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Sliwa from Cambridge to Vienna

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 28/07/2021 - 7:00pm in


employment, hiring

Paulina Sliwa, currently senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Cambridge, will be moving to the University of Vienna, where she will be professor of moral and political philosophy.

Professor Sliwa works in ethics and moral epistemology, and has interests in epistemology more generally, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of physics. She is currently at work on a book, Telling Right from Wrong: Moral Testimony and Moral Knowledge. You can learn more about her work here.

Professor Sliwa takes up her new position at Vienna in September.

click to learn more


Dotson from Michigan State to University of Michigan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/07/2021 - 2:41am in



Kristie Dotson, currently professor of philosophy and African American and African Studies at Michigan State University, has accepted a senior appointment from the Department of Philosophy and Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.

Professor Dotson works in epistemology, feminist philosophy (particularly Black feminism and feminist epistemology), and critical philosophy of race. You can learn more about her work here and here.

She starts at the University of Michigan this coming fall.

(via Tad Schmaltz)

Recruitment and Hiring Strategies to Make Philosophy More Diverse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/06/2021 - 4:53am in

The Demographics in Philosophy Project has issued a set of diversity-enhancing recommendations for philosophy department recruitment and hiring practices.

[Namsa Leuba, “TranseA Weke Benin”]

Philosophers involved with the project—Sherri Conklin (Colorado), Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton/Cornell), Gregory Peterson (South Dakota State), Michael Rea (Notre Dame), and Eric Schwitzgebel—recently wrote about the recommendations at the Blog of the APA.

The authors note that “diversity and excellence are not divergent aims… diversity is a component of excellence,” and also add that “managing underrepresentation in philosophy will help with philosophy’s relevance at a time when the value of the humanities is contested.”

Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Reconsider what constitutes a “well-rounded” department. What topics, approaches, and interests have been neglected but deserve representation?
    • If your department is unfamiliar with a desired research area, reach out to experts in other philosophy departments, or in other disciplines, for feedback on assessing candidates.
  • Re-evaluate your department’s perception of prestige.
    • Refine the notion of prestige by getting a clearer understanding what counts as the top journals or conferences in the subfield relating to the applicant’s specialty.
    • Instead of focusing on prestige, focus instead on the quality of the applicant’s work, how interesting or relevant it is to their sub-specialty, and how relevant it is to the job description requirements.
    • Consider removing markers of prestige when making hiring and tenuring decisions. 
  • Agree in advance about what the department is looking for when hiring new faculty.
    • Evaluate whether your conception of “core philosophy” and/or the mission of your philosophy program needs updating and discuss what you are looking for in a “good candidate”. 
    • These definitions should include expectations about, for example, the number and quality of publications to prevent holding different applicants to different standards.
    • Before considering applications, identify how items in the job description will be weighted for each applicant.
    • Develop clear guidelines for the evaluation criteria and adhere to them.
    • Take special care to ensure that any non-anonymous parts of the review process do not omit, or unfairly disadvantage, applicants from underrepresented groups.
    • Attend to your regional context as well as the overall global context (e.g. the importance of including adequate geographical and indigenous representation in your department).
    • Re-evaluate applications with high diversity ratings to determine whether bias played a role in excluding the applicants from getting an interview or in the interview process.
  • Consider giving diversity-related contributions more weight when evaluating applicants.
    • Keep in mind that being a member of an underrepresented group in philosophy can require additional labor, burdens, stressors, and expectations, which is often not recognized.
    • Keep in mind that philosophers from underrepresented groups are often expected to take on a disproportionate amount of service work in addition to their research.
  • Learn about the issues that underrepresented colleagues typically face so that you can advocate more effectively with difficult colleagues for faculty retention and promotion.

For the full list of suggestions see the original post.

Koch Use Causes Rift in Philosophy Department

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/05/2021 - 2:30pm in

“The depth of the conflict in the Department is troubling.”

That’s from a report by Jennifer A. McHugh, an outside lawyer appointed by the Ohio attorney general’s office to investigate allegations of corruption, harassment, bullying, and bias in the Department of Philosophy at Bowling Green University, according to an article at The Chronicle of Higher Education (sign in required).

[Lee Krasner, “Shattered Light” (detail)]

McHugh “did not find ‘nefarious misconduct’ or actions made in bad faith,” but wrote that “the rifts within the department ran deep and could at times be toxic.”

Trouble began during the making of a shortlist of candidates to fill a junior position in 2015:

Christian Coons, an associate professor, felt that there was at least one person in the pool who didn’t belong. Brandon Warmke was not as well-versed as some of the other candidates in the history of philosophy, the topic the new hire would teach, Coons said. In an email, he told a colleague that he thought another applicant was better….

“The application alone leaves out critical information that is very important,” Kevin Vallier, an associate professor, wrote back.

