. but leading journals NEVER publish arguments defending the truth of the version of Norse mythology where Thor’s powers are more tech-based and he has an axe/hammer hybrid

I’m posting, though, because of #6:

6. consciousness nihilism

esteemed philosophers have argued for dualism, emergentism, panpsychism, and even zombies, but can you imagine what would happen to someone who argued there is no such thing as conciousness at all? no? thank you for proving our point

You totally can take that seriously!

Years ago, I wrote a paper advocating an interpretation of Quantum Mechanics which is nihilist about consciousness. It was published in a journal and everything.

What’s missing from my CV is serious discussion of tech-based axe/hammer hybrids.

The historian and the pope

For popular books, it is traditional to get a big shot to write an introduction in hopes that star power will increase sales. I remember countless science fiction books from when I was a kid with introductions by Isaac Asimov or Harlan Ellison. Stephen King later stepped into the role of ubiquitous introductions.

So there is a strange thrill from the fact that Naomi Oreskes wrote the introduction for Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality. Naomi, a geologist turned historian of science, was faculty at UCSD when I was a grad student. I took a course and an independent study with her, and she was a member of my dissertation committee. She’s since moved to Harvard and become a heavyweight in reflections on climate change. Her book Merchants of Doubt (with Erik Conway) is a fascinating study of the forces behind science denial.

Continue reading “The historian and the pope”

The scope and force of epistemic risk

By coincidence, my seminar on science and values covered Rudner’s Argument from Inductive Risk on the same day that Matt Brown posted an exchange about the Argument with Joyce Havstad. It’s taken me a couple of days to collect my thoughts.

Continue reading “The scope and force of epistemic risk”

UAlbany philosophy hiring

The UAlbany Philosophy department is hiring this year. If you know someone who’s a fit for the position, please encourage them to apply. The department is pretty congenial, and Albany is a nice place to be.

In terms of research specialty, we are looking in applied ethics broadly construed. We mention some things that could mean in the ad, but we are pretty open-minded about it. The backstop requirement is that a candidate must be OK with teaching an upper-division undergraduate course in Philosophy of Law pretty much every year.

The ad is on the UAlbany HR page and will be posted more broadly soon.

Area of specialization: Applied Ethics and/or Political Philosophy

The successful candidate will have a promising research program in the area of specialization. The Philosophy Department at the University at Albany is interested in building on its existing strength in the area of global justice, but will consider candidates working in other areas such as bioethics, environmental ethics, the intersection of political philosophy and philosophy of science, business ethics, etc.

The job involves teaching both at the graduate and undergraduate level. In addition to teaching in their area of research, the candidate should be willing to teach Philosophy of Law at the undergraduate level on a regular basis.