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A Guide for Organizing Online Philosophical Conversations (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/01/2021 - 12:51am in


Events, Events, Online

When the pandemic pushed professional activities online, “we organized the ‘talks’ of conferences, but neglected the conversation,” writes Georgi Gardiner, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee.

Professor Gardiner has facilitated a large number of Zoom events, including workshops, research circles, pedagogy blathers, and Zoom-based circus and work out groups. In the following guest post,* she explains how to use “availability-first scheduling” to organize small online group chats to help make up for how the pandemic has “eviscerated crucial features of normal-life social interaction.”

Availability-First Scheduling: Organizing Conversations Over Zoom
by Georgi Gardiner

This post explains how to efficiently facilitate small-group philosophy conversations online. The core idea is to find out when individuals are free, and arrange the groups based on availability. Do not start with the group members and try to find a time you are all available. Availability-first scheduling sidesteps the arduous scheduling rigmarole.

Early in the pandemic there was a flurry of organizing, as new Zoom-based presentation series sprung up. They provided valuable opportunities for learning about each other’s projects, sharing research, and—frankly—doing something. For many people, writing had ceased, and attending research talks was a welcome replacement.

As the pandemic wore on, needs shifted. People now yearn for conversation—free flowing, organic, informal, and fun. There are ample opportunities to experience the presentation parts of conferences, with attendant Q&As. But people miss causal chats whilst walking to the pub, meandering conversations over dinner, and the social intimacy of late night drinks at the bar, when the conversation has turned to anecdotes and vulnerabilities.

We organized the “talks” of conferences, but neglected the conversation. (A plea to conference organizers: Build in social time with groups of fewer than six people. Fifteen people in a Zoom room cannot chat.) Individuals can organize their own small group and one-to-one conversations, of course. But I propose a scale-up. In what follows I’ll explain how to facilitate many high-quality conversations with colleagues across philosophy. Firstly, I’ll say more about why.

The pandemic eviscerated crucial features of normal-life social interaction, such as:

  • Getting to know new people, for example. Without in-person conferences, we are confined to contacting those we already know. This is particularly limiting for early career scholars.
  • The congenial serendipity of ordinary social interaction—a little bit random, a little bit just right.
  • A social calendar that extends for weeks or months into the future, offering conversations to look forward to on a normal social-life timescale.
  • Social interactions that individuals didn’t need to organize themselves.

Colleagues have described how asking people to Zoom socially feels like asking them on a date. Shyness hinders, and people don’t initiate contact.

“I’m not shy”, I thought, “I can ask them out for you.”

Here is how: Email a lot of people at once. Between 12 and 40 works well. Select people you love chatting with, or people you’d like to know better. They need not all know each other; indeed it can be better if they don’t. Explain you want to organize an academic social for them. Offer invitees a range of 90-minute slots, spread out over the following two months. (The first date should not be within ten days of the initial email.) Ask them to fill in their availability for a social, and give them a deadline. Invitees can opt out by simply not filling in the poll. The poll will look like this:

You can offer to organize multiple socials for invitees: simply ask them how many they want. It is particularly helpful if some participants are flexible about how many they do, since this assists in arranging the groups.

After the deadline, download the availability data. Doodle is free and allows export into Excel. Match people into friendly groups of four. I love this part: Matchmaking for philosophy chat groups. Four seems just right for Zoom. With more than four it is difficult to enjoy free flowing conversation. If you plan to attend all the socials yourself, arrange groups of three. You are the fourth in every group.

Advice: Start with those participants with less availability, and work towards those with more scheduling flexibility. Once I have scheduled the person, I indicate this in the Excel sheet. In the image below, dark green is the scheduled time. And moving their entire row from centred text to left justified text signifies that the person has a time slot. In this example, I prioritised Wollstonecraft, because she was only available at one time, and Du Bois kindly volunteered to socialise twice, if needed.

Now simply tell attendees their time, group buddies, and Zoom location. If you won’t attend the social yourself, assign a ‘group leader’ to provide a Zoom link. You can email each group separately or send one large email to all invitees. The demands of etiquette depend on context. To be extremely time-efficient, you could simply send everyone the Excel table, with the extraneous columns deleted, so they can see their time slot and group members. I wouldn’t do this, it seems a tad brusque. You can also send reminder emails before the social.

Three practical considerations: The number of initial time slots you offer depends on how many people you invite, their level of availability, and whether the invite list spans time zones. You need sufficient time slots so that anyone who wants to participate can be slotted into a group. Suppose you invite 30 people and anticipate 15 will participate. That means you’ll arrange five socials. I recommend offering about 10 initial time slots. But that is just an estimate.

