Sat, 28/01/2023 - 00:55
“Philosophical inquiry thrives when it is conducted in a spirit that risks overreaching a bit,” yet “the current incentive structure of academic philosophy in the United States favors cautious and modest research agendas for early career philosophers.” The journal Axiomathes is becoming Global Philosophy, and in a forthcoming editorial about the change, John Symons (Kansas) discusses a variety of obstacles to global philosophy. “Deglobalization” and the resurgence of nationalism is one kind obstacle, he says, but so is hyperspecialization and the pressure to conform to narrow disciplinary standards. Here’s the passage from which the above quotes were excerpted: In the decades prior to the financial crisis of 2008, when Anglo-American philosophy departments were relatively financially healthy, a narrowly defined research niche in a fashionable topic could provide easy rewards in the early career of a young philosopher. With cleverness (or a good advisor in graduate school) one’s work could be crafted to satisfy the preferences of a manageably small number of specialists. Their approval was a necessary condition for professional advancement.
Tue, 24/01/2023 - 22:00
A recent survey of publications in experimental philosophy provides a picture of the field’s growth and range. In “Twenty Years of Experimental Philosophy Research,” published recently in Metaphilosophy, Jincai Li (Normal University) and Xiaozhen Zhu (Guangdong University) take a bibliometric look at X-phi. They write: X-phi has undergone roughly four developmental stages over the past two decades, namely, the initiation period (2000–2005), the development period (2006–2010), the expansion period (2011–2015), and the plateau period (2016–2020). Although works in the first period had paved the way for later development of this experimental approach to philosophical inquiries, the key umbrella term “experimental philosophy” did not come into widespread use until 2006. Since then, it has remained at the center of heated discussion. Over the next fifteen years or so, x-phi evolved from negative research programs with the slogan of “burning the armchair” to the more positive and interdisciplinary projects that embrace more armchairs, becoming a fascinating part of the broad enterprise of cognitive science.
Sat, 14/01/2023 - 00:12
“Emotion and Society Lab” is a new “network of collaborators in philosophy across different universities that engage in collaborative learning, research, and public engagement around emotions and society.” Created and directed by Myisha Cherry at the University of California, Riverside, and involving researchers at several institutions, Emotion and Society Lab uses “use methods and theories from philosophy to help explore questions about the nature and role of emotions in everyday life. Our work is interdisciplinary; informed by cognitive science, social psychology, and political science.” The Lab’s inquiries head in five “primary directions“: One direction is concerned with examining the nature and role of emotions. The second is thinking about how people use emotions as oppressive and liberatory tools. The third is concerned with theorizing affective concepts to illuminate hidden phenomena and then examining how such theorizing can help solve real-world problems. The fourth direction is concerned with creating models of emotion regulation and emotional intelligence that are sensitive to race, gender, and class.
Wed, 11/01/2023 - 00:30
New York University has launched a new interdisciplinary program to support, coordinate, and disseminate research about the well-being of wild animals. Co-directed by Becca Franks (environmental studies) and Jeff Sebo (environmental studies, philosophy, bioethics, law), the Wild Animal Welfare Program “aims to advance understanding about what wild animals are like, how humans and wild animals interact, and how humans can improve our interactions with wild animals at scale.” Of particular interest are questions such as “How much positive welfare (pleasure, happiness, satisfaction, and other such states) do wild animals experience, and how much negative welfare (pain, suffering, frustration, and other such states) do they experience? To what extent is humanity helping and harming wild animals at present?
Wed, 26/09/2018 - 21:51
With Australians trusting media platforms less than do people in just about every other country, why would you set about dismantling the one institution they trust the most? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, our 86-year-old taxpayer-funded and constantly beleaguered public broadcaster, regularly tops surveys as one of the country’s few remaining […]
Fri, 06/01/2023 - 00:22
Last month, something unusual happened to an academic philosophy article. The news media reported on it. Shortly after the article was published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, stories about it showed up in variety of venues, including: The Guardian The Telegraph The Times The Age The South China Morning Post The Independent (picked up by Yahoo News) Japan Today Radio France Internationale France 24 Barron’s Fatherly (picked up by MSN) The Swaddle  Al Arabiya News Stylist Báo Hải Dương The Financial The Daily Mail The Philippine Star among others. How did this happen? It’s no mystery: Cambridge University’s Office of External Affairs and Communication wrote and distributed a press release for it. Granted, the article, “Gendered Affordance Perception and Unequal Domestic Labour” by Tom McClelland (Cambridge) and Paulina Sliwa (Vienna) seems more likely to hook a broader audience than the typical PPR output. Here’s the abstract: The inequitable distribution of domestic and caring labour in different-sex couples has been a longstanding feminist concern.
Sun, 19/12/2021 - 02:43

I can’t believe I have to spell this out, but:
free/libre/open-source software developers and open web activists selflessly running independent services online are people too.

It seems this idea is especially difficult to grasp for researchers (including, apparently, whoever reviews and green-lights their studies). The latest kerfuffle with the Princeton-Radboud Study on Privacy Law Implementation shows this well.

“Not a human subject study”

The idea of that study seems simple enough: get a list of “popular” websites (according to the research-oriented Tranco list), send e-mails to e-mail addresses expected to be monitored for privacy-related requests (like, and use that to assess the state of CCPA and GDPR implementation. Sounds good!

Wed, 28/12/2022 - 01:03
Steven Rieber, a former philosopher who is now a program manager at Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a part of the United States government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is heading up a new research program that might be of interest to philosophers. The program, “Rapid Explanation, Analysis, and Sourcing Online” (REASON) aims to “develop novel technologies that will enable intelligence analysts to substantially improve the evidence and reasoning in draft analytic reports.” It is seeking research teams to fund that will build systems to help “analysts discover valuable evidence, identify strengths and weaknesses in reasoning, and produce higher quality reports.” Here is some more information about the project: Intelligence analysts sort through huge amounts of often uncertain and conflicting information as they strive to answer intelligence questions. REASON will assist and enhance analysts’ work by pointing them to key pieces of evidence beyond what they have already considered and by helping them determine which alternative explanations have the strongest support.