That’s a strange thing to say in the context of an academic hire. The Chronicle does not report what else, if anything, was said in that reply, or to what extent anyone clarified what that “critical information” is in a subsequent discussion. The Chronicle article continues:

Warmke was hired in 2016. Three years later, Bowling Green announced that it had received a $1.6-million grant for its philosophy, politics, economics, and law program. That meant the philosophy department, which had shrunk in recent years, would be able to hire two new tenure-track faculty members and support two graduate fellowships. For a small department, it was a life raft.

The infusion could have meant a new era of stability for the department. That’s not what happened. Instead, Bowling Green’s philosophy department turned into a war zone. Professors who once edited books together are no longer on speaking terms. Colleagues have filed complaints against each other, prompting investigations. At least one faculty member left Bowling Green for another job. Graduate students felt ill at ease in the department.

The grant was from the Charles Koch Foundation, an organization which promotes (rightwing) libertarianism by funding academic programs that teach students about it and supporting faculty and researchers whose work advocates for or enhances the academic reputation of libertarian ideas.

Coons suspected that the “critical information” about the candidate that Vallier referred to was the candidate’s connection to the Koch Foundation or his willingness and ability to seek funding from it. The Chronicle reports:

Coons tried to find out what had happened to an investigation that had been launched after he sent his narrative to the dean about the 2015-16 search, but he said an open-records request turned up very little. He said that he was never able to submit evidence for the investigation and didn’t find out when it was completed. Later on, the outside lawyer’s report on Coons’s allegations referenced the earlier investigation and a report that found “misunderstandings, inconsistencies, and procedural errors in the search process” but “no provable conspiracy, manipulation, or intention to disrupt the search.”

Looking back, department chair Michael Weber said that the 2015 search “had issues,” and The Chronicle relays that “several faculty members, including Coons, were upset with how the process had unfolded, for various reasons. [Assistant Professor Molly] Gardner voted for Warmke, but told The Chronicle she had felt pressured to do so.” Gardner left Bowling Green last year for the University of Florida.

According to The Chronicle, “the agreement between the Charles Koch Foundation and Bowling Green explicitly states that the selection of program directors, assistant professors, and graduate fellowships will follow the university’s normal procedures,” and Weber “didn’t see any way that the foundation could exert influence on the department.”

Yet when it came time to fill the grant-funded positions:

Coons wasn’t the only philosophy professor who was worried that the department was, intentionally or not, becoming entwined in the Koch network. Gardner, who served on the hiring committee, said, “It felt to me like some candidates whose values were not in harmony with Charles Koch Foundation values were removed from consideration.”

Additionally, there were concerns about the ways in which opportunities were distributed in the department. Gardner, says The Chronicle,

worried that the graduate students would have to censor their political views or risk losing professional opportunities. “Students who endorse conservative values are offered scholarship opportunities, seminar opportunities, and other networking opportunities that students with more liberal values seem less likely to receive,” she said.

The article contains quotes from graduate students complaining about the climate in the department.

For some more information, see The Chronicle. The picture that emerges is of a department that appears to suffer from a lack of transparency and an excess of acrimony. What’s missing from that picture is a clear enough depiction of the details that might allow us to conclude much more than that.

UPDATE: Christian Coons, on Twitter, calls The Chronicle article “inaccurate for its glaring omissions”, saying, “it’s so much worse than described here, and our students are not at all conspiratorial, nor am I.”

[Disclosures: The Koch Foundation has been an advertiser at Daily Nous. I also took part in a workshop hosted by the BGSU Philosophy Department in 2014.]


Related: “Untangling the Strings: The Limits of Acceptable Donor Influence in Academia“, “Private Money in Political Philosophy

Note about commenting on this post: if your comment involves a personal attack on someone, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition of your comment being approved and remaining visible is that you submit it with your full real name and your institutional email address (email addresses are not made public).

Additional note (5/27/21): Someone attempting to violate the above commenting requirement submitted 13 different comments using 4 different handles (also not allowed). All of this person’s comments have been removed and this person has now been blocked from commenting on the site. If you hear about me “deleting comments,” these are the kinds of people I’m dealing with.

Update (5/27/21): Pausing commenting for the night, possibly longer.


Numbers of Senior Hires in Philosophy During Recent Years

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/05/2021 - 7:00pm in

Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside) looked into the numbers of senior hires in philosophy made in recent years.

The following graph shows that changes in the number of senior (typically tenured) hires by philosophy departments with graduate programs over the past several years are roughly parallel to that of junior hires. (The graph uses a logarithmic scale to better show proportionality, and is missing data from 2018-19 at the junior level.)

Looking further back, Schwitzgebel observes, based on counting announcements of senior hires at Leiter Reports, that this year’s 27 senior hires “is comparable to several previous years: 2010-2011 had 28, 2014-2015 had 30, and 2015-2016 had 29.”

More details here.

Stuart from Geneva to National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/05/2021 - 11:05pm in


employment, hiring

Michael Stuart, currently a fellow at the Department of Philosophy and Centre for Philosophy of Science at the University of Geneva, has accepted a tenured position as associate professor at the Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University.