Secondly, you want a short timeframe between when people provide their availability information and when you tell them their chat time. Otherwise the availability data become outdated, as people schedule during times they said they were available. Thirdly, if the numbers don’t work out, or if people drop out, don’t worry about it: Facilitate a group of three or five. People won’t mind. You are organizing voluntary social events at a lonely time.

Whom to invite? Here are some ideas for invitee groups:

  • People who research the same topic.
  • Members of demographic groups, such as early career ethicists or Midwestern epistemologists.
  • Existing groups, such as attendees of a recent conference or summer seminar, or members of a course, graduate program, or department.

This organizational approach can be applied to any group.

The events need not be purely social. Availability-first group creation can be used to establish groups with specific aims, such as peer-mentoring matrices, writing support groups, and discussion groups.

I suggested an upper limit of forty invitees. I doubt the system faces problems with higher numbers, but an organizer would only invite more people if they don’t plan to attend every session; otherwise they will have too many commitments. The system can facilitate a large peer-mentoring matrix, for example. Since the organizer doesn’t attend, multiple four-person groups can meet concurrently. And so one need not offer significantly more initial time slots.

A group can arrange to meet at the same time in a future week. The Excel sheet displays all the weekly times that all group members tend to be concurrently available, which is invaluable scheduling information. Or the original Doodle poll can ask for times that participants are free in a standard week, to facilitate recurring meetings.

The availability-first scheduling method matches participants according to availability. This is considerably smoother than determining the people first, and then trying to find a time they are all free.

Some further virtues: If you attend the events yourself, you thereby arrange a large part of your social calendar with minimal effort. With this system you can organize socials for depressed or frazzled friends, and build research communities. This is particularly helpful for early career academics and emerging research areas. Since you handpick the invitees, you spend time with people you love seeing at conferences, and you can easily introduce your friends to each other. It has felt like an easy way to facilitate socialising across career stages, which is commonplace at conferences but less common in Zoomland. The congenial contingency of the interactions can help spark new research or teaching ideas.

A variation: You can use this basic system to organize mentoring matrices or department socials with one senior member per group. To do this, start with times the professors can attend, then use the Doodle poll to offer those slots to grad students. Finally, add one professor or mentor to each group.

Another piece of pandemic social advice, if I may: When you contact a friend to initiate a one-on-one Zoom social, suggest meeting three times, spread out over the following three months. Arranging three chats over three months is not noticeably more difficult than arranging one chat. This is because you have already identified the weekly times you are both usually available. It pays dividends later: It’s nice to have something to look forward to and a sense of building something interpersonal.

When sending a large availability-first scheduling email, as outlined above, you might wonder whether you are inviting people to a social event or a professional one. Is this friendship, research, or academic service? My suggestion: Don’t worry about it. Just send the invitation. You don’t even need to explain the system. In lieu of an explanation, you can just link to this post. As I said, I’ll ask them out for you.

The post A Guide for Organizing Online Philosophical Conversations (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Examining the Future of Academic Events (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 7:39pm in

Following up on yesterday’s piece regarding online conferences, Heather Douglas, professor of philosophy at Michigan State University, in this guest post,* asks us to consider: “When is it worth it (in terms of financial and environmental cost) to gather together in person?”

Examining the Future of Academic Events
by Heather Douglas

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an unprecedented change in academic practice. It used to be travel difficulties would cancel speaking events. Online meetings were rare, usually one-on-one or small group stopgap measures until we could meet in person.

The stringencies of the pandemic have forced a change in academic culture, and one which requires our examination and reflection. While many have missed the in-person meeting and traveling, many have breathed a sigh of relief at the easing of travel demands. Many have also noted the drop in carbon footprint of academic activities, and seen signs for hope.

As the end of the pandemic appears in sight (sometime in 2021 hopefully), we now need to reflect upon this period of transformation and ask seriously: what worked well in videoconferencing and what is lost?

There is much to be gained from events that take place solely online. It is clear that purely videoconferenced events are less expensive to run than purely in-person events, both from a financial perspective and from an environmental impact perspective. They also enable people who are unable to travel (due to disability, family restrictions, financial and time constraints, etc.) to participate on an equal footing. This has broadened (and often increased) participation in a number of events. Online events also offer easy recording and archiving for future use.

