Friday, November 12, 2010

Thought I'd Never Get Around to Posting

In my Intro to Phil class several weeks ago we had a long discussion about rationality, about consistency of belief, and about consistency between belief, intention, and action. It coincided with the day of a campus lecture by Dan Ariely.

A student sent me this link to an article by David McRaney about procrastination and self-control. It took me weeks to get around to reading it. And now that I have, I thought: should I post it now or later?! (So you can see why I've posted so little over the last months. If this one weren't itself on procrastination, chances are slim I would have written it up.)

The article notes that for those of us with Netflix queues, most lists are very long, and the documentaries and historical dramas tend to build up without getting watched--moreso for those that are available Instantly than those ordered through the mail. Of course, that's because we all want to be good people who watch heavy, enlightening, worthwhile films. But that's in our future, and in our present we're just too tired to watch anything more challenging than Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

[Personal note: I have my own rules about this sort of thing! My queue is short, and the order is more or less strict. Earlier this week I watched a docudrama about conservation in Africa and tonight's show will be a critically-acclaimed war movie. Oh, but that's the point about handling procrastination...]

McRaney writes:
Capable psychonauts who think about thinking, about states of mind, about set and setting, can get things done not because they have more will power, more drive, but because they know productivity is a game of cat and mouse versus a childish primal human predilection for pleasure and novelty which can never be excised from the soul. Your effort is better spent outsmarting yourself than making empty promises through plugging dates into a calendar or setting deadlines for push ups.
The trick to dealing with procrastination, then, is to anticipate when it may strike and to limit in advance your ability to make choices in the present which you would not have set up for your future self. That is, to develop good habits--by hook or by crook.

Here's Roz Chast's take on procrastination.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Am I Worth?

Salary reports for jobs like yours can be found at

Curious about the answer without looking it up?

Here's what I came up with:

Assistant Professor of Philosophy: average = $57,500; starting salary = $43,700
(This ignores the fact that you really probably started with a stipend for TA'ing and took a lateral move to $3000/course as an adjunct before spending at least a couple of years in a postdoc or visiting position.)

Associate Professor of Philosophy: average = just shy of $60,000; starting salary of $42,000
(Hmmm...that assistant professor starting salary of 43K looks good in comparison. Doesn't much look like tenure is promising immediate fiscal benefits, does it?)

Full Professor of Philosophy: average = $105,500
(The range is from $71,000 to $152,500. Start totting up those merit increases early in a career because percentages will eventually accumulate. Your university still gives raises in these tight times, right?)

Assistant Professor of Economics: average - $73,616; range of $52K to $124K
(Ah...but those poor souls don't get to spend their days talking about trolleys rolling over babies, barn facsimiles, and brains in vats. What is a lifetime of that worth to you?)

Berkeley Begat Heisenberg Begat Wigner

Check out today's XKCD comic.

Need this?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Face of Philosophy

Ordinary life and ordinary academic life have left me this term with little time to dabble or to play. I've been spending my time preparing for class and engaging in the rough politics of transitioning from quarters to semesters. The blogs have been busy, but I haven't been visiting them.

That's why I felt like I had found a lucky penny when I happened across this photo essay on philosophers. I found it a few days late but the sentiments are timeless. It's satisfying to see a representative percentage of women among the photos, as well as portraits of feminist philosophers with the accompanying essay.

My wish is that there will come a time when I won't even notice women philosophers being treated like this--treated equitably and simply as philosophers, with no need to comment on gender.