The biggest divergences in moral opinion concerned our question about "regularly eating the meat of mammals such as beef and pork". 60% of ethics professor respondents rated mammal-meat consumption as morally bad, compared to 45% of non-ethicist philosophers and just 19% of non-philosophers. Opinion also divided by gender and age. Women were about 1.5 times as likely to condemn mammal-meat consumption (55% of women rated it bad vs. 37% of men). There was a similar shift of opinion with age: 55% of respondents born in 1960 or later condemned mammal-meat consumption, compared to 35% born before 1960. One might expect a compound effect for young female philosophers, and indeed it was so: Fully 81% of female philosophers born in 1960 or later said it was morally bad to regularly eat the meat of mammals. To put this degree of consensus in perspective: In last year's PhilPapers survey of philosophical opinion, only 82% of philosophers endorsed non-skeptical realism about the existence of an external world. (No word, so far, on how philosophers who deny the existence of an external world feel about seeming to consume meat.)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
BP has been accused of “buying” the silence of some of the world’s leading scientists and academics to help build its legal defence against litigation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Friday, July 23, 2010
What you want for it you’d want
for a child: that she take hold;
that her roots find home in stony
winter soil; that she take seasons
in stride, seasons that shape and
reshape her; that like a dancer’s,
her limbs grow pliant, graceful
and surprising; that she know,
in her branchings, to seek balance;
that she know when to flower, when
to wait for the returns; that she turn
to a giving sun; that she know
fruit as it ripens; that what’s lost
to her will be replaced; that early
summer afternoons, a full blossoming
tree, she cast lacy shadows; that change
not frighten her.
Perhaps the deepest value of poetry for scientists is its articulation of the feelings that scientists themselves harbor for what they study—passion, deep curiosity, and a sense of stewardship."
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Lisa Gannett, “The biological reiﬁcation of race,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2004): 323 – 345.
Inma de Melo Martin, “Genetic research and reduction of health disparities,” New Genetics and Society 27 (March 2008): 57 – 68.
In a course called "Physics and Metaphysics":
Helen Beebee, “The Non-Governing Conception of Laws of Nature, " Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2000): 571-594.
Susan Schneider, "What Is the Significance of the Intuition that Laws Govern?" Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2007): 307-324. (This is a response to Beebee.)
In a course on philosophy of science, with an emphasis on the issue of pluralism:
Nancy Cartwright, “Fundamentalism vs. the Patchwork of Laws,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 94 (1994): 279-292.
Lorraine Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” Social Studies of Science22 (1992): 597-618.
Susan Haack, “Trial and error: The Supreme Court’s Philosophy of Science,” American Journal of Public Health 95 (2005): S66-S73.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd, “Feyerabend, Mill, and Pluralism,” Philosophy of Science 64 (1997): S396-S407.
Wendy S. Parker, "Understanding Pluralism in Climate Modeling," Foundations of Science 11 (2006): 349-368.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
- Commercialism. This more than anything else. To take an example.
- Violence. I take the "no weapons" rule at the daycare for granted--so why is it that other same-age friends can't seem to do imaginative play without guns and swords?
- Gender. There was a proposal that one of the weekly themes at my child's preschool be "Kings and Queens." I asked a teacher what, exactly, the educational content of that would be, other than how boys dress and how girls dress. But aside from such obvious gendering, I have constant questions about raising a gender-happy and feminist boy that I don't know the answers to. Here's a promise to post some when they come up.
- Discipline. When is it OK to let a child run wild, to allow a scene to happen, to just indulge, etc? My feminist response is that this should depend on the needs of the moment, but in reality how I discipline has a lot to do with who I think will observe it and what their expectations are.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 09, 2010
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Goethe was interested in colors as an immediate human experience, and Newton was interested in color as an abstract physical phenomenon. On an experimental, material basis one must side with Newton's conclusions. But Goethe's view speaks to the immediacy of human experience. ...Goethe was part of the romantic reaction to classical mechanics and modern science--a reaction that continues to this day. This confrontation between Goethe and Newton revealed a modern humanist critique of science that the abstract explanations of science deny the vital core of human experience. The quantum theory and the sciences that emerged from it are prime examples of such abstract explanations.Science does not deny the reality of our immediate experience of the world; it begins there. But it does not remain there, because the basis for comprehending our experience is not given with sensual experience. Science shows us that supporting the world of sensual experience there is a conceptual order, a cosmic code which can be discovered by experiment and known by the human mind. The unity of our experience, like the unity of science, is conceptual, not sensual. That is the difference between Newton and Goethe--Newton sought universal concepts in the form of physical laws, while Goethe looked for the unity of nature in immediate experience.Science is a response to the demand that our experience places upon us, and what we are given in return by science is a new human experience--seeing with our mind the internal logic of the cosmos.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Space, and events associated with places and spaces, are represented in the brain by a circuitry made of place cells, head directions cells, grid cells, and border cells. These cell types form a collective dynamic representation of our position as we move through the environment. How this representation is formed has remained a mystery. Is it acquired, or are we born with the ability to represent external space? [Articles by Langston et al. and Wills et al.] investigated the early development of spatial activity in the hippocampal formation and the entorhinal cortex of rat pups... A neural representation of external space at this early time points to strong innate components for perception of space. These findings provide experimental support for Kant's 200-year-old concept of space as an a priori faculty of the mind.
- Would a developmental pathway that is triggered early in a child's experience of the external world, and which is followed in a similar or identical way in all normal people fail to confirm the concept of space as a necessary faculty of the mind?
- Does this mean that the 1st Critique was referring, all along, to rat minds?
- Does an a priori concept become stronger with experimental support?
Friday, July 02, 2010
Stanley Fish: Deep in the Heart of Texas
By STANLEY FISH
Assessing teaching performance through student evaluations is still a terrible idea, and Texas is leading the way.
Stanley Fish: Student Evaluations, Part Two
By STANLEY FISH
Further discussion, with readers taking part, on the pros and (mostly) cons of students' evaluations of teachers.
[One] proposal is to shift funding to the student-customers by giving them vouchers. “Instead of direct appropriations, every Texas high school graduate would get a set amount of state funds usable at any state university” (William Lutz, Lone Star Report, May 23, 2008). Once this gets going (and Texas A&M is already pushing it), you can expect professors to advertise: “Come to my college, sign up for my class, and I can guarantee you a fun-filled time and you won’t have to break a sweat.” If there ever was a recipe for non-risk-taking, entirely formulaic, dumbed-down teaching, this is it. One respondent to the June 13 story in The Eagle got it exactly right: “In the recent past, A&M announced that it wanted to be a top ten public university. Now it appears to be announcing it wants to be an investment firm, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and a car dealership.”