Running online only events requires some practice shifts. Being online is tiring, and events need to be more spaced out, with substantial breaks. Because we are not gathering together, there is no need to compress events into consecutive days. We can space out themed events over days or weeks for a “conference.” We must be mindful of time zone differences in scheduling (this difficulty is mitigated somewhat by recording and posting events). New conference platforms can reproduce the serendipity of conversation that arises from self-organized social groups (e.g. Spatial Chat).

Given these advantages of online only events, particularly well-curated ones, we need to think carefully about what the advantages are of in-person events. When is it worth it (in terms of financial and environmental cost) to gather together in person? We cherish the serendipitous meetings and hallway conversations of in-person events, but some of that can be captured online with platforms more flexible than Zoom.

Rather than a norm of in-person events, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to shift the burden of justification to why an event needs to be in-person. What is gained by the additional expense (financial, environmental, accessibility reduction) of the in-person event? Thinking carefully about this will allow for better decisions about academic event planning. The normal baseline should not simply move back to what it was pre-pandemic. The new normal of online only events should be the baseline, and we should ask, specifically and clearly, what motivates in-person events in the post-pandemic world.

There are clear reasons to meet in person in many cases. For example, when research involves interacting with a specific location (such as a particular ecosystem), meeting in person on that landscape has clear advantages. In addition, when workshops require creative and active participation, generating collaboration facilitated through shared physical materials, holding them in-person can be essential. Another reason for in-person meetings is the commitment in participation that being in-person produces. It is relatively easy to walk away from an online event compared to walking away from an in-person conference. The intensity of such events, and the ability of participants to carve time out to focus on the event, is part of their value. Other important aspects of in-person events need to be articulated, scrutinized, and weighed carefully.

Finally, there are reasons to be cautious about hybrid events. Those who participate remotely in such events are sidelined generally—the people on the screen are just not as engaging as those in the room, and the conversations that happen once the official parts of the program are over are inaccessible to those online. While hybrid events allow those who cannot travel to participate to some extent, it is not on an equal footing with those present in person. Hybrid events also add significantly to the cost of in-person events, because the technology is rarely in place for supporting such events in meeting rooms (at least for free).

In sum, the new normal should be online only events, with clear justifications offered for in-person events. What those justifications are needs to be elaborated, with the aim of making our academic events better across the board.

The post Examining the Future of Academic Events (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Online Conferences: The New Default (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 2:08am in

In the following guest post,* a group of scholars make the case that the online conferences, the recent prevalence of which has been spurred by pandemic precautions, should be “the new default.”

Online Conferences: The New Default

by Rose Trappes (Bielefeld), Daniel Cohnitz (Utrecht),
Viorel Pâslaru (Dayton), T.J. Perkins (Utah),
and Ali Teymoori (Helmut-Schmidt)

As vaccines roll out and the corona pandemic looks to have an end in sight, academics face a choice. Should we move back to in-person meetings, or should we continue online? The global shift to online conferences, reading groups, teaching and meetings forced by the pandemic has been welcomed by some, but there were a number of cancellations and concerned voices suggesting that video calls are no good alternative to in-person meetings.

In a paper just out in the European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, we argue that philosophers should embrace online conferences as the new default for reasons of sustainability, accessibility for minorities in philosophy, and lowering the financial burden of conference organisation and attendance. We present survey data from four online conferences: The European Congress for Analytic Philosophy, and the colloquia Doing Science in a Pluralistic Society, Eco-Evo Mechanisms, and Philosophy of Biology at the Mountains. Our data indicate that online conferences are satisfactory in terms of sharing knowledge and getting feedback and seem to be more accessible, falling down only in networking. In-person conferences, we conclude, should in the future be restricted to limited and well-justified departures from a new normal of online conferencing.

As well as arguing for more online conferencing, we provide some guidance for organising a good online conference. Some of this comes from our data. Our survey compared a large conference in which speakers pre-recorded their talks to several small conferences in which the talks were live. We found that both pre-recorded and live talks were seen as largely satisfactory by both presenters and audience members. We also found that participants prefer to have networking in small groups (using functions like breakout rooms in Zoom), such as coffee breaks, happy hours or group work. Based on our experience, we outline two models for online conferences with pre-recorded or live talks.

We also asked participants of the smaller conferences how various factors affected the accessibility of the online conferences (see Figure 1). The majority felt that reduced travel, working from home, and lower costs enabled them to attend, and some also cited not having to worry about venue accessibility and being able to watch recordings.

On the other hand, we also got an idea of factors that can limit attendance, such as time zone, conflict with other work, and day length. Some of these indicate special requirements for online conferences, such as having shorter days, longer and more frequent breaks, and scheduling to enable people from different time zones to join in. In supplementary material for the paper we also include some more specific tips for organisers of online conferences based on our own experience.