Professor Stuart works in philosophy of science, particularly empirically-informed epistemology of science, as well as the use of thought experiments and imagination in scientific reasoning. You can learn more about his research here.

He takes up his new position this coming August.

(via Karen Yan)

Job Placement Numbers for the 2020-21 Season (several updates)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/05/2021 - 7:30pm in

PhilJobs’ “Appointments in Philosophy” lists 30 tenure-track, 7 fellowship, and 5 “other” placements for the 2020-21 job market season, according to a write-up by Charles Lassiter (Gonzaga).

As he observes, “2021 is trending way below average”:

Professor Lassiter clarifies:

You might notice that there aren’t any placements for visiting positions in 2020 or 2021, but we know that there were visiting positions advertised. What does this mean? We know that, as of November 2020, there were only 5 visiting positions advertised. We also know that PhilJobs is a source of information about the job market that is timely but gappy: not everyone posts their placements on PhilJobs or PhilPeople. Given that there were so few visiting positions advertised for this year, it’s not surprising that there are no posts for VAP placements.

What should we think about this data, together with the low number of jobs advertised this past season? Among other things, Professor Lassiter remarks:

  • VAP positions and placements took a big hit, which is unfortunate since these positions are one way in which newly-minted PhD’s get their foot in the job market door
  • We’re likely going to be looking at a big backlog of job seekers next year

You can read his whole post here.

UPDATE 1: There’s some chatter online about hires that haven’t made the PhilJobs Appointments page, suggesting that the above may be a little overly negative. To help us all get a clearer picture, people who have been hired / placement directors / departments that have hired should communicate the relevant details to PhilJobs. Thanks. Placement directors, take note: “PhilJobs: JFP makes available a dedicated system to assist placement officers in maintaining their department’s placement record.”

UPDATE 2: Professor Lassiter has agreed to keep an eye on changes at PhilJobs and provide an updated summary next week if warranted.

UPDATE 3 (5/13/21): Over the past week a few more hires were posted to PhilJobs, so Professor Lassiter updated his post. He says:

I was really hoping for a dramatic change, but the number of TT placements went up to 41 (from 30) and fellowships up to 10 (from 7). I suppose a 33% increase is pretty substantial, but when compared to historical trends of posting… it’s still not awesome.

Here’s the updated version of the above graph:

You can check out Professor Lassiter’s new post containing this and related information, as well as some discussion why placement posting numbers are so low.

Arvan’s 2021 Philosophy Jobs Report

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 11:57pm in

How many tenure track positions in philosophy were advertised during the 2020-2021 job market season?

First, it’s important to note the following:

Second, according to a report from Marcus Arvan (Tampa), who regularly tracks this information, there were just 118 such positions.

Here’s the distribution of jobs across broadly construed subfields:

  • Open AOS: 29 jobs (24.6% of all TT jobs advertised)
  • ‘Core areas’ (mind, language, metaphysics, epistemology, logic) = 7.5 jobs
  • Value theory (ethics, social, political, law) = 51.6 jobs (43.7% of TT jobs)
  • Science (including philosophy of technology & AI) = 13.8 jobs (11.7%)
  • History = 7.15 jobs (6.1%)
  • Social identity (race, gender, feminism) = 8 jobs (6.8%)
  • ‘Non-western’: 7.7 jobs (6.5%)
  • Continental philosophy = 1.4 jobs (1.2%)
  • Philosophy of Religion = 1.5 jobs (1.3%)
  • Aesthetics = 0 jobs (1 job in Art History)

For a more detailed breakdown of jobs by subfield, as well as an explanation of Professor Arvan’s methodology (including what the decimals mean), see his full post at The Philosophers’ Cocoon. As he notes, this was a terrible year, largely owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to previous years.

Related: Much Fewer Academic Philosophy Jobs Advertised This Season

APA Creates “Beyond the Academy” Online Resources

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 5:20am in


data, hiring

The American Philosophical Association (APA) has created an online version of its set of resources for those with philosophical training who are seeking employment outside of academia.

Beyond the Academy” includes data, advice for job seekers, and recommendations for faculty about how to support non-academic career paths. The APA is also holding a webinar on non-academic careers on April 28th. (via Shane Wilkins)

The data on the APA site includes information about the number of philosophy PhDs earned each year and the number of jobs advertised:

The APA notes in its analysis of these figures that “there are enough tenure-track positions in philosophy for about 40% of the doctorates produced in the US and Canada each year.”

Relatedly, Nathan Ballantyne (Fordham), in his continued look into the history of the APA, recently came across statements from the organization’s Board of Officers from 40 years ago about the job prospects for new PhDs in philosophy. The 1979 statement, below, says, “it seems very likely that of all those who recieved the PhD degree in philosophy in the United States during the last three years no more than one third have found an academic position which has substantial prospects of permanence… [T]here are some indications that the situation will get worse and practically none that it will improve.”

For departmental placement information, consult Academic Placement Data and Analysis and this post.

Hiring Managers Want Someone Just Like Them - Study

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 27/10/2014 - 10:46am in