At Daily Nous, Curtis Franks provides a summary of OER and free logic textbooks and courseware. On Mastodon, Anthony Eagle comments: “It is so great that there is so much effort by philosophers on this part of the textbook market; maybe we should now turn to other areas.” I sympathize.
I’ve written OER notes on scientific inference, which cover the difference between deduction and induction, problem of inductions, and underdetermination. I’ve often thought I should extend it out to be a whole textbook. There are several reasons that I haven’t.
Continue reading “Textbooks in philosophy”
In my Pragmatism course, I spend a week on the transcendentalists before getting to pragmatism as such. Setting things up this time, I realized that I’m still using the PDF of Theodore Parker’s “Transcendentalism” lecture which I scanned back in 2003. It’s not pretty. Since the essay is in the public domain, there should be something better. So I started from the OCR text, cleaned it up, set it up in LaTeX, and generated a nice PDF.
I have posted it as part of my repository of free texts in pragmatism and American philosophy.
Continue reading ““Transcendentalism” and other free stuff”
My book, A Philosophy of Cover Songs, was published by Open Book Publishers. They are, as their website says, “a not-for-profit Social Enterprise run by academics who are committed to making high-quality and prize-winning research available to all, and… the hub of choice for a rapidly increasing international network of scholars who believe that it is time for academic publishing to become fairer, faster and more accessible.” They were my first-choice publisher for the book, and my experience with them has been great.
Continue reading “Why I love my publisher”
I just found out today that my book on the philosophy of cover songs has been accepted for publication! Both referees said that the manuscript could be published as is, but of course went on for pages with comments about how it might be improved.
Continue reading “Celebration and title ruminations”
It’s been a while since I’ve complained about the narrow understandings of open access that too many people have got, but I’ve been meaning to post about Keith Burgess-Jackson’s provacatively titled Why I Publish in “Predatory” Journals—and Why You Should, Too. He argues rightly that open-access journals have several advantages over traditional journals, but fails to imagine relevant alternatives. To summarize the advantages he discusses:
- Audience: More people will read a freely available article than one that’s only available to subscribers and pirates.
- Publication speed: Traditional journals can be slow both to review an article and to put it into print.
- Length: Traditional journals often won’t publish papers longer than 7-8,000 words.
- Ownership: Traditional journals often require authors to relinquish copyright.
- Referees: Journal referees often respond in obtuse ways. They either reject a paper for weird reasons or demand unnecessary changes.
On the basis of these reasons, he argues that (a) we should stop publishing in traditional journals and (b) we should start paying open-access journals to publish our papers.
This is the falsest of false dilemmas, and the recommendation he arrives at is pretty bad.
Continue reading “Open access and the falsest of false dilemmas”
I’m teaching a seminar on pragmatism again this semester, so I’ve updated some of the texts in my pragmatism and American philosophy repository. My habits for using git are terrible, so lots of small changes got swept together in one giant update.
The big addition is LaTeX and PDF files for William Clifford’s “The Ethics of Belief.” Although it’s in the public domain, I was unable to find an unabridged version anywhere on the net. So I spent some time today making one. Starting from OCR on a scan of the 19th-century original, I fixed the formatting, cleaned up the transcription, and whatnot. There may still be some errors, but it’s better than anything else I could find.
The update also adds the third lecture to James’ Pragmatism.
I’m teaching Introduction to Logic for the first time in several years. The course text is my own forall x. It’s always been an open textbook, even back before I had good vocabulary for explaining what that means. But now it’s available from SUNY OER Services, and they’ve partnered with SUNY Press so that my students are able to buy a hardcopy from the campus bookstore for just $8.50.
Working through it this time, I’ve hit a couple of things which I am considering changing.
Continue reading “Revising details in forall x”
Over on Facebook, Matt Brown linked to my previous post and some interesting discussion ensued. In one sub-thread, Matt makes some distinctions between different types of OA. He mentions one I hadn’t seen before, Copper OA, coined by Egon Willighagen and defined this way:
1. the author(s) remain copyright owners,
2. the work is made available under an Open license to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works in any digital medium for any purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as any further rights we associate with Open as outlined by, for example, the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
This is kind of a mess, resulting in part from the collision between the push for open access in academia and the older open source software movement. When I wrote forall x, back in 2005, most people could only understand it on analogy with open source software. Now, more people know about Creative Commons licenses. And CC licenses are just a better framework for licensing text than free software licenses are.
It’s important to note that there are at least two dimensions of ‘open’ which are getting conflated here.
Continue reading “Flavours of Open Access”
There are lots of times that I find a reference or a link to a paper that looks like it could have something to do with a topic that I’m researching. If there is a readily-available version of the paper, then I read it. If it is in a closed-access journal, then I may check to see if I have access through my university library. Especially for recent or on-line first papers, the answer is often no.
At this point, I could request a copy by interlibrary loan or e-mail the author to ask for a copy. Sometimes I do these things, but only sometimes. There isn’t time to chase down copies of every possibly-relevant paper. So there are papers I never read that would be useful if I did look at them.
I used to feel guilty about this, but I’ve decided that I’m over it.
Continue reading “I’m not going to feel guilty about not reading your closed-access paper”
Over the years, I’ve prepared a number of different texts to give to my own students. For example: cleaned up electronic versions of Peirce’s “Fixation of Belief” and Berkeley’s Principles. I’ve had occasional thoughts about sharing them, but didn’t have a sensible platform for doing so.
In making the most recent update to forall x, I starting using github. It’s primarily a platform for writing software and maintaining code, but it is also well suited for hosting LaTeX documents. Keeping track of which version I used in which semester is a mess that git cleans up, and it’s no extra effort to share the files.
So I created three github repositories today:
- pragmatism: In addition to Peirce and James, this includes some Emerson. I may add more in the course of this semester.
- early-modern: I prepared Hume’s first Enquiry and Berkeley’s Principles for student use years ago. Both are nicely formatted complete books.
- understanding-science: I also added a repository for the notes on inference that I posted last year. I still mean to add to those, so I might as well set it up now.
The material in 1 and 2 is mostly in the public domain. Where I’ve written something, I offer it under an open license.