Figure 1. The percentage of participants that agree that the positive (left, pink bars) and negative (right, blue bars) factors affected their ability to participate in the conference.

It remains to be seen what will happen once lockdowns cease and borders open. We provide three reasons for continuing online conferences even after the pandemic has subsided.

First, there is the environmental justification. Online conferences drastically reduce pollution – up to 3,000 times – that otherwise would be produced by an in-person event. Most philosophers are committed to social justice and have accepted the findings and recommendations of the IPCC. Philosophers ought to limit harmful pollution produced by their academic activities, including conference participation, and off-set whatever pollution cannot be avoided.

Some philosophers have joined a growing number of scientists who refuse to fly to conferences, so-called conscientious climate change objectors. However, most major professional philosophy associations have not yet implemented measures to prevent and off-set carbon emissions. Some plan to discuss such measures, while for others it seems the issue is not even on the table. Many philosophers continue to engage in business as usual, a practice and attitude that they wholeheartedly despise when it comes from the mouths of climate change skeptics. Adopting the online-first model of conferences will allow philosophers to close the wide gap between their public defense of environmental causes and their actual actions.

The second group of reasons comprises issues of accessibility. Online conferences reduce the burden on scholars from less wealthy countries to seek visas for conference travel, as well as enabling participation for researchers with disabilities and scholars who have primary caregiving responsibilities. We hope that facilitating conference attendance from these groups will help to address some of the inequalities present in philosophical career progression.

The third rationale pertains to financial issues. Many universities have reported decreased budgets because of the pandemic. Budget shortfalls will negatively affect travel budgets, placing greater financial burdens on scholars to attend conferences. Given that some universities require faculty members to participate in conferences for the purpose of tenure or promotion, online conferences allow these scholars to fulfill their institutional expectations without experiencing a financial burden.

Philosophers and other academics should take the natural experiment that the pandemic brought about as an opportunity to build interdisciplinary work groups to study and establish best practices for online conferences, environmentally friendly and accessible in-person conferences, and adequate ways to offset carbon emissions.

We believe that philosophers ought to face up to the responsibility of tackling climate change and improving the lot of philosophers outside traditional conferencing areas, philosophers with disabilities, and primary caregivers. Doing so involves offering more online conferences, as well as implementing or continuing measures to offset emissions and improve accessibility for minorities in philosophy for both traditional and online meetings.

It is also a task for philosophers and other scientists to reckon with how to improve the quality of networking in online conferencing or to think of new ways to organise conferences such as combined online and in-person conferencing or multiple-site options that reduce distances travelled by individual researchers. Given the relative recency of online conferencing and the urgency of living up to sustainable and responsible research practices, it is perhaps time to approach critically our traditional ways of conferencing, information sharing and networking and to not only make use of online conferencing but also engage in the process of improving it.

The post Online Conferences: The New Default (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

New: Virtual Publisher Showcases at the APA (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/01/2021 - 1:12am in

One of the pleasures of the divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association (APA) is browsing the book displays. With the pandemic forcing the Eastern Division meeting online, it seemed like that wouldn’t be possible. Yet constraints can inspire innovation, and that is what has happened here.

In the following guest post*, Adam Hodgkin (@adamhodgkin), the chairman and co-founder of Exact Editions (and author of Following Searle on Twitter) explains how his company is working with the APA to create a virtual open digital display of books from multiple publishers.

Virtual Publisher Showcases
by Adam Hodgkin

The American Philosophical Association for its Eastern Meeting (January 7th – 17th) has organised an open digital display of 30+ new philosophy titles from 6+ publishers.

Although the display is free it is not Open Access in the way that term is used in libraries or by research funders. The free access is temporary, time-limited by software. But the display is free/open in two senses (1) to any web user who follows a Reading Room link—no subscription, pre-qualification or registration is required; (2) the book displays are to complete books, no pages are hidden, all of the books are readable, searchable and browse-able. The conference display is organised as a set of publisher-specific collections, but the full set can be accessed here.

Note that the access is to a temporary display and no content is available from the Reading Room link after 17 January, when the exhibition closes. There will be books shown from: Broadview, Brill, De Gruyter, Hackett, Oxford, Princeton, and Wiley. As it happens there will be very similar content available, again on a temporary basis, for the Central and Pacific meetings. So if a reader misses the event in January there will be further opportunities to sample the books.

The service uses a system of streamed access to Reading Rooms (each book having its own Reading Room) which has been developed by Exact Editions. It is the first time that the Exact Editions platform (built originally for consumer magazines) has been used extensively for book displays, but the company views the APA service as a potentially useful prototype for the wider use of Reading Rooms for a range of promotional services: review copies; inspection copies for instructors; sampling, or tasting, preliminary to the sale of print or digital books; book fairs; audience access to accompany blogs or conferences and other circumstances in which books can be useful digitally even when they are not being sold or subscribed.

The solution has been tested with philosophy books by the APA Blog. See their recent notice of The Murder of Professor Schlick. The Reading Room concept may be particularly suitable for online reviews, and philosophy, having an excellent online open access reviewing service, would be well placed to take advantage of it. When a good review appears, the publisher who has a Reading Room capability can, and we expect will, amplify the notice by posting or circulating a Reading Room for the book being discussed (one day, seven days, or 30 days being the default choices in the publisher’s tool box).

Exact Editions is positioning its service as a promotional platform for publishers in general, not as a sales or subscription service, and it may be particularly attractive to publishers with lists of highly illustrated or design-rich titles that are not well served by e-books formats. Why then start with philosophy titles? There may be an element of accident in the choice of a major philosophy conference as a venue to launch the notion of temporary but free access to complete digital books. But Daryl Rayner, Managing Director and co-founder of Exact Editions, notes that philosophy is similar to other academic disciplines a subject where “short term and temporary access to digital books should be the best way of promoting their value”. She adds that Exact Editions has also been rolling out promotional Reading Rooms for poetry books. So philosophy may be a subject particularly suitable for digital promotion, especially with temporary tools, precisely because the books are meant to last and a brief glimpse will never be enough to satisfy serious readers.

Although the APA showcases are temporary, the system of displayed Reading Rooms is a web-based streaming service and usable with other interactive tools. So it is straightforward to record and integrate sessions of database use with these digital books, projecting the session into interactive tools such as Skype, Zoom, PowerPoint, Teams, YouTube etc. Two recorded Zoom sessions from the APA collection are reproduced here:  an overview of the digital reading interface together with an appreciation of Ethical Reasoning, Theory and Application (Andrew Kernohan – Broadview Press) and a glimpse of  The Murder of Professor Schlick (David Edmonds – Princeton University Press).  These Zoom recordings,  by another Exact Editions co-founder, Adam Hodgkin, unlike the Reading Room links are not time-limited.

The post New: Virtual Publisher Showcases at the APA (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

New Workshop Series To Bring More Philosophy to Philosophy Twitter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 1:50am in

The “Cogtweeto Philosophy Workshop Series” aims to bring together philosophers who are active on Twitter (a growing group—see below) to discuss their philosophical work in contexts more suitable for doing so than Twitter.

The series will take place on Saturdays, once every six to eight weeks, over Zoom. In the first, taking place on January 30th, “Philosophy Twitter will teach us about a philosopher or philosophical tradition that most of us (probably) don’t know—but should.” It will have three different kinds of sessions. The first is similar to a traditional brief conference talk with a commentator, the second is an informal hour-long “coffee hour” talk about a work in progress or idea in development, and the third is an hour long lecture presentation followed by discussion.

The workshop series is organized by Jennifer Foster (@philoso_foster), a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the University of Southern California, and Cassie Finley (@Angry_Cassie), a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the University of Iowa.

I asked them about the motivation for the workshop and how the idea developed. They wrote:

Twitter has become a thriving community for philosophers to interact and get to know one another, but it’s been largely limited to social interaction. Scholarship is more or less limited to the occasional link to a published paper, as opposed to more serious engagement. Jen Foster had the idea to host a Twitter philosophy conference so we could expand the scope of the Twitter-philosophy community’s interaction to incorporate more scholarly activity. Part of the motivation is to expand access to conferences to philosophers who, for myriad reasons, do not have easy access to philosophy conferences, to help graduate students get experience in a low-pressure conference environment, and to encourage philosophers who already know one another to engage not just socially but philosophically with one another’s work.

Cassie Finley volunteered to help Jen with the organization, at which point it became apparent that a workshop series with multiple styles of presentations would better facilitate those ends than a traditional or workshop-style conference. We opted for a series of workshops, held on a Saturday every 6-8 weeks, each surrounding a particular theme, with three different talks per workshop.

The sessions will be hosted over Zoom. Because these are intended to be opportunities to practice in a lower-pressure environment than the usual academic conference, we’ve decided not to record the sessions. Part of the reason for this is that recording can add an additional layer of stress which may discourage individuals from sharing their ideas in the questioning periods, and it may discourage others from submitting to present in the first place. Similarly, because we want this to support students and early-career scholars, having a recorded presentation on the internet for all to see raises the stakes and could have further reach than the more comfortable, discussion-based environment we want to promote.

We also realized that for many people, and for many different reasons, traditional conferences can be inaccessible—but philosophy can, and should, be done in so many other spaces. For instance, even in the traditional conference setting, often some of the best conversations are had after APA talks because someone saw another’s talk and is able to speak with them afterwards in a more comfortable, social setting. The built-in social dimension of Twitter allows for that social interaction; but without a venue of some kind to present work to one another, philosophers on Twitter seems to be missing out on the opportunity to interact with one another’s work.

Our hope is that this workshop series can be a platform for expanding networking and feedback opportunities for those who may not have access or experience doing so. That being said, Cogtweeto workshop attendance is not limited to those who are already on Twitter. We built the conference around Twitter because there is already lively engagement between philosophers in a social setting, so building from that seemed pretty natural. As it stands, because we want the close integration of social interaction and philosophical engagement, we’ve decided to limit submissions to those who are on Twitter.

Philosophy Twitter has seen an acceleration in growth over the past two years, according to Kelly Truelove (@TrueSciPhi), who, among other things, tracks Twitter- information related to philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians at his site, TrueSciPhi. He recently noted that there are now more accounts with over 10,000 followers than there were accounts with over 1,000 followers when he began tracking this information in 2013:

You can see Dr. Truelove’s list, Philosophers on Twitter, here.

For those interested, Ms. Foster and Ms. Finley provided some additional information about the types of sessions:

The first talk is a traditional ‘APA-style’ talk, which requires a 3,500-word paper submission and will include a commentary on the paper. This session is intended for graduate and advanced undergraduate students, post-grads, independent scholars, and early career faculty. Our hope is for attendees to see what an APA-style talk is like, since many undergraduates and graduates have not had, and potentially do not have, the opportunity to attend the APA, while also giving the presenter an opportunity to practice giving that form of talk with a commentator and audience, as that setting is not easily experienced otherwise. The second talk, the ‘coffee hour’ talk, is more workshop-style; as we describe it on the website, we hope that it is more like a conversation among participants about a paper in progress than a traditional-style “talk.” Grad students, adjuncts, early career faculty, and independent scholars are encouraged to submit to this session as it’s more geared towards workshopping the early stages of an idea and getting feedback from others. The last ‘colloquium’ talk is geared primarily towards late-stage graduate students, post-docs, and adjuncts, as it’s intended to be a practice opportunity for an hour-long job talk. Many grad students enter the academic job market with little-to-no experience preparing for, let alone actually giving, such a long presentation. There are also few opportunities in grad school to practice fielding an hour-long Q&A. While this will be the most formal of the three talks, we hope that it still feels fun and “low-stakes.”

The deadline for submissions for the first workshop is January 10th. You can learn more about it here.

Related: Visualization of Philosophers’ Twitter Networks. Daily Nous/Justin Weinberg on Twitter.

The post New Workshop Series To Bring More Philosophy to Philosophy Twitter appeared first on Daily Nous.

Conference Idea: Small Sessions for Grad Students & Keynote Speakers (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/11/2020 - 1:19am in


Events, philosophy

In the following guest post,* Carlota Salvador Megias, a recent graduate from the MA program in philosophy at the University of Bergen, shares an interesting idea for helping graduate students get more out of philosophy conferences.

[Sol LeWitt, “161”]

Small Sessions for Graduate Students & Keynote Speakers
by Carlota Salvador Megias

Since 2019, the Bergen Network for Women in Philosophy (BNWP) has hosted annual conference-workshops for women and members of other marginalized gender identities who are currently enrolled in a graduate program or have recently completed a graduate degree. These conference-workshops sort participants into small cohorts of 3 – 4 students, each supervised by one of the conference’s keynote speakers. All students receive an hour’s worth of discussion on a pre-circulated paper they authored, structured around questions about its content, organization, argumentative and descriptive rigor, and style. Participants may also apply for the opportunity to present their work in a public talk.

We thought that this event format might interest graduate student organizations and philosophy departments at other universities and have put together a packet of resources to assist you in holding your own versions.

This event was inspired by the sense of camaraderie and semi-carnivalesque atmosphere of the International Wittgenstein Symposium and Summer School (ILWS) put on each year by the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. The summer school brings graduate students from around the world together to discuss specific aspects of Wittgenstein’s work with some of the field’s foremost professionals, in light of their latest research; and the symposium combines plenary lectures by invited speakers with short parallel sessions by persons at diverse stages of their philosophical careers, either on the topic of that year’s symposium or about Wittgenstein’s work more broadly.

For me, the most exciting part of each symposium is attending my summer school friends’ talks and discussing our work in the company of philosophers we admire. I wanted to bring the spirit of this event to my own university and—with a friend from the first ILWS I attended, Jasmin Trächtler—organized the BNWP’s first conference-workshop in January 2019 on imagination, society, and culture.

We all know how lonely work in philosophy can be. It’s difficult to form lasting relationships beyond our departments; to learn how to articulate our thoughts such that they’re accessible to peers outside of our areas of specialization; and to formulate our curiosities about others’ research in a way that genuinely engages all parties. At the risk of putting too fine a Wittgensteinian point on it, it is only through consistent practice, good mentorship, and diverse conversations that we develop the skills to make this field a bit more homely for ourselves and our colleagues. The more opportunities we create for these, the better.

Small workshops like this one—where discussions turn on precise questions about participants’ drafts as pieces that might someday make real contributions—can be great jumping-off points. As one of our first workshop’s keynotes, Dr. Sabina Lovibond, reflected: “I have enjoyed reconnecting with it through the notes and abstracts still in my possession, and I have been struck by the way ‘imagination’ provides a gateway to new lines of thought in so many areas of philosophy. The theme of the workshop made room for a remarkable (though not random) breadth of reference: from Plato and Aristotle, through Kant, Fichte and Wittgenstein, to Cora Diamond and Virginia Woolf. Meanwhile, with ‘society’ and ‘culture’ in view, what could be more urgent for the 2020s than a question I have recorded from one of the workshop presentations: ‘How do we get each other to listen to what we have to say?’ It was a privilege to meet some of the women colleagues, present and future, who are carrying these discussions forward.”

The resources hyperlinked above include a sample call for papers, sample application, sample budget, and a single-page checklist/organizational timeline. We expect to update them periodically and to add more files in the future. We’ve written them with a one-time physical event in mind, but all can be modified to accommodate virtual events (ex., on Zoom, Discord, Microsoft Teams, etc.) or an on-going, semesterly workshop series internal to your university. It’s entirely possible to host these events for free and to make them interdisciplinary! If you would like to organize one of these yourself and have any questions or concerns, would like to bounce your ideas off of someone, or simply need advice, please feel free to contact me at carlota.salvador.megias [at] gmail [dot] com.

We would also like to encourage the Daily Nous’ readers to apply to a conference-workshop on Wittgenstein and Feminism co-hosted by the BNWP and the Sorbonne in Paris (or, if necessary, online) this coming March, and for which we’ve recently extended our deadlines. Please see our PhilEvent listing for more information.

The post Conference Idea: Small Sessions for Grad Students & Keynote Speakers (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Philosophy for All Ages for World Philosophy Day (guest post by Emma Worley)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/11/2020 - 12:16am in


Events, philosophy

World Philosophy Day is coming up this Thursday. In this guest post*, Emma Worley co-founder and co-CEO of The Philosophy Foundation, shares her organization’s plans to bring philosophy to the public that day.

Philosophy for All Ages for World Philosophy Day
by Emma Worley

World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) with the following objectives:

  • to renew the national, subregional, regional and international commitment to philosophy;
  • to foster philosophical analysis, research and studies on major contemporary issues, so as to respond more effectively to the challenges that are confronting humanity today;
  • to raise public awareness of the importance of philosophy and its critical use in the choices arising for many societies from the effects of globalization or entry into modernity;
  • to appraise the state of philosophy teaching throughout the world, with special emphasis on unequal access;
  • to underline the importance of the universalization of philosophy teaching for future generations.

In the middle of a global pandemic, why should we care about World Philosophy Day?

UNESCO say “The 2020 edition wishes to invite the whole world to reflect on the meaning of the current pandemic, underlining the need, more than ever before, to resort to philosophical reflection in order to face the multiple crises we are going through.”

“The health crisis questions multiple aspects of our societies. In this context, philosophy helps us to take the necessary distance to better move forward, by stimulating critical reflection on problems that are already present but which the pandemic has pushed to their paroxysm.”

The Philosophy Foundation are running a day of events on 19th November which will provide the space for all ages to reflect, discuss and debate.

There are philosophical enquiries being run by specialist philosophy teachers for children aged 5-7; 8-11; 12-15 and 16+ adult in the morning, afternoon and early evening.

And they are bringing philosophers to a virtual world so you can ask them questions, either live in the virtual space, or via social media with the #askaphilosopher. Part game, part virtual reality, build your own avatar and ask philosophers questions. Or play football with them.

From 9am-10am the following philosophers will be available to answer any of your questions, or engage in discussion with you: Buddha, Siger of Brabant, Mary Astell, Nietzsche. From 3-4pm the virtual world will be filled with Plato, Wollstonecraft (ready to take questions about her statue!)  Kazimierz Twadowski and David Wallace (not played by the actual David Wallace but another world one), and finally in the evening from 7-8pm you can meet Avicenna, Shakespeare, Wittgenstein and Kant. Socrates, Epicurus and Heraclitus will be around too at various points in the day.

All these philosophers are played by experts—we have Angie Hobbs playing Plato, Peter Adamson being Avicenna, Stephen Law is Wittgenstein, Peter Worley Socrates, Simone Webb (Philosopher Queens) is Mary Astell and Andy Day—whose play Also Sprach  Zarathustra was on Radio 4 last weekend—is Nietzsche.

Tickets are £1 per event, £5 for the whole day, or free if you need them to be (just email for the free code).

So, get your avatars ready to engage in philosophy and football.

Find out more and get your tickets here.

The post Philosophy for All Ages for World Philosophy Day (guest post by Emma Worley) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Will Conferences Recover? Should They?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/11/2020 - 4:47am in

With promising news of a vaccine, one might hope not just for saved lives, but a return to “normal life,” including the regular features of academic work. Among these are the typically in-person events of conferences, workshops, and talks.

The pandemic has resulted in these academic gatherings being either cancelled or moved online (for example), the development of technology and norms for online events, and thoughts about how to organize virtual events well.

There is no doubt that the familiarity with online events forced upon us by the pandemic has its good side. Such events can be less costly, more convenient, more accessible to a broader range of participants, and better for the environment—and that we are all used to them means we will see more and more of them.

But it would be a pity if the pandemic killed off all in-person conferences.

We can see this by asking, first, what do we want out of conferences? Some of these things online events can provide, such as the opportunity to present one’s work to others for criticisms and suggestions. But that is not all that conferences are about. There are the professional friendships that develop by being in the same place for for an extended period of time, talking philosophy but also getting to know each other as persons, which in turn can inform, enrich, and encourage subsequent philosophical interactions.

But we can also ask what we want out of our jobs as academics. Being able to see parts of the world you otherwise might not be able to afford to travel to is part of the attraction of job that pays relatively modestly for the amount of time spent training for it. For many, travel is a key perk of the position, and for some, travel funds are part of the compensation package. If virtual events supplant in-person ones, then many professors’ jobs get worse.

Helen De Cruz (St. Louis University) recently conducted an informal poll on Twitter about whether online conferences are a viable alternative to in-person events:

She discusses the results at The Philosophers’ Cocoon. I agree that, as she says “online conferences can be a viable, carbon-friendly supplement to conferencing we do in person.”

I just hope that once it is safe to meet in person again, our employers see the value in facilitating and funding our ability to do so.

The post Will Conferences Recover? Should They? appeared first on Daily Nous.

A Research Agenda for Critical Political Economy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/11/2020 - 8:00am in

My new edited volume A Research Agenda for Critical Political Economy has just been published. The book’s chapters explore different dimensions of political economy and different ways of doing political economy. Issues range across inequality, growth and development, money, trade, land, time and space, and social movements. Perspectives include Marxism, post-colonial theory, feminism, post-Keynesian and experimental economics.

To mark the publication of this important new contribution, contributors will explore various dimensions of the collection in an online panel discussion.


Ali Bhagat, Fábio Henrique Bittes Terra, Nour Dados, Sheila Dow, Bill Dunn, Fernando Ferrari Filho, Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap, Andrew Herod, Julie Matthaei, Alessandra Mezzadri, Franklin Obeng-Odoom, Sabine U. O’Hara, Benjamin Selwyn, Eric Sheppard, Susanne Soederberg and Frank Stilwell

Event start time

Thursday 12 November 9:00pm London

Thursday 12 November 4:00pm New York

Friday 13 November 08:00am Sydney

The event is free, but spaces are limited.

Zoom link will be sent via email on 11 November.


The post A Research Agenda for Critical Political Economy appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

The Thin Blue Line

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 7:48am in

Photo Credit: Andrew Flanagan/ —— Recognizing that he is losing the demographics he needs to win reelection, Trump has clearly...

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